How To Make Decisions In A World Of Uncertainty When Not Knowing Or Being Sure Of Anything Is The Only Answer We Have (TLDR: Get comfortable with failure..)


In a high stakes environment , where people will die whatever you do next, nobody wants to talk about failure. For companies large and small, to make progress in complex situations means re-evaluating our relationship with the F Word.

The Way We Work Isn’t Working


The office, after management, is arguably the biggest inefficiency tax that organisations layer over themselves. They cost huge amounts to procure and maintain, they become an all too convenient base for meetings (another inefficiency tax), and they set a precedent for the expected hours that people are meant to work. Offices promote lengthy commuting which … Continue reading The Way We Work Isn’t Working

People Aren’t Sick Of Change. They’re Just Sick Of Change Programmes


I don’t buy into the idea that humans intrinsically hate change. I just think that by the time we’re in our 30s or 40s, lots of our experience of change – particularly in the workplace – has been more negative than positive. Instinctively rejecting it is a learned response – Tom Cheesewright People , we … Continue reading People Aren’t Sick Of Change. They’re Just Sick Of Change Programmes

Enabling A New World Of Public Service Delivery


The UK now finds itself in its lowest-ever position in the Global Trust Index, just one place off the bottom, with only Russia below it – Ed Williams President and CEO, EMEA The results are in: Nobody trusts anyone anymore. The 2020 update of the Edelman Trust Barometer, which aims to survey trust and credibility … Continue reading Enabling A New World Of Public Service Delivery

How To Keep Focussed (And Remain Sane) In A World Of Complex Problems


In our heart, we know the solution does not lie in reforming silo by silo but in organizing our silos the way people organize their lives, so that the neighbourhood becomes our primary unit of analysis and change – Cormac Russell I’ve spent two days this week with both the Connected Places Catapult in London … Continue reading How To Keep Focussed (And Remain Sane) In A World Of Complex Problems

How To Kill Doomed Projects


The challenge for managers in the “can-do” culture of business is to distinguish between belief as a key driver of success—and belief as something that can blind managers to a project’s ultimate failure – Isabelle Royer  It’s always easier to start something new than it is to stop doing something. Many of our organisations are … Continue reading How To Kill Doomed Projects

If We Don’t Develop Different Relationships, We’ll Lose Our Legitimacy


If we do not respond to people and communities’ desire for power, we will lose our legitimacy and waste the potential of the many ways they can have agency over what matters to them. If we do not continually, bravely work to build trust, we will lose the essential foundation for everything we do. – Civil … Continue reading If We Don’t Develop Different Relationships, We’ll Lose Our Legitimacy

What Digital Transformation Is Not About


#WAODigital18 I’m hearing a lot about testing multiple small things and spreading what works – rather than investing in single Big Bang solutions. The world is moving too fast… — Chris Bolton (@whatsthepont) June 14, 2018 “How ambitious can organisations be in using digital technology?” was the theme of two recent events I contributed to … Continue reading What Digital Transformation Is Not About

Why Small Teams Win


In the early days of Amazon, Jeff Bezos came up with a rule: every team should be small enough that it could be fed with two pizzas. The ‘Two Pizza Rule’ signalled that Bezos didn’t want more talking, more line reports and more communication. He wanted a decentralised, even disorganised company where creativity and independence prevailed … Continue reading Why Small Teams Win

Failure: We Need To Move From Slow And Stupid To Fast And Intelligent


In the history of pointless technology, it takes a lot to beat the Twitter Peek. Aimed at those interested in Twitter, but who didn’t own a smartphone,  it asked customers to spend $100 plus a monthly subscription. With the benefit of hindsight, it was clearly designed to solve a problem that didn’t really exist.  If you were … Continue reading Failure: We Need To Move From Slow And Stupid To Fast And Intelligent

Avoiding The Yo-Yo Effect of ‘Corporate Change Convulsions’


Speeches you never hear at a corporate conference: “….. Our Transformation Programme is going to be small and imperfect. We are going to do many small things that probably won’t work straight away.’ – Chris Bolton In the early 1960s, a New York housewife named Jean Nidetch began a weekly meeting with friends at her home to … Continue reading Avoiding The Yo-Yo Effect of ‘Corporate Change Convulsions’

Why Transformation Fails – And How To Avoid It


The concept that 70% of change and transformation programmes fail emerged in the mid 1990’s. There’s actually little evidence that this is true. The 70% figure seems to have emerged because of a lack of clarity about what success looks like – and that most people have a bad experience of them. My contention is … Continue reading Why Transformation Fails – And How To Avoid It

Don’t Let Busyness Kill Your Creativity


Last week I was getting a drink when a colleague asked me “So, you busy as usual?” I took a second to avoid my kneejerk affirmative response and went for it: “No – we’ve decided to slow down. Give ourselves some time to really think about things”. They looked at me like I’d lost my … Continue reading Don’t Let Busyness Kill Your Creativity

Complex Problems Require Rapid Experiments


“Multiple iterations almost always beat a single-minded commitment to building your first idea” – Peter Skillman Most of you will have taken part in the Marshmallow Challenge or a variant of it. It’s the team exercise where you get a load of spaghetti, some tape, a marshmallow, a piece of string, and 18 minutes to … Continue reading Complex Problems Require Rapid Experiments

Three Simple Ideas To Stop Change Failing


“The essence of transformation isn’t incremental. Transformation means ‘radical change’. And few companies truly countenance that because it’s, well…too radical.” – Anne McCrossan Maybe we are being too ambitious. Perhaps the hype of business change is becoming all consuming, leading us to aim for things our leadership can’t possibly deliver. In my last couple of posts … Continue reading Three Simple Ideas To Stop Change Failing

Embracing Challenge to Build a Stronger Innovation Culture


  Just as your body is designed to fight a common cold, most of our cultures protect the organisational DNA from any antibodies. Add something new and it can get rejected. As Chris Bolton has written organisations can have immune systems and idea antibodies. As Chris says – It’s not personal. It’s just an automatic survival mechanism. … Continue reading Embracing Challenge to Build a Stronger Innovation Culture

Best Practice, Benchmarking and the Race to Mediocrity


We must be different. We must be lopsided. No more herdlike regression toward the mean – we must find the things at which we’re great, and build on those – Tim Kastelle A few years ago my organisation adopted a new way of working. We implemented it , with the help of consultants, as it had achieved glowing … Continue reading Best Practice, Benchmarking and the Race to Mediocrity

How To Get Better At Failing


“Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before.” Neil Gaiman Just before Christmas – in my final catch up of the year with my manager  – a pretty significant thing happened. I was told that Bromford Lab seriously needs to up its failure rate in 2015. Welcome to the parallel … Continue reading How To Get Better At Failing