Asset Based Approach

Taking an asset based approach – recognising and valuing the strengths of people and places, enabling them to build on these to overcome challenges and make the most of opportunities.

You don’t know what you need until you know what you have” – Dr John McKnight

Taking an asset based approach demands a fundamentally different mindset and relationship with our communities to that which traditional public services has taken.

Central to this new relationship is a belief and understanding that the communities and individuals we work with have potential, are resourceful and have substantial assets that they can draw on to support their aspirations; individually, organisationally and within those communities.

Asset-based practitioners have a different perspective to most other health and care professionals. Fundamentally they ask the question, “What makes us healthy?” Rather than, “What makes us ill?”

What is assets based development?

Cormac Russell gives an explanation of asset based community development.

Angela Blanchard’s TEDx talk about what can be achieved by believing in people and communities.

Why is this important?

It is worth having a look at the Marmot Review which says (amongst lots of other fascinating things):

“There needs to be a more systematic approach to engaging communities by Local Strategic Partnerships at both district and neighbourhood levels, moving beyond often routine, brief consultations to effective participation in which individuals and communities define the problems and develop community solutions.”

What actually is an asset based approach?

The Health Foundation gives a great review of the conceptual evidence and detail of recent case studies in its Head, Hands, Heart publication:

They define asset based approaches as:

  1. Reframing thinking, goals and outcomes
  2. Recognising the assets available to achieve the change
  3. Mobilising assets for a purpose
  4. Co-production of services and outcomes by professionals and citizens.

There are a few must read papers that outline the value of asset based approaches in the public sector

Who is already working like this?

Here are some examples of places already working with an asset based approach (if you believe your work should be included here just let us know!)

Demand management

Managing demand is critical to the sustainability of public services. Drawing on previous work by Collaborate and the Leadership Centre, this paper looks at some of the approaches to demand management in public services currently being practiced, their underpinning principles and where demand management could be headed next.

 The art of change making

A collection of theories, approaches, tools and techniques for understanding the complex interactions between people and organisations and how to intervene to create meaningful change. These are used by current practitioners in developing systems leadership:

More reading

So you want to find out a little bit more? These links should take you to some interesting places

Where are the conversations happening right now?

On Twitter a good place to start would be to search the #ABCD hashtag or to follow Cormac RussellJohn Wade and Angela Blanchard

On Facebook you might want to check out The Centre for Welfare Reform as a starting point.

If you have any resources that you think would be useful on here just let us know.

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