Achieving purpose

British Government: Building a culture of commercial confidence

We worked with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Education (DfE) to strengthen commercial cultures and behaviours in order to improve ways of working and organisational performance.

The challenge

Commercial Departments throughout the British Government are tasked with working more effectively and efficiently in order to derive the most value for the taxpayer. With major transformation programmes underway at both DWP and DfE, we supported internal co-creation teams to define the future culture they needed to deliver success.

Commercial Directorates make life changing, budgetary decisions every single day which impact millions of lives. Having undergone huge changes, these vital teams within DWP and DfE needed to re-focus around a common understanding of their purpose and align and re-energise their approach to a consistent set of values and behaviours.

Our solution

We designed and facilitated a process for co-creation teams, representing all functions and levels, to create a culture for them, developed by them.

Step 1: Definition

In a series of highly interactive workshops, we enabled these co-creation groups to interrogate their strategy, and explore how they needed to adapt attitudes and behaviours to work in the most effective way. The resulting narratives clarified these teams’ unique contributions: ‘who we are, what we do, and what we believe in’, combined with detailed definitions of what was required to deliver the strategic changes.

Step 2: Embedding the culture

The output was shared at all-staff events, using interactive materials to give everyone the opportunity to discuss the ‘meaning for me’ and consider what they needed to do differently.

Co-creation teams became culture champions responsible for embedding the desired culture, supported by us with a suite of engagement materials from reminders to conversation guides and digital toolkits to build knowledge and understanding and drive vital conversations to make change happen.

Step 3: Reinforcement

Culture change takes time. We have continued to support these teams in reinforcing the required changes and driving their long-term commitment to doing things differently.

The outcome

‘I’ve been involved in many projects like this over the years, and I’ve always been rather sceptical. But I have to say, the work of this co-creation team has just blown me away.’

— Deputy Director, Department for Education (Commercial)

‘An engaging process, bringing together people and getting them to bond around the core values.’

‘I feel positive about the direction we are going in.’

‘This is exactly what we need, and it’s great the way our own group created it for us.’


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