Systems Leadership Programme: Leading Innovation in Systems

The Leadership Academy in partnership with Fischer Associates are launching a new leadership action research programme that applies systems thinking to exploring why and how innovations get adopted and spread.

This programme will support 20 system leaders across the South East Region in experiential learning, working together on real time regional change in primary care.  The programme will last a minimum of 6 months and will focus on identifying how system change happens and how specific conditions for change can be created and recreated to support the scale and spread of other innovation.  As a leader on this programme, you will contribute to developing a new approach to scale and spread of innovation to potentially be used across the South East region and will be expected to use this approach to a change programme in your own system.

Who is this programme for?

This programme is for senior leaders leading system transformation. It may be particularly powerful for you as a leader if you:

  • Are inquisitive and have a curiosity about how change happens and how this can be replicated
  • Want to make a difference at scale but are not sure how to achieve this
  • Have 2 or so days a month to contribute to the programme and your own learning over 6-12 months.
  • Would embrace co-creating the outcome of this programme and working with ambiguity and emergence
  • Currently work in heath /social care at a senior leadership level
  • Understand the importance of building relationships based on trust and the importance of connecting/networks
  • Are not afraid to tackle the ‘what if’ questions and delight in bringing new approaches to difficult problems that need solving
  • Work with diversity – like working with wide-ranging individuals from a range of backgrounds and sectors to help to keep an open mind and widen access to knowledge
  • Like opportunities to experiment, constantly trying and testing new ideas with an inclination towards the disruptive
  • Understand the need to put the customer at the centre of all innovation decisions,
  • Empower other employees and team members to adopt a creative and inquisitive approach to their work.

The programme approach:

The programme is focused on complex adaptive systems theory and approaches to support innovation and change to happen. Participants will be working on a live/real time transformational change programme and will form part of the change team, with a particular focus on undertaking some of the evaluation of the programme. 

The programme will include: 

  • Structured modules including knowledge, theory, models and expert advice on change theories, and evaluation techniques
  • Communities of Practice to connect, reflect and share with colleagues spreading innovation
  • Action Learning sets to reflect on how and why change is working and the conditions to enable this
  • Journaling – recording observations and insights in a systematic way
  • Real work in action fitted around your own normal working day (e.g. conversations with Practices going through change, sense making of data, working on a framework, scale and spread of the work you wish to do)

As a leader on this programme you will:

  • Gain an understanding of the different lenses through which to see innovation and how to use these to shape the conditions for innovation and change
  • Have the opportunity to participate in real time action research, working with individual practices as part of the transformational change programme
  • Actively undertake elements of evaluation activities, including observations, interviews, surveys and reflection and discovery as the data as it emerges
  • Co-create a scale and spread change approach for potential use across the South East region
  • Learn specific techniques including co-production, working with diverse voices, creating a shared purpose, sense making, framing, change principles in systems, the importance of feedback loops in systems, working with emergence, dialogic interventions, complex facilitation skills and action research evaluation skills
  • Networking and developing a peer group.
  • Understanding a different part of the system to where you usually work.
  • An enhanced theoretical knowledge around complex adaptive systems to help you to orientate yourself and your work within the health and social care bill.

Application Process:

Bookings have now closed for this programme. If you would like to be added to the waiting list, please email [email protected].


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