Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Demand side solutions in government

We've been working with the South Australian Government for 4 years now on developing capability maturity in business case creation and investment justification. One of the more interesting observations of this work is that most solutions identified to solve problems are supply side solutions (i.e. more capacity or more functionality). Rarely are ideas generated that look to influence demand for services.

This observation (which to some may be trivial and even obvious) was further compounded the other day when I was driving my two children to school. My kids go to school 15 minutes from our house (thankfully driving against traffic). Even though it is only 15 minutes it is still a draining trip through and across the mass of cars moving their way into the city. As I sat at the traffic lights looking at this mass of traffic all I could think of was what a waste of time. Then it occurred to me that a colleague at work battles this traffic even though it would be possible to work from home. So this wandering thought pattern led me one question; why do we always go for supply side solutions. I'm sure most of the people sitting in that traffic curse the government for not making the M5 tunnel four lanes each way and I'm equally sure the people on the north short going across the spit bridge curse the single lane bridge but surely part of the solution is reduce demand in peak hours traffic. Of course easier said than done but this difficulty is the reason why demand side solutions have so much potential; the solutions have to be innovative and innovations = value.

So, from now on, as a management consultancy that targets the real asset investment market, we'll be exploring demand side solutions and seeing of we can't find something a little bit different from the this space.

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