Now consider another really messy challenge: bridging the manufacturing “skills gap.” With the Advancing Manufacturing initiative in Lafayette, Indiana, manufacturers have joined with the community college and local government to strengthen the collaborations needed for more-productive job training. The initiative is now spreading across Indiana.
Craig Lamb, former executive director of the Corporate College at Ivy Tech, Indiana’s community college system, organized a core team to take on the challenge of filling the manufacturing skills gap. Advancing Manufacturing aligns several organizations (the community college, the workforce board, the city, the chamber, employers, and others) into a functioning unit under a single brand.
According to Lamb, “Strategic doing provided the framework for us to find common purpose. We developed a new program without adding any overhead—every resource came from linking and leveraging existing entities’ strengths.” For Lamb, strategic doing integrated simplicity, inclusion, and strategic focus.
This approach formalizes a set of seven factors that correlate with successful strategies we’ve seen in more than 100 communities across the United States—the more effective the strategy, the stronger the correlation. Successful strategies:
Build on existing assets
Operate with a network organizational structure that connected those assets
Use an iterative planning and implementation process
Decentralize implementation responsibilities among multiple organizations
Move forward with a progression of shorter-term goals
Use metrics to learn what works and make adjustments along the way
Demonstrate high levels of trust and a readiness for change among the those engaged
I’m not convinced by everything here but on the third slide there was one simple idea which experience tells me is very true…
“You only understand the problem once you try solving it.”
I’ve often found that I set off with the serious intent to solve a problem, but in truth succeed in understanding what we could do better next time. I know that’s a statement of the bleedin’ obvious but it sometimes helps to do that.
This is why iterative change is important. This is why rolling up your sleeves and doing something, then pausing, reflecting and doing some more is so important. It’s why community lead solutions can often be very effective and planned top down ones often fail.
So thanks Andrea and Sameer Vasta for helping me clarify that in my head.
A good dollop of our work is about helping public servants work differently in a world where power through communication is shifting and many citizens want and are happy to have more control. Over the years we have urged thousands of people to tend to their “stock pot of social capital” – especially public servants who are often more used to serving systems than relationships.
Future public services will require a different set of workforce roles than in the past: “public services of the future will require more relational approaches. “
Citizens are changing too “Whilst ‘consumer’ is a term with a range of meanings, one interpretation is that it is an individualistic and passive perspective, in which people expect to interact with public services through the same customer paradigm that operates in the commercial sector. This can be contrasted with more co-productive approaches that recognise and harness citizen expertise and appetite for involvement so that they are a key part of service improvement”
Generic skills will be as important as technical skills for future public servants ‘twenty-first century literacies’. These include: interpersonal skills (facilitation, empathy, political skills);synthesising skills (sorting evidence, analysis, making judgements, offering critique and being creative); organising skills for group work, collaboration and peer review; communication skills, making better use of new media and multi-media resources
Ethics and values are changing as the boundaries of public service shift “Better understanding the bundle of incentives that motivate people to serve the public is part of the workforce challenge for 21st Century public services.
Emotional labour will be a key element of future public service work “Emotional labour is defined as, ‘the expression of one’s capacity to manage personal emotions, sense others’ emotions, and to respond appropriately, based on one’s job’” Perma-austerity is catalysing and inhibiting change “continuity seems to dominate within local government…witness in salami slicing tactics (less of the same) rather than bold new visions…”
Hero leaders aren’t the answer “a need for a newkind of public sector leader to respond to the changing context, in which leadership beyond boundaries and beyond spans of authority will become more important”
Lots of professions are coming to these conclusions, but are tackling the issues separately
The literature review alone is a useful read – yet to come will be interviews with public servants and recommendation.
Last week I ran an hour long mini hack at the Futureshift festival on the flow of information in Birmingham. A fine group of people sat down together and started by sharing what information they needed but was not available or easily available.
The information problems thrown up from the group fell into three main areas:
Democratic and power information – who’s making decisions, how they’re making them, what their interests are, how do we connect with who’s in charge and many others.
Very local information – what’s going on where I live? what businesses are there – how can I know.
Funding for arts or community activity – why do I hear about pots of money after they’ve gone?
We were looking – as you do in a hack – for things that we could do.
So what did you come up with?
One simple idea from the funding group was #fundbrum – a simple hashtag to share any funding information which might be useful for people in Birmingham. I’ve been using it a bit:
Please. Just use it. If you see some source of income that might help Birmingham community and vol orgs – or artists or inventors – share a link to it on twitter and use #fundbrum Maybe write a quick post on facebook or a blog to say that’s what you’re doing.