A cross-sectoral collaborative in the UK, including Collaborate, Dr Toby Lowe, and the Centre for Public Impact, have developed a helpful approach: Human Learning Systems, an alternative approach to public management centred on learning in complexity. Human Learning Systems calls for practices such as “experimentation, gathering data, sense-making, and reflective practice” to be included in how we think about measurement. Given the complexity of the environments government operates in, learning can no longer be viewed as “a luxury”, but instead as a core purpose for how public services improve.
“The Human Learning Systems website brings together knowledge about the theory and practice of the Human Learning Systems approach to public management. It describes how to run public service without some of the distorting effects of targets. It outlines how public service could be both cheaper and more effective by focusing on creating bespoke responses for each individual.
On the website, you’ll find case studies, methods, and example documents. Most of all, you’ll find a whole different set of principles and thinking on the management of public service. What you won’t find is a model. There is no recipe to follow, nor processes that can be lifted from one place and dropped into another. The Human Learning Systems approach is based on learning and experimentation. It provides a guide for exploring what your version of different could look like.”