Aims of the Festival

The Emporium of Dangerous Ideas aims to re-establish the importance of dangerous ideas as agents of change in education – to shift the axis of what is possible! It is for everyone who is passionate about education including college, university, school staff and students as well as those engaged in education throughout the creative communities.

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Monday, 17 June 2013

Dangerous Leadership for Dangerous Times

There were many dangerous ideas proposed at our day on dangerous leadership.  A common theme was around  self-awareness, values and behaviour. Jane Gray Chief Executive at Ark Housing talked very honestly and reflectively about her journey as a leader, from knowing what the theory said to a realisation that she didn't always really listen to staff , didn't always really help them unpick their ideas and that if she changed her own behaviours it would develop leadership across the organisation. Once she had worked with a coach to develop her listening skills, leadership and creativity have thrived and the organisation has been awarded a gold IIP award, with recognition that they are among a handful of the best performing organisations in Scotland.  

The central focus on changing your own behaviour, through the use of coaching,  to achieve desired results,  was prominent in all activity on the day, especially in the forum theatre led by Elinor Vettranino which emphasised that we can't change others' behaviour, only our own. 

Zara Kitson and Susan Pettie from' So Say Scotland' passionately about 'thinking together' and how to create a social movement where leadership is truly dispersed and everyone has a voice. Like all our speakers they challenged the notion that we have to wait to be led - if you want change what are you going to do about it?  Their values based approach could be used to great effect with both staff and students to determine what are the key values that underpin our practice and what behaviours do we want to see in our colleges and communities. 

Kish Srinivasan, Regional Lead for Dundee and Angus College gave a fantastic presentation that challenged the role of the charasmatic leader and the need for leadership throughout the college. Some of his key messages stemmed from his vision for future leadership:

*While regional boards, college principals and other traditional sources of authority will retain ultimate authority and accountability, autocratic leadership will be of limited effectiveness and unlikely to provide sustainable long-term benefits. 
*Leadership approaches which work best will ensure that decisions are reached based on shared values, because staff are more likely to buy in to what is planned subsequently.

*Leadership models must provide an environment which encourages initiative, enterprise and innovation

This was an exciting day, rounded off with cohort 1 of the Emerging Leaders course pitching their dangerous ideas for education to cohort 2 and leaders from the college sector. 

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