The Lever Room says the Government must ask the right questions before it can solve problems

For The Lever Room

The Lever Room, a consultancy focused on the intersection between innovation and sustainability, has released the Build Back Better Framework.

Devised to provide politicians and business leaders with an optimised process for rebuilding New Zealand in the wake of Covid-19, the report identifies principles and questions to enable confident decision making.

The Framework also recommends eight actionable projects based on insights from interviews with more than 20 business and civic leaders, including Dame Anne Salmond; Director General of the Department of Conservation, Lou Sanson; Managing Director of Iron Duke Partners, Phil O’Reilly; Chief Executive of the Wel Energy Trust, Raewyn Jones; and Chair of Orion New Zealand and Director of Silver Fern Farms, Jane Taylor.

The eight projects range from advocating for New Zealand to evolve to an impact economy that provides for environmental, social as well as economic wellbeing, to creating an investment fund that allows the Government to take temporary equity stakes in companies.

Rebecca Mills, founder of The Lever Room says that the projects are examples of solutions that come about from a considered systems-thinking framework.

“Right now, we have a chance to build a better New Zealand. This moment will not last, and it must be used wisely,” says Rebecca. “An ad hoc approach will, at best, create disconnected solutions that work in the short term but may create worse outcomes five to ten years in the future.”

To determine the eight initial solutions, The Lever Room drafted a practical set of organizing principles based in ethics while at the same time making practical and scientific sense. These include increasing preparedness and future resilience, measuring impact beyond financials alone, and acting with the ethics of care, as kaitiaki.

“The principles give us guidance, and we also wanted to make sure we were asking the right questions,” says Rebecca. “When we understand what we most need to know for the good of the whole country, we have the best opportunity to build back better.”

Key questions for the Government include:

  • How do we best manage public sector investment in ways that help solve current problems, without creating new ones?
  • How do we best fund the recovery?
  • What’s the best definition for shovel ready infrastructure that will serve us both now and into the future?

The full list of key questions and descriptions of eight actionable projects are available via a free download of the Framework:

“We are calling for the Government to integrate this framework into its decision making today,” says Rebecca. “A strategic approach will give us the certainty that the choices we make will benefit New Zealand as a whole, from our farmers to our tourism sector, from our small businesses to our school children. We can build a better future for everyone if we start from the right place.”

Rebecca describes the Build Back Better Framework as having three core purposes:

  1. To contribute a practical set of organising principles, that could be applied to help guide government decision making.
  2. To examine how public sector investment may assist New Zealand’s valuable businesses.
  3. To apply a systems-thinking lens to hone in on key questions that unearth the core of the challenges we face.

For more detail, download the free Build Back Better Framework, published today.

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