This course explores the archetypal public policy challenges facing policy-makers, and the constructive, and degenerative approaches to resolving those challenges.
The vast majority of public policies are not new. Anyone building a policy (for public or private use) does so in order to maintain a current state of conditions, prevent a new variable from disrupting those conditions, or change those conditions to optimize for a particular goal.
Reducing poverty, protecting vulnerable ecosystems, enhancing business growth - are some of the goals public policies seek to achieve - but policy-makers can find themselves in very similar kinds of 'traps' (degenerative policy approaches) as they seek to address those challenges.
Less obvious than the policy traps, are the escape hatches, and escape strategies (constructive policy approaches) that can be applied when designing public policies to avoid unintended consequences, and achieving public policy goals.
This course will draw on the work of Donella Meadows, Peter Senge and other systems thinkers, and explore timely as well as local policy examples.
Who this course is for:
Public servants and administrators, elected officials (and aspiring elected officials), public policy advocates and activists, the politically curious, managers... anyone who thinks about, writes, or engages with public policy.
Instructor: Mark Coffin
Mark Coffin is the Executive Director at Springtide, and is a passionate student of systems thinking and how it can be applied in public and institutional policies. In this course he'll explore the archetypal policy traps, and make reference to local and broader examples where possible, and explore some of the (rarely used) escape strategies for policy-makers and those living and working within rigid policy frameworks.
Halifax, NS, Canada