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Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Transference in egov

Here's one tale you'd have a hard time novelising, but it's true.

Top government mandarins are paying £480 to be lectured, amongst other things on poker strategies by someone called Caspar Berry, who used to work alongside Ant & Dec. PSF has the story.

Last week (or, possibly the week before) leading Departmental representatives were asked to attend a 'special one-day conference' on 'transformation, innovation and delivery' chaired by David Bell, DCSF Permanent Secretary and 'designed primarily for senior civil servants and equivalent levels across the public sector.'

As a recipient of the missive put it:

'… at a bargain price of £480 senior staff can pay to hear their Ministers and colleagues speak about what they’d like to see their Department doing; listen to examples of how this has been done and also apply professional poker strategies to their work.'

There's form on this gravytrain. Emma Mulqueeny didn't exactly rave about him in May.

The agenda for this session introduces Poker Master Berry thus:
'A dawn of new professionalism needs to emerge where sufficient incentives are in place to ensure appropriate levels of risk are taking place across the public sector. In this session, leading poker player Caspar Berry will illustrate how the public sector can become less risk averse. In particular, how do we manage risk in a sensible and proportionate way by bringing about a change in approach to risk? How do we reduce the cost of risk management and do more with less?'
Berry describes himself as:
A highly distinctive speaker within the corporate world with a unique and challenging message that forces people to question many of the things they took for granted.
Why they're not going to the source and hiring gurus/'motivational speakers' from either India or California I don't know ...

By the by, here's an interesting quote from Rob Preece's book 'The noble imperfection', that warns about the naiveté amongst Westerners as to the nature of the guru/devotee relationship:
When we transfer an inner quality onto another person, we may be giving that person a power over us as a consequence of the projection, carrying the potential for great insight and inspiration, but also the potential for great danger. In giving this power over to someone else they have a certain hold and influence over us it is hard to resist, while we become enthralled or spellbound by the power of the archetype.
Now I know I've mentioned breaking down egov's walled garden and inviting 'industry' expertise ... this wasn't exactly what I meant ... Jakob Nielsen would be a tad more apt.

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