Ross Colliver’s business has been through various incarnations since he formed The Training and Development Group in the mid 1980s. I has kept the name and the practice as others have come and gone. Here’s the broad brushstrokes of my career trajectory; you’ll find specifics in the Projects sections of Strategy/Engagement/Knowledge.
In 1975, I graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work degree, and dived straight into interpersonal skills development with professional staff and community groups. I started my private practice in 1980, facilitating training in goal setting, giving feedback, teamwork and team leadership, assertiveness, stress management, job analysis, coaching and supervision. With the competency wave, I broadened my scope to competency analysis, design of skill development programs for organisations, and training for trainers, specialising in training methods for teaching person-to-person skills. I worked across the public service, and in the banking and mining sectors.
1985-1995, I became interested in organisational development, first in performance management systems that linked operational goals to work team and individual goals, then in team and manager development as avenues to strengthen intelligence in an enterprise.
1995-2005, I designed and facilitated strategic planning workshops at business unit and senior management levels of government agencies in WA. My training work used peer learning groups to drive personal and organisational change. I also moved out to the boundary of public sector organisations, facilitating interaction and decision making at the interface between government, industry and the community. How could people work out their shared goals and negotiate how best to achieve them? The new digital technologies looked interesting, and I combined these with action learning processes to support innovation in services.
2005 – to now… Strategy, engagement and knowledge weave together to support intelligent enterprise. In 2005, I set off on PhD research, with the dissertation was signed off in October 2011. In 2008, I moved to Victoria. I’m integrating what the thinking triggered by the PhD, with three interests are emerging:
- institutional entrepreneurs—those people who break through limiting boundaries between policy areas and between policy and management, to scale up and scale out program innovations. They challenge deeply embedded assumptions about problems and solutions, they innovate the very forms of governance through which we make decisions and take action for the common good. Let’s support them;
- connecting public opinion on government services (articulating this amongst users/consumers/citizens) to agencies responsible for those services, and building that feedback loop into assessment of and redesign of service;
- wider-than-local processes of conversation, learning and organising in communities of practice across organisations. My experimental ground here is community landcare, a self-organising movement of autonomous local groups and landscape scale networks. As a network form of social organisation, Landcare sits in a problematic but creative relationship with the familiar heirachical forms of government agencies. What supports learning across networks? I’m learning a lot.