Opportunity Costing

The Opportunity Costing Programme was created by Professor Nick Rich, drawing on the field of Operations Research; Sion Charles, providing the translation into Organisational Development; and Matt Wyatt, applying the concepts into everyday practice. All of which combines to provide an insightful and participative setting, within which to increase your capacity and capability to deliver sustainable change.

In response to service led demand for a way of demonstrating value for money, the team developed a means of designing, evaluating and costing service change ideas. In practice, this is a costing benefits workshop that was originally developed and delivered for NHS Teams and their partner organisations.

In a nutshell, everything in the mindmap above is covered, albeit that our primary focus is on opportunity costs.  These are costs that fall around the margins of work and resource usage where more effective, efficient or less wasteful processes can be developed to streamline services or smooth flow.  In other words, these may not be hard cash savings but similarly they are not fanciful guestimates. They are real opportunities to make better use of resources to achieve more.

Most of the Opportunity Costing Programme is delivered through tailored workshops, bringing together diverse groups of people who do the work, to work on the work they do. The sessions are fun and participative, learning to use the tools in real time and presenting their work to each other, at key stages. The sessions conclude by calculating the Opportunity Cost that resides within each improvement idea, so although the sessions are very busy and creative, they follow a tried and tested structure.

Step 1: Setting the Scope – Groundwork & Engagement

  • This is arguably the most important step.  It includes identifying and involving all the stakeholders to make sure that you have all the expert knowledge you need as well as securing buy-in.
  • This is an iterative step that you may return to several times to ensure that the service or process under review is clearly defined and understood.
  • It is set from the perspective of the user of the service or process – commonly, the patient or customer.

Step 2: Drawing Flow – Sharing & Mapping

  • Swim Lane Mapping
  • Develop pan stakeholder engagement, consensus and understanding

Step 3: Analysing Flow – Tools & Techniques

  • Access a range of tools and techniques to analyse the flow and inform your new process
  • Structuring the concepts, methods and tools into a manageable project plan

Step 4: Redesign Flow – Critique & Cost

  • Develop a new flow – consider alternatives and different ways of working
  • Cost the Existing Flow, cost the New Flow and work out the difference to explain the improvement in financial terms

Participants leave the room with everything they need to progress a strong business case for investment, but best of all, the know how to implement their ideas without one. We also provide ongoing support to the project teams and encourage participants to cascade the learning and deliver their own workshops locally.

So far over 500 people have taken part and the aggregate savings, from over 90 presented projects has exceeded £8,500,000 – and those are just the ones we know about. Copies of the various materials, tools, techniques and references are all provided in the workshop and further digital copies are available to participants on request:

  • Programme Workbook
  • Large Scale Swimlane Maps
  • A3 Project Planning Template
  • Opportunity Calculator
  • Full Slide Set & Notebook

If you’d like to know more, simply get in touch…


Opportunity Costing © Wyatt, Charles & Rich 2012: Weblink: Opportunity Costing

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