Relational Learning Spaces

People working effectively in complex environments need to engage in a continuous process of learning and adaptation. What worked for one person may not work for another. What worked in one place in one time may not work in other places. What worked at one time may stop working as the context changes. A continuous focus on learning is the only meaningful way to respond to this constant change.

But learning isn't straightforward. It is necessary to build trust and connectivity between people before they can effectively learn together, because if people don't feel safe, they won't share. If learning is to drive improvement, those working in complex environments must have spaces in which they can talk about mistakes and uncertainty without fear of reprisal

We work to create what we call 'relational learning spaces' for people and organisations, spaces in which people get to know one another as humans, leave their role at the door, while feeling comfortable enough to share their observations and obstacles from where they sit in the system. Here are a few of the relational learning spaces we're currently facilitating:

 
 

Gateshead Futures

COVID-19 brought massive disruptions to all our work and lives, but also provided a number of opportunities to do things differently. Organisations suddenly had to collaborate as we were all facing unprecedented challenges. Red tape and bureaucracy were reduced, as suddenly there was an enormous need to get a lot of things done very quickly.

In this environment, we set up the 'Gateshead Futures' group, a mixture of people from 30+ different organisations who wanted to get together to discuss and influence the future of the borough. The group meets fortnightly on Zoom to share, reflect and learn from one another, with each session...

Adult Social Care System Learning Group

When COVID-19 hit, Gateshead Adult Social Care knew that massive changes were afoot and wanted to make sure they had a mechanism for capturing all the learning that was taking place through the disruptions.

We set up a fortnightly 'System Learning' space where members from across the broader Adult Social Care teams could come together, share what they'd been seeing and doing, and collectively try to make sense of it all and figure out how they needed to adapt as a service.

This process led into some deep, existential questions - What is Social Care? What is...

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