Thursday, August 09, 2012

Buzzword Beach Ball: How they're brainstorming the NBN


. Each session 3½ hours per department

. Warm-up energiser games including “Buzzword Beach Ball” and “Human Knot”

. “Provocative questions” including “What would we do if this organisation was run by Cate Blanchett?” and “What would Kerry Packer do in our situation?”

. Case studies “to get the juices flowing”

. An “ideas generation tree” to structure thinking

. An “ideas prioritisation matrix” in which post-it notes are stuck on different parts of a white board

. Subsequent assessment using McKinsey's “nine-box framework”

Using the NBN to improve government service delivery, a practical guide for government agencies. Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

“What would Kerry Packer do?”

That’s one of a series of “provocative” questions being asked of public servants nationwide at a series of workshops aimed at “harvesting ideas” about how to get the best out of the national broadband network. Others ask what Apple would do, what Cate Blanchett would do and the approach they would adopt if they were part of the AFL.

The glossy 144-page “practical guide for government agencies” prepared by the department of broadband, communications and the digital economy includes an “ideas generation tree” and “idea prioritisation matrix” for helping public servants work out which parts of their jobs could be better done using the NBN.

The first step is a three-and a-half-hour workshop for each department beginning with an “energiser game” to get participants “excited and involved”. Among the games are “Buzzword Beach Ball” in which public servants stand in a circle and throw around an inflatable beach ball shouting out a pieces of jargon. The aim is to “bond over a shared hatred of corporate jargon”. Another game is is “Human Knot” in which public servants stand in a circle and join hands randomly before attempting to untie the knot without letting go of hands. “Believe it or not, this can be done,” the NBN guide says. It warns facilitators the games sometimes fail when they are introduced apologetically. “If we open up a game with sufficient confidence, participants will usually trust that there is a point to be made,” it says.

Organisers are asked to provide one flip-chart or white board per six participants and half a post-it note pad per person along with pens and “ample” supplies of food, coffee and water... Ideas developed in the sessions will be tested by a four-box matrix that will ask who they will help, how they will help, what they will cost, and what risks they will run. They will later be assessed using a “nine-box framework” developed by McKinsey and Co.

The guide says each workshop should take about one month to prepare and should be run annually.

In today's Canberra Times

Using the NBN to Improve Government Service Delivery

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