This article explores how a dynamic performance management (DPM) approach can give policy makers a more integrated, time-related understanding of how to address wicked problems successfully. The article highlights how an outcome-based approach to solving wicked policy problems has to balance three very contrasting objectives of stakeholders in the policy making process – improving service quality, improving quality of life outcomes and improving conformity to the principles of public governance. Simultaneous achievement of these three objectives may not be feasible, as they may form an interactive dynamic system. However the balancing act between them may be achieved by the use of DPM. Policy insights from this novel approach are illustrated through a case study of a highly successful co-production intervention to help young people with multiple disadvantages in Surrey, UK. The implications of DPM are that policy development needs to accept the important roles of emergent strategy and learning mechanisms, rather than attempting ‘blueprint’ strategic planning and control mechanisms. Some expectations about the results may indeed be justifiable in particular policy systems, as clustering of quality of life outcomes and outcomes in the achievement of governance principles is likely, because behaviours are strongly inter-related. However, this clustering can never be taken for granted but must be tested in each specific policy context. Undertaking simulations with the model and recalibrating it through time, as experience builds up, may allow learning in relation to overcoming barriers to achieving outcomes in the system.
- dynamic performance management
- service transformation
- service quality
- public governance