The blog post at hand belongs to a series highlighting the various keynote presentations of our public event labelled ‘Get on top of your complex challenges’ which was hosted by the public:START consortium on the 14th of October, as part of the 35th edition of the annual ERASMUSDAYS.
A broad spectrum of speakers representing public organizations, private enterprises and research institutions joined us to provide an enlightening insight into how they are dealing with complex challenges in their own domain. Now, we want to share their success factors with you.
NO INNOVATION WITHOUT PEOPLE
Representing the EU Policy Office of the Municipality of Treviso (IT), Dr. Luana Rotari makes a rule for herself to put people at the very center of her project management work. She explains to us the complexity in her work: it is the collaborative nature of project management activities matching the scale of the issues currently faced by her municipality (i.e. urban regeneration needs, ecological and digital transition) and the expectation of several stakeholders at once.
Nevertheless, this accumulation of seemingly disparate forces is precisely what is driving the demand for what the public:START team has identified as Public Sector Leadership skills: to develop, motivate and inspire large and diverse workforces, to understand problems and act accordingly, and to collaborate with a broad range of stakeholders to achieve common objectives. The key in this situation is communication. The thought of new initiatives is not always enthusiastically received in the workplace because every new project brings change, and change is typically time- and energy-consuming. It is therefore crucial for public sector officials to challenge this perception of novelty as nuisance, through dialogue and inclusion of the people working on the project. If this shift in perception is unsuccessful, the project's stakeholders' and the general public's communication and involvement will also be, thus limiting the project's potential impact. Through her experience, Dr. Rotari has found that if one wants to turn challenges into opportunities, people must be empowered to be achievers, rather than passive executors.
Ultimately, Dr. Rotari tells us, if we want to successfully face today’s complex challenges, people in public institutions need to move from the inside to the outside, opening up their organizations to the wider world. The public:START project team could not agree more, as we continue our work to help the European public sector to fully develop its potential for cooperation, innovation and public engagement!