When organisations think about change, it can be useful to consider the “desired end state”, or the longer term goal. This often involves a strategic planning activity. Essentially this is about considering where the business is now, the future vision or direction, and then considering what gaps there are, and putting a plan in place to overcome those gaps. Of course it sounds very easy, and it can be. Sometimes the questions asked can lead people to focus on the problem rather than the solutions.
We specialise in helping both commercial and Public Sector organisations and departments solve difficult problems – the types of problems that just do not go away but keep coming back again and again. Sometimes it’s useful to understand the complexity of the problem, to ensure that the solution is appropriate, in the same way that you wouldn’t treat a broken leg with a sticking plaster – the solution has to be appropriate to the situation.
One of the approaches that we use is around complexity in organisations developed by David Snowdon – Cynefin (prounounced Kin-evin).
Oftentimes within organisations there won’t be a “perfect solution”, and understanding the complexity of the problem may influence your problem solving approach. Cynefin gives a framework for thinking through the level of complexity and deciding how to proceed.
Simple: Where the cause and effect is easily understood, or the same solution can be offered “every-time”, organisations can write sets of procedures.
Complicated: Although the issues are similar, sometimes the effects can only be seen in hindsight, this is where experts with experience and analysis can be of value.
Complex: In complexity, ask a dozen people, get 12 different answers. Sometimes with the benefit of hindsight it’s “blooming obvious”, but not predictable ahead of time. In these situations it’s useful to kick off more than one initiative, and monitor progress.
Chaotic: Do something!
Understanding the complexity of the problem can influence how the solution is approached? Whereas in a complicated situation experts may be able to solve it, in a more complex situation the solution can only be seen in hindsight.
We hope the above has been useful to you. In addition to working with businesses on their strategic planning, we also provide advice and guidance on maximizing the benefits of existing and planned IT projects. We also get involved in strategic planning with medium sized businesses.