Doing Different – Is there an App for that?

The 9th World Urban Forum was held in Kuala Lumpur a week ago.  This is where tens of thousands of people from across the world gather to find ‘best practice’ examples and ideas that they can take back to their countries or organisations to improve their communities. Now, apart from being different from what is being done now, what commends a particular ‘best practice’ example to any individual participant?  What should?  What do you look for in a ‘best practice’ example?  (e.g. what tells you that it IS ‘best practice’?) What would it take to develop a guidance tool to quickly assess any given example, to enable you to hone in on those with the most opportunity for success?  Considering the dangers of ‘doing different’ just for difference sake, of which we spoke in the last post, I have, over the last few months, been speaking with a couple of colleagues as to how this could be done.

Where do we start?  Firstly – Know thyself!   Those of you who were caught up in the benchmarking craze some years ago, may remember how organisations would gleefully arrange meetings with ‘best practice’ organisations to see what they could glean.  And they would do this, without first taking the trouble to understand fully what they were themselves doing.  Many changes were made that lacked understanding, and caused more damage than they avoided.

A first iteration of such a guidance app, with a strong focus on understanding our own organisations and what is driving their decision making, was trialled at the Urban Forum in KL last week which established proof of concept.

We are now considering a forum for further development and testing.


Does this idea intrigue you? And would you would like to be part of its further development?   If so, please let me know in the comments section below or write me at

Next Week:  Problems with Infrastructure Decision Making.

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