Danger Café

Last week as part of our Fire Starter Festival we convened a ‘danger café’.

What was our intention?

To convene a conversation about the need for dangerous ideas to transform public services.

Who came along?

A really good mix of people from Scottish Government, local authorities, third sector organisations and others. It was a self selecting group, so made for interesting conversations.

How did we start the discussion?

The aim of the Fire Starter Festival has been to ignite and share innovative ways of doing things in public services. How might we look at something from a new perspective? How can we become comfortable with uncertainty? How might we navigate complexity?

What happened next?

We invited the group to take part in some guided journaling around these four prompts to help them think a bit deeper before starting a discussion:

  1. What dangerous ideas do you have for public services?
  2. How can these be implemented and by whom?
  3. What part might you play?
  4. What do we need to let go of?

What did people share with the group?

We invited an open discussion for those who wanted to share what they had written.

Very much of its own volition, a discussion ignited around how to put young people more in touch with education and how to create a different learning experience in their communities.

Discussion also started around how organisational formations can exacerbate learning and keeps us working in silos. We asked: how can we recognise something more profound by working together? How do organisational boundaries function – could we see an organisation like an orchestra with symphonies, synergies? How to negotiate around boundaries? How to love the fear?  How to feel relaxed at meetings? Do we know how to have difficult conversations in a constructive way? What are the mechanisms for shifting power, to multiply power, rather than seeing it as diminishing our own power? Should we create convivialities rather than municipalities?  Is there conflict between self interest and the change people wish to make in the world? How do we help people step into the power they have? Should we focus more widely on wellbeing, engagement and inclusion? Should we ban all references to ‘impossibility’? Do people have roles or souls?

How did we finish?

We acknowledged that dangerous ideas play an important role in helping us explore some of the questions we have around transforming public services. This is part of a wider set of conversations we’re all engaged in. We invited everyone to share what they took away from the session – some people organised amongst themselves to follow up on what we’d discussed.

Keen to know more about dangerous ideas?

If you’d like to hear more about how dangerous ideas can help transform public services, or if you’d like to hold your own dangerous event, then get in touch with Karen Lawson (our chief Fire Starter) directly.

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