Life Alongside the Corona Virus in Be'er Sheva City Hall
How we led a creative, integrative, and joint thought process to formulate a new administrative toolbox and planned municipal methods of action and priorities.
עסקים קטנים בבאר שבע
יצירת מעטפת עירונית להמרצת הפעילות העסקית בקרב עסקים קטנים בעיר
Like all local authorities around the country, the Be'er Sheva municipality is contending with the ramifications of the Corona crisis that include a daily emergency routine and ever-changing ordinances by providing comprehensive solutions for various sectors of the population: senior citizens, young families, school pupils, business owners and others. Meeting the challenges of the crisis required City Hall to adjust quickly and with flexibility to the changing reality.
It has now become obvious that we are facing a new period of routine alongside the Corona virus with frequent changes in the health regulations. The i- team, together with the Strategy Department at the Be'er Sheva Municipality, have worked on advancing medium- and long-term preparations to help the municipality to continue providing good service to the city's residents.
The process aimed at assisting the municipality's different departments to update their work direction to facilitate effective management of the city under the uncertainty conditions created by the Corona crisis.
How did we do it?
Six department directors were chosen to head interdepartmental work teams made up of City Hall and subsidiary company employees.
Each team was asked to address one of the following topics: culture, leisure and sport; society and community; the business sector; planning and development; children and youth; and human resources.
The working guidelines
Creation of interdepartmental teams not subject to existing hierarchy
Each team focused on central challenges and issues
The product of the teams' discussion will be defined as action that they will be required to assimilate in departmental work plans
The work plan is limited by time
The work plan is based on learning and data combined with organizational knowledge
mindful work that considers different viewpoints
The Structure of the Process
The Structure of the Process
First meeting – Identifying the Central Issues and Challenges
The teams were asked to wear "Corona glasses" and examine the trends, changes and opportunities created during the Corona period that will generate change in the city.
The teams were then required to identify central issues that can be broken down into action on the ground. The teams worked with tools (canvases) and conducted brainstorming sessions, examined the issues, and selected 2 issues that they considered significant and applicable.
Each team received a kit with different examples of trends, opportunities and actions that have already been implemented worldwide and that relate to the area it was addressing.
At this stage, we also wanted to assess the team leaders' experience of the initiation process and of the first meeting, and we asked them to complete a short survey.
One of the team leaders wrote:
"…I really liked the diversity of the team members and the fact that the team included people from areas such as finance, human resources and of course, youth representatives".
Another wrote that:
"The human interdepartmental meeting, the structuring of the process and its focus were all very successful".
Second meeting – Formulating Scenarios and Analyzing Opportunities and Obstacles
After processing the topic and detailing its issues, the teams were asked to imagine how life would look alongside Corona when the chosen issues were successfully implemented. This stage was accompanied by an illustrator who drew a picture of the future as imagined by the team during the meeting.
The teams then analyzed the opportunities and threats that could influence efforts to advance the desired city scenario and relate to them in planning solutions for the different issues.
Third meeting – Progressing to Action
After mapping the opportunities and threats, the teams went to work and raised various ideas for solving each of the issues while relating to the relevant opportunities, threats and data gathered.
After compiling a long list of ideas, they were then required to grade them using a questionnaire that examined the ideas' degree of applicability, their influence, and the extent to which the team members liked the idea. After completing this stage, we analyzed the answers and helped the teams focus to select 3-4 central ideas.
The next stage involved in-depth examination of the selected ideas via a set of questions. For example: "What does this solution require?" (human, technological, and financial resources), "Why is this solution specifically appropriate for Be'er Sheva?", "How might the proposed solution change in time of emergency?", "What will success look like?", and others.
Once the ideas had been developed for each of the selected solutions, the teams assembled the material in a detailed presentation and plan presented to the Municipality Director-General.
The team heads led the meetings and guided the work methodology using a document of guidelines detailing the process and expected product of each meeting.
In addition, the teams made use of "canvases" – presentations that served instead of work pages for their online meetings.