It’s all about trust… isn’t it?

glass

“If you don’t know what to do, there’s actually a
chance of doing something new.” Philip Glass

“It’s basically about trust”

“What is?”

“Well, everything. Strip out the buzz words – ‘transforming public service’, ‘open government’, ‘co-production’ – it basically all boils down to building trust doesn’t it?”

“Well yes I suppose so”

“EXACTLY! Scratch the surface, every story of positive change worth its salt … has building and sustaining trust at its core – the leaders who earned it; the friends and colleagues who are sustained by it even when things get tough; the organisations that go out of their way to create the conditions for it”.

“And so…?”

“So why then do I get the feeling so many of us are confused about what it is and how to build it? Why isn’t it at the top of everyone’s job description (who works in public service)? What is getting in the way?”

“And so what are you going to do about it then…?”

“Well good point I suppose I’ll have a think”

That is pretty much a summary of a few different conversations I had at an event called ‘Shaping Scotland’ in November 2016. The event was run by the same team who run an online change course called ‘Ulab’ (see www.ulabscot.com) which thousands of people across the world do every autumn.

A week later, I saw how I could try something out.

Igniting Inquiry: the (hidden) power of storytelling

Stories play a big part in how we make sense of our lives, our organisations, our world. They carry and shape our values; can limit or transform organisational cultures; and often shape political agendas.

 Yet many of us tend not to look that closely at the stories we tell, rehearse, ignore, or develop as acts of leadership.

– blurb from workshop brief

Why bother with a workshop on story-telling as part of the ‘Fire Starter’ Festival?

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My intention with offering this workshop was to spark a conversation about ‘igniting inquiry’ through storytelling. Inquiry, for me, is shorthand for giving ourselves permission to interrupt the usual flow of ‘business as usual’ – to reflect about whether we are really heading in the direction we want; whether there might be a better way – and if so, what the story of that better way might be.

Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens: invitation to shape a big, lively conversation on March 2nd 2016

Since 2013 the Scottish Leaders Forum has sponsored an initiative called ‘Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens’.
This started with a question: ‘what is an assets approach to workforce development?’.

Co-creating the next U Lab event: notes from our first design meeting

u.lab Scotland

My take on the ‘U Lab’ U.Lab Global pic

For me, the  ‘U Lab’ (sign up at : https://www.edx.org/course/u-lab-transforming-business-society-self-mitx-15-671x) is about offering people ways to lead ‘from an emerging future’ through times of transformation and disruption, bringing to this task an ‘open mind, open heart, open will’. It’s been put together by a group from MIT in America (the same group that well known names in the world of systems change – like Peter Senge – belong to).

In a way it U Lab is a crystallization of decades of learning from social and business change movements, and it’s founded on a stark critique of our current economic, social and political thinking that Scharmer calls ‘organised irresponsibility’.

At heart, U Lab is an attempt to support and catalyse an emerging community of change makers to step up our impact by paying more attention to how we learn and create new solutions for ourselves, and…

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Getting involved in the ‘U Lab’ – massive online global course on transforming self, society and business

Following promotion by the Scottish Government and others from across Scotland who tried – and liked – their experience of a ‘U Lab’ earlier this year, many hundreds of people from Scotland have signed up to participate in the next course, which begins on September 10th.

In my role as part of a new team within Scottish Government tasked with enabling and supporting transformative change across public services and government I’ve been supporting some warm-up events. This blog gives my take on what U Lab is about, and how a wider group is now coming together to host the third and final ‘warm up’ event on 1st September in Edinburgh.

Beginnings of a book group: first session on Frederic Laloux’ Reinventing Organisations


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Last Thursday, nine of us – a mix of folk from across the third, private and public service sector – met to talk about Frederic Laloux’s book Reinventing Organisations (see www.reinventingorganisations.org).

This was the next in a few ‘ideas’ events we’ve had as part of the Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens initiative of Scottish Leaders’ Forum. I hosted the session in Victoria Quay (Edinburgh) – hoping that some of my new colleagues from Scottish Government might be able to join (and many thanks to those who found the time…).

Reconnecting with East Ayrshire Vibrant Communities team…

This blog post is a copy of one posted to the new Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens blog at https://transformingpublicservice.wordpress.com

Back in Spring 2013, two people told me, independently, that I ‘had to go and talk to Katie Kelly at East Ayrshire Council’.

I was blown away by the energy of that first conversation we had together. Katie was really embodying an ‘assets’ approach, perhaps more than anyone I’d every met working for a local authority before.

Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens: July Update

Can you help design/host events leading up to and including a big SWSC ‘Ceilidh’ in Glasgow in February 2015?

SWSC has established a pattern of regular Reference Group meetings. During our first year, these have been hosted by individual pioneer sites.

This year, we can build on this with events that more actively seek to cross-fertilise learning.

Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens: November 2013 update

This blog is one of a regular series highlighting key events and developments with the Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens initiative. Please don’t hold back in offering suggestions, feedback or other comments…

Whilst the focus of October was reaching out to generate widening interest in our work, this month has both continued this work whilst also following up –turning initial curiosity of people who have been told – or independently heard – about the initiative into participation as pioneer sites. It’s been an exciting month of meeting a great number of assets practitioners and strategists who share a commitment to shaping Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens going forward.

This post attempts to capture and share key points from many of these conversations – but first, a reflection on an event called ‘Writing our Story’ that was hosted by the Permanent Secretary in the Parliament on November 18th

Writing our Story event, November 18th

Community Assets Approaches to Workforce Development

Part of the work of the Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens initiative is sparking interest at events in our questions about how organisations can take a community assets approach to workforce development. Here’s a story of a workshop we ran at Scottish Leaders Forum event a couple of weeks ago.  

Building momentum: Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens at the Scottish Leaders Forum 3/4th October 2013

The Scottish Leaders Forum (SLF) is a forum of Chief Executive level leaders from across Scotland’s public services.  About 150 members meet regularly to collaborate on different topics. Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens began during 2012 as a result of a commitment by members of the SLF to collaborate on community assets approaches to workforce development. One year on, SWSC was invited to run workshops to share where we’ve got to so far with this work – and encourage more public service organisations to join in.