The lost art of government planning is sorely missed in border reopening

The idea of “planning” has been downplayed in recent years, as “agile” has become more popular … (aside from the overlooked practices of agile planning and estimation). Is “planning” about to re-enter currency again? There is a tie between planning and anticipatory systems.

Let’s look at the short-sighted cancellation of Canada’s pandemic warning system. To people making resource decisions, the early-warning system, the Global Public Health Intelligence Network, probably didn’t seem like a priority in 2018. It wasn’t “used” that much in prior years. It is a risk-management tool. It’s part of a plan for the future.

What’s worrisome is that this aversion to planning is a fault of governments of different stripes and in different countries.

One reason governments don’t value such plans is that so much of governing is about campaigning and communications and decisions are made based on those priorities.

In the U.S., Mr. Trump’s Administration also cut pandemic preparedness resources out of an apparent decision that the political base didn’t care. Author Michael Lewis wrote a book, The Fifth Risk, which suggested the riskiest thing about the Trump Administration was its lack of interest in managing risk.

The modern world of political communication, and the fear that somebody is going to say or do something embarrassing, also seems to encourage central command. Big things in the Canadian government go through the Prime Minister’s Office or the Privy Council Office, but there’s only so much bandwidth in either. If something doesn’t get attention at the centre, it might just wither.

Source: “The lost art of government planning is sorely missed in border reopening” | Campbell Clark | July 19, 2021 | Globe and Mail at The lost art of government planning is sorely missed in border reopening - The Globe and Mail

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