Service design

To take the next step on digital, we dropped the word ‘digital’

James Plunkett – We are Citizens Advice

“Digital” is a powerful word, and that very power makes it vulnerable to mission creep. Slapping digital on the front of more or less anything makes it better – until we get to the point where that impedes understanding rather than adding to it. In some ways the digitalness of digital is the least interesting thing about it.

Citizens Advice is a place where smart thinking, leading to smart doing, has been going on for quite a while now. This post records the inflection point they have reached, recognising that the entanglement of digital and online risks getting in the way of what actually matters, which is delivering the services people need, in the way they are best able to receive them.


Joined-Up Thinking Requires Joined-Up Practice

Paula Downey

It’s not hard to recognise that the world and its problems and opportunities are a complex system and that linear thinking and mechanical metaphors are not good ways of understanding and responding to that complexity. It’s also not hard to ignore that recognition and carry on as if connections were simple and systems comprehensible (though as the previous post argued, storytelling is a powerful tool to help us through that).

This post powerfully argues that joined-up thinking can never be enough, unless it leads to and is informed by joined-up doing:

If we want to change whole systems we’ve got to think and work as whole systems. Nobody can think non-linearly. None of us is that clever. The only way to think in a systemic way is together. Joined-up-thinking requires joined-up-practice. This is the meta-shift of our time, one that requires a new mind set and skill set: learning to think like a system by working as a system.

That of course poses an enormous challenge to the people, structures and processes of public policy making. This is not how problems are framed, still less is it how they are normally addressed. Changing the system of system changing without having already done it is not going to be easy.