Working in Complex Systems Part II

WORKING IN COMPLEX SYSTEMS, MEASURING PERFORMANCE, CREATING SAFER COMMUNITIES PART II

Building on our sold out event from September 2018 we were delighted to have Dr Toby Lowe join us to further explore what approaches those of us working in complex systems (like community safety) can take to get the best outcomes. He also shared findings from his latest publication with Collaborate providing practical examples and insights for people eager to develop new ways of working.

You can now view Toby’s presentation here.

You can view a video with edited highlights of Toby’s presentation here.

Hosted and sponsored by the Scottish Community Safety Network with Dr Toby Lowe, Newcastle University Business School based at Northumbria University

The idea that at the heart of good outcomes lies a healthy system is gaining traction in Scotland. Last September we introduced this new approach in a masterclass to the community safety and justice sector in Scotland and got leaders and practitioners to think about a new approach to performance management using this principle and what it might look like for them.

Since then Toby has developed this work further naming the approach a ‘Human, Learning, Systems’ approach and we have invited him back to share the latest developments with us. Organisations that work like this respond to complexity effectively by:

  1. Being Human to one another: they recognise and respond to human variety with bespoke support, they build empathy between people, they recognise the strengths of others, and they seek to trust and be trusted.
  2. Using Learning to enable performance improvement: they use a variety of both quantitative and qualitative data to learn; they create learning cultures; and they fund and commission for learning, not for the delivery of specified services.
  3. Looking after the health of the Systems which create social outcomes: they create the conditions in which people can understand the systems of which they are part, and enable effective collaboration and co-ordination within these systems.

There are signs that for people accessing support, working in this way can result in better experiences, better outcomes and them being better equipped for life. For organisations and systems, working in this way has potential to increase collaboration, enable innovation, build employee motivation, and deliver cost savings. There is much opportunity to develop these approaches in the community safety sector in Scotland and other related organisations in terms of providing support services, commissioning, performance management and funding.