How we work
At the Kafka Brigade, our work is informed by the following key principles:
- Start with the citizen, and work outwards. Government outcomes rely on partnership with citizens. Policies – and how bureaucracies implement them – must be effective on the ground, in the context of real families, communities and businesses.
- Take advantage of the data already available.The UK public sector, combined with academia, hold perhaps the most data in the world; all interventions should be informed by available research and operational data.
- Rules are necessary – but must make sense at the front line. Rules and regulations are needed to support equity, but can rarely be designed perfectly, first time. Contexts change too and bureaucratic rules must adapt quickly – but rarely do.
- Create a safe environment: public servants are part of the solution. Everyone who bears the burden of bureaucratic dysfunction, from the citizen to front-line workers, their managers, their senior executives, policy officials and politicians has a role to play. Participative techniques engage everyone in both analyzing the problem, and in identifying solutions.
- No action without reflection, no reflection without action. Following the advice of Kurt Lewin, the grand-daddy of action research, we build in time & resource for critical reflection on three levels – the individual, the project and what we’re learning about tackling bureaucratic dysfunction.
- Mobilize adaptive and innovative responses, without imposing generic solutions. Our role is to encourage and support innovation, providing expert advice. Building capacity is key, alongside demonstrable project outcomes. After all, it’s the people in the system that will deliver ongoing success – not us.