The future will be made by us, together – Community Events Insights Pack and Recording

This Project Lift Community Digital event ran on the 2nd March 2022 as part of the Illuminating Leadership Festival.

The insights pack from the Community events is open to all and we encourage you to use this to start a conversation about caring for our colleagues in your team, community or network – see the DIY event guide in the pack and contact us at if you would like to talk this through.

About this event

Exploring what we really mean by leadership, management and everything in between – and what this means for our future.

A murmuration of starlings is a wondrous feat of collaboration, often involving tens of thousands of birds swooping and swirling across the evening sky before they settle in to their roosts for the night. There is no identifiable Leader, no C-Suite elite, not even a ceilidh caller to bring order to this dance. Rather, the birds coordinate their own actions, producing a mass display that might well be described as collaborative leadership. Together they continuously produce new patterns, innovating in democratic ways that respect and care for each other, and in every moment, they effectively create their future together through their collective improvisations.

During this event, we invited participants to swoop and swirl with us as we investigated what it might take to enact collaborative leadership in our organisations. We tried to disentangle management and leadership: the purposes they serve, the skills they require, and who exactly they involve. Whilst management is concerned with bringing order and certainty to organising, leadership involves living and thriving in conditions of uncertainty that call for creative, disruptive, and sometimes even subversive solutions.

Our Speakers

The events ran as a loose collaboration between Project LiftKaleidoscope Health and Care, and Barbara Simpson, Professor of Leadership and Organisational Dynamics at Strathclyde Business School in Glasgow, who shared her perspective.

Barbara has conducted research in sectors as diverse as science, the arts, engineering, and health and social care. Her interest is always in understanding leadership as a fundamentally creative, socially-engaged process of future-making.

Together, in an engaging and interactive session, we explored questions like:

  • What’s really different between leadership and management?
  • When do we actually see new futures come about in our organisations?
  • What could be different?

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