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Positive disruption to harness the hidden talent in your workforce and local community.

On the 6th July, in collaboration with AQuA and MIAA, we welcomed leaders from across the North West to explore high level, positive change at scale together.

Guest speaker and global thought leader Jeremy Scrivens, Director of the Emotional Economy at Work, describes himself as an ‘Appreciative Futurist’. He deploys strength-based approaches to equip organisations and businesses to build positive cultures. His Summit and Social rooms achieve high engagement and authentic collaboration and innovation at scale.

Watch the event film

To begin, he shared his story; a working life studying problems. In a problem solving mind-set we are used to fixing things and naturally thinking that is what needs to happen. If we require innovation, start with a positive topic. Then the focus becomes one of amplifying strengths. Jeremy realised he needed to shift his thinking to focus on the positive, taking a two-year journey to develop his world view to an appreciative approach.

Focusing on the NHS and social care, he challenged the audience to consider that people’s lives are at stake. Stating that they were at this event because they care about the future, caring requires a different kind of conversation and a shift from managing parts to wholeness. He argued that getting the whole system in the room and adopting strength-based collaboration at scale is what will make a difference. He explained: “For too long we have used the language of fixing and problem solving but the more you break things down the more you isolate the human spirit. The use of appreciative inquiry changes this because it focuses us on what is working!” He posed the question, are your systems in place to stop what is bad or to strengthen what is good?

Jeremy then asked the audience to take the positive core of the NHS and consider, if we were to re-organise a different way of doing health what would it look like? He argued that we need to start by celebrating the tools and resources available so we can engage a powerful community to help redesign healthcare. The future of the NHS in the North West then becomes a social movement.

Conversation 1:  Reframing the problem

Our first conversation focused on a reframing of problems that are grounded in a positive core, exploring a range of statements including:

Our staff turnover rate is high. We need to conduct more exit interviews to find out why people are leaving vs Tell me a time when you have been most engaged?

We are losing our patients who are waiting a long time to see a doctor but we have to make money as a practice vs What is it that our patients love about the practice and how can we do more of it? and When do our patients get to see the doctor of their choice and we still make money as a practice?

The summit room is about co-creation from the beginning to design what is possible. Changing the conversation to co-create the future of health and social care. When you do this, Jeremy believes the workforce is engaged because their life force is switched on and systems are then constructed by the imaginations of people that create them – the more people that create the system the better that is. In his experience half the people in the summit room will be into disruption and half will be into continuity. You then get positive disruption as you enable people who favour continuity to take the past with them into the future.

He then challenged the audience again. What if we were to take the positive core of the NHS in the North West and take the best of what we do and bring the experience and re-build a whole new NHS that will revolutionise the system to grow in the summit room:

Conversation 2: Discover the best of our collaboration to date

The second conversation was about discovering the best of our collaboration to date.

Jeremy helped the audience understand the difference between leader as hero and leader as host and the shift that was needed to host a new conversation and open up the barriers to engage.

Leader as hero believes they have the vision and the answers.

Leader as host understands that the answer is in the room. The role of the host leader is to collaborate with others to develop the affirmative idea for the summit and then invite co-creation with equality of contribution and involvement from people who are traditionally silent. Effort needs to go into building relationships and develop the courage to question the status quo. Expertise is needed in facilitating the conversation, building the trust and valuing stories.

The take away here is that our role is to not be experts in the summit and social rooms but to be hosts, as collaboration at scale in the summit room enables people to see the whole picture as equal players. The strengths of the summit room are:

  • People support what they create
  • People act responsibly when they care
  • Conversation is the way human beings have always thought
  • Focus on what works and why it works
  • The wisdom resides in our work together
  • We look for what gives life and we need more stories of what works.
  • We focus on story telling.

Conversation 3: Imagine our future - Collaboration at scale in the NW Summit and Social rooms?

Jeremy asked everyone to imagine it is 2020 and we are seeing an extraordinary release of talent in our workforce and local communities engaged in working together to improve health outcomes. The story shares great outcomes in improvements in health across the NW. We used to talk in the NW community about doing more with less, but now there is a sense of abundance and possibility because we are doing more with more by bringing more strengths ‘on-line.’


In groups he asked the audience to imagine a story being shared by one of our workforce members. What is the story? What is happening? What new collaborations are happening? What positive outcomes are being shared together by the positive act of coming forward?

You will get better outcomes than you have ever had before when you get the summit and social rooms working well.

The following quotes were captured from the audience in their feedback:

 ‘I realise how negative I have become over the last 6 months.  I have had years of conditioning about how we should be and now I want to change this. I believe one person can make a difference in their community and this has to be built in collaboration with others through host leadership.’

‘For the past 8 years of my life I have been ticking boxes. I want to from today change this I want to start a social room about stopping ticking boxes and starting making a difference.’

‘We have outsourced from communities our abilities to be communities. Imagine if we collaborated together how many resources would be freed up. Imagine if we shared things!’

Conversation 4: Designing our first summit room supported by the social room

Jeremy challenged us to move into the social room and to become a social native and learn how to play on social media. He asked us:

  • If you were to collaborate at scale on social media what would that look like?
  • How do you start a movement?
  • How will it work for you to be safe and play well?

To help us start our social room he described how to play to our strengths by tapping into our personal passions and using the 5C’s.

Creating: craft content you are passionate about adding to thought leadership about what you believe

Curating: find and organise content for others to find, use and enjoy ‘ I want to share this great blog and these are the reasons I am sharing it..’

Connecting: connect with people who believe what you believe about the world and who are authentic like you. Thanks everyone who likes, comments or shares content, thanks them, look to share their content and review for potential collaboration

Culture: be positive, courteous and respectful and edify and light up what is good but still challenge respectfully what you see is wrong.

Community: actively and intentionally follow up to connect with others and establish relationships. Start up or join networks or communities as an active member, creator or curator.


Join us next time at our upcoming masterclasses, find out more.

To explore what else is coming up in the North West, go to What's On.

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