More so than before, public managers find themselves operating in uncertain, unpredictable and even disruptive environments. They face challenges that are often interconnected, and unfortunately, they have limited ability to precisely engineer specific outcomes. At best, they can try to influence the outcomes by creating the conditions that would allow the environments they operate in to evolve in their desired direction.
In recent years, public management studies and the economics discipline are seriously addressing the idea that the societies, economies, and institutions we operate in are complex adaptive systems. Understanding this complexity helps public managers make sense of the possibilities and limitations of their policies. They are able to readjust the understanding of their own roles – that they are “system stewards” rather than social engineers – and this understanding is key in enhancing their ability to work in more adaptive and experimental ways.
Now into its 13th year, the LKY School’s Senior Management Programme (SMP) is a three-week intensive and immersive learning experience designed to equip senior executives and professionals in government, corporates, and non-profit organisations with the skills and sensibilities to serve as leaders and change agents in complex environments. SMP 2018 will explore the overarching theme of Leadership, Innovation and Public Policy: Managing in Disruptions, and will include a week-long Comparative Policy Exercise (CPEX) in Shanghai and Hangzhou, China. CPEX will focus on the fast-evolving landscapes in China such as digital economy, mobile payment, artificial intelligence, sharing economy, technological disruption, infrastructure, and diversity. It tells the story on how to create conducive conditions to enable adaptation and empower the various actors to innovate and experiment.