The Public insists, and arguably has a right to insist, that it knows where its money’s going. [They] have a very high expectation of results. That is not the way innovation works. Innovation, the essence of innovation, is you don’t know what you’re going to build, what it’s going to be called, how much it’s going to cost. You cannot use public monies unless you can answer virtually every one of those questions, which is why government tends not to innovate. The public wants that accountability in advance, that justification in advance. But that’s not going to work for certain things.
I tend to do a lot of thinking about why the government is often so useless. I don’t often get very far because there are so many things that they could do better but don’t. That’s why I was so interested to read the Fast Company article on Michael Bloomberg and what he wants to do next. If anyone is up to figuring out how government could do better it’s him. While the article was disappointing on the whole (not enough detail on the actual plans and thoughts), I thought the quote above was genius.
It’s interesting that he believes this can be solved by allocating private money for public purposes. Maybe it could also be solved by finding politicians we can trust?