Introducing the Strategic Framework: Leading with System – Tracey Waltho, Cabinet Office

What it was:

A talk with discussion on the Strategic Framework. This was part of the Deputy Director Leadership Programme held in London on 16 and 17 September 2019.

What I learned:

The strategic framework is a way of organising thinking and effort across Government and for addressing the big national challenges. It is expressed as outcomes for citizens.

It is long term – up to 2030 – can be seen as applying to both the citizen and the state, and posits that most government activity can be divided into one or more of the following six pillars:

  • Security – a UK that is safe and secure for citizens
  • Prosperity – a UK that is prosperous and productive
  • Influence – A UK that is globally influential
  • Sustainability – A UK that is sustainable and enduring for all current and future citizens
  • Inclusion – all citizens feel included in a UK that’s fair and just, with a strong sense of community and cohesion
  • Wellbeing – All citizens are cared for and live long, healthy lives

In discussion – most, perhaps all of us were in roles that spanned several, perhaps all, of the six pillars.

Senior leaders across Depts are engaged in ‘demonstrator projects’ that work across Departmental boundaries.

The ambition for each strategic framework project:

  • Citizen-centred – put the citizen’s needs and views at the core of the outcome
  • Open and inclusive – act with deep empathy and respect for the user and in our teams
  • Adaptive – listen and evolve in response to user needs
  • Human approach – consider people’s lives as a whole and structure outcomes around this
  • Joined-up – work across the public sector system as a whole, from problem definition to delivery of solutions
  • Long-term – set clear bold goals that endure based on outcomes that matter to the citizen
  • Trusted – we earn a reputation of reliably delivering on the issues that matter to citizens, businesses and and beyond

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

Work across Departmental boundaries – perhaps use the Action Learning Sets as an opportunity to explore opportunities to do this.

Noting that these ambitions could easily apply to digital services – use the ‘ambitions’ above to think about digital projects.

Defence digital masterclass @ Barclays Rise

What it was:

The first Defence digital masterclass, with various speakers on digital themes, hosted at Barclays Rise, Shoreditch, on 4 May 2018

What I learned:

Artificial Intelligence:

  • The AlphaZero AI algorithm learns from blank slate, does not just replay earlier human learning
  • Human beings already have symbiotic relationships with dogs, possibly we can see future relationship with AI?
  • Key valuable skill at the moment is being able to analyse convolutional networks
  • Future AI will not be evil but may do terrible things purely in trying to help
  • The UK 4G network is expanding to 99% coverage
  • AI is difficult to define… Douglas Hofstadter ” AI is whatever hasn’t been done yet”
  • Loose definition of AI: systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence
  • General adversarial networks, train the forger and the tester at the same time. Can be used to optimise at scale and pace.
  • Neuromorphic computing: chips that mimic brain function by only firing the ” neurons” when relevant, enabling high computational power with low electrical power
  • The lower power consumption may be a clue, from a macro (physics) perspective, that the chip is using more brain-like processes. Current traditional AI architectures tend to use many orders of magnitude more power than a human brain.
  • ‘Centaur chess’ where humans are supported by machines. Have beaten the best humans and best machines. Implies that human-machine partnership and process may be key to military success?

Different scales / types of digital transformation in businesses:

  • Business model transformation,
  • Customer experience innovation
  • Operating model transformation

Thirty five percent of P&G products come from outside the company via its innovation approach
Many innovative large companies are sustained or accelerated through government contracts and investment; it’s not the case that innovation only comes from private investment
Military rituals are similar to agile rituals?  Could be a useful alignment.
DEFRA are using machine learning to read incoming documents, identify the name and address etc, and direct the document within department

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

  • Develop our model for digital transformation in defence, and to think about the technologies that underpin it
  • Think about business and process transformation as part of the model
  • Think about the working environment.
  • Make better connections outside MOD… we need to move to an ‘outside in’ approach