On the archer’s connection

I feel the ground under the soles of my feet, solid and – at my scale of time – permanent. I lift my gaze slowly, the crown of my head rising up, imperceptably to others, obviously to me. My spine straightens as the vertibrae align and I stand taller, straighter, stronger. My eyes remain unfocused, […]

On the need for mainstream investment in our communities

Supporting our communities: time to move from false-competition to needs-based investment The winners of the new Community Renewal Fund, the precursor to the post-Brexit Shared Prosperity Fund, were recently announced. What does this tell us about the Government’s approach to investing in our communities and the desire for ‘levelling up’ across the UK, and what […]

On understanding performance

How can the framework that I developed in order to help track and respond to the changes precipitated by crisis offer a new way to think about how we track individual goals and performance? I had practiced my archery as much as I could during the winter months. I was fitter than ever, I had […]

On the wisdom of Mavericks

As we turn our minds to the work that will be needed following the global pandemic of Covid-19, the challenges that confront society remain significant: from preventing the climate crisis to tackling racial justice, improving mental health to ending poverty. We need new ways of thinking and acting in the world. What can we learn […]

On comfort zones and expectations

The Arizona Cardinals, the Americal Football team I support, are the best team in the National Football League at the mid-point of the season, having only lost one game by the narrowest of margins. The 2018 team were, by contrast, historically bad in virtually every statistical category, winning barely three games and ending up with […]

On convening across systems

One of the stranger performance measures that local government used to have to report to Whitehall in the early 2000s was on rough sleeping. Periodically officers would be required to undertake a survey, literally walking or driving around and counting the numbers of people they found. To what end were we collecting and reporting this […]

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 […]