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Look at the Evidence – the Spike and Delay Pattern in Social Care

Posted Posted in Methodology, Problem Solving, Service Redesign, Transformation

A number of years ago, I was transforming a city’s social care directorate and, as part of that transformation, we aimed to reduce the time it took to do anything when interacting with the service. The transformation was based on a more fundamental need to free up workers to be able to do the work they were meant to do rather than having to fight the fires caused by delays and resulting failure demand. I instigated a methodical approach for identifying which cycles to focus on first. As the team progressed through the cycles, I noticed a pattern; it’s the spike of activity followed by a lengthy delay as discussed in a previous article. As we looked in particular at a few cycles of spike followed by a delay, I routinely advised the team to question the need for that common […]

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The Delay Following the Spike – Issues with Cycle Time in Service Industries

Posted Posted in Articles, Problem Solving, Service Redesign, Transformation

How long does it take you to do what your customers want? Not just the first part, but the whole of it? 1. The Pattern I see this pattern commonly replicated across service industries. It involves a very short spike of activity (e.g. 5-20 minutes) followed by a lengthy delay where something is sent to the customer and the organisation waits for the return. This is followed by a 2nd spike of activity which in turn is followed by another lengthy delay. Depending on the bureaucracy involved, this process may involve several rounds of spike and delay, each adding to the overall delay in service for the customer and, most likely, increasing failure demand on the organisation. 2. Some Samples Let’s have a look at a few industries and see how this pattern plays out: 2a. Retail Industry Take for […]

Business Motivation Model for GDPR

GDPR: The White Knight or The Elephant in The Room

Posted Posted in Articles, Problem Solving, Service Redesign, Strategy, Transformation

I’m going to use GDPR as an example of how prioritised goals can make a big difference in how an organisation responds to change. I’ve no wish to jump on the consultancy bandwagon that is GDPR; I’m definitely no expert on the subject. However, GDPR will serve as a good example in this content as it’s a topical subject that many organisations are addressing. A brief perspective on GDPR I have a simple view of GDPR in that it’s requiring organisations to be better citizens, i.e. to behave better with the data that they obtain and manage. While there are a those complaining about the effects of GDPR, I would first want to question the motives of the companies they work for. I would be looking to see whether the motives are customer-centric or profit-centric. For most customer-centric organisations, most of […]

Idea Post-its

Business Architect for Free*

Posted Posted in Articles, Innovation, Mentoring and Training, Methodology, Problem Solving, Service Redesign, Startups, Strategy

I’ve got some time in between clients where I’d like to contribute back or pay-it-forward. I’d like to donate my time for free and raise a bit for charity while I’m doing it. What’s the offer? You get a Business Architect for free* *What does free mean? You don’t pay for my time. Instead, you pay expenses (we can agree up front and they could end up being zero) + you make a donation to a registered charity (I’ll leave the amount up to you). You’ll get me for up to a day, plus time beforehand over email/messenger to discuss how to use that time. Alternatively, if you just want a chat in person/over Skype, I’m happy to get involved. This is open until Fri 25th August 2017 to one more company or organisation initially. I have one already booked in, […]

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Lack of Design Thinking in Supermarket Car Parks

Posted Posted in Articles, Methodology, Problem Solving

I’m convinced that there’s no thought to place of people in the design of most supermarket car parks. Poor Design I’ve just been to a great example of poor design. When driving in, you turn off the main road to a roundabout. At this roundabout, you turn right, away from the store, to the main car park. You can turn left, towards the store, to the disabled and parent+child spaces. There is no path between the main car park and the store. So at the roundabout, we also have people walking from their car to the store and back from the store, laden with shopping, to their cars. All those people also have to walk through the disabled and parent+child car park. Even in that car, the only two differences are that the spaces are wider and closer to the […]

Rethink the Carrot and Stick

Posted Posted in Articles, Problem Solving, Service Redesign, Transformation

I remember one of my clients being confused when I mentioned the carrot and stick as we discussed motivation for change. Since then I’ve found it an interesting test to see how people think motivation works in their immediate team. There are two versions of the carrot and stick story. Both versions include a donkey. The first version is that the carrot is attached to string at the end of the stick. With the donkey-rider holding the carrot in front of the donkey. The carrot is the motivation but can never be reached. The donkey never wakes up to the fact that it can’t get the reward. The second version is that the carrot is offered as motivation to the donkey for moving forwards. The stick is used to tap (or beat) the donkey for not moving forwards. In this […]

The Wrong Quick Wins

Posted Posted in Articles, Problem Solving, Service Redesign, Strategy, Transformation

A few thoughts from me on quick wins and why we go for the wrong type. Hands up if you’ve ever had a project sponsor say they needed quick wins? Usually, it’s about showing that you’re doing something to the company board so your project isn’t cancelled or it’s about showing you can make savings. Both of those indicate an immature organisation that’s ready to cancel change activities before they’re due to return results. Some changes take time, some can be done more quickly. The same change activity isn’t necessarily the right type of activity to achieve short and long-term changes. So if you’re on a long-term change project and you’re asked for quick wins, start to head off the question with looking at the original plan for when you’re due to complete your first phase. A better idea is to […]

Rodents Don’t Scuba Dive – Innovation In The Real World

Posted Posted in Articles, Problem Solving, Service Redesign

I’ve always liked the concept about innovation being the introduction of something that’s already done in one industry sector into another sector where it’s not (yet) done. Incomplete Definition Unfortunately, it doesn’t stand-up as a complete definition of innovation. For instance, it falls short by not recognising innovation from within. By that, I’m not referring to new types of products (e.g. the internal combustion engine) since those would be better classed as inventions. Many new products are existing concepts with new features, so would be better described as improvements. But taking a product and using it for a different purpose, e.g. using an internal combustion engine to power a unicycle could be an innovation. What I like about the simple concept is that it immediately makes people think about what they

The Change Stand-off in Innovation

Posted Posted in Articles, Methodology, Problem Solving, Service Redesign, Transformation

For a long time now, I’ve had the view that we only have so much time to change an organisation before the organisation changes us. I’ve seen it happen with dynamic people that become subdued over time as they encounter obstacle after obstacle, resistance, red-tape and other forms of organisational resistance to change. Maintaining innovation, or rather the ability to innovate and to generate innovation in a client, is key with external consultants. Background In reading this article today on Why Outsiders are the Most Innovative People  adapted from work by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire, I was reminded why it’s important to introduce a fresh perspective. I’m independent in that I’m not tied to any company or organisation and I enjoy what that brings to both me and my corporate clients. Yes, I’m prepared to challenge what client staff have accepted as normal over […]

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Trouble-shooting and Solving Problems

Posted Posted in Problem Solving

To be able to fix the problem, you first need to know what the problem is. More specifically, you need to know which problem to fix first. Your staff may already be telling you what the problem is, you may already know what it is, but what if that’s not the most important problem and the underlying problem is something else entirely? That’s where using an external consultancy can prove valuable. We’re impartial, unencumbered by politics, with no axes to grind and passionate about uncovering the real underlying causes. Uncovering your real problems and the causes of what’s troubling your department is the first step in improvement. It’s a ring-fenced engagement with a clear gateway meaning we’ll agree what work is to be performed before we commence to following stages, if at all. This could be the start of a […]