DPSIR – Neat Approach for Describing Challenges

One of the strategic management approaches that we have here at work is the notion of challenge and response.  That there are issues that we are facing that are presenting us with a challenge and that we have to articulate and implement some form of response to that challenge.  Public service organisations tend to be great at responding but often have difficulty with framing and understanding the challenges that are faced.

In some planning discussions last year, we used the DPSIR model.  It is derived from some early OECD work and has been primarily used for environmental systems.  It can be summarised as:

  • Driving forces of change (e.g.industrial production)

  • Pressures on the system (e.g. emission of air pollutants into the air)

  • State of the system (e.g. air quality)

  • Impacts on population, economy, ecosystems (e.g. health problems)

  • Response of the society (e.g. emission permits)

It got people to think a bit more deeply on the challenges that are being faced, what is driving them, how the current system is being affected, what evidence there is for change and wider impacts before coming back to the response for dealing with the challenge. 

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