Re-Organising the Organisation
Introduction to a series of 7 essays “Re-Organising the Organisation”
Over the last few years, I have had the privilege of working with many talented people from a wide range of organisations, both agency and client side. I have learnt more about shaping the future of organisations in the last 7 years than at any other time in my career.
And the impetus for change has been enormous, driven by rapidly evolving and democratised technology that is no longer just blue sky (think how artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality are part of our daily lives with deeply practical everyday applications). The power of mobile has further driven that democratisation, putting these technologies into the hands of billions across the planet.
It is not only the democratisation of that technology, but its accessibility that is also driving such rapid change. Cloud computing, low-code, application layers and costs that have spiralled downwards, have fuelled start-up innovation, meaning larger organisations have had to begin to change too.
And then there is necessity. It is, as they say, the mother of invention and nothing has driven necessity in the last 50 years more than the global pandemic. Science and technology have played their part (vaccines and Zoom), but working practises have had to rapidly evolve too. In 2020 I had never worked from home, in 2021 I did nothing else. I had never physically met any of my 2021 colleagues and yet over 200 of us worked and collaborated to deliver the technology powering the UK’s COVID Vaccination Programme.
We have worked remotely in the most volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous World imaginable. And we adapted, we made it work, through skill, passion, enthusiasm, commitment and adoption of all the tools at our disposal and, to quote a senior figure in the Programme, moved the NHS digitally forward more in the last 9 months than the last 10 years. I don’t say this to be arrogant or conceited, but to demonstrate how human ingenuity and spirit can prevail, and how fast we can change our World — when we have to.
So, all this led me to start thinking; what have I learned? From working in a FTSE 100 Corporate to Public Sector Healthcare, working with consultants, contractors and permanent colleagues of those organisations, it became clear to me that they are all trying to do the same thing — solve problems. And the way they solve those problems can be done in a much, much better way.
And it doesn’t matter what the organisation is or what it does, the principles are the same, because we, as human beings, are also fundamentally the same. I guess the buzz words for this are “human centred design”, but my experiences take me beyond that, into the practicality of how these new ways of working can actually work. And these principles can apply to all organisations, regardless of their current structure, culture or ways of working. Depending on the organisation, it may need to start small and grow, but starting that journey is what is the most important thing.
What follows is a collection of essays speaking to that practical application, from first hand experience — what works and, probably more importantly, what doesn’t. This is not a text book on each of the subjects I discuss, there are people far more qualified to write that than I, but a series of practical principles for how I believe organisations can go about the task of problem solving in a way that is most efficacious for the organisation, it’s people and those it serves.
These principles answer some fundamental questions that help us to:
- Understand the customer (& colleague) journey and map them from “as it is now” to“what we want it to be”, the ideal customer journey
- Understand the barriers/ pain points in those journeys
- Identify the Problems to be solved and create the hypotheses of how to solve them
- Define the Customer Value Proposition — what are we going to do for you (and what aren’t we going to do)
- Define the Colleague Value Proposition — what role do they play in our ideal customer experience
- Create the organisational structure to build and deliver those propositions
A few words on structure. I have written these in an order that makes logical sense — to me, at least. There is a natural journey from “what are we trying to do” thru “how are we going to do this”, but whilst I think the sequential reading tells the story in a way that makes sense — and I would tell it, they can certainly be read independently.
Experience Before Brand: Is all about posing — and answering — the fundamental question of “what are we trying to do here?”. BEFORE we do anything else.
Agile for All: Builds on the problem solving approach by talking to some of the methods and principles we can employ to help us do this is a systematic, collaborative and efficient way
Holistic Organisation Design: Recognises the fundamental importance of the role of the organisation structure and it’s culture, process and practises in delivering on the promise of the solutions to the problems we have identified
Leadership: Is about the crucial subject of how we harness the power of our organisation, particularly our people, in ways that are clear, engaging and, therefore, likely to succeed.
Innovation and The Problem with Innovation: Builds on my experiences of the practical application of these subjects. And what goes wrong
The Start-Up API: How technology is changing and the impact of low and no code on organisations — COMING SOON
Health & Well-Being: Being well, safe and happy in our working environments — COMING SOON