Not all public problems are created equal.
Some public problems are like clocks. Clocks are regular, orderly and predictable. They might be complex but challenges can be diagnosed and solved. For example, getting a piece of mail from Roskilde, Denmark to Syracuse, NY in the United States is a complex challenge. So too is creating a programme for vaccine distribution and administration. But we can structure these problems. We can map transit routes and create postal hubs. We can look at other medical distribution programs, examine other acquisition and logistics problems, and replicate or alter those processes.
Other problems are like clouds. Clouds are irregular, disorderly and generally unpredictable. They are dynamic, messy and ever-changing in response to myriad factors. They may not be “solvable” but rather can only be addressed in better and worse ways. As we continue to move through the 21st century, we are increasingly dealing with cloud problems, for example climate change, migration and refugee challenges, poverty and wealth inequality, and the social governance of new technologies. Cloud problems require a different approach than clock problems.
This talk examines public problems from the lens of clocks and clouds, and explores how we can work together address both kinds of problems.
Tina Nabatchi is professor in public administration and international affairs and her research is focused on how citizen participation and collaborative governance create positive results. Much of her work also focuses on the challenges that are faced in public administration.
The language used in this event is English.
Curated by Roskilde University