“Right first time” is almost impossible all the time

There is no doubt that enforcing a “right first time” mentality to encourage the
development of cost-effective quality products has consistently resulted in competitive
production practices in the manufacturing industry for many years. However, the same
thinking, when applied to the public sector, presents critical challenges. The introduction of
a new policy, program or service is seldom a linear exercise. Nevertheless, teams are often
pushed to rush into the delivery of solutions – half-baked solutions- due to time, budget
constraints, and the mentality that attempts have to work well the first time round.
Unfortunately, in many cases, and because feedback is delayed till after launch, teams
usually cling to bad ideas longer than they should, and problems aren’t unearthed until it’s
very expensive to solve them. An attitude make-over to the launch of new concepts in the
public sector is required, given the available opportunity to learn from other relevant
disciplines such as service design, psychology, anthropology and sociology. Testing,
prototyping, piloting and exposing offerings to experimentation is essential. A tolerance for
failing fast, as well as the practice of iteration could bring substantial efficiency gains to the
public sector and better value for money.

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