Let’s imagine Steve Jobs was in a position to set policy for the government for various programs and one of the programs he had oversight for was the Post Office. Would we be at the position today where the Post Office was on the brink of collapse? No. In fact, 10 years ago he would have been laying the groundwork for eliminating the Post Office altogether. Or at least transforming it in to something else that would by now be unrecognizable as the Post Office we know. At some point he would have come out on stage and said, “Oh and one more thing, Post Post Office.”
I have no idea what that would be. I’m not Steve Jobs. And he’s not in control of any aspect of the government, at least not directly. And if he were, in reality he would not be able to push his new policy/concept through the tangled web of politics. And that’s the problem.
Even if there are people with the vision of Steve Jobs working in the government, or even half the vision of Steve Jobs, they would be frustrated by the inability of our current system to keep up with let alone get ahead the pace of change in science, technology, and economics. There are too many competing interests that slow the pace of government change. This used to be seen as a virtue. The back and forth of politics keeps us from making extreme decisions that can turn out to be wrong.
But deliberateness and consensus building could prove disastrous. Climate change, economic upheaval, these are just two of the biggest problems that require bold and fast action. But few companies can turn visions in to products that work beautifully and make the public happy. And so far, no government has found a form to do the same.