Publication Growth and productivity Machinery of government Public finances 18 April, 2024

Mission control: A how-to guide to delivering mission-led government

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The growth of ‘wicked problems’, from climate change to rising economic inactivity and poor health – which have no single solution and are potentially devastating for society – cannot be reversed by the State alone. Nor, however, are they likely to be solved by a passive state, too cautious to take important, long-term risks and too weak to identify and support the innovative capacity that exists in other sectors.

Depending on the nature of the challenge, however, very different approaches to governance will be needed. The extraordinary successes of previous, mission-led organisations, in the public and private sector, reveal important lessons for any incoming government with an ambitious set of priorities to deliver.

Mission control provides a typology for considering different kinds of mission, focused on technological innovation – such as the famous ‘moonshot’ to land a man on the moon – and innovations in performance – like dramatically reducing public sector backlogs – and offers a blueprint for how the government machine can be effectively geared towards both.