Developing purpose

In my last post, I ended up with a working PQR definition of my research project.  The next steps are to develop that some more.  I know that by the time I publish this blog, it will look as though I have it all straight in my head but actually as I start, I am not really sure where I will end up.  I am sure this blog will take a number of iterations and revisions before I publish it – and even then it will just be the ‘latest thinking’. Continue reading

Ideas for my research project

(T847, Block One, Activity 1)

The quest for this activity is to identify particular ideas, concepts, theories, arguments, propositions, techniques, tools, case studies – in fact any material – that I have found particularly interesting in my studies to date.  An odd question because if I did not find all of it interesting I would not have got here.  Nonetheless, what is particularly engaging my interest right now?

Continue reading

Governance for health in the 21st century

The World Health Organisation (WHO) European Office commissioned a study into ‘Governance for health in the 21st century’.  The primary purpose of the study is to inform the WHO European Region’s new policy Health 2020.  It was carried out by Ilona Kickbusch who I heard speak about the early stages of the study at the WHO European Healthy City Network annual meeting (Liege, June 2011).  The final version of the study formed part of the papers at the sixty-first session of the Regional Committee for Europe and is available here.

There are a couple of reasons why this paper interests me.  Continue reading


In my last post, I touched on my emerging interest in the concept of design and touched back on the notion of the design turn that I covered in TU812 Managing systemic change.  Since then I’ve been mulling this over and still have a number of browser tabs open in relation to the short diversionary inquiry I took into ‘design’. Continue reading

If not a Project, then what?

I’ve got a feeling that this is going to be quite a long post because I have spent the last two weeks grappling in my head with something that concerns me.

I’ve never been one for Programmes and Projects – with capital ‘P’s – with all the trappings of templates and documentation and traffic light reports but recently I’ve found myself yearning for more structure and more shape to what I am doing. I’ve started to wonder if – in my wholesale rejection of Project methodologies, I have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

True it has been a bit of a extra messy time with particular big fluxes of events and issues over time.  Lots and lots of uncertainty – maybe the woolliness is getting to the point when I am lost – and if I’m lost then others around me probably are too.  I have started taking action at work to change this but I do want to explore – if not a Project, then what? Continue reading

Social learning on the sly

I’ve been a little bit quiet of late.  Can’t believe it is nearly a month since my last blog (that felt like being in the confessional!).  Part of it was a great week in Paris but mostly it was because I was v.v.v.v. busy at work…..

Yesterday, Newcastle had its second Wellbeing and Health Summit – and I had to organise it.  From head to toe – the concept, the design, the invites, supervising input of a whole team into prep work and then yesterday itself acting as a facilitator with one of my colleagues. 150 people coming together to ‘re-think wellbeing and health’ in the city. Continue reading

Elevator pitch – revisited

It was a while ago now when I wrote my post called “Elevator Pitch“.  I know it rang bells with a few of my fellow students  because the idea of the elevator pitch has come up in module forum and email exchange since.

Distracted thought process….are we yet former students or ex-students, I am not sure? Former or ex- has the built in message that you have stopped learning which seems very non-systemsy – perhaps this is like being a ‘provisional’ driver…mmm back to the point

It is raining today (no allotment  😥 and Alex busy with his French) so I found myself flicking through a recent book purchase called “Gamestorming: a playbook for innovators, rulebreakers and changemakers” (Gray et al, 2010, O’Reilly).  To my surprise I came across a ‘game’ called Elevator Pitch. Continue reading

How can I help release natural systems talent in others?

This week I have had a couple of major breakthroughs in my quest to introduce systems thinking and practice to others.  Whilst I recognise those successes – this post is not about them specifically.  I want to reflect on what I am discovering about others and the learning that they value.

The colleagues I am talking about are people who are natural systems thinkers – I listen to them try and articulate their ideas, try and scribble diagrams that demonstrate their models of what they are thinking, use their hands to draw ‘systems’ in the air.  They use the word systems and talk of whole systems approaches and systems thinking.  I just want to say “stop, listen to me for a few hours and I’ll take this natural talent you have to a whole new level.  I want to let you know of some language, ideas and tools that will release this natural talent”.  Perhaps this is how it feels to be a sporting coach spotting new talent but seeing that the athlete does not currently have the technique, disposition or awareness of how their body works to take their natural ability to Olympic standard. Continue reading

Understanding leadership

The other day I was doing a trawl through Springer’s upcoming publication lists – with hindsight I have no idea why I was and what I was hoping I would find, but a really interesting sentence caught my eye.  I want to make sure I put that sentence somewhere and do not lose track of it.  Continue reading