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?

Igniting Inquiry: the (hidden) power of storytelling

Stories play a big part in how we make sense of our lives, our organisations, our world. They carry and shape our values; can limit or transform organisational cultures; and often shape political agendas.

 Yet many of us tend not to look that closely at the stories we tell, rehearse, ignore, or develop as acts of leadership.

– blurb from workshop brief

Why bother with a workshop on story-telling as part of the ‘Fire Starter’ Festival?


My intention with offering this workshop was to spark a conversation about ‘igniting inquiry’ through storytelling. Inquiry, for me, is shorthand for giving ourselves permission to interrupt the usual flow of ‘business as usual’ – to reflect about whether we are really heading in the direction we want; whether there might be a better way – and if so, what the story of that better way might be.

Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens: invitation to shape a big, lively conversation on March 2nd 2016

Since 2013 the Scottish Leaders Forum has sponsored an initiative called ‘Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens’.
This started with a question: ‘what is an assets approach to workforce development?’.

Dangerous Ideas and Starting fires…

‘Days of Danger’ have come to Scottish Government!

I’m sure every day, is a day of danger for someone in Government but these particular days were created to stimulate and identify ideas that could challenge our thinking and orthodoxies of working in a large organisation, such as the Scottish Government. We asked “What is your dangerous idea for the Government as an organisation that we work in?”

Why a Day of Danger? What is a Dangerous idea?

Pioneer Peer Learning Network – 30 November 2015

A major element of the Enabling Collaborative Leadership Pioneer Programme is sharing the learning from the Pioneer Sites through a Peer Learning Network which is programmed to meet three times during this year of learning.

The first Peer Learning Network meeting happened in June 2015. Our focus was hearing stories from people who helped develop the initiative. Those who came also generated lots of questions, which we grouped into themes which began to show the hot issues that many of us are eager to delve into together as we learn about ‘what works’ in collaborative leadership.

On 30th November, you are warmly invited to come along to our next Peer Learning Network, from 1.00pm – 4.30pm, at Victoria Quay, Edinburgh.

Our intention is to build on the buzz, and themes of our first gathering, in ways that welcome newcomers, share recent news and thinking. This will hopefully help us all to then delve into some of those hot or tricky issues by learning directly from the experience of people working in pioneer sites. As before, our focus will be on stories – sharing our own, hearing others, and practising story-telling as a practice of action inquiry. Expect a content and networking-rich event – sign up soon to secure your place. We will be hearing from Pioneer Sites, like the Musselburgh Total Place Project on how Enabling Collaborative Leadership has helped them so far.

The Musselburgh Total Place Project have been actively inquiring into families experiences of receiving public services. Using a variety of methods they have been considering two key questions:

– What is like to “me” in this family? What does it offer me?
– What is like to be a practitioner working with this family?

At our Enabling Collaborative Leadership Peer Learning Event on 30th November we will be hearing from members of the Board, and the Project team and the facilitators about what it’s like to be part of the Pioneer Programme and what difference this has made. By working collaboratively what ideas have emerged and what might they do differently?

This is a fantastic opportunity to hear about their learning journey and engage in conversations with peers about pioneering work in working collaboratively.

To register for the Peer Learning Network please click the button below.


Bring Yourself to Work



What does it mean to Bring Yourself to Work (BYTW)? Surely, that’s something we all do every working day?


Or is it? We may bring our bodies and our minds to work, but many of us find it difficult to truly be ourselves in the workplace. Working conditions and workplace cultures vary hugely but in the majority of work settings there are rules, implicit and explicit, that we often find ourselves conforming to that can make it difficult to be our best selves, the people we aspire to be.