Is Anything Worth Maximising?

Good afternoon Systems Thinkers,

More homework

My goodness, you are lucky.  I’ve got more homework for you.

Don’t worry though, this isn’t for this week, it’s for next (18th).

Yesterday, I picked up a tweet from @kailashawati that linked to a video presentation by Joe Edelman called “Is Anything Worth Maximising?”.  I really enjoyed it.

The Heretic’s Guide to Best Practices

I’m aware of Kailash, from having read is co-authored book, The Heretic’s Guide to Best Practices.  Look here.  It’s a brilliant book and a favourite of mine.  It doesn’t talk much about “Systems Thinking” per se, but at the same time, it’s very much about systemic approaches to solving complex organisational problems.  I can strongly recommend it and believe we can all become better managers if we follow even a fraction of its advice.

Can we measure outcomes?

Anyway, back to the video, well, it’s just a talk really, but with some slides and graphics.  It’s about the way many organisations currently use metrics to drive their business that are not necessarily aligned with our, the customers’ real needs and desires, and gives some ideas about how this might be changed.

It really struck a chord for me and made me think about the work we’ve been doing in the group around “Purpose”.  The question is what is the “purpose” a customer, or patient in our case, is seeking from the system it’s accessing (YouTube, NHS, whatever…) and how do we know what “Outcomes” they are seeking from that service, and then how do we know we are fulfilling them.

For me, these are massive questions and go to the heart of what we’re trying to do with our group.  It also resonated with me after Jean Boulton’s talk last week, where she reminded us that organisations often over measure the wrong things and that often, the things that really matter simply can’t be measured.

I must admit I don’t know anything about Joe Edelman, but will find out more.  The talk is very good.

So, see what you think and what it brings up for you and our roles as health service commissioners.  I look forward to talking about it.  Here’s a link to the video:

or a transcript:

Please watch the video in advance of our session on the 18th August.  It’s about 45 mins long and covers quite a bit of ground, so do put some time aside to watch it.  Having said that, I listened to it while having breakfast with the children this morning, and seemed to manage both (although my family may disagree.  Sorry), but will need to watch/listen to it again for sure.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend,


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