On being a curious generalist

AKA what to expect in this blog. I’ve never been a ‘t-shaped’ person, going deep on one area of expertise as a mechanical engineer, bomb disposal expert or accountant might*. My career hasn’t followed that path of steadily accumulating more and more knowledge and experience about a specific issue, field or context. I’ve always been […]

On developing my change framework

Over the last 18 months I’ve been exploring what we are learning about crises and change as the pandemic continues. Here’s an abbreviated run through. Early in Lockdown 1 I was trying to figure out what would have helped me, back in my local government days, track what was happening in response to Covid. And […]

On hybrid working and human nature (part 1)

Some reflections are emerging from the work I have been doing with a range of organisations over recent months. There are differences between how the leadership of an organisation and their staff are experiencing the pandemic, and these differences extend to teams and individuals. This is to be expected, of course. A number of challenges […]

On crises and change (a guide to the terrain)

In early 2021 I worked with a team at the RSA to listen to community stories of the impact of Covid-19. Our aim was to tease out some learning about the preparedness of people, communities, institutions and our wider systems to absorb the shocks precipitated by the global pandemic. Our thesis was not an original […]

On reinventing the wheel

“If you wait around long enough, the old ideas come around again presented as new ones, largely because the current civil servants weren’t around when this was tried last time”, I remember my former Director of Public Health lamenting, “after a while you realise that everything goes in cycles”. I used to look at him […]

On not rushing through transitions (part 1)

There was a moment, sitting nervously high up on the edge of the gantry from which I was to jump, when I realised I couldn’t reach the trapeze. I had to launch myself forwards, focused on the bar, and anticipate catching it, quite literally letting go of the safe and familiar to leap forward, confident(ish) […]

On dreamspace

Some things can’t be rushed. We know this. The maturation of a wine, the build of a three hour NFL game or a five day test match towards its denouement, the germination and development of ideas, the growth of a forest or the development of a child. But today’s world seems to have been gaining speed […]

On communities after Covid-19

Grafton, a small New England settlement in Vermont state, had long been home to those seeking a quiet, unintruded life characterised by low levels of government regulation and civic participation. It seemed like the perfect place to develop a community based on logic and free market principles, and that is exactly what a group of […]