Systems Thinking – King Canute and the Tide

 The story below from the Guardian today, underlies the problems we face as societies, our failure to educate ourselves to enable an holistic view to be taken of problems.

Instead we defend reductionist positions, firefight problems and apply end of the pipe solutions. Continually increasing the resource intensity of all we do in defiance of the One Planet Equation, an impossiblity King Canute demonstrated with the tide.

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Focusing on customer needs instead of targets has improved a council’s mobility parking scheme

It is not just social services – under scrutiny over the death of Baby P – whose focus on meeting targets can mask failing public services. During a month-long review of the Wiltshire county council team handling applications for blue badges, which provide parking concessions to people with mobility problems, the council found that it wasn’t measuring customer-friendly actions such as the time taken for someone to receive an application from their first contact.

“We were measuring how we used resources and whether letters were sent out to customers within five days, but we didn’t ask ourselves whether five days was appropriate or whether a letter was needed,” says Debbie Farrow, council service director for business transformation……………………….

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/dec/17/councils-mobility-parking

http://www.triarchypress.co.uk/pages/book5.htm

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