Disciplinary Remix and Transformation

Note: this post collects some of my thoughts from a tweet thread discussion.

Insight for the day: too many assume we just need to train public servants on digital/data, but we urgently need to train digital/data people (and others working in and with gov) on what is required and expected to deliver good, accountable and responsible government. Thoughts?

My thoughts–

That’s why collaboration is often needed.

Asking every party to know everything is a slippery slope and it erodes the foundation of expertise.

It’s the role of management to implement that mix and remix of expertise to achieve something neither party would ever be able to alone.

More often than not, asking party A to learn the expertise of party B and vice versa is the classic symptom of management’s incompetence to nurture both expertise-based collaboration and expertise-based accountability system.

It’s management’s perfect excuse to avoid commitment.

Just like “should designers learn coding (or should programmers learn design)”, the issue is not that there is a right side of argument.

Instead, the issue is management strategy in its broadest sense: what would have to be true to make cross-disciplinary collaboration happen?

Should public servants learn digital/data? Should digital/data professionals learn public service?

Those are good questions, but they’re beside the point.

Cross-discipline learning is one of many answers to “what would have to be true to make meaningful transformation happen?”

Some additional great insight from Pia Andrews:

Multi-disciplinary teams is certainly the goal, but you need a common ground (best created through culture in my experience) and you need enough mutual understanding and a to get effective. (Source)
One of the barriers to multi-discplinary teams is the current structure of functional segmentation, we need outcomes based structure so programs have all the skills they need in the same team, without having to beg across functions. (Source)


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