Today we publish Working Paper 2016/01: History of strategy stewardship in the New Zealand public service 1980–2016, as part of our ongoing StrategyNZ project.

StrategyNZ is a McGuinness Institute project that began in early 2006. The aim is to contribute to a discussion on how to improve long-term strategic thinking and strategy stewardship in both the private and the public sector.

The main project for this year in StrategyNZ is the completion of Report 15: Strengthening Strategy Stewardship in the Public Service. This report is a culmination of two years’ analysis of government department strategies (GDSs) and a survey of the strategic management history, and present, of central government.

When writing this report, the Institute found there was a lack of publicly accessible and easily understandable information on the history of strategic management in the New Zealand public sector. While key reports that were designed to critique the make-up of the public sector at the time provide insights into its structure at certain stages of development, there is not a concise summary of this history and the impacts the narrative of reform has had on the current framework. This is what compelled us to focus for the first part of this year on investigating the strategic history of the public service. Working Paper 2016/01: History of strategy stewardship in the New Zealand public service 1980–2016 is the outcome of this research.

This paper provides an outline of the history, along with an illustrated timeline highlighting the main changes in this area. It seeks to:

• present a timeline of the most important initiatives in strategic management (focusing particularly on the extent to which measurability, integration, long-term focus, transparency, accountability and cost-effectiveness have and have not featured in the strategy stewardship system over time);
• identify key eras of change in the strategy stewardship system; and
• identify lessons that can be applied to strategy stewardship going forward.

Working Paper 2016/01: History of strategy stewardship in the New Zealand public service 1980–2016 can be found on the McGuinness Institute Working Paper publications page.

Working Paper 2016/01: History of strategy stewardship in the New Zealand public service 1980–2016 will be discussed at our upcoming Strengthening Strategy Stewardship one-day workshop on 14 July. For more info on this event, see here.

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