Small is beautiful

I was delighted the other day to be approached by the person responsible for a local government procurement exercise in which I had expressed an interest, to enquire why I hadn’t submitted a proposal. She was somewhat horrified when I explained that the tender requirements were biased rather heavily against small businesses such as mine. And she asked how the procurement process could have been improved. So here are my top five tips for small-business-friendly procurement. Continue reading

Keeping it in the family

The rationale for outsourcing services has long been an article of faith across the public sector. Lower costs, greater expertise, increased economies of scale. Or so says the theory, at least. And it is a rare local authority – or NHS trust, university or other publicly-funded body – that hasn’t contracted out at least some of its activities.

But what once seemed such a rock-solid argument appears now to be built on less-than-stable foundations. Continue reading

Change you can believe in

I’m all for trying out new things. After all, this is how we develop – both as individuals and as organisations. But changing what we do and how we do it takes both time and effort. And, frequently, money. So it’s important that, before embarking on a new initiative, project or programme, we have a clear idea of what we are trying to achieve, how it will work and how we will know whether or not we have actually achieved it. Continue reading

Enter the Doughnut

Doughnut EconomicsI’m not an economist. But I do know that economics doesn’t seem to be working as it should. We seem to spend far too much time talking about profits and growth, and not nearly enough talking about people and our planet.

The economic models of the past have failed to predict, to prevent or to respond to the financial crises that have shaken our society. And yet they are still taught in classrooms and lecture theatres across the world.

We need a new way of thinking about economics. And we need it now. Continue reading

Engaging with stakeholders

There are some words that I dislike greatly, but that I find myself using because I can’t think of a better alternative. ‘Incentivise’ is one. ‘Disbenefits’ is another. But my all-time least favourite is far more commonplace: ‘stakeholders’. Yet while I cringe inwardly just typing the word, the concept is an important one. Indeed, your understanding of your organisation’s stakeholders could mean the difference between success and failure. Continue reading