Excellent, as always, from The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). Given the many conversations I have been having recently – informally and formally – on many of the things discussed here, it is clear that there is a need and a want but very diverse opinions on how to engage meaningfully or embark on meaningful systemic change.
The challenge is to ensure that some consensus is gained and we all have common start points and language, otherwise necessary change will fragment and lose momentum.
By Ian BurbidgeWhy does the status quo prevail despite our best efforts at change?
We are faced with a huge amount of content. Incoming streams of news, data, demands are sprayed at us from all angles. Things move so fast we often don’t have time to even note what’s changed before the next thing.
These are tough circumstances to live and work in. Little wonder we have heightened cognitive and emotional overload. When we make choices under such limited bandwidth we are working with an effectively reduced IQ.
That’s why we are much more likely to go with the default, stick to known options and avoid risk.
To try and counter this anti-risk instinct, I shared some thoughts on how we can track, make sense and learn from everything we’ve done in response to Covid-19.
I offered the following framework – a simple way of thinking and talking about what our response could mean for the future.
The intent was to offer up a simple way of tracking what’s happening in a particular context and to help sift the signals from the noise. Of course, a simple matrix doesn’t capture all the details of complex situations.
But it seems to resonate with a range of people across councils, CCGs, government agencies, charities, schools and professional bodies.
My fear was that if we are not careful, we will just ‘spring back’ to the way things were. In many ways, this would be a double failure. Not only would this be a failure to seize the opportunity for change, but the way things were done will not necessarily be fit for purpose within a context fundamentally changed by Covid-19.
My hope in pulling together the framework was to avoid such a lose/lose proposition.
Starting conversations about what’s next
Many of the people and organisations that have already used the framework to host conversations are seeking the same exploration: to make sense of what’s going on and think about their journey to the future.
These conversations can occur at a variety of levels – from the individual to the community, the organisation to the system. Being clear about where we are looking and why will make it more likely that we are engaging the right people in our conversations.
Are we looking at a team’s response to Covid-19 or are we looking more systemically? If so, how are we defining the system?
Working with practitioners, we see they are using the framework at the heart of, and as a complement to, a more comprehensive process of continuous learning.
Critically, the core principle underpinning the use of the framework, noted in my first blog, is that it’s not a one-off exercise.
It’s a tool for continuous learning. So in that spirit, here’s how we’re developing the model and how you can use it.