Government Innovation x Collective Imagination: exploring how imagination can (re)shape our centres of power

Daniel Ford
Collective Imagination Practice
6 min readMay 13, 2024

A call for collective imagination practitioners and policy lab folks to join a peer-led learning journey (‘Huddle’) to apply collective imagination in central government contexts.

In his fictional future world, Kim Stanley Robinson has called this time period of human history (2005–2060) ‘the Dithering’ — where humanity failed to act on the urgent needs of our times.

‘Stuckness’ is a word I often hear associated with government at the moment. Like there’s appetite for change but too many blockers to it actually happening.

Collective imagination is about the potential to imagine and grow different worlds together. It supports us to act on underlying paradigms or ‘imaginaries’ that hold us stuck despite our best efforts.

Collective imagination taps into a group’s creativity — building energy for change. It is a way of working that brings people together to build alternative futures in an adaptable and inclusive way. We’re seeing a wave of great imagination work at the moment, for example the recent imagination manifesto and in how Camden is being reimagined. We want to bring the power of imagination to its full potential in different contexts.

We’re looking to bring together 6 collective imagination practitioners with 6 government innovators, to learn together about how collective imagination can drive change in government contexts — and create a powerful exchange of practice and context.

This learning journey is for people interested in reimagining our centres of power. Does this sound like it might be for you? Get involved!

Practicalities

Dates: 2 kick-off sessions — then fortnightly meet-ups on Thursday mornings at 9–11am BST, from July — October

Kick-off: July 3rd 6–8pm & July 4th 9–11am

Meet-ups: July 18th | Aug 1st | Aug 15th | Aug 29th | Sept 12th | Sept 26th | Oct 10th | Oct 24th

Sharing event: Wednesday, Oct 30th 6–8pm

Location: Online (Zoom)

Time commitment: 2hr per week on average

How to apply: Fill in this short application form by June 10th (midday BST)

Open session: Find out more and ask any questions at our Open Session on Thursday 6th June at midday BST. Get free tickets to the online event and add it to your calendar: https://bit.ly/4bElKtA

Is this for me?

This is about bringing two groups together for peer exchange and applied learning.

If you are a collective imagination practitioner, this might be for you if…

  • You want to be part of writing the story of the impact of collective imagination.
  • You’re seeking more live contexts to apply your craft to.
  • You have practices, methods approaches you would like to apply in the government context.
  • You want to build your portfolio of work and network.

If you are working on government innovation, this might be for you if…

  • You work in a policy lab or government innovation service — looking to influence central government policies, practices and processes.
  • You are looking for new or different ways to drive deeper change, or sense limitations to your current ways of working.
  • You need a bit of space outside of your usual ways of working, to make new connections, expand your practice and get support through live challenges.

What will it be like?

We’ll start with a kick-off to get to know each other and set our learning intentions. Fortnightly meet-ups are combined with peer coaching to support and motivate you to apply your learnings. We’ll finish by synthesising and sharing our compounded learning about how to use collective imagination to innovate government. You’ll emerge with new knowledge, skills and connections to fuel your future work.

This is a peer learning journey in the Huddlecraft style, meaning we’ll work as a group and co-create elements as we go. But the structure we’ll use is:

  • A kickoff, where we’ll meet & explore what we’re into. This will be our chance to identify our learning intentions that can guide us.
  • Six sessions where we’ll buddy up to share content and imagination practices relating to our interests. Over the course of these, we’ll build a library of resources and ideas we can share with others too.
  • Peer coaching sessions to support and motivate you to apply your learnings.
  • And a final session offering space for reflection and to capture our compounded learning about how to use collective imagination to innovate government.

About your host

Daniel is Co-Director of Huddlecraft, an ecosystem of support for peer-to-peer learning and action. He is a facilitator & learning designer working to build our collective capacity to continually learn and adapt to changing contexts. In 2021 he hosted a Huddle on Experimental Collaboration — and prior to Huddlecraft, Daniel facilitated system change projects with Forum for the Future. He has trained in Deep Democracy and Processwork to build a practice of listening to the wisdom in the ‘no’ — and learning from the parts of our systems that we tend to marginalise.

Q&A

Does this cost money?

No, only your time and energy. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have generously provided an accessibility stipend to help those who might otherwise not apply. You can find out more about this in the application.

What support will be offered?

We are intentionally bringing collective imagination practitioners together with folks working on government innovation so that we can tap into the reciprocal learning opportunities between these two groups. This peer learning will be combined with the process guidance of your host, Daniel, and the growing collective imagination practice community will also be part of your wider support system.

Who will be teaching me?

This Huddle is not a programme that is being run for you by someone else. It is a peer-to-peer programme which means participants take on shared responsibility for success and realisation of the experience. Your hosts will guide your journey and help you to make the most of this opportunity. The more participants contribute to the collective the more value there is available to everyone.

How will you approach diversity, inclusion and accessiblity?

The hope is for this Huddle to bring together diverse voices and experiences. Not only in terms of professions or cultures, but also geographies, lived experiences, ages, histories and interests. I therefore want to welcome and support anyone with a strong intention to take part, and aim to ensure that your identity or background will not be a barrier.

Though there are some limitations (like using English as our common language, and finding a time to suit us all), it’s important this space be as inclusive and diverse as possible. In the application you are invited to share about yourself, as well as your access needs and preferences. These considerations will be incorporated into the group from the very first session, so that we can together co-create an inclusive space for all.

In addition, we hope the format of the Huddle itself will encourage diversity through the questions explored by the group. This will allow for different perspectives and priorities to be considered, and open the whole group up to seeing, discussing and understanding these crucially different perspectives. We are open to input and evolving things as we go.

I have more questions!

Get in touch with my directly at daniel@huddlecraft.com, and we can schedule a chat if needed.

I’m ready to apply

Great! Get your application in via this form by midday (BST) on June 10th.

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Daniel Ford
Collective Imagination Practice

Learning Ecosystem Lead at Huddlecraft. Lifelong learning, systems change, Deep Democracy, healthy human cultures...