Archive for November, 2006

Human Traffic

A number of European cities are trialling a traffic management approach involving a massive reduction in the number of signs and traffic signals.

The mantra is “Unsafe is safe” and the rationale is that the more you try to control people, the less personal responsibility they take. Where there are less rules people take more care, and negotiate via gestures, nods and eye contact. It’s been tried in some towns in Germany, and accidents reduced dramatically.

This thinking seems to me to resonate well with reactions against rules based approaches to managing organisational performance. The more you trust people (within an appropriate minimal set of boundaries) the more you get emergence of functional, adaptive behaviour.

That originality is key. It's all about ideas. There are a lot of people out there making trousers and the world doesn't need more of that.
Karen Walker