From is this nice write up of a Council’s food safety team learning about what matters to their customers, and then re-designing the service around this new purpose.
I like the description of the learning that takes place, with staff from outside the initial intervention coming into the new system “ being given the opportunity to learn for themselves what the core team had discovered about their existing system, the benefits of the new type inspection and what matters to their customers.”

Essentially, the whole thing is facilitated learning, learning about the purpose, “what matters”, how their current system operated with what looked like about 90% waste, and how a different system could work.

Interestingly the new principles have at the top things like “trust staff” and at the bottom, almost as an afterthought, cause no harm and don’t kill anyone.
I imagine that this is a complete inversion of the order of principles from the old service, with a similar inversion in performance too.


The client is a city and metropolitan borough with a population of 249,470 (2011 census). The Council’s Food Safety Service has always performed highly against criteria set by the Food Standards Agency. However, financial constraints and a restructure of the service made it increasingly difficult to meet the demands placed on the service with the resources available to it. In particular, of over 2,200 food premises in the city the number of un-rated food premises awaiting inspection was constant at around 10%. A Systems Thinking intervention was undertaken within the Food Safety team with the aim of increasing both capacity and service quality.

The Approach
A scoping exercise established the probable parameters of the intervention, and a meeting was held to discuss the intervention set up. This included intervention team selection, roles and responsibilities of those involved, the impact the intervention was likely to have on those not directly…

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5 Responses to

  1. Where did the “retweet this” button go?


  2. I’ve seen that very wall full of notes and met some of the people involved in the systems thinking approach at Wolvo. Good guys!


    • ThinkPurpose says:

      I just found this on WordPress reader, clicked on a category of “systems thinking” and this came up as the latest.
      I like detailed studies of it happening in reality, always really interesting and a lot to learn from them.


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