The Ryanair Test

Peter Bihr writes about The Ryanair Test, suggesting that new technology be looked at through an as-if-operated-by-Ryanair lens:

What would this look like in real life if it was operated by Ryanair? Would it still be cool, or totally suck? Where would all the up-sell happen? How would it be to be blasted with ads while using it?

A similarly helpful test, when we’re formulating public policy, might be to stop to consider how whatever program or service we’re calling for will look like when operated by government.

Not by an idealized utopian government, but by the actual always-partly-broken, powered-by-fallible humans government.

Too often we make the mistake of coming up with plans that assume they’ll be implemented by caring, future-thinking people, skilled in systems thinking, and with the agency to evolve plans as they go. This is almost never the case.