I has a good discussion with a valued colleague in the week about whether his organisation should be concentrating on encouraging others to adopt solutions (in the form of products, guidelines, known ways of doing things) or whether the focus should be on delivering the outcomes (the results of using the solutions). This is a regular topic for those of us working on the spread of good practice and one of the stock in trade answers is "it depends on the context" and another answer is "do both".
However, last week, I came away with another thought. Unfortunately, it was after I put the phone down so I was unable to chat it through. You see, I wondered whether we weren't being a bit constraining in our thoughts by constanting focusing on "innovation" and "output". It was only after some reflection I wondered about the role the people had in the process of change. Yes, I know that by measuring outcomes we'd be able to measure how much they have changed and whether they are now able to perform to a new standard. But what I am interested in is whether they have learnt new skills and developed their abilities in the process. Are they enjoying themselves? Are they less stressed? Do they feel more able, in the future, to contribute to the organisation's success by coming up with and applying new ideas? Has the way we've worked with them in this change process stimulated them to be part of an ongoing process -or have we done the opposite?
By focusing on transferring specific knowledge round the organisation in very basic ways such as focusing on the implementation of simple guidelines, are we ignoring some basic human needs to be involved in something more meaningful?
Creative Commons 2008 Sarah Fraser Attribute-Non-Commercial-No Derivative