Strategy in the public realm means organizing with a sense of purpose, by understanding future capabilities and the policies that will be needed for delivering outcomes beyond the organization for the common good. Purposive endeavours create a collective, or public, value at some point in the future — schools, universities, libraries and health services. Public strategy identifies and shapes the future, it creates a narrative and plan that will carry people with it from the start to whichever plausible future has been imagined. It understands what it is trying to achieve or the system it is trying to improve. Being clear about the purpose of an activity changes it to an action capable of achieving a meaningful result, for instance, not simply carrying out safety inspections but making industry safer. That action must be accountable. It needs a mandate (the authorizing environment) for its social mission and the operational capability to deliver it if it is to gain legitimacy for the outcomes it seeks to deliver.
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