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My research explores how the concept of nominal value can be applied to people centred services (Hood et al 2020), and how this might change the design and management of those services. Nominal value is a systems concept taken from manufacturing (Taguchi and Clausing 1990) and translated for services by Seddon (Seddon 2003). In public service organisations, demand from citizens is frequently funnelled through pre-packaged and standardised service provision, which can only be accessed through meeting eligibility criteria. Some organisations are experimenting with a systems approach in order to understand the important aspects of ‘nominal value' to citizens, through encouraging care workers to build relationships and then design more bespoke solutions that address the aims of those they are caring for (Wilson 2014, Gibson and O'Donovan 2014).My PhD employs qualitative methods to explore the concept of ‘nominal value', and examine specifically how it is being applied in practice in an adult social care setting.
As Head of Research at Vanguard Consulting, I have over a decade of experience of researching systems thinking within different types of organisations. I lecture part-time on a Kingston University social work (post-qualifying) credit-bearing short course. I have taught students about the theory and practice of applying the Vanguard Method in various types of public service environments including health, housing and social work.
Hood, R, O'Donovan B, Brady D & Gibson J (2020) 'Using the Vanguard Method to explore demand and performance in people-centred services' Public Money & Management DOI: 10.1080/09540962.2020.1815367
3 articles in Seddon, J. & O'Donovan B. (eds) 2014, special issue of the journal Systemic Practice and Action Research (SPAR):
Seddon, J. & O'Donovan, B. 2013 'The Achilles' heel of scale service design in Social Security administration: The case of the United Kingdom's Universal Credit', International Social Security Review 66.1, 1-23.
Zokaei, K., Seddon, J & O'Donovan, B. (eds), 2010 'Systems Thinking: From Heresy to Practice' Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.