On rules

This piece is not going to advocate for a form of anarchy but rather explore the insidious nature of how our attempts to control with rules can tend towards the opposite. A rule is an abstraction and usually an attempt to ensure conformity to a standard: driving on the left, working between 9 and 5, […]

On the tyranny of goals

After South Africa thrashed England in the recent test, captain Ben Stokes said something I can’t imagine any other team captain has ever said in any sport: “I don’t want England to focus too much on results”. Yes!! He went on: “The message […] will be, ‘Did we commit to everything the way we committed […]

On targets, again

Partway into year two of Covid, I set myself a target to run 100 miles a month. Not a bad idea, on the face of it, helping me to maintain my Lockdown-induced habits. Prior to this, a good month meant I was running 70 miles. From March 2020 I’ve been clearing 100. It’s a pretty […]

On understanding performance

How can the framework that I developed in order to help track and respond to the changes precipitated by crisis offer a new way to think about how we track individual goals and performance? I had practiced my archery as much as I could during the winter months. I was fitter than ever, I had […]

On hybrid working and human nature (part 1)

Some reflections are emerging from the work I have been doing with a range of organisations over recent months. There are differences between how the leadership of an organisation and their staff are experiencing the pandemic, and these differences extend to teams and individuals. This is to be expected, of course. A number of challenges […]

On dreamspace

Some things can’t be rushed. We know this. The maturation of a wine, the build of a three hour NFL game or a five day test match towards its denouement, the germination and development of ideas, the growth of a forest or the development of a child. But today’s world seems to have been gaining speed […]

On why less is often more

The challenges of working productively from home are especially acute during Covid19. What might we do to enable us to work more effectively? What is working from home doing for our own well-being and productivity? Let’s start with some of the challenges.  It’s tough to follow my mantra of curating your workspace to suit the […]

On creating the conditions for innovation

It’s a recurring theme, that of thinking about the journey to radical innovation in the public sector. It’s one thing to say that innovation occurs within your organisation yet the real challenge is in how to shift systems in more effective directions. System-changing innovations provide significant boosts to public value and, as David Albury recognises, […]

On productivity

Is the pandemic proving we can speed up by slowing down? It feels to me as though this period is full of paradoxes, and this is one of the more intersting ones – especially given my research in this area.  We are always being implored to do more, faster, with less.  What does this productivity […]

On being a public entrepreneur

The disruptive innovation spilling out of Silicon Valley and other hotbeds of tech start-ups can captivate our imagination. For those trying to make change happen in their own communities and organisations, for those seeking to stimulate economic growth in new and emerging fields, and for those trying to use tech to change the way things […]

On shadow work and bandwidth

The promise of going paperless is one I’ve been chasing one the last three years, digitising much of my world and opting out of being sent bills and correspondence in hard copy for environmental reasons as well as an attempt to simplify my life. I’ve scanned, recycled. Yet paperless is not synonymous with simple, uncluttered […]