The Fable of Complexity

Do you ever get the feeling that the piles of paperwork are staring at you? Mocking you? Daring you to try to reduce their size by putting in the next 132 weekends attacking the backlog? Do you ever get the feeling that everything we try to do to help us get the work done, only adds to the work we have to do? Do you ever get the feeling you’re not the only one thinking this?

Like some sci-fi monster that grows stronger the more lasers we shoot at it, our piles seem to grow despite our best efforts to automate, crosstrain and incorporate the “best practices of the private sector.”

We took one of the most popular chapters in Ken Miller’s book Extreme Government Makeover, and made an animated video to share just how we got here.

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Extreme Government Makeover

Government is under incredible pressure right now. The economic crisis has hit us with a double whammy: exponential increases in demand and dramatically reduced resources. Government simply doesn’t have the capacity to do all the good we want to do in this world.

How have we responded to these new pressures? By trotting out the old ideas. More blue ribbon panels, travel moratoriums and calls for accountability. We cut back on paper clips and cut out the training. We outsource, upgrade and rightsize. Meanwhile droves of new customers are stuck on our porch waiting to knock on our door and ask for help.

The house of government doesn’t need another layer of paint or some new carpet. It needs an extreme makeover. And just like on the show it needs it done fast! Our house is full of “moldy ideas” that are making everyone sick and our pipes are bursting from the ever increasing demands. We can stand around arguing whether the house is too big or costs too much or we can grab some tools and fix it up.

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