More so than before, public managers find themselves operating in environments that can variously be described as uncertain, unpredictable and even disruptive. They may also find that the problems they face are often interconnected, or that they interact with, policies or problems which are not within their (or their agencies’) control. Yet another feature of the context that public managers now face is their limited ability to precisely control or 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 desirable directions.
In recent years, public management studies and the economics discipline have begun to take seriously the idea that our societies and economies, as well as the organisations and institutions we operate in, are complex adaptive systems. Understanding this complexity helps public managers to make sense of the possibilities and limitations of their policies. It also helps them to see their role as “system stewards”, rather than as social engineers. Finally, this understanding enhances their ability to work in more adaptive and experimental ways.
Now into its 12th year, the LKY School of Public Policy’s Senior Management Programme (SMP) is a three-week intensive and immersive learning experience designed to equip director-levels officials in public institutions with the skills and sensibilities to serve as leaders and change agents in complex environments. SMP 2017 will explore the overarching theme of Leadership, Innovation and Public Policy: Managing in Disruption. The programme is distinguished by its unrivaled access to some of Singapore’s best trainers, academics, and practitioners in their fields. Our participants learn groundbreaking strategies through hands-on classroom activities, real-world case studies, and visits to innovative organisations that put these concepts into practice.