Presentation on theme: "Project L.O.F.T. Report May, 2007 through October, 2007 Facing the right problems at GWAEA Discovered by the Project L.O.F.T. Problem Formulation Team."— Presentation transcript:
Project L.O.F.T. Report May, 2007 through October, 2007 Facing the right problems at GWAEA Discovered by the Project L.O.F.T. Problem Formulation Team
Theme I: Fuzzy relationships with customers & consumers
Customers They write the checks that sustain us (Legislature, DE, Feds). This creates a constant need to “prove” our value to regulators. Consumers use our services and are not usually the customer. Their sense of entitlement leads to an insatiable demand for agency services This generates a constant need to react to their demands
Theme I: Fuzzy relationships with customers & consumers Understanding the needs of customers/ consumers is “fuzzy” -Administrators and staff have difficulty seeing the demands from all customers/consumers served, especially those more distant from our daily work. The context of our work changes constantly both in funding and services demanded of the AEA, increasing conflict and “fuzziness” in our relationships and the services we provide. “Fuzzy” relationships cause us to be more reactionary than planful.
Theme II: Insatiable Demand for Services
Nothing curbs the demand for our services. More demand, more workload. It’s hard to innovate when you’re working flat-out! We’ve measured service by FTE, but clients need solutions.
Theme III: Reactive Problem Solving
Today’s rapidly changing educational and global context is producing new and unique problems for our clients and for us. But our culture values defined and known solutions to simplified problems. Trying to over-simplify and solve complex problems one-at-a- time leads to “patching” – applying a “fix” to a problem and then moving to the next without having really solved anything. Patches pull loose, old problems show up again and again, new problems pile up, and frustration compounds.
Theme IV: Structural Tension
The educational system is organized by disciplines which promotes disconnected and unrelated learning and problem solving. Such discipline-oriented structures limits our ability to think in terms of integrated solutions. Our organizational structure, while at one time effective at dealing with the problems of the day, is now stretched beyond its capacity and cannot effectively solve today’s set of tangled problems. The need to solve sets of problems grows, yet our structure is designed to produce single-problem solutions. This creates tension between “specialist” and “generalist” orientations. The Agency’s discipline-oriented structures promote single- focused solutions that “patch” problems rather than integrated solutions that dissolve complex sets of problems.
Picture the Problems This Way The Design Team pictured the tangle of problems to help us… Understand our problems as a set that can’t be solved one-by-one. Understand how past successes and current problems interact to reinforce our problems and dilemmas. Represent the problems we feel and experience as an Agency day-to-day.
Interacting Set of Problems Our tangled set of interacting problems is creating significant frustration in the system for: Individuals and teams Administrators and staff Our customers and consumers
Interacting Set of Problems The Design team asked the question: “What will happen if we do nothing to intervene with the current set of problems we’ve identified?” The team purposefully created an exaggeration as a way to highlight the critical nature of our problems. What follows is a very brief synopsis of their conversations:
Problem Formulation: An Undesired Future “If we do nothing to intervene with the present system the demand for our services will continue to escalate, further over-stretching our capacity and reducing our effectiveness. Some staff will seek other professional opportunities, further eroding our capacity and the knowledge and expertise we need to survive. Our people will continue to lose energy and, eventually, hope. Discouraged and overworked people cannot be creative, further eroding our ability to meet ever changing and increasing demands. This will cause our customers and consumers to question our existence and, perhaps, call for the dismantling of our system.”
Design Such a map and exaggeration provides us the opportunity to utilize the stakeholder specifications in the creation of a system that will dissolve this set of problems and ensure our continued success.