A Stovepiped World
And that’s precisely what happens. A mechanistic story of how things work determines the approach to almost everything – from economics to education, transport to housing, medicine, farming, food production, media production – and it profoundly affects notions of how to organise, manage and change things.
People have been marshalled into straight lines and silos, territories carved out, walls heightened and doors closed. This bit’s ours. The territory beyond is seen as separate and disconnected while professional routines maintain the facade of order and control within these narrow bailiwicks.
Little surprise that the most intractable problems – homelessness, housing, flooding and so on – lie in the murky in-between places that belong to no one.
Unfortunately organisations and institutions aren’t equipped to work in the murky in-between. They have neither the spaces to integrate and coordinate action nor an appetite for the messy creativity involved.
So they mostly opt for neat ‘interventions’ with identifiable beginnings and ends and choose tangible ‘products’ such as consultant reports or training programmes over intangible processes where control must be loosened and outcomes are harder to predict.
The result is wall-to-wall analysis. And precious little change.