Technocracy and Transparency

Last weekend, I had an opportunity to listen to Radio National’s Saturday Extra program. One of the items was a conversation between the presenter, Geraldine Doouge, and Parag Khanna.

Their discussion about the characteristics of governance in Singapore and Switzerland encouraged me to think about how sport might benefit from a sensitive merging of enlightened investment in and engagement with technology with transparent discussions about decision-making and civic engagement.

Parag calls this merging ‘direct technocracy‘. He points out:

This approach combines the virtues of direct democracy with the benefits of meritocratic technocracy, which leverages data to make long-term, utilitarian decisions. Simply put, a direct technocracy marries good ideas and efficient execution.

I think the marriage of ‘good ideas and efficient execution’ is made possible by transparent discussion of the kind evident in ‘the hyper-democratic Switzerland’. Parag says of Switzerland and Singapore:

their records are impressive: both countries boast good health, ample wealth, low corruption, high employment, national military and civil services, and massive state investment in innovation. They respond efficiently to citizens’ needs and preferences, apply international experience to domestic policy making, and use data and alternative scenarios for long-term planning.

There is an interesting blend occurring here: ‘responsiveness’, ‘international experience’ and ‘long-term planning’. All of which encourage me to think about how we adapt better practice to local circumstances.

It seems to me that given the opportunities sport has to generate data, a ‘direct technocracy’ responsiveness to long-term performance should have immense appeal.  I sense that this requires us to re-imagine how we lead and follow in sport organisations.

Photo Credits

Singapore Night (Bailey Cheng, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Switzerland (KP Tripathi, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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