Despite the many cultural and technological evolutions that have taken place in society over the last 150 years, our systems of institutional governance have failed to keep up. As a result, governments today no longer have the full knowledge, resources or power they need to produce the results desired by their citizens. Everywhere we see a continual decline of public confidence in the ability of governments to be effective, ethical or even believable. This lack of confidence has generated both a populist backlash and the creation of technological alternatives to government as providers of social coordination. Without significant re-imagination and reinvention, future governments are likely to be even less useful or friendly. Old assumptions about governing such as - citizens cannot effectively collaborate together or share knowledge and resources; citizens aren't knowledgeable or sufficiently educated; citizens have no means to decide collectively without voting for representative agents; governing institutions must be centralized and run by leaders - are no longer valid. My challenge to conference participants is whether they can imagine a possible governing process that does not depend on these out dated assumptions. Without explicitly defining what that a new governing institution would look like, this paper looks at the key capacities that should be included. For instance, among the foremost challenges facing governments everywhere is the need to develop the capacity for collaboration in society in order for governments to retain their effectiveness and legitimacy. Can the conference participants imagine a different possibility using today's tools and knowledge?
Collaboration, Reinvention, Participatory
Principal, Consultant, Christopher Wilson & Associates
Christopher Wilson is an author, consultant and academic who has specialized in issues of collaboration, governance, and multi-stakeholder partnership.