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Leadership for different thinking in a hum-drum environment

Throughout 2016 to 2018 we ran a program for mid-level leaders in one of Australia's most well known healthcare businesses.

The program spanned 5 phases of development over several months per cohort, and each cohort included a cross-section of the organisation's mid-level leaders.

I was one of 4 co-designing this program with our clients; 2 senior consultants, and 2 designers.

One of the challenges we faced in designing this program was the location we held the workshops; just the usual office buildings where our client worked. This was an issue because, as per our client's request, one of the goals of our program was to help our leaders think differently... to break out of their usual ways of working to allow for more creative, strategic and out-of-the-box thinking to enter their day-to-day.

As a result we incorporated decidedly unusual interactions and artefacts into the program.

To begin with, my talented colleague developed a beautiful suite of complex graphics (some pictured above) to illustrate the participant experience and overall program goals. See a participant marveling at her graphics in the image above.

The touchpoints we incorporated into the program were many and varied: custom invitations, a digital portal, analyses and assessments, coaching calls and catch-ups, group challenges, immersion, reflection tasks, daily challenges delivered online and of course classic face-to-face workshops.

And within these face-to-face workshops we made deliberate decisions about the topics and activities we'd ask the participants to consider. For example, we included reflections based around found objects (on-brand colours, as above) and sculpture challenges (using aluminium foil). We used blank notebooks, stickers and coloured pens to encourage participants to own their notes - not just follow along a pre-made workbook.

All of these interactions were in service of breaking up the participants' usual way of working; to have them think about work differently through accessing different parts of their talents at work.

In the last year of the program I stepped up to co-facilitate parts of the cohort.

I knew the program intimately having co-designed it and adjusted with our clients as the cohorts gave us feedback.

Why include redacted images?

I think it's important to capture the realities of the experiences I design - which inevitably include sensitive information - while respecting the anonymity of those involved and safeguarding the business-relevant information shared during these experiences.

(I also like the way the visual representation reflects the vagaries of memory. There is a surreal quality to the images I find quite attractive...)

Want to know more?

Ask me about it.

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