Wednesday, 16 March 2005

The governance gap Classically active workshopping today at an event on the future of governance, run by the British Council and Demos. Plenty use of images, press cuttings, post-its etc for storyboards, and a graphic record created on a mural by Tim Casswell of Creative Connection as we went along. A couple of busy hours later and we'd clarified what we each thought was the 'governance gap,' much of it to do with lack of trust, disincentives to participation, a weakened understanding of the notion of a public good, and fractured notions of citizenship. Some of us thought that inappropriate 'organisational structures and models' was one of the key causes of the gap. Demos has been pretty good at hitting that particular button I think. (For a quick read try Paul Skidmore's 'Leading between' in the Democratic papers collection). A good use of time and money? Make no mistake, an expensive time is being had by all - from across Europe and beyond, about 30 bright, well-paid and experienced folk, plus meself. For sure, such exercises can be done more cheaply and less exclusively, with a more diverse constituency. But they have to happen, it's important to get some structured futures thinking done with people who are good at generalised reflection, and others who can secure the hawsers to everyday life. Tomorrow we chug out to the uncharted, 'doing the vision' for the public realm in 2025. The democracy and governance debate is really gathering pace, and some of this stuff is sniffed-over in an article today on by Neera Chandhoke, called provocatively What the hell is 'civil society'? (I know, that's what I thought when I saw the title, but it's probably just a sub-editor's idea to get people's attention).

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