168 – A series: Managers as designers in local government. Part 1.

Posted by Lancing Farrell                                                                              800 words

empathy hand holding

This is the first in a series of four posts on managers as designers in local government. It might seem like an esoteric topic and hardly relevant, however, every day managers make design decisions, often in ignorance. There is now a body of work on how managers can use design-thinking to improve the customer experience and organisational decision making. I challenge you to say it is irrelevant to your council.

Some years ago I read a book called ‘Managers as Designers in the Public Services’ by David Wastell (Professor of Information Systems at Nottingham University Business School). It made a lasting impression on me. Continue reading


148 – Decision making in local government. A series.

Posted by Lancing Farrell                                                                              400 words

HBR january 2006 cover

This series of posts explores decision making in local government and the connection to planning and strategy. I have postulated for some time that the inability of council’s to make difficult decisions leads to failure to decide on strategy which prevents prioritisation of action. See what you think.

Decision making processes in local government can be episodic, slow, disempowering, inconsistent and frequently disconnected from either strategy or operational needs. Continue reading

82 – Is it a strategic decision?

Posted by Colin Weatherby                                                         500 words

yes no maybe

How to Tell which Decisions are Strategic’ is the title of a paper by Ram Shivakumar published in the California Management Review in 2014. It attracted my attention because I have often asked that question myself. What is it that distinguishes a strategic decision from a non-strategic decision? Well, hopefully you will know more after reading this post.

The essential idea in the paper is that a strategic decision is defined by the degree of commitment involved and the implications for the scope of the business or organisation.   Let me explain. Continue reading