Published On: 23 September 2015
Organisation: Government of Finland
Level of government: Central government
Sector: General public services
Type: Human Resources, Organisational Design
Launched in: 2013
Overall development time: 2 year(s)
The Change Makers Network is a loosely organized and self-directing team of experts from different ministries, with different backgrounds, education and expertise. What is shared within the participants is need and will to build up a working culture based on a “whole of government” - mind set and “crossing the silos” - ways of working.
The network is also willing to test and adopt modern, explorative and digital ways of working. Participants are all volunteers, and not nominated to represent any particular point of view or ministry in the network. The network-model differs dramatically from the tradition where a working group or committee is set and participants are nominated to fulfill a particular, often elsewhere set target.
Change Makers Network is a new kind of a bottom-up community or “movement,” which crosses the boundaries of all kinds: administrative, professional, attitudinal etc. It also strongly challenges traditional, hierarchical management practices as well as old-fashioned human resource management practices. Management practices as well as administrative services should all be seen as enabling the renewal, instead of setting obstacles for change.
Change Makers Network´s unofficial mission statement is “Finland first”. Only after that comes the sectoral approach. Through this mission statement, the network strongly stresses the need and will to work across ministerial boundaries and silos in order to be able to solve problems in Finnish society.
In practice, the mission statement is being implemented by building up a new kind of working culture in many different ways: by common discussions, supporting and launching new initiatives, writing blogs, giving expert statements, starting new experiments as well as supporting and bringing innovative approaches in to preparation of all new issues and projects. Most recently the network has been working with the theme “Government /State as an Enabler”.
Develop staff capacity, Improve effectiveness, Improve efficiency, Improve service quality
Government bodies, Government staff
Time pressure, dwindling resources and the sheer scale of the problems facing Finland's government are risks for doing things in a way we are used to. On the other hand, these challenges strongly reinforce the fact that we have to change course and do it as quickly as possible.
From an organisational perspective the most critical questions are: Have we (here: ministries) set aside enough time for innovation and the development of new directions and approaches? Are we truly willing to invest enough time and expertise in creating the conditions and the kind of management culture where people are inspired to exchange ideas and to work together?
Matters under ministerial preparation today are becoming increasingly complex and interwoven. Decision-making on social reforms, therefore, requires a broad and inclusive approach. It’s necessary to work more closely as a team, to have tentacles in every direction in order to identify modern-day phenomena and to find the most appropriate solutions.
Indeed it is our understanding that in implementing government strategies, ministries need to take an agile and smart approach that cuts across administrative boundaries, that makes it easier to link up with other relevant stakeholders in society, and that makes the best possible use of their wide range of skills and expertise.
The biggest value of the Change Makers Network lies in its unofficial character. At the same time, this is the most challenging factor while keeping the network alive. However, the future of the network seems positive. The Change Makers Network is already highly-recognized and its informal and unofficial nature is accepted.
It has gradually taken “to the tables” where decisions are being made; either as a network or through its members representing new, open- and broad-minded members.
The future of the network is connected to following themes and actions: getting rid of unnecessary resistance to the culture of creating new approaches and ostensible efficiency, from planning to quick experiments, taking advantage of the power of networks and the wisdom of crowds, with common objectives to common activities.