Innovation – It’s in our DNA

Nov 2, 2022

John Jarvis, Chief Operating Officer at the Leadership Centre, shares in his latest blog the opportunity to join us as we create a new space for radical thinking and action.

John Jarvis

From pioneering place-based public services in ‘Total Place’ to leading the development of systemic leadership practice, the Leadership Centre has always striven to be creative and forward looking; it’s in our DNA.

We have always sought to work with people who want to interrogate convention, and edge into more uncomfortable developmental spaces. And we are fortunate to have a large, diverse collaborative network which enables this.

We are now aiming to take this even further! Our motivation is multi-faceted:

With the current global and national situations impacting local outcomes for communities, we need to grow change approaches that work with systemic ideas, grounded in an understanding of complexity, adaptation, ecological thinking and social systems theory. We need practices and frameworks that help us harness the local histories and loyalties of our communities, the assets and resources available, and the unique identity of each and every place.

We hear from our alumni, partners and clients the difficulty of creating the future whilst dealing with the onslaught of immediate pressures. There remain long standing challenges to address and new ones emerging – and it’s clear that using existing solutions in the face of persistent challenges isn’t working, so we need to develop new ones. The reality is that the nature of many of these leadership challenges require us to have cross professional, sector, and geographic conversations to generate new insights and action.

We are acutely aware of the importance of maintaining an experimental mindset in tackling the most intractable issues. Valuable innovations still fail – so how do we overcome the common traps of change and turn new thinking into practical action? Sensing an imperative to act, The Leadership Centre has committed to a creating a collaborative missions-based platform for experimentation and enquiry.

Don’t worry – this doesn’t mean we’ll go into a darkened room for 6 months and reappear with whizzy but totally impractical ideas. Quite the opposite. Together we will shape the missions and enquiries you sense are crucial to tackling the symptoms we see today, from the cost-of-living crisis to homelessness and obesity. Suggestions we have already received include exploring; the future of place-based leadership; developing cultural competence; initiating local green growth; shaping the next iteration of corporate social responsibility.

The platform for exploring these issues will be co-created with you, informed by processes of nurturing ecosystems of social innovation, so each enquiry will look a little different but they will have at their core some key characteristics:

  • Permeable – convening and navigating interfaces between local, regional and national; across sectors, professions and industries.
  • Action orientated – we want to experiment and learn by doing, developing leadership and problem-solving capacities by focussing on challenges of importance to our communities.
  • Future focussed – identifying and creating the enabling environments that need to be put in place if social innovations are to achieve their ultimate ambition of systemic change.
  • Disruptive – developing ways to infect and spread what we learn to nurture wider wisdom and change.
  • Leadership practice orientated – evolving next practice, going beyond the frameworks of what we know.

And we want you to be a part of it!

Do you have,

…the desire to contribute to an enquiry…

…a big social or leadership question you’re wrestling with…

…a wish to effect change yourself or to create the conditions where change can happen…

… a radical idea that you wish you could get some input on…

… or funding for a strategic ambition but no way of realising it?

Then get in touch. We are now looking to connect with people like you who want to join us to create a space for radical thinking and action.



Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from the Leadership Centre

Thank you for signing up to receive our newseltter