NSL Blog

Participatory Leadership and transformational change in Scotland

September 21, 2013

Participatory leadership

Participatory leadership

How can we create better, much better? How we can create better functioning societies, that are regenerative, and more resilient? How can we shape the future of a country to be better prepared for a more uncertain and perhaps more challenging world?

Scotland the wise? Scotland it seems is picking up this mantel. Recently I met with Jim Mather ex-minister of Enterprise for Scotland. Jim was interested in No Straight Lines and my work (he even made a mind map of the whole book) in exploring what next and better might look like. During a very intense conversation, in which we free ranged over many of the challenges we face today, I pointed out how profound systems change can be achieved through participatory cultures and tools and that I had experienced this for myself.

The power and potential of participtory cultures

The power and potential of participatory cultures

Participatory leadership in practice: Jim, then told me that The Art of Hosting, with Toke Møller, Tim Merry, Anne Madsen, and Linda Joy Mitchell were coming to do some serious work in Scotland around these very themes. I was excited as I know Tim, and, admire the extraordinary work he does. The story of real systems change in the Nova Scotia Healthcare system enabled through Tim’s work and the process of participatory leadership is in my book – I cite it as key to understanding that one can achieve real, enduring and lasting change at scale through using participatory cultures as a design and process tool.

I understand that Jim also very kindly suggested to the AoH team that No Straight Lines could be useful for thinking systemically about innovation for society, community and the future economic foundations of Scotland. Jim also talked about Ken Cloke’s Ladder of Unity, as a methodology to deliver better to the future of Scotland.

The power and potential of participatory cultures: Those with closed minds, called participatory cultures anarchy. Those that are open see a design process that empowers people in extraordinary ways. And that this process is about in my mind two things; [1] working with the full potential of humanity (we are humans so that makes sense to me) [2] being able to use the power and potential of complexity, the networked nature of knowledge and how that knowledge is held within a collective consciousness. My view is, linear thinkers want to cut through complexity (ask KPMG), to manage it like one a line manager would, whereas non-linear thinkers and practitioners see beauty, power and potential in complexity.

The Scottish potential: Within Scotland there are a number of developments which are now offering a unique opportunity to shape the future of the country. Developments such as the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill and the Regeneration Strategy offer Scotland the opportunity – and the responsibility – to move from consumers of services to active citizens, who can play a defining role in shaping key decisions at local and national levels. A commitment to public sector reform has come with the recognition that public services need to do things differently, collaboratively, and with communities. But to achieve this aim, the institutions that have been conceived and put together for another age must undergo significant change if they are to deliver effectively for us. Meanwhile across the country, networks for change across all sectors are forming and growing, which provide alternatives as to how Scotland can thrive.

So here is the invitation from The Art of Hosting

What kind of future do we want to create for Scotland? If we are to seize the opportunities emerging in communities, businesses and organisations across the country. Now is the time to be brave and do things differently. We must explore new paths so we can achieve the fundamental changes needed to realise our potential together. Join us as we learn the art of hosting authentic conversations, at every level of Scottish society, to lead us to wiser action and real change

The purpose of this training is to:

  • Support Scotland to be in conversation with itself about its future, by offering maps, methods, mental models and personal practices for systemic change
  • Bring people together who are longing to find new ways of working collaboratively and connect up the many innovative and diverse initiatives that are already happening in Scotland
  • Move beyond ‘hero’ leadership towards participatory leadership so that everyone is part of the solution

We Aim to : Build capacity for community organisational and business leaders across Scotland to respond in innovative and collaborative ways to the increasingly complex challenges we face now, and train citizens and devision makers in hosting meaningful conversations for substantive and long lasting solutions that work for people and organisations in all sectors in Scotland

The event is hosted by: Anne Madsen, Linda Joy Mitchell, Tim Merry, Toke Moeller, and will be in Perthshire.

Registration details

  • For further information check out the website Art of Hosting Scotland
  • Or contact Pamela Galbraith 07796 110064 or mail pamelagalbraith@yahoo.co.uk
  • For registering your interest in a place contact Valerie Menelec: vmenelec@yahoo.co.uk

A video if you want to learn a little more

Journey further

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