F.J. Vanaclocha Bellver, R. Losada Maestre

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (SPAIN)
Software learning tools have been mainly developed with the goal of making easy learning process. This task becomes more difficult when it is intended to convey an accurate understanding of the way in which complex processes work. Public policies are such a complex process that public sector manager has to work with. Taking profit of problem-solving’s appeal, and graphical computer possibilities, authors intend to show how public policies attaint their main goal: value generation.

Actually, the strategic map concept, first developed by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, has been modeled into software that shows to user a friendly interface to work with. Two were the main difficulties that needed to be addressed: the intricacy of government and public management scenario, and the special characteristics of the final user: high public sector managers that need to develop leadership abilities. Overcoming the first of these obstacles was the main goal of the authors: the tool was intended to help public manager to achieve a whole understanding of the complex public management scenario where he has to deploy his activity. So, for the first time, through the graphical disposition of the components in the map, it is possible to appreciate in a single view how public sector attains his fundamental goal: value generation. Value criteria employed in the evaluation of public policies, inputs and outcomes of public policies, governance’s actors, resources and the traditional mission and vision statements, are wisely disposed to allow a wide comprehension of the whole process of public sector management. Following the original design of Norton and Kaplan the new arrangement of elements, and the way they are linked make extremely easy to understand the way public policies give birth to new value.

The second problem, how to obtain a friendly interface easy to work with, was resolved with a simple drag-and-drop procedure to fill the map with the appropriate content. Conscious that the mouse is the major nonkeyboard input device for computers, and especially aware of the increasing use of new kind of electronic devices with touch screens, the authors considered drag-and-drop option as the most suitable: it is easy and amusing to drag contents into strategic map structure.
In order to test these software capabilities, the tool has been employed in a post-graduate university course where high public officials have been training in the complex task of how to design a complete strategy for their public sector’s organizations. Results will allow further discussion about the possibility of employing software tools to convey concepts linked with public sector management.