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26 Sep 2018

Zoom call - online/phone (all welcome): 3.30pm

Prof Mary Uhl-Bien is a leading pioneer internationally in complexity thinking and practice.

She will share the results of her decade-long research program focused on uncovering the key sources and mechanisms that enable innovation, transformation and change – including in hospitals and across health systems. And also the framework now developed from these lessons for how best to support new forms of leadership for adaptability and organizational agility.

This research found that successful innovations emerge from informal/entrepreneurial networks but must be supported and developed in (temporary) ‘Adaptive’ spaces if they are to fulfil their potential for transforming formal bureaucratic organisations (like the NHS, as well as other public and private sector organisations).

Mary also shows how tools such as Labs, Liberating Structures, Design Thinking, Adaptive Salons and Summits, and Positive Deviance help us create these vital ‘Adaptive spaces’. She also found that very different styles of leadership are required for each of the three spaces – entrepreneurial, enabling and operational – to function effectively.

‘Adaptive’ spaces require a new ‘enabling leadership’ that is very different from the order-driven operational leadership most of us are used to.

Join us for what promises to be an enthralling and valuable Zoom session – with deep lessons about how we can best enable change and innovation in the NHS, and beyond.


Preparation for the Zoom
So that we can get as deeply into Mary’s approach as possible, please read this five-page article before the session: ‘Complexity Leadership Theory: Shifting from Human Capital to Social Capital‘ (People + Strategy, 2016) – open access.

If you have more time: ‘How to Catalyse Innovation in Your Organisation’ (Sloan Management Review, 2017 – open), co-authored with organisational network analysis pioneer Prof Rob Cross and others, highlights the three network roles that are key to catalysing emergent innovation.

Also recommended: ‘Complexity leadership: Enabling people and organizations for adaptability‘ appears in Organizational Dynamics (2017) – closed access.

This Zoom session is organised by the Q community’s special interest group: ‘Closing the gap: developing improvers for a complex world’: (open to all to join).

Mary Uhl-Bien is the BNSF Railway Endowed Professor of Leadership at the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University. She is an expert on complexity leadership, relational leadership, and followership. She is active in executive education nationally and internationally and has taught for the Brookings Institute and the Gallup Organization.