Peter Drucker Forum 2013: “Addressing complexity: the next challenge for governments” by Yves Doz

yves doz

On the second day of the 2013 Peter Drucker Forum, Yves Doz, Solvay Chaired Professor of Technological Innovation at INSEAD, looked at the existing challenges that governments face in an increasingly complex world.


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Yves Doz continued his speech by making the distinction between what is complicated and what is complex. Giving the broad context on the issue he first pointed out that Peter Drucker was not a great lover of government himself. However, governments have a series of particular problems. The customers they get are not the ones they want, and the government is turned to when these customers do not know what to do, meaning that governments have many political issues to deal with. All of this entails that issues are more and more complex and this in a context where there are fewer resources.

This is not all negative. In Finland for example an aging population gives the government the opportunity to develop new skills in caring for the old.

Prof Doz

Professor Doz talks about challenges of public sector policy.

Governments need to show strategic agility in dealing with complex issues.

With the simple problems and slow changing issues it is necessary to have a good deal of discipline. There is also a strong need for more adaptability and for variety in action.

Professor Doz outlined 3 lenses needed in order to grasp public policy.

The challenge is therefore agility, adjustment and adapting to the world.

Speed of learning is key in this aspect but in a rapidly changing world, is the learning relevant? Indeed, if evidence of policies shows up in 20 years, how can we use this? Stakeholders change over time, so it is difficult to address their issues.

Should governments, therefore, go for oblique change or set very clear goals? In fact the best reforms are silent reforms but this does not always make you popular. Courage is crucial in this process, yet is not always evident in politics.


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dozyves_170pxYves Doz (FR)

Solvay Chaired Professor of Technological Innovation at INSEAD, and author

Yves Doz is the Solvay Chaired Professor of Technological Innovation at INSEAD. He was Dean of Executive Education (1998-2002) and Associate Dean for Research and Development (1990-1995) at INSEAD. Yves Doz received his Doctoral degree from Harvard University and is a graduate of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (Jouy-en-Josas, France). From 2005 until early 2011, he was also a part-time Visiting Professor at Aalto University (formerly Helsinki School of Economics), where he also acted as Visiting Research Dean of the Center for Knowledge and Innovation Research. He has taught at the Harvard Business School, Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, Seoul National University, and Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

His research on the strategy and organization of multinational companies led to numerous publications, including several books, in particular The Multinational Mission: Balancing Local Demands and Global Vision, co-authored with CK. Prahalad (1987) and From Global to Metanational: How Companies Win in the Knowledge Economy co-authored with José Santos and Peter Williamson (Harvard Business School Press, 2001) which shows how companies can mobilize dispersed knowledge to learn from the world. His most recent research work on this topic is featured in his new book, Managing Global Innovation, co-authored with Keeley Wilson, published in 2012 by Harvard Business Review Press.

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