What is in a Name?

By Janet Whitley

It can sometimes be difficult to think of the most appropriate name to describe a piece of work which is cross-cutting and complex.  My experience of working in support of change in complex systems across public services has certainly confirmed this.

I first began my work on this when I came in to the Scottish Government on a secondment in 2010 and, when the Christie Commission published its report in 2011, I was asked to lead the support of our development of Collaboration and Participation, as expressed so strongly by Christie. 

This resulted in the formation of the Collaborative Leadership Development Board, spawning workstreams on Public Service Collaborative Learning, Skilled Workers: Skilled Citizens and Employee Engagement.  There was even a Colloquim! Thislater developed with the Scottish Leaders Forum Workforce Development Group and the overarching title Workforce Scotland to describe all of the strands of work, all committed to drawing collaborative capacity across public services and co-design and delivery of development support.

A little further down the line there was a move to form a larger Division within Scottish Government which would draw together several strands of activity around development, participation and collaboration.  We thought very carefully about what the most appropriate collective description for this work was, and alighted upon Ingage, and old Scots word which means to engage with clear purpose.

From Workforce Scotland to Collective Leadership

Over time our work has continued to evolve, learning all the time about how we need to work differently to support change in public services and help to bring about better outcomes for people and communities.

Change is part of life and a big part of our work, but changing our name quite so often is probably not helpful! 

With a significant growth in interest in our work on Collective Leadership and a strong recognition that this approach is one of the key components in addressing the complex challenges we all face, we have now confirmed our new name as Collective Leadership for Scotland.  This should now replace all of our previous names, and incorporates work on:

  • Building our Capacity for Collective Leadership
  • Growing our Ability to Work in Complex Systems
  • Sparking Creativity and Innovation
  • Connecting the System to More of Itself
  • Working out Loud and Sharing our Story.

We are a collaborative partnership which reaches right across public services, with a small core team based within Scottish Government, currently comprised of:

  • Janet Whitley, Collective Leadership Team Lead
  • Karen Lawson, Collaborative Learning Lead and Chief Fire-Starter
  • Keira Oliver, Collective Leadership Research and Evaluation Lead & u.lab Scotland
  • Dot McLaughlin, Collective Leadership Programme Manager
  • Verena Albrecht, Communications, Engagement and Events Manager
  • Silje Graffer, Communications and Fire Starter Development Officer
  • Conor James, Collective Leadership Administrator

We would love to hear from you if you are interested in finding out more about our work. 

Contact us at:

Twitter: @CollectiveScot

Email: collectiveleadership@gov.scot

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