The PSC news-insights: entry


MILES better: A call for collaborators

Director Mike Meredith is looking for collaborators this year to develop a new approach that links transformational ideas with on-the-ground engagement.

I forget stuff. Sometimes really important stuff that I really should remember – like my wedding anniversary (only once and there were significant mitigating circumstances). It’s not something I am proud of. I remember the acute embarrassment as I was handed a card and delicately wrapped present on my second anniversary. The hospital setting – as we were caring for our daughter at the time – served to moderate the consequences.

A forgotten lesson

I forget other stuff too sometimes – like quite what it takes to deliver transformational change for our clients.

It’s not that I forget what it takes from a theoretical sense, but that I forget quite what it means to apply it in practice.

Theoretically, I remember clearly one of the first lessons at “Continuous Improvement school” years ago that any positive result (in terms of progress or improvement) will need both a high-quality answer and significant engagement. The saying goes that “a 100% solution that no-one understands is much worse than a 50% solution that everyone wants and gets.”

Theoretically, I know that we, as an external agency, can’t actually do anything to change a service (for a student, a police officer or a vulnerable adult) other than to move others to make a decision, and then do something themselves.

But in practice, the temptation is to think that if my logic becomes ever more robust, it will become unstoppable. All that happens is that the unstable force of logic meets the immovable object of will – which may manifest itself through passive (or indeed active) aggression, apathy or disengagement.

The battle lines are clearly drawn, the trenches are dug ever deeper, and things get worse.

In transformation projects, engagement is crucial but often neglected.

A nascent hypothesis

We need to be better and so I’m asking for your help. To do so, I’m exposing some thoughts on a nascent hypothesis which I would love for you to improve.

I’ve started thinking about transformation, about the marriage of quality and engagement, in a new way. I’ve taken my inspiration from DNA.

Just like the double helix, I’m entwining two twin threads together … in this analogy, those threads are (1) the quality of the answer, and (2) the level of engagement.

A call for collaborators

I will outline my early thoughts in a piece on our website next week. But I can’t do this alone. In light of COVID-19 and the unprecedented lifestyle and work changes we’ve all had to make as a result, I am sure that all of you will have changed and developed your ideas on what it takes for your organisation to adapt successfully.

I present these ideas to stimulate discussion, but I anticipate this growing and changing, and – most of all – improving through broad and diverse engagement.

I’d like to work with you through this calendar year of 2020 to grow this understanding and appreciation of this model of improvement thinking.

If you’re interested in joining me, challenging my thinking and generating better ideas, then drop me an email. I’d be delighted to hear from you.

I look forward to 12 months of development.


Mike Meredith is a Director at The PSC.

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