Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The life of PII (Public Interest Index) – Harnessing the Tiger (Government)

Mai Chen, the keynote for day 3 of the ICOT conference, is an energetic, provocative professional, who, again, I have seen only on video previously.
Today she is speaking about thinking keeps you ahead of the wave, which includes
  • Nobel prize winner thinking
  • The power of being discriminated against
  • Throwing a rock at a tiger
  • Changing direction and “leaving home” – often
  • Darwinian adaptation
  • Creating your own wave
Mai opened suggested that one of the greatest influences on thinking is...government. They have a large amount of funding, they shape policy, and so they help shape thinking. In particular they encourage thinking that will help solve problems. Government in all its guises influences thinking.
Over Mai's summer holidays a lot happened. She referred in particular to Kerry Spackman, and his thinking about moral functioning, in particular 'level 5', which is about caring about society as a whole. She has also been to see the 'Life of Pi' - 'without that tiger I would have died', whereby the tiger is a part of the main character. If NZ is to survive the tiger, we need Government to be a part of the solution for civil society.

Can individuals be led by Government to be happy? An interesting question. Can passing anti-discrimination laws impact individual happiness, for example? What does this say about how we frame and think of Government? How can we ensure that Governments act positively for public interest?

What we measure affects what we do - you have got to measure to see if initiatives are having an effect. Which is why it was unfathomable that the financial crisis took us so much by surprise. Mai mentioned that there is an old Chinese proverb that "If you do not want to end up where you are going, change your direction". Metrics of sustainability are therefore important.

The NZ treasury has been working hard, and have come up with the Living Standards Framework, which brings together a lot of thinking about aspects that are often not considered together. The framework build on earlier research and pulls it together, in part to provide a vision of sustainability for the future. However, it is no good having a framework if no one uses it.

Mai Chen's presentation raised some interesting question, and definitely saw Government as part of a sustainable future, supported by a framework that everyone supports. Part of this is having a population who understand how the system works. There is a lot to mull over, and I think I need to sit down with a strong coffee and a group of friends to have a chat about the issues....anyone ready for a coffee? :-p


The life of PII (Public Interest Index) – Harnessing the Tiger (Government) from EDtalks on Vimeo.

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