As part of the ‘Cutting up Collaboration’ series from the UNDP’s Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (GCPSE), we are delighted to share the Raffles Review of our latest report ‘The Anatomy of Collaboration’.
They cited our ‘big idea’ as: ‘Well-functioning collaboration for better public services is comprised of five elements: leadership, values, infrastructure, delivery and behaviours, much like five anatomical parts of the body. In this anatomy, values and outcomes are at the heart, as meaningful collaboration is, first and foremost, about bringing value to the citizens’.
- The ‘head’ is about incentives and leadership. The mode of working where crisis is the main driver for change is becoming outdated. A more nuanced approach to leadership should focus on unwiring the incentives, and recognise multiple roles and the necessity of risk-taking.
- The ‘heart’ is about values, outcomes and the role of citizens. Promoting values-based practice means looking beyond the services, and engaging citizens as partners to address complex problems that cannot be solved through traditional service interventions.
- The ‘bones’ is the infrastructure to support outcomes and system change. The system architecture for collaborative solutions has to be supported by financial, behavioural and regulatory practice, not undermined by it.
- The ‘limbs’ is the delivery function. Public service delivery needs to be re-shaped around new technologies, new understandings of ‘what works’, and a climate of resource constraint and sustained social need. Delivery culture has to blend innovation with robustness and credibility.
- The ‘blood’ is the cultural and behavioural changes that enable collaborative delivery to happen. Reverting back to organisational behaviour instead of engaging in ‘culture change’ reflects the path of least resistance. Organisational and system development should be taken more seriously in processes of reform.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PUBLIC SERVICE
Leadership and incentives – Move away from the ‘crisis mode’ towards the recognition of new ways of working: co-production, behavioural approach and systems management. Unwire incentives by managing risks, modelling behaviour, and articulating new approaches clearly.
Values and outcomes – The absolute focus should be on the outcomes for citizens over the vested interests of the participants. Make the values of the citizens core to collaborative practices. Ensure collaboration adds value instead of wasting resources. Reward choices that put values and outcomes above organisations.
Infrastructure – Employ a range of enabling functions from collaborative accountability frameworks (for multiple providers) to system translation functions (reaching across silos) and ICT/logical infrastructure. Support shifts in regulatory practices that will facilitate innovation.
Delivery – Innovation in service design in conjunction with a robust account of delivery will add to the credibility of collaborative models. Go beyond transactional top-down approaches to delivery and develop new delivery methodologies that combine ‘art and science’. Encourage ‘public entrepreneurship’ skillsets to drive public value in new ways. Look outside of the usual circle of participants and engage with ‘unusual suspects’.
Cultural changes – Avoid resorting to superficial organisational behaviour change and make an effort to encourage a shift in culture. Leverage new developments such as devolution and integrates service delivery approaches to promote culture and mindset changes.
Anyone interested in this programme should contact Henry Kippin at email@example.com.
To read the report, please click here. You can also read our joint paper with the UNDP GCPSE ‘Collaborative Capacity in Public Service Delivery – Towards a Framework for Practice’.