The Philosophy of The Shores System

Our Philosophy

The basic philosophy of The Shores System is that there is probably a better way to do just about anything. (1) Keep your eyes open for the better way.

Any task or process warrants careful examination to see if there are improvements that could be made. Too often we accept the status quo simply because "that's the way we've always done it" without looking to see if there are new conditions or characteristics to incorporate or new tools to apply. (2) Don't be afraid to explore alternatives.

Under The Shores System, we don't promote change just for the sake of change. There must be a compelling reason -- a falling short of expectations, a feeling that the accomplishments should be higher, or that the returns should be greater. (3) Any change should be an improvement, not just new paint on an old building.

Another basic tenet of The Shores System is that we should always listen to the people at the bottom of the hierarchy as much as we listen to the people at the top. No one group has a lock on the best or most practical solution. Answers can come from any corner, and we should look for them in all the usual places, and then in all the unusual places. (4) Gather as many viewpoints as possible.

We recognize a responsibility to all the parties and stakeholders in our actions, including community members, local organizations, government representatives, educators, and clients, to perform due diligence in assessing the current situation, identifying interests, avoiding damages and injuries, mitigating negative impacts, and documenting the process. (See our Consulting brief for more details.) (5) Act responsibly.

A Tribute

This website is a tribute to my late father. He christened "The Shores System" with it's name and instilled in me the idea that one should always be looking for a better way to accomplish a task, manage an institution, direct a nation, or care for the Earth.

I first learned of The Shores System when I was a small child. When my father encountered something in the course of daily life that just didn't seem to be very logical or working very well, he would say, "You know, under the Shores system, we wouldn't do it this way." And he would propose a different program, a different policy, a different law, or a different incentive to correct the error.

In my professional and academic work, I have tried to keep this same attitude: if something doesn't seem to be working properly, look for a better way. Build a better mousetrap. Remove the perverse subsidies and disincentives for proper functioning. Increase local empowerment. And then monitor and evaluate your work to see if there might still be a better way. I hope my Dad would be proud of my efforts to continue The Shores System.

// John Shores //

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