Things have been going well for Libertarian Home lately. Off the shoulders of Andy Janes‘ rabble rousing and letter writing we had a successful day’s leafleting. This was featured in City AM and was tweeted by Old Holborn (who has been up to mischief again today, by the way) and this brought a lot of new faces to the twitter feed. We had a great time at the Liberty League Conference, where we met Brian Micklethwait. His attendance brightened an already well attended Southwark drinks and his attention to this parish has led to an even larger influx of new visitors. All this attention is flattering, but it means nothing at all unless it turns into action and I’d like to try and make that happen.
One of the themes of the Southwark drinks has been to talk wistfully about all of the different things we might do to change the world, which ones would have the most impact, and what particular kind of bureaucratic structure would be best to make that happen. Thursday night, things took a steer in a much more practical direction when Pavel asked thoughtfully:
So what would be the easiest thing to change?
What an infuriating question! It’s one that has been bothering me ever since it was asked.The reason I find the question exciting is that it forces us to consider first the practical matters and then the impact the change would have. For a group that hasn’t really had much practice working as a team doing the easiest thing first makes sense. The military strategist Colonel John Boyd observed that processes that iterate and incorporate feedback quickly do better. He called it Boyds Law of Iteration:
speed of iteration beats quality of iteration
Literally, you can win more battles if the process of winning battles takes less time to execute. We can practice our skills on easy targets, learn from our mistakes and get feedback quickly then do better at affecting change the next time.
So I suggest we follow John Boyd and Pavel Reich and focus on easy wins that can be achieved simply and quickly, perhaps two to five policy changes a year, depending on what actions we find are necessary to do that.
There are so many factors that would make an action easy:
- Populist support
- Compatible with different ideological stances
- Small scale
- Funding availability
- Amenable to actions that we:
- have the skills to carry out
- can afford
- have time for
- Can be changed predictably
- Can be measured
These are few factors that we might consider when deciding what is easiest, but they must be applied to a set of ideas and a set of actions that all make sense tactically etc before we can even assess them for simplicity and speed.
So, I propose another get together. A shorter and more structured affair than the drinks with white boards and post-it notes to brainstorm, plot and derive a set of two or three targets that constitute the easiest things we could change. By the time we get to 2012 we should be able to start on the first of them.