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2019 enquiries: Getting started


2019 enquiry frame

I wrote at the start of the year that I wanted to open up my personal enquiry for the year and see who else is interested in the things I am interested in.  I’ve spoken to a few people about this and have some takers so this post is intended to get the ball rolling and hopefully start to shape some more focused questions.  And I will need to do this – I am starting with a very long list……

One of the difficulties in doing this is the fact that I am curious about many different things.  Its a strength and a weakness.  But seeing the world as a system makes me believe that the things I am interested in are in some way connected.  Once you see the world as a system then everything is connected.  The trick then is to work out how things are connected.

Having identified some areas to look at I particularly want to explore the connections between the different contexts and networks in which I work – the find the liminal spaces where things collide and perhaps find the places where they don’t.  Is everything connected?  Or are some connections so tenuous as to be meaningless?

In all of those I am situating my thinking in the context of the emergent network society and in an exploration of the role of the networked individual in that emergent society.  This brings with it many assumptions and preconceptions which will need unpacking as I go along.

If I manage to ignore some of my side projects my curiosities centre around three main themes:

  • The relationship between technology and change.  This is the artist that would formerly be known as digital transformation but is now much more about the craft of change in a digital context.  I want to look at the effect of design thinking on the strategy/delivery process and at how you co-create strategy as part of iterative (agile) delivery approach.  I am asking how we create context for change as well as ensuring that change is done in a way which minimises the unexpected byproduct.  I will be looking at where (if anywhere) the 9 tribes fit in here as well as the digtial mindset model.   This is where the ‘full stack change’ model I am working on fits in as well and builds on the long piece I did last year on all change being system change (I think).
  • The effect of networked social movements and their relationship to change.  This one contains the changes we see in the way that people campaign and organise and its effect on our democracy but it also contains how networks like these operate across organisational boundaries;  organisations are made up of people not defined by their structures and those individuals are part of networks which work across organisational boundaries.  More specifically – what does it mean to see your supporters as a social movement?  How can an organisation redefine its relationship with the public as networked individuals – citizens and not customers?  How do you make sure staff have agency within the boundaries of an organisational construct and strategy?
  • The third theme is democratic innovation but in here its not just about our formal structures of democracy but also about how we can design democracy into our everyday decision making – to have a bit of democracy everywhere – to help us make better decisions in all parts of the system.  This idea of making better decisions operates organisationally as well as in the wider context.  In this theme I also want to explore the role of deliberation and sense making;  tools that force us to face up to ambiguity and human emotions and not just to make technocratic decisions based on ‘hard facts’.  In this theme I may not be able to resist also taking a look at what is going on with respect to new publics as this links so closely to the Public Square project.

I also have a personal enquiry into leadership.  I have not included this here as I see it as how I am personally improving my practice.  I will share my experiences as I am going on but its an area where I am trying to learn and make sense for myself – I am not sure what I will have to offer anyone else on this.

I am approaching this as I have approached the rest of my research;  firstly find the areas you are interested in and then read and ask questions until you find The Question.  at that point form a hypothesis and then see how you go about testing it in the real world.  Simple!

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