#13 week notes – week beginning 3rd February
A much needed quieter week.
Place-based systems change
I am working on a project about how to fund and support place-based systems change, and this week I spoke with a couple of organisations that are actually doing it. During the conversations, I was struck by how people constantly evolve their understanding of the place they work in, the people they work with, and the challenges they are trying to unpick. This evolution occurs as a result of exposure to different ways of thinking, by new relationships, or just sheer serendipity. It is made possible because as there is movement of ideas, projects and people around them, the organisations themselves are holding something steady in their place.
These organisations are not really influenced (in any positive way) by funding structures and requirements. One person I spoke to talked about the personal and financial costs they had taken on to make the change they believed in work. Almost all of the funders I have been talking to would struggle to fit neatly with this work. It would feel exceptional. This feels like a valuable line of inquiry.
This week I had the first of what will be monthly sessions with Renaisi’s middle managers. We talked about their role, their work, our strategy and some development challenges. We need to get better at supporting our middle managers, as a cohort, because not doing so has negative consequences for things like internal communications. I was really enthused by how the first session went and now wish we’d started this sooner!
It was our quarterly board meeting on Monday. I saw them last week for dinner, and then we had a long discussion this week about some interesting changes. I’m very grateful for their support and challenge, but often feel like the quarterly cycle is the wrong cadence. I don’t know would be right, but this feels wrong at the moment. I’m thinking about new ways to keep the conversation going without just adding to our collective workload.
Reading, listening and watching
Based on a recommendation in a podcast this week, I’ve been reading Ross Gay’s the Book of Delights. It really is rather lovely.
It was also lovely to read about Javad, who was supported by our RISE team in the Guardian last weekend.