IPANZ E-Update - 2 November 2021

You will see we have linked you to a video of a talk given by Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw in this e-update. As the public service works to reach those hesitant about the vaccine, she suggests we remember that logic does not always drive decision-making. Rather we listen to people we trust and admire. 

Also in this e-update, Dave Winsborough puts a high value on diversity of thinking, and wonders if there is enough of this such diversity in the public service. 

Our ”what we are reading” section focusses on the lessons from anthropology. All of this asks public servants to explore the assumptions that underlie our thinking processes.


The Psychology of Fear and Blame 

We recently posted this IPANZ opinion piece on our LinkedIn page. Here is a nice cartoon which speaks to the commentators who make responding to COVID-19 sound straightforward. Public servants will know that the complexity of the analysis, the variables, and the trade-offs, makes this a particularly tough challenge.

Different Narratives for Public Servants 

If we want to have an impact as public servants, if we want to win hearts and minds to work towards outcomes, if we want to make a difference, we may need to change the way we communicate. This extremely compelling talk by Jess Berentson-Shaw, shares how we could transform the way in which public servants engage. We urge you to watch the talk, or indeed look at the slides here.

Future Leadership Challenges - An External Perspective

IPANZ often seeks out opinions to promote debate. This article records a conversation with a good thinker on leadership who lives outside Wellington. We need to listen to the views of people who are not immersed in the public service. There are some challenging ideas in here, but we are sure our members are up for the debate.

Find out more about H2R here

Life After COVID-19

This is a record of six prominent thinkers about how the pandemic has changed the world. Each of the six make a brief comment, covering some of the following points.

  • Having coasted along for half a century, we are now aware of the fragility and vulnerability of the human situation
  • The inevitable consequences of nationalism and populism on disinformation, and on the failure of an international response
  • A possibility of a long-term shift in how institutions support people and a reconsideration of beliefs, e.g. attitudes about efficiency versus resilience
  • A new social contract and investment in the care economy
  • Massive developments in the digital economy
  • COVID accelerating de-globalisation, growth of nationalism and China’s geopolitical rise

Growing Innovation in the Public Sector (article 2 in a series of 4)

Creative HQ has completed some very interesting case studies describing innovation in the public sector. You can read the article here, it shares the themes synthesised from the case studies. It offers many insights and opportunities for IPANZ members to learn about what drives innovation – a quick three page read.

A Great Job Opportunity - A New Role at IPANZ

We are proud of our productivity here in IPANZ. We produce all that we do, training, events, the Public Sector Journal, this e-update, our social media, roundtables and much more with a very small staff. In fact the core staff are actually just over 2 FTE. Quite some value for money for our members!

The new role will focus on gathering intelligence and ideas to meet the needs of our members and, ensuring we are reaching as far as we possibly can with our material, including to the general public. If you know the public sector very well, are a great communicator, researcher and marketer, it could suit you.

You can view the the job description here and call or write to our Executive Director, Shenagh Gleisner to discuss further Shenagh@ipanz.org.nz or 0274 850 369.


Helping agencies and sectors to work more effectively together, to collaborate, is an important and enduring challenge of public administration theory and practice. There is renewed emphasis explicit in the Public Service Act 2020. There are no simple answers, but there is wise, expert and positive cross sector collaborative work going on.

IPANZ is delighted to be able to present to you two practical current efforts involving different sectors and stakeholders. These two events, at the end of November, will be very helpful to all.

Collaboration – You Can Make It Work with Great Results - 12.30-1.30pm, Thursday 25 November, Wellington

The place-based housing initiative in Hastings involved a deep collaboration between Central and Local Government and Iwi. We have invited two Chief Executives, Nigel Bickle, Chief Executive, Hastings District Council, and Andrew Crisp, Chief Executive, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to tell us what it took to make it happen.

Read more and register here

National Level Collaboration – Setting Up for Success – 12.00-1.00pm, Tuesday 30 November, Wellington

The establishment of Predator Free 2050 was a national collaborative process. It involved multiple public sector agencies, local government, NGOs, scientists, iwi and more - over 30 organisations in one collaborative process. This event shares the key lessons learnt through the process, including where to start, what elements are critical to make it work, lessons learnt and the top tips for success.

Read more and register here

Find out more about The Johnson Group here


As 2021 nears its end, it’s a good time to sit back, take stock, and have some conversations. This year’s G-REG Conference consists of seven 30 minute snappy but shrewd conversations via webinar, and 5 films.

Read more and register here


Cultural EQ and Inbuilt Bias

Anthropology presents a way of thinking that enables us to spot what is hidden, gain empathy for others, and get fresh insights on problems.  It enables us to reduce unconscious bias and cultural blindness. Take away the essence of this message, even if you don’t have time to read these books.

The Weirdest People in the World

Assumptions are made from research drawn from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies, that these people are as representative of the human species as any other population. They are not.

We need to be much more cautious about asserting conclusions about human nature on the basis of data drawn from this group. We are so often culturally blind.


Anthropology, with its attentive empathy for strangers, principles of listening to someone else’s view, focus on observation and emphasis on making the familiar, unfamiliar (and vice versa) is an antidote to tunnel vision. It enables insights which could break through some of the most wicked problems. The author presents many examples of where her background as an anthropologist and a journalist transformed her analysis and her conclusions.


If the organisation you work for is a member of IPANZ, YOU ARE A MEMBER YOURSELF. To see if your organisation is a member – check out our members list, and if you would like to join our database, please email us at admin@ipanz.org.nz 

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