Given the recent performance by Derren Brown
(busting the UK National Lottery), the article
on the behaviour of management consultants reminded me of the quote by Niels Bohr, prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future
. Read More...
A recent article in CIO
magazine proposed a means of benchmarking suppliers on the cheap. Don't bother with all that expensive data gathering and comparator idenfication, just get the benchmarker to give you a price for the service and start your negotiations from there
Great, quicker process and undoubtedly a nice low price point from which to start beating up on the supplier. Even better no need to 'look under the hood' and check that the benchmarker has used the correct data. But will it work? Read More...
07/08/09 12:04 Filed in: Service Engineering
No matter how hard people try to get services right - both for the benefit of their customers and out of a sense of enlightened self-interest - it's the little things that seem to go wrong. Let me tell you a story.... Read More...
The role of English and Welsh Law in the suppression of scientific debate has begun to be noticed by the popular press. Simon Singh is embroiled in a dispute with the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) for daring to suggest that they may have no evidence of
benefit for their ‘treatments’ but indeed there is evidence that they are positively (?) harmful
. Hot on the heels of this affair, Nick Cohen, a commentator in the Guardian, has written a piece suggesting that mathematicians are being frightened into silence about city shenanigans through the threat (implicit I assume - little if any evidence is provided) of legal action
if they point out some of the obvious flaws in investment and trading policy - namely that few understood these complex instruments, in fact some of them might well cost more to understand than they were worth. Read More...
17/07/09 15:54 Filed in: Public Services
There is a lot of interest in government about the ‘digital divide’. This should not be surprising - apocryphally 75% of public services are consumed by 25% of the population - the very segment that is least likely to have access to services the UK government wants to shift to an electronic delivery system. Are we taking the problem seriously or is this another ‘smoke ‘n’ mirrors’ exercise? Read More...
IBM has announced
that it will hand some work on the National Biometric Identity Service (NBIS) to two other suppliers, Atos and Sagem, respectively integration and operations support, biometric services and technology.
Clearly the three organisations are experienced and competent - but what are the long term consequences for the service that the government (and by extension the UK population) will experience? Read More...
The government has come under criticism for failing to manage external contracts effectively.As much as £300m could be saved each year if central government manages its contracts better, the Public Accounts Committee estimated. From the Civil Service Network
The Public Accounts Committee is a wonderful organisation. At least as far as the recognition of symptoms go.
The question many would like to ask is this - “we see the failures, where are the cures”? Government and the overseers (in as much as select committees are capable of effective oversight) make much noise about ‘value’ but seem incapable of distinguishing between value and cost where procurement is concerned. Read More...
26/04/09 10:30 Filed in: Public Services
Reportedly the UK CIO, John Suffolk, has been lecturing our friends in the US on ‘learnings’ from public sector service development - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/04/24/john_suffolk/. Reports can be misleading but on the basis of the available evidence, the only viable response is to invoke another mathematician:
I've said that political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Prize.
Often misquoted as the cause of his retirement http://www.avclub.com/articles/tom-lehrer,13660/
The British National Health Service is, for the umpteenth time, showing everyone how difficult designing, managing and delivering a complex service can be. The NHS Spine programme
, is intended to ‘join up’ patient databases across the country, enable flexibility in the choice of provision and streamline access to healthcare. Can it ever be successful and does the procurement and management of this very ambitious programme have anything to teach us in the services world? Read More...
12/02/09 18:19 Filed in: Service Engineering
is something of a hero of mine. A man with a flair for engineering design, a keen sense of need combined with the organisational and business sense to make things happen (boats, wheel barrows, vacuum cleaners, washing machines...).
But, when I read his piece (a polite and well written diatribe) in the British Observer
last week bemoaning the lack of recognition for design technology (popularly known as DT in the UK) and the status of the ‘eginuurre’ in Britain I had to respond. Read More...
11/02/09 08:27 Filed in: Public Services
It is always very tempting to imagine the grass to be greener on the other side of the wall (or border or ocean or...) and the services world is not immune to this. Read More...
Mervyn King is under fire for (amongst many sins, real and perceived) for being misled
by ‘faulty’ models of our economic system
. Apparently a number of former members of the MPC
have agreed to join an ‘extraordinary’ experiment with a consultancy ‘Fathom
’ (could be a lot of them so take this link with a pinch of salt) to develop an alternative forecasting model. Of course they expect this will be better..... Read More...