The AmbITion Approach is a change journey. It is about helping organisations (of any type or scale) move from their current state, through a transition state, into a future state (where they make the most of digital opportunities across operations, business models, artistic practice, and audience engagement, and are ready to collaborate cross-sector and to radically innovate). The persistent introduction of new digital technologies means that moving through the states, taking the journey, must be rapid and cyclical. Learning, during the movement through the states/journey, must be practical and applied (not purely theoretical or applied from the book or evaluated case study which would take too long to emerge), and risk taking, doing, and sharing emergent practice is essential. The AmbITion Approach encourages adaptation, not just assimilation. Therefore, the ideal environment for undertaking The AmbITion Approach is amidst a wider programme of knowledge exchange, networking, and sharing: the collective knowledge and confidence of the whole sector then grows and achieves sectoral adapation. AmbITion Programmes achieve this have been run in 2 English regions and nationally in Scotland since 2007.
However, The AmbITion Approach can be undertaken as a self-directed learning journey outwith the existence of a wider, live programme. The online resources, case studies, and network from past and current live programmes can act as a supportive virtual “programme” for any organisation to engage with, anytime, anywhere.
Designed by organisational change and digital strategy development specialist Hannah Rudman, The AmbITion Approach blends the methods of strategic change management consultancy with participatory action research; and utilises some of the tools, attitudes, and techniques of creative practice, design thinking, and service design. This is it’s constituent parts:The methods applied to this journey go back to Francis Bacon in 1620 (Novum Organum) with his development of the scientific method: hypothesise, experiment, evaluate. This process is cyclical and iterative, and has been reinterpreted by statistician and consultant W. Edwards Deming to become the modern organisational change management principles (or Deming Cycle) of – plan, do, check (then act, or back to planning). Similarly, action learning methodology encourages those seeking change to engage with a cyclical experiential ethos of learning by doing: thinking/planning, acting, and reflecting (Pedler et al, Action Learning Research and Practice, 2005).
Meanwhile, design thinking techniques have been formalised into an approach by the Design Council in 2005, encouraging us to cyclically engage with the process of: discover, define, develop, deliver.
By blending these approaches with creative practice methods like rehearsal and devising and service design, there is a descriptive term and set of activities for each stage of the change process or journey that suits all learning styles and approaches to change. Usually partitioned in their own methodologies and only undertaken when that particular methodology is applied, a wealth of practical exercises and activities are made available to organisations transitioning through states on a change journey by blending the methodologies. Organisations become better at learning as all its people can engage with the change process through a framework they understand and activities they engage with – whatever their learning style.
The rapid cyclical nature of the methodology allows for protoyping and failure, and the methodology can also challenge hierarchical organisational cultures: The AmbITion Approach is to be used cross-departmentally/cross-functions, engaging all levels of staff/stakeholders.
Does it work?
With experience of designing and delivering AmbITion programmes of digital development for the last 5 years, Hannah Rudman has seen improved sectoral capability, confidence, and capacity. And so agree project evaluators Leitner & Wilson of University of Cambridge in 2008:
“Every organisation we observed made significant strides with regard to both the uptake and the innovative use of new media and digital technologies. Several went beyond their business cases and improvised new ways to exploit these resources in the interest of fulfilling their educational and artistic and caused organisation-wide step changes and improvements for the specific businesses involved missions, as well as improving their business and marketing practices.”
By undertaking The AmbITion Approach yourself, or with the support of a facilitator with change management expertise, or perhaps as part of an AmbITion programme, your organisation will change, and gain the skills to keep changing – external factors will continue to rapidly change, so having the organisational resilience to cope with turbulence and chaos is a great business asset!