Expert opinion carefully crafted to help senior leaders across the public sector to embrace complexity, find new ways of thinking and solve problems.

EDGEWORK: helping RBKC to identify innovative opportunities for transformation

by | Feb 24, 2023 | Local government transformation, Medium term financial strategies | 0 comments

EDGEWORK® is IMPOWER’s approach to understanding complex problems that impact public services. Rather than a set of rigid guidelines, it is a way of managing complexity and making changes which are effective, affordable, and sustainable.

It supports our clients to identify innovative opportunities to deliver better outcomes for less money, become more resilient, and be able to deal with complex problems.

We call it EDGEWORK® as our approach is cross-boundary, we work at interfaces or edges between organisations, people, and processes. By working at the edges, we can reframe a problem by widening the lens and creating space for shared leadership and ambition.

We apply this approach in all our work but use different inventive methods to help us solve the unique problems of each client we work with. Inventive methods are a set of defined and flexible tools we use to deliver change. Inventive methods are grouped under five capability areas:

  • Reframing Ambition
  • Delivering at the Front Line
  • Applied Behavioural Science
  • Managing Interfaces
  • Managing Trajectory

We have recently developed a new inventive method which sits within Reframing Ambition –  Transformational Opportunities Development. It is a method which reflects how we recently supported organisations such as Surrey County Council, Wokingham Borough Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC).

Transformational Opportunities Development

In the context of the long-term impacts of Covid-19, inflationary pressures and changes in central and local government funding, public sector organisations are facing great uncertainty around their budgets over the coming years. Paired with the knowledge that demand for services is rising and needs are becoming more complex, it can be hard for organisations to imagine how they will make savings without reducing the quality of services.

This is exactly the position that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) found themselves in when trying to improve resident outcomes whilst also finding long-term savings as part of their 2024-2027 Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS).

Using the new inventive method, Transformational Opportunities Development, IMPOWER supported the Executive Directors across children’s social care, adult social care and health, housing and social investment, environment and communities, resources, and finance to identify opportunities to transform services to achieve better outcomes and value for money.

In applying Transformational Opportunities Development, we:

  • Established a view of the organisation by collecting insights into RBKC’s strategic ambitions, political priorities, and the performance of services. Kensington and Chelsea is an area of huge diversity, with some of the richest areas in the country and some of the poorest. The borough is also inextricably linked to the Grenfell tragedy. These unique factors influence how RBKC engages with its residents and deliver services and, as such, it was critical that transformational opportunities were developed with these factors in mind.
  • Acted as trusted advisors to Executive Directors, understanding their priorities and ambitions, and developing transformational opportunities for their own service, whilst also considering impacts on other service areas. This approach enabled us to collectively notice synergies and to develop council-wide transformation opportunities.
  • Used our previous experience working with other public sector clients to demonstrate the ‘art of the possible’, and to bring ideas to life. We developed a long list of opportunities to be explored and tested further, and provided case study evidence of how opportunities have been delivered elsewhere.
  • Provided insight into the scale of opportunities, beginning to quantify potential savings whilst also considering the risk associated with the opportunity, the potential impact on the community and ease of implementation.
  • Supported Executive Directors in their preparation for a leadership away day, at which they collaboratively discussed the opportunities and collectively agreed on which to explore further.

In using Transformational Opportunities Development, we were able to help RBKC identify a wide variety of transformational opportunities. We have enabled RBKC to work across service area boundaries to identify opportunities for council-wide transformation, and by taking this EDGEWORK® approach, we have supported RBKC to have a clearer idea of how they may transform the whole service, achieving better outcomes for less. If you would like to find out more about our approach, please get in touch or visit the EDGEWORK® webpage.