Wednesday, October 26, 2005

10 things that make me slightly peturbed (but not that angry really)

There's 10 things about economic development organisations and government departments that might get me a wee bit upset, but don't really make me angry any more:

PS someone asked me what I was angry about. Nothing too much really, but its a good name, innit?

Anyhow 10 things in economic development organisations that can p*ss me off potentially:

1. Economic development organisations which lead me to believe they know nothing about economics. They tend to be the ones banging on about the creative class.

2. Economic development organisations banging on about customers (no, they are beneficiaries), return on investment (no, its mostly return on expenditure dammit!)

3. Economic development organisations boards (in general) but especially when they seem to think they are running a private sector organisation, or they are trying to inject some private sector stuff into it. When they are really public sector organisations with the same staff ethos. Note - we don't want PRP. We just want a decent wage, comparable to civil service equivalents and none of your nonsense. Bugger off!

4. ED organisations who have strategies which have little relevance to their own economies, or make little of their comparative advantages

5. Trying to implement environmental sustainability into economic development. As if it wasn't hard enough.

6. European Funds generally. Why seperate structures, programming documents etc - we usually have regional ED strategies - just give us the money and we will get on with it, no need for more bureaucrats and you can stick your quarterly claims forms, thankyou!

7. People in EDOs who uncritically read management books and stuff like that. Much of it is garbage. Some is useful, but you have to be careful. Its usually case studies and some bonkers ideas off evangelical nutcases.

8. Senior staff with little track record or knowledge in/of ED. Can be a bind. They just don't have the context to make quick and the right decisions. They are not daft, they take time to bed in.

9. When EDOs believe their own hype that they are the best economic development agency in the known universe (you know which one you are)

10. People who run good projects but don't evaluate them enough. Shame when the funding cuts come in, they can't make a decent case for themselves. Very unfortunate.


At 8:23 pm, Anonymous Michael said...

If I may add one...

11. the lack of decent scruntiny of said organisations, chiefly of which I mean RDAs, which then perpetuates the 'walking on water' beliefs that they have alone raised GDP, reduced crime, saved the environment etc.

Take your last post on clusters, for which I concur, lots of trips up to scotland, lots of money paid to consultants and the reinvention of sectors as clusters. Of course making such a statement just means I don't understand the 'economics' of clusters as I've been told in the past.

The evaluations are then of the how, rather than the why and the what. If the cluster was a success, like current Treasury policy, it was attributable to the intervention, if not it was the result of market conditions. Comparisons against the next best alternative, like doing nothing, aren't considered.

So usually evaluation indicates that the RDA did the right thing, spending money is such a bind.

How could we get some better scruntiny? Lots of ways, but one worth playing with, we need to identify some tasks that they are all set at exactly the same time with the same comparative resource and concentrate the evaluation on understanding the rationale for the decisions made. Take the management of business support, nine flowers blooming, accepted because each Region is different, but attempting to understand why they are different would be a pretty revealing exercise.

12. would be the annual reports of RDAs but that is a blog of itself...

Chin up

At 9:05 am, Blogger Angry Economist said...

oh my chin is up! I can say this stuff with a smile on my face actually. I think its a serious business, but I don't take this kind of crap seriously or personally. I'd be going mad otherwise.

thing is - where I work, the pressure to issue and write b*llshit ain't actually that bad! there is some geniune attempt to do things better. So I am positive.

Where I used to work - now they were the emperors of b*llshit!


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