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CaseInAxis new shoes today


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CaseInAxis new shoes today

  1. 1. 1 NEW SHOES TODAY • ROAD TO CREATION, INNOVATION AND CHANGETHE BEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEINGINAXISCreation in Dutch GovernmentInAxis is a programme for administrative innovation of the Dutch Ministry ofInterior and Kingdom Relations. Nothing new here. Innovation is hot every-where and you can find these programmes in governments all over the world.What is special is the radical approach InAxis has chosen.Paul van Hal, director of the programme, describes the vision in ten principles: • Practise is the source of inspiration • The innovator retains ownership • We don’t have a focus, but we do focus • We always make sure it keeps flowing • Organise the energy towards yourself • We do business with people, not with organisations • We are not a knowledge centre • The bearable lightness of being • It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission • Do, share and let goExperimentsPaul van Hal: ‘One of our cornerstones is facilitating and financing governmen-tal organisational experiments, and letting them spread all over the Netherlands.An example of such an experiment is the small rural municipality of Ten Boer.Many small municipalities use merging processes to upscale themselves.Ten Boer had a different idea. It decided to outsource operational tasks anda considerable portion of policy preparation tasks to the neighbouring, largecity of Groningen. That left a core apparatus to organise policy preparationand outsourcing. Ten Boer thus keeps all its administrative responsibility andsay over its set of tasks. The best of both worlds, a small scale for policypreparation and a large scale for operational tasks.’Cherish the Nearling!A feature of an experiment is that it does not always succeed, otherwise itwould not be an experiment. But does that mean it’s a failure? Not accordingto InAxis. Paul: ‘There is something to be learned from every experiment, nomatter what the results are. We’ve adopted the new word nearling* for this,a word for something that you have attempted but that did not lead to thedesired result. The idea or plan is good but the circumstances have changed.Or a better option presents itself along the way. Or something goes wrong.Or there are suddenly different priorities.* For more info on the nearling and reducing risk aversion, see the website www.nearling.comWWW.NEWSHOESTODAY.COM
  2. 2. 2 NEW SHOES TODAY • ROAD TO CREATION, INNOVATION AND CHANGEThe word nearling contributes towards enhancing a culture of innovation,of entrepreneurship, of the power of deeds. It places emphasis on the factthat initiatives are almost always worthwhile. Even if they do not lead to thedesired result. You don’t need to say that ‘you made a mistake’ or that ‘itwent awry’. No, you just say “you had a nearling”.’Reducing Risk AversionInAxis wants to improve conditions for innovation in public service. The pro-gramme for reducing risk aversion*, to achieve inhibition lowering is anothersparkling example. ‘In government, we often are overly averse to risk. Toinnovate, sometimes you have to go about your work less cautiously. Pushthe envelope of what is possible. Dare to do something that may go differ-ently than you expect. Dare to do something that you may not have com-pletely under control. That can sometimes fail. But you can learn so muchfrom it, that new innovative ideas are the result.Not only what you do is important, but also how you do it. These are twoclarifications of our working principles:We Work with People, not with OrganisationsWe have consciously chosen this approach, because when working withorganisations you can lose a lot of time talking about positions and skills.We work with people who get things done and who are enthusiastic aboutturning ideas into reality. We think in terms of networks. Then the organisa-tion will come along on its own accord when the time is right.The Bearable Lightness of BeingEven if innovating is not always easy, it does not have to be as heavy as lead.We try when possible to opt for a light form and sometimes do not act nor-mally. For example we had the nominees for the Dutch delegation of the 4thEuropean Quality Conference introduce themselves to the judges’ panelwith a theatre show. They had the time of their lives and everyone wasextremely enthusiastic.Our attention also goes to reducing the administrative burden of governmentregulations. That may not sound like fun. But InAxis has started ‘the Museumof Superfluous Policy’*, officially opened by the Minister of Interior in 2006, andexhibiting dozens of inspiring examples of unnecessary, contradictory, obso-lete, complex, sometimes ridiculous rules and regulations – a playful and stim-ulating way to become aware of the need to abolish superfluous policy.’WWW.NEWSHOESTODAY.COM