Monday, August 18, 2014

Remember the National Programme for IT in the NHS?

Some may remember earlier postings I made about the systemic failings of the NPfIT?  Ross Anderson, one of the group of Systems professors who wrote publically to the government about the inadequacies of NPfIT has recently "taught a systems course to students on the university’s Masters of Public Policy course (this is like an MBA but for civil servants). For their project work, [Ross] divided them into teams of three or four and got them to write a case history of a public-sector IT project that went wrong."

The winners were a team who wrote about NPfIT - the report can be seen here.  Ross concludes that "despite the huge losses the government doesn’t seem to have learned much at all."


James Greyson said...

It seems that government generally doesn't learn. Is this partly a failure of us systems thinkers:
• to provide useable tools that out-compete reductionism?
• to address the problem at source, where education instills reductionism and herd-thinking?

Ray said...

James - the latter certainly, but it is also a systemic failure of governance. Not in my view the lack of a tool to out compete reductionism, but institutions and praxes to recontextulaise it within the systemic.

James Greyson said...

I'd love to see where systems thinking has outcompeted reductionism in any major policy area. Reductionism is impressively well entrenched in thinking, institutions and policy options. It also has the dubious benefit of excusing policy-makers from feeling overwhelmed by anything beyond their patch of interest.