A central purpose of promoting an outcomes-focused and results-based approach within government agencies is to get them to tightly focus on the outcomes they are trying to achieve. While it may seem obvious that this should always be the case, it often does not happen in practice. In the private sector, there are clear ultimate outcome metrics - net profit and share price. In contrast public sector agencies often have multiple outcomes many of which are hard to measure. This frequently leads agencies to only focus on outputs (specific goods and services produced by the agency) rather than on outcomes which are usually more difficult to measure and attribute to the agency's activities.
In many countries, government organizations have to identify and report on their outcomes in statutory and administrative documents and DoViewing (visual outcomes modeling) can help with this. How the DoView Outcomes Theory approach can be used within a public sector budgeting system is discussed here. How it can be used for lower-level outcomes measurement work in the public sector is discussed here.
In addition to such formal use of a visual DoView outcomes model, there need to be ways of ensuring that high-level decision-makers constantly have available to them a useful representation of their organization's outcomes that they can refer to in their day-to-day discussions. The traditional instruments for keeping high-level decision-makers focused on outcomes are written high-level vision and mission statements and lower-level detailed text-and-table based documents setting out what it is that an agency is wanting to do. However the first tend to be too high-level and summarized and the second too detailed for the cut and thrust of real-time strategic conversations amongst decision-makers and other staff.
The New Zealand Department of Conservation undertook its strategic planning using DoView visual strategic planning. A visual DoView outcomes model was developed as part of this work which shows high-level outcomes and also drill-down pages beneath these setting out the steps which need to occur to achieve high-level outcomes. The department took this DoView and published it in a small booklet. This tool provided an ideal way for high-level and other decision-makers to structure their strategic discussions. Below is the booklet produced by the department containing its visual DoView.
In addition the DoView as available as a letter-paper sized model, an HTML model and in poster versions in addition to the DoView software format file which was used throughout the strategic planning process. Click through the HTML version.
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