The Challenges of Governance in a Complex World

By: Peter Ho

Peter Ho, former Head of the Singapore Civil Service, was the Institute of Policy Studies' 2016/17 S R Nathan Fellow for the Study of Singapore.

This book collects the four IPS-Nathan Lectures that he delivered between April and May 2017, and gathers highlights of his dialogues with the audience.

Ho surveys the increasingly complex world, and suggests what governments can do to prepare for the future — even as no one can predict it. He uses metaphors such as the "black elephant" and concepts like the "dialectic of governance" to explain how a systematic approach to thinking about the future can help countries in general — and Singapore in particular — build resilience and develop a comparative advantage in the face of uncertainty and rapid change.

The IPS-Nathan Lectures series was launched in 2014 as part of the S R Nathan Fellowship for the Study of Singapore. Its primary goal is to promote public understanding and discourse of issues of critical national interest.

Sample Chapter(s)
Foreword (106 KB)
Lecture I: Hunting Black Swans and Taming Black Elephants: Governance in a Complex World (535 KB)


  • Foreword
  • About the Moderators
  • Lecture I — Hunting Black Swans & Taming Black Elephants: Governance in a Complex World + Q&A
  • Lecture II — Governing in the Anthropocene: Risk & Resilience, Imagination & Innovation + Q&A
  • Lecture III — The Paradox of Singapore and the Dialectic of Governance + Q&A
  • Lecture IV — The Future: Governance, Unintended Consequences, and the Redemption of Hope + Q&A

Readership:General public, professionals, students, researchers, diplomats, and foreign visitors interested in knowing more about Singapore and what lies ahead for the city-state.

ISBN: 9789813231825 (Hardcover), 9789813233744 (Softcover)
Cover Type: Hardcover, Softcover
Page Count: 160
Year Published: 2017
Language: English

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