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Regaining Initiative, Steve Johnson Advice UK. NCVO Collaborative Learnig Network event, November 2010.

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Second in the NCVO Collaborative Learning Network events. Focused on Systems Thinking and how it can be used for successful collaboration.

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Regaining Initiative, Steve Johnson Advice UK. NCVO Collaborative Learnig Network event, November 2010.

  1. 1. Regaining Initiative improving services & identifying efficiencies using ‘systems thinking’ Steve Johnson Chief Executive, AdviceUK
  2. 2. Systems thinking applied to advice helping advice agencies do what they should always have been doing – by providing them with a method for: <ul><li>Focusing on user value </li></ul><ul><li>Reviewing systems and structures </li></ul><ul><li>Removing waste & improving service </li></ul><ul><li>Identifying unnecessary demand </li></ul>
  3. 3. Background 1 VCS advice Sector: <ul><li>7 million enquiries, 5 million people p.a. </li></ul><ul><li>Social Welfare Law </li></ul><ul><li>Approx 2,500 orgs, 7 networks </li></ul><ul><li>12,000 employees </li></ul><ul><li>20,000 volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Face2Face, telephone, other </li></ul><ul><li>Lay expertise </li></ul><ul><li>Established process </li></ul>
  4. 4. Background 2 25 years of losing initiative: <ul><li>Growing pp income </li></ul><ul><li>More employees & some staff ‘capture’ </li></ul><ul><li>Dilution of user focus </li></ul><ul><li>High & changing demand; running to stand still </li></ul><ul><li>No capital </li></ul><ul><li>Shift to funder specification </li></ul>
  5. 5. Background 2 25 years of losing initiative: <ul><li>Government knows best – interposition </li></ul><ul><li>Community Legal Service </li></ul><ul><li>Central research & planning </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Public service’ reform </li></ul><ul><li>Market forces = improvement </li></ul><ul><li>No contrary evidence, no moral ground </li></ul><ul><li>No methodology for change </li></ul>
  6. 6. Nevertheless: <ul><li>Many, many, excellent organisations helping millions </li></ul><ul><li>Systems fairly simple and very lean </li></ul><ul><li>Fairly immediate & efficient </li></ul><ul><li>Minimum handovers </li></ul><ul><li>Just not confident of it in face of government’s ‘reform’ agenda </li></ul>
  7. 7. Government knows best Community Legal Service 1 <ul><li>Legal Services Commissioning </li></ul><ul><li>Central research on need </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive ‘market’ model </li></ul><ul><li>Fixed / reduced fees </li></ul><ul><li>Fewer contractors </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Forced’ mergers </li></ul><ul><li>Bright idea ‘CLACs & CLANs’ </li></ul>
  8. 8. Government knows best Community Legal Service 2 <ul><li>Effects - law firms get out, advice agencies close, private sector comes in </li></ul><ul><li>Advice deserts, rising costs, plummeting morale </li></ul><ul><li>Winner takes all so merge, sub-contract, get-out or close – despite no evidence of ‘reformed’ system being any good for users </li></ul>
  9. 9. Fighting back with ‘systems thinking’ <ul><li>2005 Vanguard & Deming </li></ul><ul><li>The wider potential </li></ul><ul><li>2006 Baring Foundation - Independence of the Voluntary Sector </li></ul><ul><li>2007 RADICAL project – Oxford & Powys </li></ul><ul><li>2008 Findings & Project Report </li></ul><ul><li>2009 Advice Nottingham & Nottingham City Council </li></ul>
  10. 10. So what is ‘systems thinking’? <ul><li>Roots in Deming </li></ul><ul><li>Japanese industry - Toyota </li></ul><ul><li>Adapted for services by Seddon/Vanguard </li></ul><ul><li>Variation in services inevitable </li></ul><ul><li>Performance of service organisations down to capacity to absorb variation </li></ul><ul><li>Economies are in flow not scale </li></ul><ul><li>To check flow must look beyond own org. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Systems Thinking </li></ul><ul><li>‘ The performance of anyone is largely governed by the system that he works in.’ </li></ul><ul><li>If we set targets and make people’s jobs depend on meeting them, </li></ul><ul><li>‘… they will likely meet the targets – even if they have to destroy the enterprise to do it’ </li></ul><ul><li>Deming </li></ul>
  12. 12. ‘ Systems thinking’ – process <ul><li>‘ Check, Plan, Do’ </li></ul><ul><li>Get knowledge – user value & own system </li></ul><ul><li>Capability charts & flow charts </li></ul><ul><li>Deming – ‘profound knowledge’ </li></ul><ul><li>Identify non-value work (all waste) </li></ul><ul><li>Redesign to remove waste </li></ul><ul><li>Do and re-do </li></ul>
  13. 13. Process – wider benefits <ul><li>In many VCS services most waste is beyond own system </li></ul><ul><li>Turning the spotlight </li></ul><ul><li>To tackle own waste, communicate knowledge & engage sources of waste – whether in other service orgs., state or private sector </li></ul><ul><li>User focus = moral ground </li></ul><ul><li>Moral ground + knowledge = initiative </li></ul>
  14. 14. Taking the initiative in Nottingham <ul><li>2009 – all engaged & task group </li></ul><ul><li>Check enthusiasm! </li></ul><ul><li>Joy of working with method </li></ul><ul><li>Process mapping ‘wall’ </li></ul><ul><li>Profound knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Nottingham Interim Report </li></ul><ul><li>Confirmed findings 10% internal waste but 30 – 40% external waste </li></ul>
  15. 15. Taking the initiative in Nottingham <ul><li>Nottingham ‘Plan’ & ‘Do’ phases </li></ul><ul><li>Some relaxation of NCC KPIs </li></ul><ul><li>Re-designs </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits of first ‘internal’ re-design </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.adviceuk.org.uk/bold </li></ul><ul><li>LSC & DWP negotiations </li></ul><ul><li>Talking to government about waste </li></ul>
  16. 16. But...... <ul><li>Must surrender structures, systems and roles to user value </li></ul><ul><li>Very likely to involve collaborative working or other (maybe terminal) change </li></ul><ul><li>(Even more initiative!) </li></ul><ul><li>Up for challenge & risk? </li></ul><ul><li>Welch - ‘Control your own destiny – or someone else will’ </li></ul>
  17. 17. If you’re curious...... <ul><li>Deming: Wikipedia entry </li></ul><ul><li>www.deming.org </li></ul><ul><li>www.deming.org.uk </li></ul><ul><li>Seddon / Vanguard: </li></ul><ul><li>www.systemsthinking.org.uk </li></ul><ul><li>‘ I want you to cheat’ 1992 </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Freedom from Command & Control’ 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Systems Thinking in the Public Services’ 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>AdviceUK: www.adviceuk.org.uk /bold </li></ul><ul><li>‘ It’s the System stupid 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Nottingham Interim report 2009 </li></ul>

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