Weeknotes and yet more on multidisciplinary working


I was asked this week what the difference is between our design principles and last week’s post on multidisciplinary working – its a fair shout. Much of what I wrote about trust and respect is very much an echo of what we wrote in our design principles but I still hold out that there is something more. For me multidisciplinary working, or the decision to commit to working in a multidisciplinary way is more than just a combination or alignment of methods and approaches – its not just a decision to collaborate – its a decision to create a shared endeavour of a blended practice that is built on diversity because you believe the outcome will be better because of that diversity of experience and mindset.

My belief is founded in a few things:

  • My dislike of the anti-pattern of dogma and the way in which people hunker down in their own practice areas and throw rocks at other people – the people who try to compete and not collaborate
  • A deep belief in the fact that complex problems need collaborative solutions
  • A commitment to the idea that we should be striving for diversity in everything we do

But why is it so important that people commute to the shared endeavour rather than just asking that people work well together from their different spaces?

I believe in the decomposition of the industrial model. We must see organisations as complex systems and not as predictable machines. The independent units working alongside each other that are foundational to the industrial model are emotionally safe but not very human. It’s closer to a factory production line than it is to a complex and networked team that faces off into a complex and networked world.  As I said in my other post – this stuff is hard – and the difference in different capabilities underlying world view – industrial or networked- is one of the things that makes it difficult.

When we encounter someone ‘other’ etiquette is the thing that (mostly) keeps us killing us from killing each other. It’s no coincidence that the most densely populated societies are also the most formerly ritualised. We use protocol to make it easier for people who don’t know each other to operate but if we want that to go deeper then we need to have an intent to create something new and not just rub along together.

Our goal is to create a blended delivery function that connects the best of the old and new worlds. But it’s going to take some rituals to do it because at the moment we don’t understand each other and our multidisciplinary approach needs to give us the space to consciously evolve to a new model that brings our different capabilities together. Thi sis why I am calling multidisciplinary working out as ‘a thing’ and why I think we need to purse it as an end in its own right and not just the result of different skillsets working alongside each other.

In other news; I should warn people I am on one with respect to the definition of value and also governance and its application to Big Programmes which are not Big Programmes – watch this space as I will be writing more on this soon.

Finally, I keep vacillating between calling these weeknotes and field notes. I think they may be field notes in my head – an artefact of my action research practice – but as they are more understandable to people as weeknotes and there is an interesting community around week notes perhaps I will stick with that.

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