From Woe to Flow: Validating and Implementing Strategies, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

From Woe to Flow

Validating and Implementing Strategies, 1st Edition

By Phil Driver


216 pages | 41 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138598621
pub: 2019-12-10
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Large scale, complex systems like the health sector or transport are a challenge to manage; traditional strategic approaches often fail due to the diversity of different stakeholders and the lack of a cohesive strategy language that all within it can understand. What is needed in such systems is a new, fresh, scalable, "open source" framework: one that is "editable" by those at all levels within the organisation.

This book provides practitioners and managers within any organisation with a nine stage modular tool-kit for all strategic steps. Utilising Phil Driver’s PRUB framework, which innovatively centres on end-user actions instead of benefits—what do you want to do?—it enables all stakeholders from entry level to executive to actively participate in strategy validation and implementation. This book will enable practitioners with skills in any one of the nine stages to enhance their skills in that stage but also, most importantly, to link their work in any one stage with all the other stages. The book will also help senior executives to coordinate the full nine-stage sequence in large-scale and complex environments.

Following on from Phil Driver’s groundbreaking Validating Strategies, this book covers all nine stages of strategy, from end-user engagement through to post-implementation review. It will prove game-changing reading for any manager, executive or practitioner that needs a more effective strategic approach, manages a large or complex system in the public sector, or wants to enable and empower talent at all levels of their organisation.


"Across public services, our ability to generate and implement strategies that work, consistently and sustainably, lags way behind other innovations. Algorithms, artificial intelligence and neuroscience are starting to reshape the world around us but technological innovations in how best to spend billions of pounds of public money receives only a fraction of the attention. Some will point to political processes, project management or ‘evidence-based policy making’ as the way this should be done, but all of them fail to address the fundamental question: who is really in charge? From Woe to Flow and OpenStrategies answers this question head on: we, the public, are in charge because if we can’t or don’t want to use what is provided, for whatever reason, then we will not. Keeping the focus firmly on ‘Uses’ the OpenStrategies PRUB system offers an advanced approach to systematically building insight, wisdom and local knowledge of citizens and service users into strategies. It helps decision-makers avoid expensive white elephants steering them instead towards properly informed decisions about where to put effort and money. It is a tool for the modern era – one in which people are respected and institutions coproduce services with citizens. It could also save you a lot of time and heartache." - Merron Simpson, CEO, New NHS Alliance

"Public institutions usually operate in a complex context that involve many stakeholders. We have all seen several programs and organisations working towards very similar goals, seemingly with little coordination between them. Open Strategies breaks strategy down to its essence and offers a common language for doing so: your organisation does projects, that lead to results and (only!) when these results are put to use you achieve the intended benefits. The world may is complex enough, so we really need a simple method so we can work towards a mutual understanding of what we are working towards. And more importantly: what we are actually doing to achieve our goals." - Edo Plantinga, independent program manager for the Dutch digital government

"This is a book that delivers valuable insight into the "what", "how" and "why" of an actionable strategy system within a complex environment. The author helpfully develops a nine-stage process, which equips you with a common language to successfully implement open strategies which ultimately create sustainable benefits. It also addresses the importance of accountability in a meaningful and democratic way, shifting the emphasis from "who" you are accountable to, to "what" you are accountable for. I have no hesitation in recommending this book to practitioners, students and academics seeking an alternative and more nuanced understanding of strategy to the orthodoxy." - Dr Rebecca Casey, Newcastle University, UK

Table of Contents

Foreword, Preface and Acknowledgements, 1. Introduction, 2. A brief primer on the OpenStrategies system, 3. Who is accountable for Effectiveness and Efficiency? 4. Stage 1: Understand Uses and Benefits, 5. Stage 2: Understand Projects and Results, 6. Stage 3: Develop Evidence-based strategies, 7. Stage 4: Validate SubStrategies by determining their Worth, 8. Stage 5: Make investment decisions, 9. Stage 6: Create performance-based contracts, 10. Stage 7: Implement strategies, 11. Stage 8: Performance-manage strategies, 12. Stage 9: Review and update strategies, 13. Summary including check lists for each Stage, Glossary, Index

About the Author

Phil Driver is founder and CEO of OpenStrategies Ltd. His background in science and engineering management led to his involvement in large-scale industry-sector strategies. That in turn led to his developing an in-depth understanding of the challenges of even larger scale, public sector strategies. The OpenStrategies’ system then evolved through more than a decade of intense engagement with many public and private sector organisations.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Decision-Making & Problem Solving
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Strategic Planning