21st century consulting

Brick wallYou don’t have to spend long knocking around most big organisations before you’ll hear the term “best practice”. It’s the often mythical idea that because one group of people in one part of an organisation have found a good way of doing something, that way of working can be lifted and shifted to other parts of the organisation to gain similar results.

The concept is borne of scientific management approaches that stem back to the work of Adam Smith, and maybe work when you are looking at mechanical approaches. In people-based organisations, where their knowledge and wisdom is key, it misses one crucial point: “best practice” is usually derived from the learning that the people achieving it have gained along the way. Knowledge-based work is as much about the journey as the destination.

Consulting into organisations has usually sat somewhere on a continuum between expertise and process: an expert consultant might, to use the world of construction as an analogy, be someone like a bricklayer. Your project needs a wall to be built, and a bricklayer can lay you those bricks. In the world of the office, think contract lawyer or tax accountant.

At the other end of the spectrum is the process consultant: for example, a construction project manager. In of themselves they don’t actually do any of the “work” – they just make sure it all happens, in the right order, at the right location.

In the fast-changing world of digital, organisations need a bit of both; they may well need specific skills to help realise projects, but they also need help in equipping their people with the critical faculties required to make decisions in the ever-mutating world of digital. This isn’t conventional training, nor is it the simple adoption of best practice – but consulting that is focused on short term delivery whilst building long term capability.

Find out how Stamp can help you to make digital work by contacting us.

Published by ballantine70

Matt has spent the past two decades helping organisations to make sense of where technology, media, content and people collide. He currently is Head of Technology and Transformation for London housing provider RHP. In 2013 he founded Stamp London. Previously he’s worked for Microsoft, Imagination, Reuters and the BBC amongst others.