Services

We provide organisations with high quality defensible research to meet urgent needs without compromising rigour.

We use qualitative and quantitative research and analysis to assist organisations in solving sensitive and complex problems. These could be related to policy change or development, reform, culture change, or targeted issues such as leadership, workplace bullying and diversity and inclusion.

Where possible we leverage existing data sets within organisations, and where appropriate, augment this with benchmarking and empirical research.

Our experienced team of specialists analyse issues using different lenses and vantage points – not off the shelf models - to provide a more complete appreciation of the problem and develop solutions that are tailored to your specific context.

"Archaeology is our voyage to the past, where we discover who we were and therefore who we are."

Camille Paglia. 1999. "Mummy Dearest: Archaeology is Unfairly Maligned by Trendy Academics." Wall Street Journal, p. A26y.

How We Work

 

ORGANISATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGY

Where are we and how did we get here?

Are we asking the right questions? How did the problem manifest in the first place?

In the context of organisational research, we use the methods of archaeology: methodical digging at multiple layers, the analysis of artefacts, and questioning assumptions around values, behaviours and interactions.

The aim is to conduct the research rapidly and with academic rigour.  We utilise a number of methods to develop an understanding of your issue at multiple levels:

  • Micro – individual; lived experience

  • Meso – Senior Leaders, middle management, organisation as a whole

  • Macro – society, sector, government

 

These methods enable us to identify dependencies and disconnects, and develop a targeted strategy to implement sustainable change.

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DESIGN SOCIOLOGY

Now what?

 

The concept of design takes ‘what was’ and ‘what is’ (archaeology) and shifts to ‘what could be’.  Design involves an iterative process of problem solving that includes identifying the practices and most importantly the needs of end users, generating and testing ideas and then implementing them.

 

We build on the strengths of design-oriented approaches and the strengths of sociological enquiry to make sure that the solutions that are developed are not the (unwittingly) repackaged mistakes of the past. Many organisations have a history of reviews whose recommendations are mirrored in reviews of the same issues decades later. Without understanding the barriers to change, the most expertly facilitated design workshop will amount to little more than dejavu.  

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CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Where to from here?

How do we measure culture and evaluate change?

Rather than using a management consulting approach to organisational culture (change management, culture diagnostics…Kotters 8 steps anyone?) we use a framework of cultural anthropology.

Our approach to organisational and institutional cultures goes beyond surface level analysis (the “climate”) to examine social, historical and political contexts.

Complex organisations rarely get adequate insight from mile wide, inch deep ‘diagnostics’, rather they are highly dependent on asking the right questions {Organisational Archaeology} We use organisational ethnography to better understand barriers and enablers to change. 

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What We Deliver

What we do

We undertake rigorous multi method and multi layered explorations of the problem, issue or question in focus and work with the owner of those problems or issues to develop the best organisational response. Knowledge building is a mutual process that does not leave the building when we do. We validate findings and pilot our methods. Most importantly we make sure that the right questions are being asked, and the right issue is being examined.

What we don't do

We don’t believe in linear ‘change journey maps’ or chevrons of promise. We believe that organisational culture is complex and that understanding it requires a disciplined and grounded process.

Context + Insight

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Research and Analysis

We’ve spent  a great deal of effort in this website explaining how we do what we do, but what does that look like and What will the outcomes and benefits be?

 We deliver.

Short exploratory reports: Rapid context regarding an urgent issue or problem (4-6 weeks)

In-depth reports with recommendations: select analysis of existing data sets, complimented by targeted research if necessary (6-10 weeks)

Meta-analysis: synthesis of multiple existing data sets in your organisation to identify gaps and duplication, and insight in to trends and emerging issues. Complimented by targeted research if necessary (8-12 weeks)

 The outcomes can include-

Deep understanding of the narratives of members/employees at many levels of the organisation

Identification of imperceptible links and dependencies

Gap analysis between member/employee perceptions and practices to identify connects and disconnects

Targeted research and analysis rather than fishing expeditions 

Production of a body of data and knowledge that can be utilised time and time again

Benchmarking to similar organisations or sectors

Development of an organisational narrative to anchor change or reform objectives

Sophisticated committee and decision support briefs - we will help you to write impactfully, evidence based and convincing decision and update briefs that will authentically and honestly report findings to senior committees that will actually result in good decisions and outcomes.

 

 Design Sociology offerings-

 

Co-designing implementation prototypes - we can work with you in a co-design partnership to design small impactful implementation prototypes that either leverage the findings of our reports commissioned by you, or help you to make sense of other review recommendations  or consultancy reports that you have been given for "implementation and roll out”.

 

Build-Measure-Learn frameworks - we can work with you in co-design partnership; a Build, Measure, Learn evaluation cycle that helps you to fail fast, fail safe, fail cheap and learn fast on the way to practical and achievable success. The key is that we co-design and we won’t leave you alone to fail.

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Strategy + Policy

Reviews

Social policies and strategies

We conduct targeted reviews of existing policies and/or strategies in your organisation, identifying gaps, and making recommendations for best practice.  In addition we can assist with writing policies or strategies from the ground up to align with organisational objectives.

Workplace issues

We specialise in reviews of specific workplace issues or work areas. This could be a particular branch/directorate/division, location or ‘tribe’ in your organisation or institution. Alternatively it could be slow burning ongoing issue that is hard to articulate beyond being a “culture problem”.

 Evaluations.,

Culture evaluation frameworks

We develop and implement frameworks for evaluating culture and culture change. These are longitudinal and aim to build an evidence base for demonstrating achieving success over time. This goes beyond an excel spreadsheet of KPIs, rather it is about defining what success (and failure) looks like, developing a narrative for your cultural intent, and identifying and remediating barriers to achieving sustainable and authentic change.

Impact of initiatives

We use a mixed method approach to analyse the impact of culture/change reform efforts, either specifically or holistically.

Organisation Capability Building

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It's essential for organisations to have the skills to be able to conduct their own research and analysis on an ongoing basis to support executive decision making. We are committed to knowledge sharing and knowledge building.

 

Rapid Context develops training packages for organisations designed to:

- Teach applied research methodologies to enable your staff to critically analyse and synthesise complex or hard to find  

   data to inform decision making;

- Support your cultural change strategy implementation; and

- Support your broader organisational change objectives.

 

Rapid Context can work with your team to evaluate the success of your training in achieving your business outcomes. This evaluation includes measuring:

- Whether learners were engaged and the training was relevant;

- The level of increase in knowledge and skills; and

- Changes in observed behaviour and the impact to your business results.

 

Training in research and critical questioning

Our training packages can be tailored to the audience and time available.

Research and Analysis for Policy and Strategy Development: How to find the evidence you need

 

 Modules Include-

The importance of finding the 'right' information

How to ask the right questions

The different types of information and data available in your organisation and publicly

How to find the information you need

How to determine the quality of the information you find

How to build an evidence base

 

Research and Analysis for Policy and Strategy development: How to interpret and apply the information you find

This training package can be tailored to the audience and time available. It builds on the above package, or can be done as a stand alone.  

 Modules Include-

Critical reflection

How to analyse information to draw reliable conclusions

How to identify gaps in your research

How to present findings to inform decision making

 

 

For more information contact: info@rapidcontext.com.au

"We are concerned here with methodical digging for systematic information, not with the upturning of earth in a hunt for the bones of saints and giants or the armoury of heroes, or just plainly for treasure."

R.E. Mortimer Wheeler, 1954. | Oxford University Press,