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Jon Ainger

Launching tomorrow…The EDGEWORK Manifesto

In this time of imminent elections we are proud to add another manifesto to the pile – ‘The EDGEWORK Manifesto’.

Excitingly, this is IMPOWER’s first ever book, which we will be launching with some fanfare this coming Thursday (17 October) at #SolaceSummit2019 in Birmingham. (If you’re going to be there, please join our launch party in the Surrey Room, Hilton Birmingham Metropole at 18.15 for a glass of wine and a free copy of the book).

A manifesto is defined in the Cambridge Dictionary as ‘a written statement of the beliefs, aims, and policies of an organisation’ and that perfectly captures our intent here.  The book is dedicated to ‘public sector leaders, who sometimes have an impossible job’, and our aim is to help these leaders to take more informed, appropriate and effective action, in order that they are more likely to achieve the win-win of better outcomes which cost less.

Drawing on almost 20 years of public sector experience across more than 1,400 projects, we have developed EDGEWORK, our unique approach to understanding complex systems. It takes its name from our belief that the hardest and most important work is done at the edges – the boundaries between systems, the front line – and because we are constantly pushing the limits of existing thinking. EDGEWORK is more than just understanding or explaining complexity; it is a practical response to it.

The questions we explore in The EDGEWORK Manifesto include:

  • What are the consequences of poor problem definition for how taxpayers’ money is spent and the impact it has on people’s lives?
  • What is the difference between ‘complicated’ and ‘complex’ problems, and why is the distinction important?
  • Why do apparently efficient organisations continue to be overwhelmed with unsustainable but avoidable demand?
  • Why do public sector leaders find it so difficult to change complex systems?
  • How should consultancies change the way they help their public sector clients?

Supported by the latest cross-sectoral thinking in complexity theory, we have written a practical guide for taking action. As lead author, it has been a great privilege to bring together the threads of our collective experience into a single publication, and I am confident that our thinking will make a positive contribution to the sector.

Hope to see many of you on Thursday to continue the conversation!

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