Change, Transformation and Complex Problems: My Top 5 Posts of 2017

One of my 2017 resolutions was to blog more consistently.  The glory days in terms of the readership and reach of this site peaked in 2014 before a decline in 15/16.

The problem was lack of discipline. My blogging lesson learnt is you must set aside time to write and not be distracted by everything else that’s happening around you. You should treat a deadline for writing with as much respect as a deadline for delivery of a work project.

So I’m pretty pleased that this has been the most successful year in terms of views and interaction.

The most popular posts have been around change and transformation and it seems from comments that a lot of people are struggling with the same things.

  • Is digital transformation really delivering on its hype?
  • Why is change as slow as ever in an age of unprecedented technological promise?
  • Can small and agile change ever hope to challenge the dominance of big consulting?
  • Are we really solving the complex problems or even the right ones?

I published forty posts here this year. Here’s the top 5 in reverse order with the link to the original post:

5 – Know Your Customers, Just Never Ask Them What They Want.

Despite no evidence of any real impact, each year millions of pounds are spent across the social sector on market research, focus groups and user involvement. Well-intentioned paternalism or a cynical tick box exercise? The post got quite a bit of criticism on Twitter, so much so I had to write a follow-up post.

4 – The Rules Of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation: the response to being technologically left behind by the wider world – a great quote from Neil TamplinYouthquake may or may not be the word of the year – but I’m calling transformation out as the most overused and inappropriate.

For all the digital hype can we please remember one thing: strategy, not technology, drives transformation.

3 – Three Simple Ideas To Stop Change Failing

Maybe it’s time to rethink our love affair with change. This post considered devolving resources and influence to those closest to the problem and changing slowly through small-scale experimentation rather than ‘big no-change’ programmes.

2 – Why We Solve The Wrong Problems

A big theme for this year and every year:

  • What is the critical problem we are trying to solve?
  • Where do we spend most of our time: responding to specific problems or on resolving underlying causes and finding new ways to improve?
  • Do we ever really learn from problems or are we continually fixing the same problems over and over again?

1 – Digital Transformation Is Failing. Why?

By far and away the most popular post this year – reflecting a common concern.  If we are seeing a failure to realise the transformative potential of digital then why are we so hooked on it?  And what will we do differently next year?


Thanks to everyone who has inspired, read and shared my posts this year. I’m especially grateful to those who have continued the conversation and debate both online or face to face.

I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a peaceful and rewarding 2018.

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