Thursday, August 13, 2015

Use experts to take bold decisions

Mr. Tan,
I saw that you have given several suggestions on how to reduce the queue in the LTA office.
Did you notice that the people questioning you were probably the civil servants in LTA or other agencies. They are trying to fish out your ideas. They will claim credit for the solutions and will probably not acknowledge your contributions.

I am aware about this behavior. It has been happening for a decade or two.
However, this approach (of fishing for ideas) has produced bad results in the past for the following reasons:

1. The civil servants dare not implement the bold ideas, as they might not work, and they may get into trouble.
2. They will only implement the safe ideas, but usually these ideas do not solve the root of the problem.

If they approach the relevant experts directly, the minister might take the risk to implement a bold idea. If it does not work, it is all right for the minister to say that the idea came from an "experienced expert" but it was worth a try. It is only by trying that we can learn to find the correct solution.

My suggested approach of using people with the practical expertise and experience is likely to produce much better results than the current system of governance (including taking people's ideas without acknowledging them).

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