Category Archives: thinking

GovCamp Cymru 2017: the stories, the pictures, the ideas

So much **SO MUCH** great stuff happened at #gccy17! Here are some of the materials that came out of the event…

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SESSION TOPICS AND NOTES
This is the session grid, i.e. the agenda that was collectively created on the day and populated by GovCampers with the topics that they wanted to talk about. Check out the grid for all the topics, and follow the link from each session for the notes that were collated as an outcome of the conversation. 

VISUAL NOTES OF THE WHOLE DAY
Helen Frost of Frost Creative drew the notes of the sessions in this one magnificent piece. Follow this link to access the file in various formats if you want to use or share it – credit to Frost Creative.

PHOTOS

STORIFY

PINTEREST

BLOG POSTS

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Have more materials to add? Email the team@satorilab.org and we’ll add it in!

Thoughts about a Universal Basic Income for Wales

This is one of a series of guest blog posts on topics relevant to public services in Wales, written by Neil Tamplin.

What is a Universal Basic Income?

A basic income is a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means-test or work requirement.

That is, basic income has the following five characteristics:

  1. Periodic: it is paid at regular intervals (for example every month), not as a one-off grant.
  2. Cash payment: it is paid in an appropriate medium of exchange, allowing those who receive it to decide what they spend it on. It is not, therefore, paid either in kind (such as food or services) or in vouchers dedicated to a specific use.
  3. Individual: it is paid on an individual basis—and not, for instance, to households.
  4. Universal: it is paid to all, without means test.
  5. Unconditional: it is paid without a requirement to work or to demonstrate willingness-to-work.

(above definition from http://basicincome.org/basic-income/)

Why might we need a Universal Basic Income?

Opinion is currently divided as to whether the combination of automation (robots) and Artificial Intelligence will swallow jobs wholesale or if they will augment humans and free us all from drudgery to pursue more fulfilling endeavours.

What most people can agree on is that technology is rapidly transforming the world around us. Each wave of technological advancement brings with it a new set of opportunities and challenges.

The difference with this new industrial revolution is the speed at which these changes are taking place. Vast cross sections of society are already feeling the affects of a smaller, more connected world. And we have yet to grasp the widespread implications of emerging technology like autonomous vehicles, augmented/virtual reality and 3D printing.

As business becomes supercharged by digital innovation, how much time will people have to get ready for the next wave of jobs that don’t exist yet? How easily can people retrain and reskill? How secure is new found employment? Does work pay enough to meet a basic living standard? Are people being used as temporary placeholders for robots?

Universal Basic Income is essentially a safety net that shelters people from the unexpected twists and turns of the future. The loss of employment. The gap between ‘gigs’. The need to retrain for a new career path. The need to care for a parent, partner or child.

We are all working longer and it is more likely than ever we will change jobs (or even careers) multiple times during our lives. New digital business models mean that more people are venturing into the world of self employment than ever before. Wouldn’t it be better if we all had a way to smoothly transition through these different chapters without courting huge amounts of risk and debt?

How would we pay for Universal Basic Income?

How could we afford to pay every citizen, no questions asked? It’s not as crazy as it sounds. After all, we tax everyone for existing.

Here are some suggestions for ways to fund a Universal Basic Income.

  • Money reclaimed from vastly simplifying the means tested welfare system.
  • Land Value Tax: A tax on the use of public resources (land, air, sea etc.).
  • Carbon Tax: A tax on carbon emissions.
  • Automation/Robot Tax: A tax for companies that heavily utilise automation instead of manual labour.
  • Data Tax: A dividend from the likes of Google and Facebook for citizen data.
  • Mining Space Asteroids!: No, seriously. People are working on this. There’s an abundance of resources floating around waiting to be used.

How do we know if any of this works?

Honestly, we don’t! Not yet anyway.

There are a lot of moving parts to account for and we could probably debate the pros and cons all day long without making much headway. What we really need to advance the conversation is hard data.

A number of countries interested in the idea (Finland, Canada and Scotland to name but three) are running small scale pilots to gather that data and answer some interesting questions like…

  • How much basic income would each person need to live a basic lifestyle?
  • Does basic income mean that people work less?
  • Does basic income help people become more entrepreneurial by reducing risk?
  • Is basic income more effective at helping people find work than traditional welfare models?
  • Does basic income give people an escape route from grinding poverty?
  • Should children be paid basic income?

So… in the face of huge amounts of change, should we in Wales be thinking about what Universal Basic Income could do for us? What would it take to run a Welsh Basic Income pilot to start answering some of these very same questions on our own doorstep?

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Neil Tamplin works with technology in the social housing sector. He is interested in ways we can apply the tools, cultures and practices of the digital age for social good. He is on Twitter as @NeilTamplin and contributes to @BasicIncWales.


GovCamp Cymru 2017 is happening on 14th October.  Join the conversation online on the GovCamp Cymru Slack. (New to Slack?) Join the mailing list for ticket releases, the first batch will be available on Monday 26th June, 10:00am. Find us on twitter and Facebook!

Do you fancy contributing a guest blog post on a topic relevant to public services in Wales? Get in touch with noreen@satorilab.org.

How to make learning from failure a reality

This is one of a series of guest blog posts on topics relevant to public services in Wales, written by Ffion Jones.

The internet is liberally peppered with quotes and stories from the world’s highest achievers, from Richard Branson to Mark Zuckerberg, about how learning from failure has been a central part of their road to success. Virgin Cars, Virgin Cola and Virgin Brides (!) all failed but taught Virgin a valuable lesson – to ensure there was a real gap in the market and fill it with something of genuine use before launching a product.

But the real question for me is how do we translate these examples from billion dollar companies into our day to day lives? When we run learning activities we make sure everyone understands that failure is good, we’re expressly here to learn and failing i.e. risk taking is the key to making progress. The question leaders and team members alike struggle with is how to find the confidence to take those real world risks.

Matthew Syed gives a series of well researched case studies in his book Black Box Thinking of how rigorously acknowledging and implementing the practical lessons learned from systems failures has worked.  One that I found most striking was the story of Dr Gary S Kaplan taking the famous Toyota Production System into the Virginia Mason Health System in Seattle. He says, “The system was about cars, which are very different from people… But the underlying principle is transferable. If a culture is open and honest about mistakes, the entire system can learn from them.” Kaplan introduced a system which encouraged staff to report errors that could harm patients, from which practical changes could be made to lessen risks.

However, the critical piece of information is that it wasn’t adopted widely until it became clear that reported mistakes were praised, not punished.

Amy Edmondson of Harvard Business School describes her book, Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy, as a real world guide for business and HR leaders on collaboration. Learning from failure and building a culture of psychological safety are pillars of her approach. In this article and video she says, “Executives I’ve interviewed in organizations as different as hospitals and investment banks admit to being torn: How can they respond constructively to failures without giving rise to an anything-goes attitude?  This concern is based on a false dichotomy. In actuality, a culture that makes it safe to admit and report on failure can—and in some organizational contexts must—coexist with high standards for performance.” Readjusting our perception of failure is a good first step, using the Spectrum on the left to understand why a failure occurred and decide what type of change is needed.

Three key lessons to make learning from failure effective today are:

  1. Build a culture of psychological safety in your team. This means talking openly about failure and being willing to admit both inside and outside your team when something has gone wrong.
  2. Find a way to implement small, every day changes to processes from your learnings from failure. This can be as simple as creating a ‘failure space’ in your team meetings for new learnings and updates on resulting changes. People quickly develop an appetite for small, incremental improvements within their sphere of control.
  3. Use the Spectrum of Reasons for Failure to challenge your own perceptions and those of people around you of why failures occur to help move away from the blame game.

Failure is worth working hard for.

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Ffion Jones is Learning & Development Manager (UK) for Opus International Consultants. A great lover of all things learning, with a strong belief that the deepest learning and best ideas come direct from teams working together. If we give people the power and the space to learn from each other, great results happen. Ffion’s goal is to create environments in which people and teams thrive through learning and idea generation. LinkedInTwitter.

GovCamp Cymru 2017 is happening on 14th October.  Join the conversation online on the GovCamp Cymru Slack. (New to Slack?) Join the mailing list for ticket releases, the first batch will be available on Monday 26th June, 10:00am. Find us on twitter and Facebook!

Do you fancy contributing a guest blog post on a topic relevant to public services in Wales? Get in touch with noreen@satorilab.org.

Co-production and what it means for organisational culture

This is one of a series of guest blog posts on topics relevant to public services in Wales, written by Noreen Blanluet. Reposted from an original on Medium.

Co-production in public services: a complex journey of change

“Co-production is an asset-based approach to public services which enables citizens and professionals to share power and work together in equal and reciprocal relationships.” (Co-production Network for Wales)

Co-production is a journey, not a binary measure. It is the organisational equivalent of a personal path to self-actualisation, in which it isn’t possible to finally arrive, stop growing, and tick the “done” box. Instead it is a constantly evolving process of striving with curiosity, collective learning, and incremental improvement.

Effective co-production relies on five core practices:

1. Recognising that everyone without exception has something to offer, and beginning with the strengths that are present in our workforces and communities;

2. Building networks of peers and networks of networks, that can share knowledge, expertise and experience and bring together a diverse range of contributions;

3. Focusing on what matters to the people using public services, and shifting the focus from the systems to the humans involved in them;

4. Establishing strong relationships based on trust, respect and equality;

5. Organisations taking on a facilitation role in which they enable communities to draw on their resources first, and then offer relevant and suitable expertise to fill gaps in provision.

Certainly at the beginning of the co-production journey, public service organisations hold a duty to open the conversation and break away from the conventional model of remote decision-making and service development. However this must be done with an ever-renewed awareness of the locus of power: while you can invite people into a conversation, imposing an agenda and a process is simply not co-production.

This is why community development practices have an essential role to play to re-energise and re-enable citizens suffering from cynicism and resignation at not having been heard for too long. It’s a delicate balance: organisations must create a space and keep it open, but in return citizens must step towards this open door and contribute their voices. Where opportunities, responsibility and power are being tentatively offered, communities need to be able to meet organisations and match them as partners in this evolutionary conversation. Community development can and should enable this in parallel with organisational transformation.

More and more public services are recognising the need to adopt co-productive practices in order to create long-term effectiveness, cost savings, and improve delivery in a complex and ever-changing social and economic landscape. Legislative or policy compliance can provide the initial nudge by imposing a statutory duty for them to “do co-production”. However they are being required to navigate, without a map, the tension between investing time and resources to create sustainable future services, while delivering essential provision right now under increasing pressures.

Many might be hoping for a new, simple, one-size-fits-all, fast and effective system that will solve that tension. Unfortunately co-production isn’t simple: while its principles are straightforward, their practical application requires flexibility, innovative thinking, and adaptability to constantly evolving contexts. It cannot offer a one-size-fits-all solution. People, situations, teams and communities are endlessly variable. The beauty of co-production is that identifying and building on our specific set of assets and resources will return the best possible result for us, which will look different from everyone else’s. But this means that the same core principles will result in context-specific outcomes created with care and awareness, not rolled out blindly regardless of local needs. Nor is co-production fast. Building the solid, trusting relationships that underpin it requires time, commitment, and showing up with openness and consistency. It’s an inner journey as much as an organisational one for all involved.

That is why successfully working to co-production principles requires a radical mindset shift, which translates into a significant culture change for the whole organisation: becoming a learning organisation means getting comfortable with the uncertainty that characterises complex systems, approaching situations with the cultural humility to listen with openness and draw on a range of expertise, and taking calculated risks to test and iterate potential solutions, before scaling those that work in a context-specific way. This requires an authentic leadership that recognises the importance of building genuine relationships of trust, and that enables both the workforce and the recipients of services to be engaged and empowered.

Without this understanding, attempting to roll out co-production as a process-based approach will at best have limited success, and at worst may fail spectacularly. Process-based “co-production” cannot truly deliver effective and sustainable change, because it is missing the point.

For services already under huge pressure, it might seem like too big an ask. It is undeniably a big commitment that will take time; however it is still a better solution than continuing to struggle in vain with increasingly failing systems. By applying a co-productive approach internally to begin with, we can realise that we already have a lot of what we need in the assets and the resources of our teams and workforce, as well as our service users and their communities. It requires breaking with routine to take a bold step and ask: “What matters to you?”, and then truly listening.

While policy and legislation are setting a direction of travel as well as a statutory obligation, too many organisations are still uncertain how to tackle the transition. For co-production to really become the basis of public services, investment is necessary not only in training and toolkits, networks and resources, but also to transform leadership mindset and organisational culture. Explicit support is required to accelerate the pace of change, and to help our public services grow into the co-productive organisations that we need them to be.

Noreen is a strategic co-production consultant who has been observing the recent evolution of public services and is convinced that more positive change is in the works. Linkedin. Twitter.


GovCamp Cymru 2017 is happening on 14th October.  Join the conversation online on the GovCamp Cymru Slack. (New to Slack?) Join the mailing list for ticket releases, the first batch will be available on Monday 26th June, 10:00am. Find us on twitter and Facebook!

Do you fancy contributing a guest blog post on a topic relevant to public services in Wales? Get in touch with noreen@satorilab.org.

Why should I be thinking about Data Maturity?

This is one of a series of guest blog posts on topics relevant to public services in Wales, written by Dyfrig Williams.

Over the past few months, I’ve been working on the Cutting Edge Audit project for the Wales Audit Office, which looks at how we can challenge our existing use of data and technology and assumptions that we normally take for granted. We’ve been thinking radically about how we might use new technology to transform the way that we work.

I’ve been working on how the Wales Audit Office acquires data to give us deeper knowledge and fresh insight. That’s involved looking at how we produce and make use of Open Data, how we make data accessible and data warehousing.

Why is Data Maturity important?

In the course of my work I’ve come across some organisations who are making fantastic use of the data that’s available to them, such as the Queensland Audit Office. But we’re very much at the start of our journey, so how do we begin?

Data Maturity is the journey towards improvement and increased capability in using data, and the concept gave us a tangible vision for our work. We began looking for frameworks that could be helpful (and there’s more out there than you can shake a stick at), and we found Data Orchard’s Framework to be particularly simple and user friendly. It’s especially useful as it’s looking at what this looks like for not-for-profit organisations. I particularly like this breakdown of it from a great post by Ben Proctor, as it’s so easy to understand:

  1.     Ad-hoc gathering of data in some areas
  2.     Pulling data together centrally
  3.     Starting to use data looking backwards
  4.     Using data in real time to manage the organisation and move resources rapidly
  5.     Modelling the future before making decisions to enable better decisions to be taken
  6.     Modelling the future the organisation wants and working backwards to understand what needs to happen now to deliver that future

This framework has really informed my thinking. It’s helped me think about how we get to point 6, where we’re modelling the future that the organisation is working towards, and ensure that the things that I’m working on set us out on the right path beyond the lifespan of the Cutting Edge project.

Learning and sharing

Throughout this project, we’ve been talking to other organisations to learn from what they’re doing, and we’ve been able to learn from good practice and from what they’d do differently if they had their time again. It’s been great learning about how the Office of the Auditor General for New Zealand have reduced the complexity of their systems by making them open by default. Our project has also been working iteratively to produce small tests and prototypes so that we can build on our successes, but also learn from our failures.

This is where unconferences like GovCamp Cymru are really useful. It’s a unique opportunity to meet people who are passionate about improving public services, who share what’s worked well and what they might do differently if they had their time again. If you’re making the most of the data that’s at your organisation’s metaphorical fingertips, please do give me a nudge at GovCamp Cymru – I’d love to have a chat with you so that I can learn from what you’re doing.

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Dyfrig Williams is a Good Practice Exchange Officer for the Wales Audit Office, where he encourages public service improvement through knowledge exchange. He is on Twitter as @DyfrigWilliams and blogs about public service improvement at http://medium.com/@DyfrigWilliams.

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GovCamp Cymru 2017 is happening on 14th October.  Join the conversation online on the GovCamp Cymru Slack. (New to Slack?) Join the mailing list for ticket releases, the first batch will be available on Monday 26th June, 10:00am. Find us on twitter and Facebook!

Do you fancy contributing a guest blog post on a topic relevant to public services in Wales? Get in touch with noreen@satorilab.org.

Wales as an innovation nation

Last year our platinum sponsor PA Consulting investigated the landscape and opportunities around innovation in Wales. They began with insights from delegates at GovCamp Cymru 2016, and continued by talking to individuals and organisations who want to see Wales on the global innovation stage.

In their report published in January 2017, these were their conclusions:
– Wales is punching below its weight;
– Wales needs to focus its attentions in key areas of competitive edge;
– Wales needs to see Brexit as a game-changing opportunity to impact the self-effacing nature of delivering success for and in Wales.

Click the link below to view &/or download a summary of the PA Consulting report that began at GovCamp Cymru 2016.

PA Consulting report summary: GovCamp Cymru Innovation Report January 2017

Do you agree that Wales could do better at innovation? What should the focus be for the next few years?


GovCamp Cymru 2017 is happening on 14th October.  Join the conversation online on the GovCamp Cymru Slack. (New to Slack?) Join the mailing list for ticket releases, the first batch will be available on Monday 26th June, 10:00am. Find us on twitter and Facebook!

Do you fancy contributing a guest blog post on a topic relevant to public services in Wales? Get in touch with noreen@satorilab.org.

What does Wales’ public sector look like in 2022?

We’ve been having discussions with various people around what would constitute positive outcomes for the upcoming GovCamp Cymru 2017.

Beyond useful networking and fruitful conversations, which are always good (we know this from past feedback), some thoughts emerged around how the conversations taking place at the event could/should feed into the formal socio-political agenda.

In 5 years’ time, if the topics we are bringing up at GovCamp Cymru 2017 have made it onto the formal/traditional/official agenda, then we will have achieved!

What important aspects of civic life are missing from the formal policy conversations and need to be on decision-makers’ radars?

What will be part of the public services, democracy, and local and national government landscape in 2022 – in an ideal world where these topics will have been heard and brought in to the formal agendas?


GovCamp Cymru 2017 is happening on 14th October.  Join the conversation online on the GovCamp Cymru Slack. (New to Slack?) Join the mailing list for ticket releases, the first batch will be available on Monday 26th June, 10:00am. Find us on twitter and Facebook!

Do you fancy contributing a guest blog post on a topic relevant to public services in Wales? Get in touch with noreen@satorilab.org.