The times they are a-changin’

Things are moving quickly. Whether you work in higher education, local government, the health service, the not-for-profit sector or somewhere else, it’s likely that things look very, very different from how they looked ten years ago. And ten years from now, they’re likely to look even more different from how they do today. How we deal with this rapid pace of change will determine whether our organisations survive, thrive… or disappear.

We’re all working in an environment where reduced funding and a need for greater efficiency can be taken as read for the next five years at least. But it’s not just that. Higher education, for example, has the new student fees and funding regime, the increased focus on the student experience, the need to demonstrate the impact of research and the rise of massive online open courses to worry about.

Local authorities are contending with a government that calls for localism but is reluctant to relinquish central control, changes to the benefits regime, the need to work in partnership with other organisations and the growing role of alternative providers in the delivery of public services. And the health service is facing the challenges of an ageing population, improved (but more expensive) treatment options and changing patterns of in-patient, out-patient and community care.

In the face of such massive challenges, just doing what we’ve always done is unlikely to be sufficient. We need to find bold and creative ways of working in this new environment. We need to challenge ourselves to do things better, faster and more responsively. We need, if we’re being honest, to rethink what our organisations do and how they do it. This won’t be easy. But it is necessary.

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