How Can We Move From Demand Led Service In The ‘New Normal’?


In the early hours of Good Friday I found myself undergoing emergency surgery after a complication during an earlier test. Even in the midst of some pretty intense pain I was unwilling to go to hospital – a mixture of fear of contracting a certain virus and some overly optimistic thinking about my super human … Continue reading How Can We Move From Demand Led Service In The ‘New Normal’?

What Coronavirus Tells Us About Risk


As I sit down to write this post I’ve just received an email from a weekly design blog I subscribe to. This edition is titled , alarmingly, ‘Pandemic Prep’. It begins “We are interrupting our regularly scheduled newsletter format and rhythm to advise our clients and subscribers to prepare for the possible impacts of the … Continue reading What Coronavirus Tells Us About Risk

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

The Social Sector Must Rebuild Trust Through Equal Partnerships


This is a edited version of an article originally written for Inside Housing There is a growing realisation that many of our social institutions and public services have run their course. Communities need something different from what’s currently on offer. We could be at the tipping point, the moment when future relationships between citizens and … Continue reading The Social Sector Must Rebuild Trust Through Equal Partnerships

How Complexity Kills Trust


Customers trust those who give them control — who put them in control — of their lives. They distrust those who try to control them. – Gerry McGovern Why do you trust the companies, organisations, and institutions you deal with? Chances are it isn’t because they have a customer charter, seek to involve you in their decision making,  or … Continue reading How Complexity Kills Trust

The Case Against Digital Transformation


Something that’s being sold to you as more convenient may well be a lost social interaction that you’ll never get back – Ben Holliday, Convenience Isn’t Digital Last week a friend of ours told me a story about trying to get some support for his partner who was ill. He was stuck in an impasse between the … Continue reading The Case Against Digital Transformation

How Do We Know Our Organisations Are Really Succeeding?


Every day, organisations promise to make the world a better place. How do we know they are really succeeding? The National Health Service we are told is the world’s best healthcare system.  Yet the NHS has a poor record on one fairly important indicator – actually keeping people alive. We often hear that housing associations prevent homelessness , but … Continue reading How Do We Know Our Organisations Are Really Succeeding?

Is Your Organisation Making The Impossible Possible?


2016 was the year the social media bubble burst. The year we woke up to the fact that – despite what Twitter and Facebook tell us – a lot of people think exactly the opposite to what we do. It was us, not them, who were in a bubble. I spent New Year travelling – … Continue reading Is Your Organisation Making The Impossible Possible?

How To Fast Track Innovation


If you speak at conferences about innovation you’ll almost always encounter some frustrated people. They approach you at the end, or contact you a few days later. They often have one thing in common. They, and others like them , have ideas that are being shut down because they don’t fit the system. They tend not … Continue reading How To Fast Track Innovation

Designing Out Problems Through Networks


On Monday I attempted my swiftest ever return to work after a trip. My plane from Zanzibar via Kilimanjaro and Doha landed at 6am. I was home by 8:30am, online by 9 and in work by 11.30am. I felt like The Man Who Fell To Earth. I’d had 16 days without any problems. Now – they … Continue reading Designing Out Problems Through Networks

Can Working Out Loud Inspire Creativity and Inclusion?


Collaboration – for all the rhetoric – is much harder , and for many of us less preferable, than working in isolation. Today we’ve woken up to find the  UK has made a historic choice. A choice that could be interpreted as a desire to go it alone rather than working with others. To seize … Continue reading Can Working Out Loud Inspire Creativity and Inclusion?

It’s Time for Us to Unleash the Hidden Power in Communities


“It’s so tempting for those of us who provide services….support workers, housing providers, social workers, community workers, health visitors, GPs…to see ourselves as the ones with the gifts. The ones with the solutions. The superheroes ready to fly in and save people.  Maybe there is already a superhero living on their street”  – John Wade  … Continue reading It’s Time for Us to Unleash the Hidden Power in Communities

We need less talk about innovation and more about mediocrity


  “The only way to get mediocre is one step at a time. But you don’t have to settle. It’s a choice you get to make every day.” – Seth Godin In my last post I named innovation as the most overused word of 2014. It’s consistently misapplied to things that really aren’t innovative at … Continue reading We need less talk about innovation and more about mediocrity

Do We Need A Manifesto for Social Change?


A really odd thing happened to me recently. I agreed with something George Osborne was saying. OK. I was on holiday and had experienced a bit too much sun. Probably a bit too much alcohol as well. But something he said resonated with me. Osborne had stated Europe was falling behind the continents in the … Continue reading Do We Need A Manifesto for Social Change?