I’m often surprised by what topics will spark interest in people, and cycles vs. innovation/disruption would not be one on my list of topics expected to interest people. But a couple asked me if I could elaborate my example a little more clearly, and so I’m going to go for a specific example currently facing my team.
We have a large branch, some 500+ people. Before the last round of cuts and reorganization, that number was closer to 700. Ten directorates dropped to 7, we moved a lot of financial processing people (back-office types) to a service delivery branch, etc. But the part I want to talk about is the regular financing files for non-salary costs.
These costs are not extensive, maybe 10-15% of salary costs, and include things like travel, hospitality, equipment, newspapers, water machines, software licenses, training, etc. A lot of small costs that require a bit of transaction time. » Read the rest
While there are lots of politics watchers and lovers, my interest in government is really about public administration…structures, choices of instruments, governance processes, really anything “internal” about how the machine works. This past week ended with an expected announcement of a change in our branch structure as a result of changes in strategic direction and a rethinking of how best to meet those new needs.
However, what is of interest to me in the general sense is that some of the changes “undo” some changes that were made a few years ago. That sounds bad, but it’s really not. It’s just that some things that were changed a few years ago for very good reasons have now been changed also for very good reasons, yet environmental factors are not the only issue, nor even necessarily the driver. Some of it is, or perhaps may be, just cyclical.
Take for example programming by, well, just about by anyone delivering public services. » Read the rest
For those who know me in person, you know that I’m pretty much a government-wonk. Not in the “I care deeply about politics” sense, because I don’t. Generally, I think there are a lot of good people out there who do care about those things, and care deeply about the policy direction of various parties etc., but my policy interests are a lot more narrow. However, I do have very strong views about how things are implemented once a decision is taken as to direction, and most of my posts about government will have that as a running theme.
Take for example two very different articles about government and laws in today’s New York Times. The first, about Latvia of all places, reflects the decision that government works best when it is “by the people”. Political engagement at the grassroots level. In Latvia, because they had low political engagement by its citizens, they launched a rule — if a citizen gets 10K signatures on a proposal for legislators, their Parliament will look at it and consider it. » Read the rest
Grant McCracken has an interesting article in today’s Harvard Business Review feed about an innovative library promotion (Innovating the Library Way — note the link may expire). An excerpt from his post appears below, outlining a message his local library sent to the branch’s children:
What do you think your stuffed animal friends would do if they spent the night at the library? Bring them to our Stuffed Animal Sleepover and find out! Will they play on the computers all night? Raid the candy shelves at the cafe? Ride the elevator BY THEMSELVES?
We start with a special Sleepytime storytime for your furry friends, then tuck them in for the night. Overnight, the librarians will keep watch and take photos of everything your stuffed animals do. Come in the next day to pick them up and see what they were up to. Ages 2 and up.
As libraries close due to funding cuts (I have some upcoming posts that will tell library advocates the types of info they should be using to fight a closure), and bookstores go dark, this is a great way to raise awareness of the library among future generations whose demands on the library we cannot even yet picture. » Read the rest
It’s not that often that you see the Public Services Commission doing something innovative, but a new pilot project that starts today may qualify. And with all things HR-related, the impact may turn out to be either good or bad for employees on a referral list, depending on how the theory translates into practice.
So here’s the quick background you need to know first. When someone is declared surplus for whatever reason (relocation, program was cut, etc.), they can be put on a priority list for future jobs. Then, when any jobs come up in their region that match their skill sets, they’ll get referred to the hiring manager as a highly-possible hire. Unlike a regular applicant though where a hiring manager decides if a candidate meets the essential experience requirements and then invites them into a selection process (i.e. “screens” them in), a priority referral really IS a priority — if they meet the requirements, then the hiring manager MUST hire them. » Read the rest