Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The need for strategic thinking

Art needing resuscitation

Very early yesterday morning, 0615, I sleepily half-heard Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin talking on the radio.

Suddenly I was wide awake. Was he talking about the present state of Conductive Education, nationally and internationally?

No of course he wasn’t. It is a long time now since British Members of Parliament considered Conductive Education a matter of national importance. He was in fact speaking critically of Her Majesty’s Government’s new security strategy, to be announced later that day. His basic line was that the Government has lost the art of strategic thinking and is not therefore able to be radical enough. Indeed that it no longer possesses the capacity for radial strategic thinking.

But what he was saying did seem to reflect how I construe the rudderless drift of Conductive Education worldwide so – I reproduce here a summary of what he said in this short interview, with the specific references to defence removed.

'Strategy' has become rather a Bowdlerised term. A strategy is not a document that is published and one then sticks on a shelf. Strategy is an idiom of thinking, a state of mind, a constant reconciling of possibilities, means and ends

In the very complex world we now live in, strategy requires a lot of analysis and judgement and assessment

What we tend to have is visions, but we find ourselves cutting back very seriously. It is very hard to reconcile the two

The whole point about strategy is that people keep challenging what you are doing, challenging your point of view and testing alternative scenarios. Deficit-reduction is not the only comparative argument. You need research and assessment staff who are going to do the analysis

We seem to be operating under the imperative of deficit-reduction . There is very little in what is being done now that reflects deeper and sustained analysis of what sort of society we want to be in ten or twenty years’ time

Strategy is about far more than responding to threats, risks and contingencies, it is about opportunities, the possibilities – the positives – that we should be working towards, in a co-ordinated way

For a few days you can hear what Mr Jenkin actually said at:


I would, as ever, be interested to hear people’s views, here of CE's apparent dearth of strategic thinking..

1 comment:

  1. Lessons from NCVO foresight initiative:
    http://bit.ly/axIRfg

    ReplyDelete