Posted tagged ‘MindLab’

The Burden Of Annoyance

January 21, 2010

I recently learned about an interesting organization based in Denmark called MindLab. As stated on their web site:  MindLab is a cross-ministerial innovation unit which involves citizens and businesses in developing new solutions for the public sector. MindLab operates across ministries, having been established as a cooperation between the Ministry of Employment, the Ministry of Taxation and the Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs. In other words, it covers areas that together affect the daily lives of nearly all of Denmark’s citizens.

One of the projects led by MindLab is called Burden Hunting, which seeks to reduce the impact of bureaucratic regulations upon Denmark’s business community. The stated goal of Burden Hunting is:

“To develop a new approach to lessening the bureaucratic impact of Danish business regulation that focuses on the burden experienced by businesses, namely the burden of annoyance.”

What a perfect description of bureaucratic regulations and what a noble goal, seeking to eliminate the burden of annoyance. As part of their effort to reduce bureaucracy, MindLab has identified nine experiences connected with business regulation that produce irritation:

1. Inflexibility
2. Lack of mutual obligation
3. Unfairness
4. Uncertainty and unpredictability
5. Pointlessness
6. Lack of respect from the public authorities for the
fact that “this is my enterprise and these are my
enterprise’s day-to-day activities”
7. Lack of confidence in “my good intentions and
acknowledgement of my knowledge and experience in
operating a company today”
8. Complexity
9. Powerlessness and lack of clarity regarding the role
of the authorities
Front line government employees know how dumb and inefficient many bureaucratic procedures are but department heads and elected officials never bother to ask or listen to front line employees. Citizens who get annoyed every day by how government works rarely have any input into how government agencies operate. MindLab seeks to tap into the experience of government employees and citizens to reduce unnecessary red tape in government operations.
We need similar efforts as MindLab’s at all levels of government in the United States to address the burden of annoyance that government imposes upon us in so many ways. If you are interested in reforming how your local government operates then you need to combine the experience of front line employees with citizens who can educate the department heads and elected officials who have no idea what takes place on a daily basis.