The ‘resource intensity of society’ and the ‘avoidable contact’ target

 John’s excellent article. below  illustrates exactly, what this Blog calls the ‘Resource Intensity of Society’; as John says “Paradoxically, much of the failure demand currently consuming resources in the public sector has been created as a direct consequence of following Cabinet Office and other departmental guidance”

We continue to talk technology in creating our future, but mostly it must, and will be by eliminating failure demand, by doing the right thing right, every time.

This John identifies in his book ‘Systems Thinking in the Public Sector’ and this Blog tries to promulgate.

‘Quality of Life’ can only by improved by improving the ‘quality’ of the goods and services we consume.

This requires a synergy of stakeholder knowledge and skills to enable process learning, which after sensing external signals will liberate the ingenuity that can drive the process in the direction of sustainability.

A journey of continual quality improvement, not a destination, and one that must take account the risks and costs of environmental and social failures as well as the economic ones.

Failure to understand this and the immutability of the ‘One Planet Equation’ has placed us where we are today.

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Features: January 30th, 2009
By John Seddon

The Cabinet Office and the Improvement and Development Agency are urging public bodies to identify ‘avoidable contact’ with customers. National Indicator 14 is one of the 198 indicators against which local government will be assessed within the new performance management framework.

The indicator aims to reduce ‘avoidable contact’ between the community and local authorities. The author argues that creating a target to reduce avoidable contact is missing a great opportunity to think creatively about the whole system. Avoidable contact data gives the vital clues to prompt re-thinking about the whole system to achieve significant performance improvement.

Over the last two years we have witnessed the Cabinet Office trying to get to grips with the opportunity for improvement provided by removing ‘avoidable contact’.

Those who have watched the progress of this work will know that the original label was ‘failure demand’ – a concept I first discovered many years ago. Doubtless, the noise created by systems thinkers telling the Cabinet Office they didn’t understand the idea contributed to the label being changed to ‘avoidable contact’, but altering the name does not change the essential problem: the Cabinet Office promulgates an idea it does not understand.

Paradoxically, much of the failure demand currently consuming resources in the public sector has been created as a direct consequence of following Cabinet Office and other departmental guidance. And the guidance associated with ‘avoidable contact’ is no exception: it will only serve to exacerbate the problems. In short, the guidance on avoidable contact is just plain wrong.

The purpose of this article is to explain the concept of failure demand and show how it is possible to act with it in order to achieve significant performance improvement. It is also the intention to persuade the reader why it is necessary to ignore and repudiate the dangerous guidance of the Cabinet Office……………

Continues at

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One comment

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