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Anticipatory governance – state steering in the 2020s in Finland
The workshop is part of the Steering2020 -project, undertaken as part of the government’s research and assessment activities (VN TEAS, https://tietokayttoon.fi/en/putting-knowledge-to-use).
The project aim is to provide an overall picture of the development and current state of governance, in its societal context, in Finland. The framework for analysis is one inspired by complexity and systems theory and structured around the concept of anticipatory governance. The study seeks to produce information by engaging international stakeholders in a dialogue supporting the Finnish governance policy debate.
How has Covid-19 impacted the anticipatory governance and systems thinking approaches in respect of state steering? What are the elements of success and which areas need further attention? Steering and governance is, in practice, always oscillating between centralisation and decentralisation, the need to provide a stable platform for planning and guidance to ensure the wellbeing and security for citizens, while retaining the ability and capacity to adjust, adapt and improvise, remains key here. Systemic features thus include a capacity for anticipatory innovation, orchestration skills and trust, as well as humble policy-making and a willingness to deliberate, learn and absorb new influences.
Systemic trust and a ’humble’ approach to policy-making can be perceived as key enablers of resilience, while the primary obstacles include the lack of intelligent incentives for a more systems-based approach to steering, management and leadership and a range of cultural factors such as a lack of systemic thinking and the ability to tolerate uncertainty and failure.