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.

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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.

What I Now Know About Lighting Fires

The Fire Starter Festival 2017 drew to a close last month after 35 events which attracted around 1500 participants. Over the coming months we’ll reflect on the evaluations, and have many conversations about what went well, what could have been better, what inspired people, and what actions have been taken to light some small fires of change.  As the inspiration for the festival came from the Seven Steps for Lighting Small Fires of Change, I thought I would share seven things I now know about lighting fires and what it takes to light a Fire Starter Festival.

Dialogue Update

The National Dialogue Community of Practice (DCoP) met and had a productive session on the 15 November at the COSLA Conference Centre, Edinburgh. Sharon Millar, Principal Lead Organisational and Leadership Development at NHS Education for Scotland, opened the session, reviewing the DCoP journey so far and the recent evaluation carried out by Marie Laidig from Insight Expedition. See Sharon’s insights on the session below.


Our Steering Group Needs You!

At the session, we decided to form a steering group of between 8-10 members of the DCoP to keep the drive for dialogue to support people through system wide transformation of public services.

The commitment of Steering Group members would be:

  • Contribute to quarterly meetings: face-to-face, telephone or Skype (locations will suit the membership)
  • Plan and shape events on behalf of the dialogue community
  • Guide the overall direction of the different strands of DCoP activity and their contribution towards national outcomes
  • Network and connect the DCoP with other relational based networks, groups and practitioners

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…

How do you light your fire?

This is a question that seemed to dominate my holiday with my new (to me) camper van as my partner and I weaved our way through the Highlands.

Lighting fires isn’t just a lovely addition to a camping holiday, it’s a necessity to ward of the millions of midges intent of eating campers alive. However it is my favourite pastime, and one that I have been giving a lot of thought to both in terms of the practical skills needed to light fires but also metaphorically in relation to public service transformation and leadership and what it takes to create and sustain change: the underpinning aim of the Fire Starter Festival.

There were several things that occurred to me when walking around camping sites and beaches about fire starting. Everyone has their own techniques in terms of preparation – the styles of laying the foundations for fires are diverse and somewhat related to future purposes. Is it a fire that lots of people will be sitting around, or one for cooking, hence the use of flat stones or one where the stones will be used later on for warming up the inside of a tent (my own personal tip for wild camping)?  There was also a much admired technique of building a wall of slightly damp wood around the fire that both acted as a shelter and a means of drying out the wood. Neat. So, having a sense of what purposes your fire may serve is essential but also recognising that these can change over the course of an evening – keep it going to ward of midges.

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?

 

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‘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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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’.