I’ve been reading Adrienne Maree Brown’s “Emergent Strategy” and it’s been a powerful read, very different to other strategy or leadership books you can find, much more rooted in the soul and justice.

“The strength of our movement is in the strength of our relationships…Scaling up would mean going deeper, being more vulnerable and empathetic”

Being inspired by Octavia Butler, a science fiction writer, shows it can be easier to spot patterns from a completely different walk of life than reading a textbook. …

NESTA’s new report on how to make good group decisions is particularly important as we navigate working online without the body language that helps us navigate the dynamics of a group, and as we face more systemic issues of representation and ever more complex issues to tackle.

It outlines the key factors that influence group decision making. …

Sometimes, when people do focus on career development they use it as their guiding star, promotion into management or more senior layers of management.

I’m guilty of that myself. When I thinking of indicators of success for me as a manager, I instinctively think of the promotions people in my team have gained to become head of the service, or portfolio lead or programme manager.

Developing people’s leadership capability

You can also develop people’s leadership in terms of helping them develop their speciality and then lead on that. Or if they’re already specialists, helping them lead more cross-cutting areas outside of their comfort zone.

I’ve blogged before about my user manual, which describes as much my motivations & goals as my preferred working styles. It’s important when supporting people through their personal development to focus as much on their professional identity and personality as their skills.

How do you describe your professional identity?

  • Ask five different people to describe what you do well and how you work
  • Synthesise these and turn them into a statement that describes your professional identity

Then reflect in a 121 with your manager or with someone else in the team:

  • What strengths have other people noticed in you that…

3. What ways of working, skills and partners do you use to meet those needs?

In my previous post, I talked about how you develop a mission statement. You can understand what needs & opportunities you can help the people serve with, but that doesn’t yet describe what impact you’re creating for and with them. You could be any strategy/finance/human resources/engineering/frontline team.

The principles underpin how you work and the experience that the people you serve will get — this is what will excite them or at least gain their confidence.

Take Snook’s: “Human-centred, Live & agile, Open & inviting, Contextualised and Designed for impact”. …

We see mission statements and there’s always a mix between those that are very abstract and try to be all things to all people and those that are actually describing activities rather than what they are trying to achieve. Compare these two mission statements:

“We are strongly committed to our customers. Our ambition is to provide meaningful benefits to all our customers. We listen closely and align our activities to their needs. Our goal is the improvement of their overall quality of life, and being a trustworthy and reliable partner in their wellbeing”

“We want to ease the suffering of…

People thrive out of being part of a community — whether that’s their family, their friends, their neighbours, a football or quiz team they’re part of, a mutual support group for diabetics, or a campaign. It gives them a sense of purpose within a wider collective of people, be as a sister or brother, as a confidante, a makeshift plumber or as an expert on craft beer. They’re neither out on their own having to make things happen, nor are they there just to make up the numbers.

In a team, it’s the same. You need more roles than…

In his book, Rebel Ideas, Matthew Syed, outlines the need to have diverse teams. They bring varied perspectives, including and maybe, particularly when they come from very different walks of life — like an oncologist learning from a soldier’s tactics to tackle a seemingly impossible medical challenge.

That’s why I’ve loved creating ways for diverse people to come together — be it artists, campaigners and thinkers to develop festivals or creative campaigns at European Alternatives or bringing together community organisers, entrepreneurs and policymakers at U Lab or Think & Do.

Diverse teams tackle collective blindspots better. You may find working…

Councils are faced with having to reinvent themselves in times of great uncertainty. Of course, councils are more complex than these archetypes, either through choice as they are testing out different models for different contexts or transitions — zones of innovation - or because they have no choice — moving from Local Federations to A&E Zones, as sharing and trading predicated on growth no longer works as a business model, or even when they’re coming out of crisis — moving from A&E Zones to Communities in Control — like Detroit, Bologna or Lille have shown.

We focus on local councils…

People will be affected most by how people benefit from economic growth but also how well they can adapt to change. We can measure how well benefit from economic growth — i.e. salaries, cost of housing — or are negatively impacted — loss of jobs through automation or offshoring, rent increases making people downsize, etc.

We also measure people’s needs — i.e. health, education, employment, and even predict how likely they are to have an illness, become homeless or…vote.

We can correlate structural factors at both a personal level and neighbourhood level that affect their ability to take advantage of…


Head of Strategy (Communities) @camdencouncil #localgov Director @euroalter Co-founder of #systemschange & #servicedesign progs. inspired by @cescaalbanese

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