Transformation is a load of old b*ll*cks, isn’t it?

People often ask me this – or they might put it a bit more politely: ‘what does transformation really mean?’ or ‘what is the method – what steps can we take to transform our service?’

The word is overused. There is no simple project that will get you there.

But you can help yourself to play on a wider stage: here’s how.

When looking at any service or team or department, ask these five questions:

1. What is the system (part of the system) we are investigating? What’s happening at the moment.

Diving in to really understanding what’s happening now is essential – what could be better, what might be the causes, how it works. But it’s a bit of a red herring.

What you are really trying to do is create an open conversation about what the system is reliably and predictably producing right now – its ‘POSIWID’.

And what you’re *really* trying to do is build a coalition of people who care who can see it from all sides – especially those who need, who use, who benefit from the service.

2. What’s the underlying purpose of the system? What *should* it be achieving in the world?

This is the power question – once you have people who care, who see things could be better – you ask what it really should be focused on. And that may be a bunch of separate things, it may be a radical change.

3. If we really wanted to achieve that purpose, what would we do? How would we deliver that? Support it? Organise it?

It’s critical to separate this from the question of purpose – now we’re asking how we could make that purpose real.

4. How do we get there?

This is where you compare the possibility to the current state – and realise you are talking about a direction of travel, a movement in the right direction – and try some steps.

5.What have we learned?

As soon as you start to try to change, you learn. And if you learn not just about the ‘delivery’, but about how you’re considering the problem and what you think is your identity, your role, your purpose – you are on the right track.

More soon on how this can take you up the ‘learning ladder of purpose’ – and see below for some useful links.

Which service would you like to ask these five questions of?

And what would be the results?

#transformation #innovation #creativity


– for a bit on POSIWID (‘the purpose of the system is what it does’) see

– for triple loop learning, see

or a funny little video of the same:

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