Exploring Collective Leadership

“Transforming systems is ultimately about transforming relationships among people who shape those systems”

Peter Senge

We know that we face a number of complex, wicked issues in Scotland, such as poverty, an aging population and climate change, and we know that no single organisation or agency will be able to tackle these alone. We understand that we must work collaboratively to affect change, and that this work is often complex, messy, unpredictable, and can be difficult to achieve. We know that creating the time and space to work collectively can be challenging. The day to day work can override our best intentions, and we can get stuck in our traditional habits and ways of thinking and doing.CL 2

In response to this identified need, Workforce Scotland has launched a Collective Leadership offer, building on our established Pioneering Collaborative Leadership programme. Collective Leadership is offered to cross organisational groups who are grappling with a complex issue and are open to learning and doing things differently. This offer includes:

  • Skilled facilitation to work with the group of leaders
  • Individual and team coaching
  • Opportunities to develop and share learning

We have been running a few information (taster) sessions about Collective Leadership so we can engage more widely with those interested in collectively tackling ‘wicked issues’ in public services. We’ve had lots of interest from a diverse range of colleagues: those in leadership roles grappling with very complex issues; those interested in how we can develop the facilitation capacity which is central to the Collective Leadership Offer; and those interested in our burgeoning faculty – who will help us develop a systemic model of learning and evaluation.

CL 1

To get a flavour of what it’s like to be involved in this collective leadership work, we have modelled our approach through weaving in the theory with the practice. At our information and taster sessions we invite participants to:

 

  • use the theories and concepts to critically evaluate whether they are trying to address a complex rather than complicated issue;
  • try out formulating strategic questions which help us develop a sense of inquiry into their complex or ‘wicked’ issue;
  • think about who is part of the collective leadership around this challenge?

Our sessions are planned for a couple of hours but we have found that the interest in the work means that we are often staying on a little bit longer, exploring opportunities and next steps.

If you are interested in finding out more about this Collective Leadership Offer, please join us at one of our upcoming taster sessions:

21 May Glasgow – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/collective-leadership-may-taster-

session-tickets-45019636946

20 September Dundee  – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/collective-leadership-september-taster-session-tickets-45193241201

The Silent Launch – First Speaker Announced!

The first of our series of speakers at The Silent Launch has been revealed! We are proud to announce that we will be joined by Jo Horton, Program Manager at Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program & Director of Go Jo.

Jholtan

Currently the Program Manager of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at The University of Edinburgh, she is also the Director of Go Jo and Cofounder of Penny in Yo’ Pants, CycleHack, TEDxPortobello, TEDxUniversityofEdinburgh, and Tbilisi’s first ever Race for the Cure. She is also on the board of Tribe Porty and Edinburgh Tool Library.

Johanna has spent over 15 years creating cultures, programmes, and experiences that are rooted in values.  She has worked all over the world and across numerous sectors including higher education, international development, active transport, sports & culture, and design.

If you would like to hear Jo, and our brilliant line up of speakers, join us for The Silent Launch on 29 January 2018 by registering now.

Breakfast Club – new Edinburgh dates added!

We have new dates in the diary right through to 2018 for our Edinburgh Breakfast Club! We meet on the second Wednesday of every month at the Starbucks, Leith Street in Edinburgh – though we are open to recommendations of any good central Edinburgh cafes and coffee shops that can accommodate our lively conversations!

The breakfast club is open to anyone who sees them self as a ‘mischief maker’. Do you like to try new things at work? Do you like to question process to make improvements? Do you try and bring more fun and creativity into what you do? Or do you just want to meet people who are doing this and more at work?

Then the breakfast club is for you!

Topics for discussions range widely – they are always dependant on who turns up and what has sparked their interest and imagination that day! No matter the topic the conversations are always engaging, interesting and insightful. The breakfast club has given us all a great opportunity to expand our networks and our horizons –  whether we are regulars or just occasional visitors.‎ When times are hard and we are all feeling a range of pressures at work, it’s empowering to meet with others in similar roles and situations to share our experiences and stories.

The breakfast club will be meeting at , on the following dates‎ – follow @Workforce_scot for regular updates:

  • 14 June 2017 – 8.30 – 10 am
  • 12 July 2017 – 8.30 – 10 am
  • 9 August  2017 – 8.30 – 10 am
  • 13 September  2017 – 8.30 – 10 am
  • 11 October 2017 – 8.30 – 10 am
  • 8 November  2017 – 8.30 – 10 am
  • 13 December  2017 – 8.30 – 10 am
  • 10 January 2018 – 8.30 – 10 am
  • 14 February 2018 – 8.30 – 10 am

 

We’re also looking to set up a Glasgow Breakfast Club. If you might be interested in helping us get it started, email info@workforcescotland.com.

A festival of fire and ice

As winter arrives, many of us are drawn to the magic of making fires. Personally I love this time of year. There is something about the stark beauty of the landscape, stripped back and illuminated by winter sun, with breath taking glistening frost. It feels elemental in the way that fire, light and dark play with our senses, providing an opportunity to take stock, reflect, let go and prepare for what emerges in the new year.

The upcoming Fire Starter Festival  provides an opportunity for us to share what we personally and collectively what we want to leave behind, and share some of the small fires of change we have ignited. And given that we are holding it in the last week in January (23rd – 30th) there is a strong chance of snow and ice as well as all of our fires! fire-snow

Already we have fourteen events open for registration, with the same number almost ready to be ignited. It’s wonderful to see the energy and enthusiasm of so many colleagues across public services, evidencing a paradigm shift in how we collectively share ideas, resources, and reimagine the future of public services in Scotland.

Here’s a small sample of what’s on offer but please do check out the Eventbrite Page and watch as the small fires of change emerge over the next few weeks.

Why host a Fire Starter event?

As you may now know, between 23rd and 30th January 2017, Workforce Scotland will be hosting and supporting the Fire Starter Festival, a week-long festival of collaborative learning events, illuminating creative, disruptive and innovative ways in which we can all transform ourselves, our organisations and the wider system.

 

fire-starter-poster-1We are now just over two months away from the launch of Fire Starter Festival and events are constantly being added to our EventBrite page. Look out for a newsletter in early December to formally launch the festival programme!

 

Over the last few months, we’ve been out and about, speaking to lots of different individuals, groups and organisations who have expressed an interest in hosting an event during the Fire Starter Festival.

 

If you are still on the fence about hosting your own event, maybe we can convince you to join in…

Workforce Scotland Newsletter – Fire Starter Festival

The latest Workforce Scotland Newsletter is now out! Click here to sign up for the newsletter, or read below to catch up on all our latest events and offerings.

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Fire Starter Festival 23 – 30 January 2017

Between 23rd and 30th January 2017, Workforce Scotland will be hosting and supporting the Fire Starter Festival, a week-long festival of collaborative learning events, illuminating creative, disruptive and innovative ways in which we can all transform ourselves, our organisations and the wider system.

fire picThe First Minister has provided a clear commitment to empowering individuals and communities to become involved in designing public services. Many people across Scotland are currently lighting their own small fires by exploring genuine, participatory methods of engagement, creating innovative and transformative changes.

 

The Revolution will be improvised

Recently the stewardship of the Workforce Scotland work streams transferred to the Ingage Team at Scottish Government, and along with it my role as Programme Manager for the Enabling Collaborative Leadership Pioneer Programme and Chief Fire Starter for the Fire Starter Festival.

Now seemed a good time to share a bit of what we are learning on this journey into collaboration, co-design and co-production, and highlight a couple of upcoming events that have grown out of that learning.

What is abundantly clear is that we are all  working in a rapidly changing and complex landscape.  A revolution in public service is underway, but  is there more of a sense of improvisation rather than a well-orchestrated dismantle or restructure?

 

improvisation 3

‘Beyond U.Lab’ – a Firestarter Festival event

u.lab Scotland

“A day of exploration and discovery around U lab and a conversation about what next.”

I’m writing this from the point of view of a local Hub host, who wondered about follow through and how to help this, locally, then found himself part of a self-organising team tackling one of the main Firestarter Festival events, and then found himself being MC for the afternoon(!).

All good, though a few reflections prompted, along the way, which hopefully it may be useful to share.

At the TribePorty hub in Portobello, we had been thinking about what to do after the course finished; early in December, we had organised an unconference session for collaborative discussion of participants ideas for prototypes. The timing of the Firestarter week felt just right, in terms of picking up again after the festive break.

I had kept in touch with Karen about the Firestarter Festival generally and about…

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What tools does a Fire Starter need?

Day 5 of the Fire Starter Festival was an opportunity for colleagues from across public services to come together and try out some of our Workforce Scotland tools. Janet Whitley, Ingage Division lead, blogs for us about two of those tools: the Enabling Collaborative Leadership Pioneer Programme and the Dialogue Community of Practice.

 

We began with a taster of the Enabling Collaborative Leadership Pioneer Programme, which is an offer to work with collaborative teams (‘Pioneer Sites’) across public services on real work issues where there is a need to find different kinds of solutions to complex challenges. The approach is built around a core model of action inquiry, supported through a team of facilitators and a shared commitment to learning as we go.

For me, hearing some of the stories from the collaborative teams that we have been working with really brings the programme to life. This approach has made a real difference to how they have worked and the outcomes they have achieved.

Colleagues from the Musselburgh Pioneer Site shared some of their experience of working with families who were intensive users of multiple services, beginning with the questions: “What is it like to be in this family?” and “What is it like to be me as a practitioner working with this family?” This approach has really changed how they’re thinking about this work.

Performance Bonfire

“Performance management feels like something that is done to us – with no benefit for us”

We need the courage to create, permission to innovate and feel like it is ok to fail – above all reward curiosity.”

Chris Bruce, from the Joint Improvement Team, blogs for us about our the first event of the Fire Starter Festival, a ‘Performance Bonfire’, which arose out of a feeling that we need to show what could work as a ‘Scottish Approach to ‘performance’.