I had a great time working with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service on Friday, scoping a major new IT project with stakeholders from across the service. The staff of the service, both uniformed and civilian, are hugely committed to being the best in their field, and we ended the day with a great product largely due to their hard work.
The experience proves again that a broadly participatory approach can work extremely well in a traditionally hierarchical sector. A top-down command and control structure serves the organisation very well when the job is fighting fires or supporting the community through an emergency, but when you need broad input and buy-in from across the organisation for a new project, a participatory decision making process is exactly right. I loved bringing my group process experience to them, and seeing how well it can work with this kind of subject matter!