Exploring Future Leadership: Our first ever Global Online Workshop

It’s been three weeks since the One Team Gov global online workshop (since then, we’ve needed lots of rest!) This post brings together the resources, slide decks, and videos in one handy place for you

Nour Sidawi


Part of a set of notes by spydergrrl. It says “Leadership of self, Duncan Young.” and has a venn diagram with two circles saying “Who you can be at work”, and “Everything that makes you special”. In the middle it says “Where the magic happens”

In government, we’re always talking about how we are transforming. We’ve finally moved on from the idea of digital transformation to the one we’re really doing, which is transforming the public service from a legislation/policy centred thing to a human/system centred approach.

We ask ourselves, “what is the user need?” think about the people we serve, and encourage our staff to think of themselves as users of the technology or processes that are (often) imposed on them by their organisations.

But who leads all of this?

You do. We do. In the first workshop, Pia Andrews said: ‘everyone is a leader’

The real question is, who do we need our leaders to be in the future? Or for the multiple futures that we can imagine now, the plural, varying future directions that we may head.

It’s for this reason we started putting together this workshop.

We brought leaders together in an online space who might not otherwise have the opportunity to connect. We reached people who might not generally be able to attend workshops in-person, because those workshops were taking place in London, Canberra, or Ottawa.

We believe that leadership is often about creating safe spaces for people to have conversations that address possibilities, enabling people to have the conversations that they believe are important, and to start imagining how to create the change they want to see.

We’re here to say…you’re not alone. We’re here to explore what a leadership of the future looks like, together.

Another snippet from spydergrrl’s notes, it reads “Be the knowledge, be the domain — remove the Ego”

Global Futures Leadership Workshop— The Pilot

Before we kicked off the workshops we held a pilot to test our ideas and plans. This was all about failing fast and learning. We used it to check the technology and to explore leading in innovative, risky spaces.

Janna McCann, General Manager of the Public Sector Innovation Network in the Department of Innovation, Industry, and Science, Australian Government helped us in this session to explore how to be innovative.

The slides from the pilot can be found here:

The themes we explored with Janna were:

  • Uncertainty vs risk
  • Taking a systems lens
  • Leading for an experimental de-risking culture.

It worked — the technology we used in the pilot workshop wasn’t fabulous, though. With Janna, we learned about how to run the sessions better, ready for the trio of February workshops.

1. Global Futures Leadership Workshop, Australia / New Zealand — with Duncan Young, Pia Andrews, and Tim Kong

The first of the workshops was run from Australia, and New Zealand though we were joined from attendees around the world.

The slides from the workshop can be found here:

What can we say about the first workshop? It was magical. People cried, it was renewing, it was challenging, and it made us want to keep talking!

Our speakers covered each of the three areas we wanted to look at:

  1. Leadership of Self
  2. Leadership with others (Team / Organisation)
  3. Leadership within systems / Communities

You can find out more about each of these below.

1.Leadership of Self: Duncan Young, General Manager, Australian Bureau of Statistics

We listened to Duncan Young talking about learning from doing the 2016 census. Thank you to Duncan for sharing his story of failure and using that for future success.

Duncan’s talk can be viewed here (YouTube video. With a content warning — the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey is covered in this talk)

The transcript for Duncan’s talk is here (and below):

2. Leadership with Others (Teams/Organisations): Pia Andrews, Open Government and Data Ninja, Australia, New Zealand and Canada

A snippet from spydergrrl’s notes, it says “Leadership of team: Pia Andrews. Success 1. Measurable Impact, 2 Being seen as an exemplar, 3. Team feels joy every day. Safe — Supported — Valued”

Pia spoke on the importance of supporting people, evolving, and thriving at work — measuring success by the joy in the team!

Pia’s talk can be viewed here (YouTube video):

The transcript for Pia’s talk is here (and below):

3. Leadership within Systems / Communities: Tim Kong, Programme Manager — Pacific Virtual Museum, National Library of New Zealand | Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa

Another of spydergrrl’s notes, it reads “Servant leadership, Seniority is not the same as superiority. Fast value gives authority, Long value gives credibility”

Tim reflected on the privilege of leading in the public service and honouring that gift of service. Tim spoke considerately of:

  • How do we recognise power and imbalance, and lead accordingly?
  • How do we reflect and refine our process?
  • How do we lead with authenticity and generosity?
  • Honour the work, honour the people.

Tim’s talk can be viewed here (YouTube video):

The transcript for Tim’s talk is here (and below):

2. Global Futures Leadership Workshop, Canada — with Taki Sarantakis and Sandra Arseneault

The second of our workshops was run by One team Gov volunteers in Canada and was also attended by participants around the world.

Slides can be found here (and below).

It was live tweeted by Brigette Metzler here (and by clicking through on the tweet below). This includes some wonderful insights for you to catch up on!

Dr Salma Patel’s notes from the workshop can be found here (and below). Thank you for sharing these!

3. Global Futures Leadership Workshop, UK / Europe — with Kate Josephs, Tracie Jolliff, and Nadine Smith

The third and last in this series of workshops was run by One Team Gov volunteers in the UK, but again, attended by people around the world.

Another of spydergrrl’s notes. It reads “The systems we work in are predisposed to resist change, structured to just do what needs to be done and no more”

Slides from this workshop can be found here (and below).

What can we say about the third and final workshop? Brilliant insights were shared through the discussions provoked by Kate, Tracie, and Nadine. We didn’t want the workshop to end!

1.Leadership of Self: Kate Josephs, Director, Education & Skills Funding Agency, Department for Education

Kate started by talking about vulnerability and authenticity — embracing and cherishing strengths — and noticing what holds you back. Leadership is leaning into the discomfort of wrestling with leading oneself.

Kate explored the themes of:

  • Purpose,
  • Self-Knowledge, and
  • Self-Care.

Kate’s talk can be viewed here (YouTube video):

The transcript for Kate’s talk is here (and below):

2. Leadership with Others (Team/Organisation): Tracie Jolliff, National Director for Inclusion, National Health Service Leadership Academy

Tracie spoke about progressing inclusion through leadership. This is the culture change needed — progress that isn’t just about talking or good intentions, but learning to ask if our efforts are working. It’s learning to notice the bias hidden within ourselves.

Tracie’s talk can be viewed here (YouTube video):

The transcript for Tracie’s talk is here (and below):

3. Leadership within Systems / Communities: Nadine Smith, Global Marketing and Communications Director, Centre for Public Impact

Nadine reflected the role of leaders in creating a positive framing for failure, calling for the end of ‘Hero Leadership’ and the start of a collaborative approach that brings all the players in the game.

She shared the five behaviours needed to strengthen legitimacy:

  • Empathy,
  • Connections,
  • Shared Vision,
  • Scrutiny, and
  • Voices.

Nadine’s talk can be viewed here (YouTube video):

The transcript for Nadine’s talk is here (and below):


We connected, across borders, continents and time zones, using technology to discuss how we better serve our citizens. It was inclusive, safe, and showed that leadership radiates in different directions.

We hope you enjoyed it.

The One Team Gov Team!

Further Reading:

The wonderful Mike Riversdale talks about technology and the power of excellent facilitation to make meaningful human connection:



Nour Sidawi

Reflecting on the complexity of systems and making change in government @UKCivilService . Part of @OneTeamGov