Illuminating Leadership

Exploring the Light & Shade of Collective Leadership

28 February - 3 March 2022

About the Festival

Taking place for the first time from 28th February to 3th March 2022, Illuminating Leadership 2022 is a global online festival aiming to shed light on the benefits and opportunities, as well as challenges of collective, systems- and place-based leadership. Over the course of the four days, the festival will see a variety of self-hosted events, during which participants and hosts can reflect, share, and identify ways in which we can support people across public services and beyond to feel truly empowered, sufficiently emboldened and able to use their creativity in a way that supports real improvement.

All events are free and open to anyone with an interest in collective, systems- and place-based leadership. The festival has been co-designed and produced with partners from across public services and invites those with experience in these topics to contribute by hosting an event during the festival.

Background & Aims

It’s been ten years since the Christie Commission reported and called for more effective collaboration and leadership across public services in Scotland in order to improve outcomes for people. How have we progressed since then? 

Stephen Boyle, Auditor General for Scotland, recently shared his thoughts on this and remarks that Christie’s aspiration to put people at the heart of public services is as relevant today as it was ten years ago.  He reflects too on some of the reasons why we haven’t yet achieved Christie’s aspirations and suggests that we’re not using our collective leadership capability effectively:

“I am not convinced that public sector leaders really feel accountable for delivering change that demands different organisations work together….it’s clear that too many of them still don’t feel truly empowered or sufficiently emboldened to make the changes they think are needed to deliver Christie. Our collective appetite for risk-taking and innovation, and how we hold public sector leaders to account, also need to shift.  If every ‘failure’ results in hostile media and political scrutiny, we will never encourage creativity, entrepreneurial thinking and risk-taking in how we deliver public services…..we have to give our leaders the space, time and incentives to take managed risks.” 

– Stephen Boyle, September 2021

We will use this festival to shine a light on these issues, learn together and explore opportunities for improvement. We will use these questions to start our conversation:

  • There has been an emergence of a different type of leadership evidenced during the time of the pandemic – what have we learned from this and what does this mean for the leadership of the future?

  • Place-based approaches have grown in importance and relevance to systems change. What are the examples that illustrate working collectively with families, communities and public services and how can we use these to encourage collective leadership in other parts of the system? 
  • How do our structures and cultures support or hinder the use of our collective leadership capability?  What can we do to develop more empowering structures and cultures?

  • What does this mean for leadership development?   How can we learn and develop leadership in this context of place-based and cross-sectoral work?  Where is the light and shade in collective leadership and its development?

  •  What are the global examples that provide a different perspective and connect learning, insight and creativity?

Get Involved!

Are you interested in the aim of this festival and want to explore a topic further? Illuminating Leadership 2022 provides a platform to bring together people with an interest and experience in collective leadership practice. Together, hosts and participants can share their learnings and experiences, create and expand their knowledge, and ultimately illuminate the light and shade of collective leadership. You can take part in the festival as an attendee, or host an event yourself. 

Become an Event Host during the Festival

You can get involved in the festival by hosting an event yourself, as long as it matches the ethos and intention of the festival. In order to participate, you have to submit an event submission form, detailing what your event will be about and how it fits into the aims of the festival. 
The event submission form together with more detailed information for potential event hosts will be published on these webpages in late November 2021. In the meantime, you are invited to register for one of the information sessions for potential event hosts, which provide an overview of the festival and information on how to become a host.  

All self-hosted events during the festival will be 55 mins long, starting at the full hour. When submitting your event submission form, you will be able to see which event time slots are available. After approval by the organising team, your event will appear on the official Illuminating Leadership 2022 festival programme.

Festival Ethos

  • Free: All events are free to attend
  • Open: All events are open to everyone, no matter their background
  • Self-Organised: Events are organised & hosted by those hosting them and their partners
  • Engaging: Events have a discursive and collaborative nature, allowing a lot of time and approaches for attendees to have conversations with each other
  • Focused: A clear event focus on collective, systems- or place-based leadership, not individual leadership
  • The “Light & Shade”: Events explore challenges and failures of collective leadership as well as success and advantages

The Organising Team

The festival has been co-designed and produced with partners from across public services including: Collective Leadership for Scotland, Police Scotland, Health, Improvement Service, the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), 3rd Sector and the Scottish Government. If you would like to get in touch with the team, please contact:

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