When we’re dealing with different interacting levels of a system, seemingly minor details can rise to the top and become important to the system as a whole. We need “Field biologists” to catalog and study detarticails and portions of our complex systems, including their failures and bugs. This kind of biological thinking not only leads to new insights, but might also be the primary way forward in a world of increasingly interconnected and incomprehensible technologies.
The PBNYC example reminds us that pilot programs are useful testing grounds, but promising experiments are unlikely to translate into large-scale successes without careful effort. Such a transformation requires shifts in strategy and tactics, matched with steadfastness in mission and values. Those interested in government innovation can learn a lot from watching PBNYC as it charts this course for participatory budgeting processes around the world.
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