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NS and the New Public Governance
Public Governance International > The New Synthesis Initiative > NS and the New Public Governance

The New Synthesis (NS) proposes a shift of considerable magnitude from a closed system of government to a dynamic approach to governance. NS draws from complexity theory, ecology, adaptive system thinking to encourage exploration and invention of viable solutions. The solution to complex issues and intractable problems does not reside in the parts but in how multiple elements interact dynamically with one another to generate a “new” whole.

At the heart of the NS Framework is the notion that governing and serving the public interest is a collective enterprise that involves governments, citizens and all actors in society.

Governing involves a delicate search for balance where the state authority is used to leverage the collective capacity of society to achieve results that we experience collectively.

Inventing solutions to complex issues requires:

  • To reconceptualise the interrelationships between the natural, economic, and social systems
  • To combine and manage in new ways the interfaces between public, private, and civic spheres of life in society
  • To articulate in contemporary terms the balance needed between the pursuit of individual interests in ways that advance the overall interest of society

As in the past, the State must be able to govern (compliance) and the public apparatus must be able to get things done (performance). But, more than ever, government must nurture the capacity to invent solutions (emergence) and to build the adaptive capacity and the resilience of society (resilience).

To learn more about the New Synthesis Framework see NS fieldbook

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Reflecting on the National Public Service Week of Canada, PGI has dug deep into our archives to share the first-ever digital Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada. The Sixth Annual Report was Madame Bourgon’s final report to the Prime Minister of Canada as she was preparing to move on from her role as the first female Clerk of the Privy Council. Her final report is reflective of her esteemed tenure as Clerk, one that continuously pushed boundaries and guided the Public Service of Canada through an unprecedented period of change to prepare for the challenges of the 21st century.