Creating space for transformative conversations

Governance Project

September 01, 2011 - August 31, 2014

Principled decision-making in the global village

The Governance Project is an initiative of David Fushtey, Fellow at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue. The project reflects David’s curiosity for why, after a quarter-century of working in a digital global marketplace, the governance of international enterprises and NGOs often falls back on sixteenth century decision-making models. Project goals include crystallizing research in the “why” of comparative legal duties and exploring more about the values behind tough decisions, and engage these concepts through stories and case studies. The project leverages the Centre’s collaborative culture, bridging the realms of academic, business, community and political expertise.

The Governance Project has three components: writing, engaging the University, and engaging the world. A major focus of the writing is a look at the traditions and hot topics of modern governance from a book to blogs. The book has a working title of: The Governor: Machiavelli Had it Easy, to share David’s observations on how and why we make decisions across sectors and legal jurisdictions in the global village. David also writes a blog on topics that range from basic values of Metropolitan Civility (to accentuate the positive), to Beyond Trust (to respect the global marketplace). A third blog topic addresses the question of how to apply these ideas over the long term in an International Social Financial Zone.

Governance cuts across disciplines of law, business, economics and public policy, so the Project looks to engage the University to bridge these silos of expertise. In addition to welcoming a chance to talk in seminars or other venues, a series of Roundtables for the Governance Project is being developed to bring leaders and students from different realms together who share common interests in informed and principled decisions for the long-term. This Roundtable program is organized around two themes: Celebrating Excellence in the BC Experience, and Governance Innovations. Topics in the first series included federal policy-information systems (DFAIT, Canada), research funding strategic input (SSHRC Canada), values assessments (SALA, Sweden), evolving public-interest enterprises (EcoTrust Canada), and chains of authority and subsidiarity (GIEL, Italy).

From the quality of urban places to the impact of economic development, our governance frames our lives. A focus of the Governance Project is how legal structures evolve to balance interests, using examples from state-owned enterprises, agencies and local authorities to community-interest corporations and civil-society organizations, as well as in applications from massive infrastructure projects to crowd-funded local ideas. Good governance is the effective exercise of informed authority; we are working on learning more about both the how and the why.

David’s work with the Centre for Dialogue is informed by his work as governance counsel on comparative legal duties and structures. He is also a Senior Fellow in the Centre for Corporate Governance and Risk Management at the Segal Graduate School of Business.

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