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When you come up with all those wonderful ideas for a changing world you will first be told “it won't work”. When you ask why and say it has worked in Amsterdam, New York, and Gateshead they will tell you “yes, but it won't work here”. If you ask whether it has been tried here they will say “no, but it won't work here” and when you ask for an explanation you will be told that to understand that it will require a detailed knowledge of the local culture and history and that this will take some time. At the root of this frustrating encounter will be that “it wasn't invented here”.
It drives politicians mad that good practice and innovation that is to be found in one place will not be replicated elsewhere. Finding ways into breaking this vicious circle of adherence to often dysfunctional practice requires all the tools of change management (for example and paradoxically, see Change management: prophets and travellers, last month's aphorism).
However, the bottom line is ownership. Whatever approaches are used, communities and communities of interest need to own processes of change and innovation if they are to work and be sustainable—see next month.
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