Over the last year, I have been fortunate to work on a government project from BEIS (Business, Energy and Industry Strategy), focusing on how smart meters can reduce energy in the non-domestic sector – business to the rest of us. On the face of it, this type of work can appear boring when you think of the glamour of a consumer goods film shoot. But it couldn’t be further from the truth. Working in a consortium brings a suite of people together with a common goal – serving a manifesto to break new ground, be original, with a genuine desire to make things better.
Along a similar vein I have been looking at how the power of many through computing, can bring about change in Mental Health. When you start to uncover the scale of the challenge, you might have wished you had never turned the stone over in the first place. There are many interesting publications and strategies about how organisations work to deliver participation, something that can galvanise people as a movement to set about solving such wicked problems.
Rethinking services today
This has forced me to evaluate my other projects in what they could be doing to build such participatory services – or communities by another name. It never ceases to amaze me just how many organisations do not understand customer needs and goals. But when this thinking is forced upon them, organisations can not make changes required. They are addicted to quick wins. This puts a giant spanner in the works of any long term programmes, likes ones that deliver useful participatory services over short term demand generation. It has become so obvious why it’s breaking.
For a few major brands I have discussed an outline of what they could do and why they should do it – this is not just some CSR initiative, but one of driving loyalty, wellness and importantly revenue. I have been put out of the door, multiple times. I know I have an overly transparent style and in the game of business it always doesn’t go down well. The truth will set you free, but first, it will piss you off. It was time to stand back and think about why organisations in all their so-called Digital Transformation efforts weren’t transforming, but merely digitising analogue processes resulting in no change to behaviour.
No amount of clever ideas or rationale can convince an organisation to make the type of change required. After speaking to several people the feedback consistent in that it was too complex. I was asked people to hold multiple concepts in their head and join things up. It was my mistake, that I assumed people would be able to assemble the mental jigsaw and get right to it. What they were lacking was a methodology or the process for how they were going to do this themselves. Many smart folks describe the why but the how is missing or described through case studies, which are near impossible to apply at your own organisation.
How hard can it be to write a methodology?
They say everyone has one in them
To organise my thinking and create a practical playbook I decided a book would be the best vehicle to get everything down. After researching how to actually write a book I set out with a content strategy, timing plan, target word count and daily task.
Multiple friends told me not to do it. They say it is too hard, a time sink and no money in it. So armed with the knowledge I was doing something completely ridiculous I spent the winter writing the methodology. It has been an exciting, enjoyable and frustrating journey in equal measures.
Are you a beta reader?
I am now in the final stages of editing, assembling the tools to hopefully bring about the change much needed. Before I get sucked into the vacuum of publishers and inevitable marketing I am asking do you want to know more? Read a part or all of the 27 tools that make up the methodology? Please get in touch.