Home Working Whole Systems Consultancy Research Contacts

Why we work this way

Spending lots of money and the trouble with project bidding

Why does short-term investment in one-off off projects seldom deliver the desired outcomes for organisational change? Why does the learning from demonstration projects seldom transfer to other places? This paper considers these conundrums and offers a different way of thinking about how to use development resources.

Order from Amazon.co.uk Order from King's Fund

Projectitis (ISBN 1-85717-211-6)

Action Zones and Large Numbers
Why working with lots of people makes sense

This paper suggests a way of productively involving large numbers of people at every stage in interagency working..

Order from Amazon.co.uk Order from King's Fund

Action Zones and Large Numbers (ISBN 1-85717-226-4)

Elephant Problems and Fixes that Fail
The story of a search for new approaches to inter-agency working

This is the story of one group's struggle to develop a new approach to cross-boundary working. It starts from a growing dissatisfaction with change initiatives which fail to both learn the lessons of earlier investments and deliver desired outcomes. It recounts what shaped the way we did things, and why. It traces in particular the interplay of theory and practice and the search for practical ways of applying theories to the "real world".

Order from Amazon.co.uk Order from King's Fund
Elephant Problems... (ISBN 1-85717-232-9)

Evaluating a Whole System Approach to Primary Health Care Development

The London & Northern Health Partnerships were charged with 'developing an innovative approach to Urban Primary Health Care development'. They were inspired by the WHO Primary Health Care approach with its emphasis on 'the promotion of health through a partnership between health and other professionals and the community'. The development team describe the early stages of the development of this approach in 'Elephant Problems and fixes that fail'; and the later stages in the book 'Working Whole Systems'.

This publication by the independent evaluation team describes the four-year action research programme during which the approach was developed, and draws out useful lessons for those taking a 'whole system approach'.

Order from Amazon.co.uk Order from King's Fund
Evaluation... (ISBN 1-85717-411-9)

This makes the connection between our approach to intervening in human systems and the theory of complex adaptive systems - particularly the role of 'simple rules' and the degree of connectivity in the system. Pratt J, Plamping D, Ombler-Spain S, Harries J, Gordon P, Fischer M & Evans K  (1998) The NHS - Order for free? Proceedings from the Organisations as Complex Evolving Systems conference, (Warwick, BPRC)
Download in Microsoft Word 7.0 Format

Back to Publications page


Home Working Whole Systems Consultancy Research Contacts