Scottish business ‘needs resilience and humanity’, says former Minister Jim Mather
The future economic success of Scotland as a small nation rests on adopting a new approach to management, according to former Scottish Government Minister Jim Mather.
By ‘new’ he means proven but yet to be widely adopted. It is based on the thinking of W Edwards Deming, who helped transform the Japanese economy in the 1950s and the work of John Seddon, whose Vanguard Approach has helped private sector firms like Aviva and many public sector organisations including local authorities, NHS trusts and housing associations, to achieve transformational results.
Mather says that the management consultant and author Peter Drucker, whose ideas contributed to the development of the modern corporation, believed that it took 25 to 35 years for new knowledge to become accepted as “applicable technology” and he feels now that the time has come for this approach in terms both of ‘Druckerstyle gestation’ and need in a time of austerity.
It’s a belief based on what he saw in Lincoln City Council in the summer of 2011, when he witnessed officials use this approach to dramatically speed up planning decisions, housing repairs, housing allocations and the provision of adult social care.
Mather, now Chairman of Gael Limited, will make his call to open the Collective Intelligence Conference at the University of Abertay Dundee next month. He believes that Scotland has a unique advantage due to its size – and as a small nation can act as a ‘teaching hospital’ for testing new, more effective approaches to business and public sector administration. The net effects would be improved fulfilment of the country’s economic potential and new skills that can be shared with the world.
The former Minister for Enterprise and Tourism, said: “Scotland has the opportunity to leverage a proven approach to management that has been successful in manufacturing, amending it with humanity and compassion to make it work for customers and staff in the Scottish service sector.
“We need to create more resilient public and private services – and experience is telling us that a vital element in that strategy is to align wholesomely with the interests of both customers and staff.
“It offers us the chance for Scotland to become a ‘teaching hospital’ – adopting what works, taking advantage of being a small country where we can involve everyone, and then being able to teach the world with the credibility that is deservedly the unique preserve of successful practitioners.” “For our universities, we need to arm future generations of students, of any and all disciplines, with this same skill set that will help them be much more operationally effective and much more personally resilient.” As well as Mather, speakers at the Collective Intelligence Conference include Margaret Williamson, Director of Boardroom Development; knowledge management consultant David Gurteen; and social media expert Euan Semple, who has worked with the BBC, Nokia, the World Bank and NATO.
“Not only is the country facing the global downturn of the economy, the effects of climate change, the reform of public services, but also the possibility that for the first time in 300 years it may become an independent country.
“Never in the history of Scotland has the need for innovation been so sorely needed, and by bringing experts together for the Collective Intelligence Conference we’ll look at what this means for Scotland – and how new approaches to management can fulfil our nation’s potential to grow.”