Politics & OKRs?

How An OKR Mindset Can Improve Political Promises And Accountability

With the election battle in full swing, political parties are making grand promises about how they will manage public funds more effectively. While these claims often focus on impressive numbers—more doctors, more nurses, tax cuts—they tend to emphasize outputs rather than outcomes. As voters, we should be more interested in the tangible results these policies will deliver, not just the financial figures behind them. An OKR (Objectives and Key Results) mindset, which focuses on outcomes, could revolutionize how politicians make and are held accountable for their claims. This approach demands a shift from merely increasing budgets to delivering measurable improvements in services. For instance, simply raising the NHS budget without innovative delivery methods falls short of true progress. What truly matters is how these funds translate into better healthcare outcomes, such as reduced waiting times.

Manifesto Pledges in Political Campaigns

Political manifestos often include specific pledges across various sectors. In healthcare, a primary aim is frequently to reduce patient waiting times. Other pledges typically include boosting economic stability, improving education, and enhancing infrastructure [1].

Applying OKRs to Political Campaigns

Manifesto Pledge Example: Reduce Healthcare Waiting Times
Objective: Reduce NHS waiting times.
Pledge Statement: “We will reduce waiting times for patients in the NHS.”
Outcome: General improvement in patient satisfaction and healthcare efficiency.

However, traditional pledge-setting methods have faced significant challenges. Data from various sources often show that targets, such as the percentage of A&E patients seen within four hours, are frequently missed [4].

OKRs: A Modern Approach to Goal Setting

OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) combine qualitative objectives with quantitative key results, creating a clearer roadmap for achieving goals and allowing precise tracking.

Healthcare Example Using OKRs
Objective: Significantly improve NHS patient wait times in selected boroughs.
Key Result 1: Decrease average waiting time for GP appointments from 10 days to 5 days in five selected boroughs within six months.
Key Result 2: Reduce waiting time for elective surgeries from 12 weeks to 8 weeks in these boroughs by year-end.
Key Result 3: Ensure 95% of A&E patients are seen within 4 hours in the selected boroughs over the next three quarters.

Comparing Manifesto Pledges and OKRs

Manifesto PledgesOKRs
1. Clarity and SpecificityBroad and open-ended.Specific and measurable.
2. MeasurabilityLack precise metrics.Include specific, quantitative key results.
3. FlexibilityMay be rigid.Designed for regular review and adjustment.
4. Transparency and AccountabilityProgress often measured internally.Promote transparency and shared progress tracking.


Political manifesto pledges provide a necessary vision for improvement. However, using OKRs could enhance this approach by offering a more structured, measurable, and adaptable framework. OKRs break down broad goals into specific, actionable steps, ensuring progress is transparent and easily monitored. This modern approach could lead to more efficient and effective achievement of the government’s objectives, ensuring that promises such as reducing NHS waiting times are met with clear, measurable actions and outcomes.