Can we build public trust by sharing power? This game could

The Centre for Public Impact (CPI) use the mechanics of a card game to explore how the rules of power within government should change. The game contrasts the rules of ‘old’ power – hierarchy, control and targets – with those of ‘new’ power – subsidiarity, relationships, and learning. It draws on a wider body of work from the CPI which argues that spreading and sharing power as far as possible is essential for the government to remain effective and rebuild public trust. Below is the CPI’s pitch explaining the importance of the ideas and concepts which inform the Shared Power Principle game.

CPI game finalShared Power Principle card game illustration by Joe Wilson

Government is no child’s play, it’s serious business because the stakes are so high.

So why is it that we’ve been playing the same tired, worn-out cards?

We use target-driven managing — even when we know full well that making people accountable for results they don’t actually control inevitably leads to all kinds of gaming and dysfunction.

We insist on knowing ‘what works’ — even though for complex problems knowing ‘what worked’ somewhere else won’t tell us much at all about whether it will work here.

We build transactional services — despite the fact that we know that it’s relationships which make many services work.

And we, of course, use hierarchy as the ultimate trump card.

These cards, these patterns are failing us but we still hear many calls for more of the same.

But doubling down on hierarchy and control won’t get us out of the mess that we’re in.

Let me be clear. We are not saying that these cards are always wrong. What we are saying is that there is an entire set of different cards that we ought to play much more often.

The Global School for Social Leaders is a multi-awarded NGO specialized in holistic & disruptive education, Join us! https://TheGlobal.School/Programs

“These are not based on control but they are based on the idea that we do better when we share power.”

Instead of target-driven managing, we redefine governance to include much richer notions of accountability and to change the role of leaders from heroes to stewards.

In the place of insisting on understanding “what works” ahead of time we choose continuous learning where we use data for learning, and not for control.

We replace transactionality with relationships understanding that for complex services we need to create the space for meaningful personal interactions.

And instead of hierarchy, we choose subsidiarity — instead of assuming that power needs to sit at the centre of government and at the top of organizations we assume the opposite. We push authority to where the knowledge, expertise and wisdom sits — rather than carrying information to where authority sits. We believe in radically redistributing both power and accountability across the system.

This is radical but it’s not ‘our’ vision — because this is real, these cards are being played by pioneers like Wigan Council, by Gateshead Council, by the Dutch home care provider Buurtzorg and by many more here and abroad.

It’s fun to talk about this in the language of games and to be creative with it but the backdrop to this is serious. Something profound needs to change and hopefully these Radical Visions, this one included, can help catalyze that.

If you are interested in playing the actual game, please contact the CPI via their website or find them on Twitter @CPI_foundation. The game’s illustrator is Joe Wilson.


 Centre for Public Impact 

Mexico announces a plan to tackle climate refugees and migration

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, announced on Wednesday, June 19th at the UN the creation of a Comprehensive Development Plan for Central America, which seeks to address the causes of migration in the area, and 2 days later announces a pot of 100 Million USD and a comprehensive plan where 17 UN agencies will participate in strong cooperation. 


This project was prepared by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, with the participation of the Governments of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, and aims to put into practice the idea that people should not be subjected to conditions of forced migration due to poverty or insecurity.

In fact, he stressed, they should have development options in their places of origin and that is the purpose of the plan.

Mexico will provide resources for several million dollars to the initiative, and it is expected that Spain and Germany will also support it with financing, said Ebrard.

The plan is aimed at creating immediate employment options and address problems such as the Central American dry corridor which caused one of the first forced migrations due to the consequences of climate change.

The Global School for Social Leaders is a multi-awarded NGO specialized in holistic & disruptive education, Join us! https://TheGlobal.School/Programs