Doing or thinking

Sometimes we spend too much time doing and not enough time thinking.  We often leap before we look.  If I learnt anything from the lean start-up training it is that we should spend as much time as we can shaping our ideas and talking to our customers before investing in the product.  As an organisation we don’t always approach our opportunities in this manner.

I have been keen to move our Strategic ICT group from one where we talk about existing projects to one where we have a meaningful discussion about the more strategic issues we face.  It’s too easy to get sucked into the day to day problems of governance, project management and shifting priorities yet these are more operational matters.  They are vitally important of course but we must make way for the other important issues.  Thinking about today is necessary yet the role of the leadership team must be to think about the organisation of tomorrow.  By the time tomorrow becomes today it will be too late.

So over the last few meetings I have been trying to nudge the agenda in the preferred direction.  I used to start with an update on current live projects and have the other stuff at the end.  I’ve changed this around, following a suggestion from Su, and so this means we dedicate the right amount of time to the things of greatest importance.

This month we covered two issues, our approach to open data and business intelligence.  Each topic started with a discussion paper which spelt out the background to the issue and posed some questions rather than clear decisions.

With open data we talked about why we would want to do this, what it was that our customers would want to have access to and how had other organisations driven value out of their programmes.  When it came round to business intelligence we covered whether we had the skills and resource to do anything different, are our systems compatible with a corporate approach and, once again, what is it that our service users want.

It was good stuff, a much better use of our time and I left which some clarity as to the way forward.

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