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Playing our part: co-creating "Weal(th)"

Ideas for moving from top-down Government control to encouragement of more participative government at a local level are in the air. For example, the UK Conservative Party Manifesto published yesterday makes this a core theme; getting stuck in as a volunteer and building a nation of people who look out for others and not assuming that politicians have all the answers.

One way of looking at this is to suggest that "Community" and "Business led enterprise or public service" become more engaging by making interactions more transparent and useful.

It can help reduce the scepticism held for political rhetoric if a way is found to:
  • pin-point were change is needed
  • empower those involved to sustain their efforts, particularly if volunteered without tangible reward
  • acknowledge the value of both tangible and intangible factors
  • assess and negotiate contributions based on their value as perceived by stakeholders
Usefully, the Conservative Party is aware at some levels of the value network approach which provides a simple way to:
  • view the reality of how organisations work amid the general messiness, by focussing on essentials
  • analyse and, possibly, optimise, effort
  • engage and empower for change
  • help us all to value each other
Hopefully, other political parties will follow the Conservative's good example in accumulating state-of-the-art wisdom that is appropriate for leading and managing in the 21st century.

So, how can a seamless view of community and non-comunity activity be viewed? Business refer to "business models" which value networks can very successfully underpin; incorporating key factors.
In a similar way, we can visualise community effort as a "community model" and conceive building on the aspirations and capabilities of two separate communities coming together. There is a huge similarity in the components selected, but key differences are honoured.
Success with value networks in enabling us all to "play our part" does require a shift in mindset - no doubt about that. But only slight additional skill is needed to bring it into play. If allowed, we can all get started with any local concern. For example, the magical Breakthrough Blueprint paves the way.
Is it time to act now? If you believe that the UK's position is particularly precarious for the forseable future, with 20% reduction in some Government Budgets being mooted to retain our national credit rating, perhaps it is!
More when the UK General Election has taken place.
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LockSpur, the national hairdressing franchise, No 1 in the UK by turnover, boosted performance by a factor of three in results announced by CEO Archie Strator today.
In 2006, they introduced Lean Management methods. Through a series of closely controlled incremental breakthroughs, throughput from booking to payment along the pareto hair processing options was optimised.
In early 2008, a member of the value network movement who wishes to remain anonymous drew Strator's attention to the unmanaged "chat" that flowed inexorably between the hair stylists and their customers. Through a co-ordinated programme of breakthrough sessions in each outlet, and a reconfiguring at group level of the business boundary, the co-created ideas and insights arising from the "chat" are now cultivated in an incubator offshoot.
By applying Service Design principles and building on the deepening business relationships between LockSpur and its customers, the early fruits of a thriving business ecosystem are now reaching the marketplace.
Says Strator, "the value network team helped me identify the previously unappreciated capabilities and knowledge of my staff and customers, adding to the financial results and boosting both social cohesion and capital and reducing our environmental footprint."
He added, "this business model is one that can be universally applied and by releasing this information, we also wish to play our part in spreading the good news in these straightend times."

1st April 2010
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