Being methodical in the way we approach business change is critical to its success. As a freelance consultant, there is nothing more disheartening than to walk in on a business change programme clearly in trouble and find a collection of individuals, all applying their own particular mix of experience, opinion and intuition – a chaotic mass of activity making perceived progress towards some often poorly defined end.
When establishing a common set of methods, these need to be based on sound theory, where the theory and method are both informed by subsequent experience and learning. Furthermore, the application of method should be tailored to the specific circumstances:
This Methods section outlines a range of approaches, techniques and tools for designing and improving service operations, based on the theories and ideas introduced under Concepts. These fall under 6 broad categories:
- Enterprise Design
- Service Design
- Performance Improvement
- Collaborative Working
- Managing Business Change
- Behavioural Change
As a set of methods, they provide the means to: design new services and service operations; understand your existing operation as a system; measure its capability; investigate problems; plan interventions – both strategic and incremental; and manage the process of change.
A Word on Package Solutions
Some of the methods and techniques covered here may be familiar to you. You may have come across them under various wrappers – Lean, Six Sigma, Business Process Reengineering (BPR), Performance Management, Business Process Management (BPM) et al. Indeed you may be using some of them already.
The important difference here is that each of these methods is viewed through the lens of Systems Thinking, in relation to itself and the other methods and techniques; and from the specific perspective of services, as oppose to products and product manufacturing.
In some cases, this takes the method back to its theoretical root, lost over time through countless derivation, interpretation and commercialisation. BPR is a good example of this. In others, the differences are more to do with the overall philosophy and aims behind the solution, as in Six Sigma and Performance Management, or the degree to which they are sector specific, as in the case of Lean.
First Published: 13/11/2011 Last Updated: 21/05/2016