Complexity and retraining politicians

I love this quote from Matthew Taylor of the RSA...

When, for example, I tell politicians ... their most constructive power may lie not in passing laws, imposing regulations or even spending money but on convening new types of conversation, they react like body builders who have [been] asked to train using only cuddly toys.

It comes from a recent post of his - Beyond belief – towards a new methodology of change - which argues that existing models of government policy are failing to cope with modern-world complexity. (Complexity in the sense of complex adaptive systems.)

Matthew's analogy is important. Politicians (and for that matter many of our leaders) have become optimised for lifting heavy weights: in the future we will need ballet dancers. Retraining will be hard-to-impossible, even for those aware enough to recognise the need.