Art requires rigour, science requires creativity

RigourAndCreativity

I heard this quote the other day, but I didn’t catch who originally said it.

Art requires rigour, science requires creativity

The first point is that it’s contrary to the standard view. The second point is that both perspectives are valid and that there shouldn’t be that much of a difference.

It then made me think of typical transformation programme roles and the relation between creativity and rigour. Most roles have a balance between the two, with that balance changing according to the standard role and, at times, according to the demands on that role.

RigourAndCreativity
Rigour And Creativity

For instance, process analysts should generally follow a set of standards. Business Analysts have to be more creative, but still have methodologies to follow. Service Designers have less rigour methods, usually a composition of tools and techniques rather than the standardised methodologies of previous decades. At the more rigorous side, project managers have their methodologies and frameworks to follow. Programme managers see a wider scope and have more creativity in organising the interdependencies. Which then fits nicely with my normal comment that a Business Architect has more in common with a Programme Manager than a Project Manager; there are more skills in common, even though the professional methods involved are different. Which leads me to the Business Architect who has to know when to be standardised and when to be creative. There has to be the flexibility to modify the approach to suit the needs of the client, depending on the stage of transformation.

 

 

 

 

Partnership Map

Partnership Map 0_02

I’ve developed a Partnership Map, designed to help us think about which companies we partner with and why.

With my clients, I’ve often found workshop attendees confused (at least initially) by the term partnership. If you use other well-known tools such as the Business Model Canvas, maybe you’ve encountered similar issues.

We all use the term partnership, but rarely question what we actually mean by it. I usually revert to asking what the partnership entails. If it’s one company paying another for services, is that really partnership?

Components

There are two parts to the target

  1. The Map itself: designed so you can print it large and place your partnering companies on the map
  2. A table of the definition of the tiers. I’ll admit this is a very rough draft, but I thought it better to get it out in the world and improve with collaboration, rather than it just being the product of one person.

How to use it

  1. Work through each of your partnerships and place them according to their sector and tier.
  2. Once all partnerships are on the map, step back to look at them
  3. Evaluate whether that partnership should exist, moved tiers or become a supplier-client relationship. Think of partnerships moving from outside to inside or vice versa, or partnerships being consolidated across sectors.
  4. If a particular partnership is giving cause for concern, then consider using the Partnership Canvas for more in-depth analysis.

Status

This is a first draft; it’s my first attempt at putting down my thoughts into a picture.

There are a few tasks before I’d consider it a first release:

  • The alignment of the words to the circle isn’t spot-on. I’ll wait to see if the quadrants and sectors change first, before making it neater.
  • The definitions of the tiers and the actions need more thought
  • Validate the quadrants – I’m not comfortable with the name Business Capability; it’s a working title
  • Validate the sectors – Do these need to change, add sectors, merge sectors?

 

 

I’m happy to collaborate on it, so get in touch at @alanward and let’s talk.

The Content

Partnership Map 0_02
Partnership Map 0_02

 

Partnership Map Definition 0_02
Partnership Map Definition 0_02

Applying Different Categories of Knowledge

Introduction

Categories of Knowledge
Categories of Knowledge

We should be careful when we judge the effectiveness of others and reflecting on this can in turn help influence us in how we approach change activities. I’ll use this chart (shown in more detail further down) to describe the differences.

First Day Effectiveness

On numerous occasions, I’ve seen people judge others by their effectiveness on the first day at work.

In some cases that may be fairer than others, but let’s take the view of a clinician arriving on a hospital ward for the first time. That nurse may be one of the best nurses ever to have existed, complete with outstanding nursing skills and excellent nursing experience, but they may be judged overly harshly as being ineffective due to not knowing the location of certain items on that particular ward.

It always takes some time to understand how a new environment works, whether that’s where items are stored, who to ask or what policies an organisation has in place compared to other organisations where you’ve worked. If you’re a temporary or bank worker, then you have to face this every time you start somewhere new. Fortunately, the more you change environment, the more adept you become at picking up the nuances of each new environment. But that does not remove the fact that each time is still a new learning experience; it just reduces the time you take to adjust as you begin to spot patterns between different environments.

Take-away Points

There are two points that we should consider:

  1. We should separate out professional knowledge from knowledge about the local environment, including the organisation.
  2. A person can be judged on many different axes of professional knowledge. For instance, a nurse may be an awesome nurse, but would they be a good change professional or a great accountant?

Further Analysis

The chart below depicts the typical range of knowledge seen on change programmes. I’ve treated these as different categories of knowledge and I have chosen to blur the lines between knowledge and skill.

It is rare in most organisations to have sufficient critical mass of people who know the organisation, know how each team works and know how to progress change effectively. People usually fall on one side or the other or there are too few of those that have knowledge on both sides.

So we introduce a change professional, whether a business analyst, change analyst, change manager or other similar role. They are introduced to the local, operational team and the aim is to balance the team’s knowledge of what they do and the organisation with the consultant’s knowledge about how to effect change. Neither would be functional without the other in this scenario.

Categories of Knowledge
Categories of Knowledge

The more time that a consultant spends within a sector the less they’ll need sector advice. The more time that a consultant spends within an organisation, the more they’ll know how to act directly (and this can happen very quickly depending on the style of consultancy involved). However, it’s nearly always the case that the consultant will still need the team to provide local knowledge, no matter how long they spend together.

Further Thoughts on Reversing our Approach

The usual view on a change programme is of allowing the change analyst or consultant to gain the knowledge of how the organisation works from those currently working in the teams.

What advantages could we see if we reversed this concept and instead helped the teams to gain knowledge about change programmes from the consultant?

By this, I’m not thinking of being trained (whether through train-the-trainer concepts) or shadowing, but something more fundamental.

Imagine the benefits to an organisation if every hour of a consultant’s time spent learning about current processes, etc is also followed by an hour of the team learning how to make changes. It would slow down the pace of change initially, but would it decrease change fatigue, would it decrease resistance? Could it also increase success of change and the scale of change achievable?

Designing for Everyone

Crowd of lego people
Crowd of lego people

Whatever system, process, technology we’re implementing, shouldn’t we be designing for everyone? Or at least everyone in the target customer segment?

Background

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve read a number of articles that have consolidated and made me reflect on my thinking about designing for disabilities and what counts as normal.

Having spent a number of years working in the health and social care sector, I’m well-versed in the practicalities of working with people with disabilities. But I still hate the phrase “people with disabilities” and every other similar phrase I’ve ever seen. I don’t like the word inclusion, not that I don’t like the concept itself, but that I don’t like that the concept has to exist. Hence the title of this article as “Designing for Everyone”.

What’s an average person?

I read The Atlantic’s article on how we’ve ended up with a definition of a normal person. That’s at the crux of a lot of the disparity that we can see in the thinking of a lot of designers; they design for the average person or people similar to themselves. By using the term designer here, I’m not necessarily thinking of an artist or a creative, but rather the person responsible for delivering a changed process, a changed organisation or a changed way of working. They may have a creative background, but often are from their own professional background, e.g. in the front-line work or a change management professional. Fortunately, a more creative influence is coming into the change profession, for example we’re seeing newer methodologies such as Design Thinking, Service Design and Inclusive Design.

The problem with most of these approaches is that they develop solutions for the average person. There may be several average people in the target. These personas should have been based on the likely customers that the service wants to attract/serve. But considering how many conditions and disabilities there are in the world, there’s no way to account for all of them. Instead, we’re back to averaging again and possibly some Pareto analysis to account for 80:20 of the target population. That still leaves 20% who are not included in the thinking behind the design.

And that’s part of the theme of the article; that by defining a normal, we start to react towards the average as the ideal and the non-average as divergent.

How can we be completely inclusive?

Microsoft have released their Inclusive Design toolkit. The start of the toolkit is a touch simplistic, especially if you’re worked in health and social care, but it gets interesting part-way through. I’m also aware that the beginning portion could still be a incredibly valuable education source for those not used to having think from this perspective. So for that reason alone, I’m grateful to Microsoft for having released it to the world.

But more than that, there are a few nuggets of quality information in that method that I haven’t seen written down anywhere else. I’ve had to reign in proposals by pointing out difficulties of interacting in the proposed manner, so the 2 points below resonate with me.

The first is the potential to abstract away from individual conditions and dis(abilities) to perform tasks and instead focus on the interact between the person, the technology and the environment. That way, you can focus on resolving issues or improving the interaction between the person and other people in the context of the environment and the technology used.

The second is that disabilities do not need to be permanent. There’s a description of a spectrum from permanent through temporary through to situational. And there are more people in situational or temporary with difficulties than with permanent disabilities.

I’ve cropped the slide here and clicking on the image will take you to Microsoft Design Practice.

Disability Spectrum showing difference between permanent, temporary and situational disabilities
Disability Spectrum

How do we include views of everyone?

This is an old source for me, but one that I still point people to when they’re thinking of how to approach their change programme. Beware though, it only becomes inclusive if you included a wide range of people in the interviews and in the service design. It’s a concept of Experienced-Based Design that I’ve seen from the health sector. It’s the best example of a co-production/co-design methodology that I’ve seen.

There are two sources for this: The King’s Fund and the archived NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.

Conclusion for Designing for Everyone

Implementing changes for people with disabilities is difficult to achieve since you’re already on the back foot with that perspective. We can see this by the difficulties involved in making websites accessible when that’s been added as an afterthought. Instead, by bringing the focus on a more inclusive design up-front in the process, we have the opportunity to design changes that suit many more people.

Above, I’ve listed a few articles and methods that could help influence others around you. The main item to take away concerns perspective; anyone involved in change has to be able to shift perspective to include that of all customers in the target segment.

Stakeholder Analysis

This is just a brief introduction to a classic method for performing stakeholder analysis. It’s a simple concept and I’m including it since it’s another good example of a 4-box model.

To misquote Helmuth von Moltke the Elder:

No project survives contact with the customer

Background

Every change activity has to deal with people. Whatever you’re planning, you’ll affect some people more than others and some of those people you affect will have a greater opportunity to influence your progress.

Continue reading “Stakeholder Analysis”

An Example of Bad Facilitation

Facilitation

4 ducks in a field watched by a lamb
4 ducks in a field watched by a lamb
4 ducks watched by a lamb. Facilitation in nature.

Regardless of the project, sometimes we all need an external guide to help us along. Facilitation brings structure to events, ensuring that attendees stay on-track.

The facilitator needs to be sensitive to the needs of the attendees and the needs of convener. The two sets of aims may well not be the same. Good facilitators will bring about results regardless of the differences.

Facilitation sessions are split into 4 phases:

  1. Initial engagement, identification of purpose, high-level scope definition
  2. Planning, arranging, engagement with attendees and procurement
  3. Facilitated sessions
  4. Output report and review

Previous clients have found facilitation useful for setting strategy, uncovering the real underlying problems and deciding on solutions to difficult problems

If requested, any follow-on work beyond the output report is contracted separately.

If you think you could benefit from a facilitator, contact us for an overview and further details.