This is the very first book to distill the principles of complex adaptive systems and adaptive management into practical guidance for policymakers. It describes the concept of adaptive policymaking and presents seven tools for developing such policies. Based on hundreds of interviews with people impacted by policy and research of over a dozen policy case studies, this book serves as a pragmatic guide for policymakers by elaborating on these seven tools. It is an invaluable information resource for technical policymakers and politicians, as well as for those studying politics and international relations.
Chapter 8: Promoting Variation
What is variation? Given the complexity of most policy settings, implementing a variety of policies to address the same issue increases the likelihood of achieving desired outcomes. Diversity of responses also forms a common risk-management approach, facilitating the ability to perform efficiently in the face of unanticipated conditions.
Why is Variation Important for Adaptive Policy-Making?
Individuals, groups, communities and systems have several defining characteristics that make them similar or different from each other. Some of these characteristics might be obvious, others not. Additionally, some characteristics might be latent, only to be revealed under stress at a later point in time (Axelrod and Cohen, 2000). This heterogeneity is instrumental in shaping the emergence of different responses from individuals, groups, communities and/or systems even ...