Capturing, acknowledging, and addressing this complexity is a signal challenge not only for governments but also those seeking to influence and advise political leaders.
One way to grapple with complexity is with visualization technologies, ranging from projecting findings from large data-sets, to finding creative ways to display information, to engaging staff and communities in recognizing complexity and identifying strategic directions. There has been increasing use and celebration of visualization and social media tools in the private sector, and considerable interest from inside public service institutions as well as political leaders about how to exploit their potential.
The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework for thinking about the potential (and limitations) for visualization technologies in assisting public servants in undertaking analysis, providing advice to elected leaders, and engaging citizens on policy matters. It aims to stimulate and guide dialogue among practitioners and experts about their experience in government using visualization technologies, their sense of potential yields and risks, and how to build capacities in this area.
An output from the ANZSOG-funded project Grappling with complex policy challenges: Exploring the potential of modelling/visualisation techniques for analysis, advising and engagement.
Lindquist, E. (2011). Grappling with Complex Policy Challenges: Exploring the potential of visualization for analysis, advising and engagement. HC Coombs Policy Forum discussion paper, July.