New Public Passion

Published on 16 Dec 2016
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Reflections from New Zealand on Public Service Reform

In the context of rapid change, increasing complexity, and higher citizen expectations for performance, public service reform efforts occur often to keep up, but with mixed results worldwide. Public servants are pushed, with limited resources, to deliver more trust, responsiveness and dynamism in this challenging environment, leading to a decline in morale. The global Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without overcoming this challenge, and moving towards New Public Passion.

Arising from discussions over several months in the Centre, and culminating in a mission to Papua New Guinea in January 2016 to ‘road-test’ this concept and the New Zealand reform experience in a challenging environment, this paper argues persuasively that intrinsic motivation really matters – as much as professionalism, accountability, and networks. Underlying this assertion is the simple, yet true idea - that what people care about gets done by them. Inexplicably, this natural advantage in many public services is not harnessed constructively. Intrinsic motivation remains a significant, yet untapped force.

New Public Passion harnesses intrinsic motivation of public servants to improve performance, enhancing public value. It explicitly focusses on the role of motivation, rebalances the use of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation for delivery of service, and aligns incentives and values.

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