Archive for April 2, 2012

A day out with the NGDP Alumni

April 2, 2012

They do conferences too you know?!?

On Friday I tripped off to London to spend the day with alumni from the National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP) at the NGDP annual conference.

The title of the conference was all about serving our customers but to be honest the content was more about innovating, challenging assumptions and generally having the courage to tackle the status quo head on and deliver public services in a very different way.

We were also treated to some body language chat from guru Judi James, but more of that later.

As my colleagues did after govcamp I will detail my top takeaways below but before that I would like to make a personal comment. I’ve been finding work troubling lately. I’ve been finding it a little uninspiring and struggling to find the real energy that I used to feed off in my local government job. Therefore, I would like to thank Nick Jankel, the futuregov guys (who it was really nice to meet) and my fellow NGDPers for helping remind me of some of the amazing opportunities we still have even when things are really tough.

So, back to the conference:

Assumptions are the basis of all (most) wrong decisions

Nick Jankel’s presentation was a lot more complex than I’m about to make it seem but my big takeaway was that the best way to make better decisions is to challenge our pre-conceptions and our assumptions. Too often, we suffer from the constraints of what has always been done before and at other times our assumptions about what we are doing prevents us from coming up with any better ideas.

As Nick said (roughly):

Most failures based on assumptions that no longer fit the reality… & yet every decision/model/thought is based on assumptions.

Similarly, the futuregov guys talked about starting with blank sheets of paper to develop better ideas. Starting from scratch forces us to throw aside our assumptions and start thinking about the services people really want and the method of delivery that they also really want.