Systems convening activities

Systems convening is an enabling leadership behaviour which matches the complexity of the spread and adoption approach taken with the complexity of the situation.

How this may be achieved is outlined below with a short description and explanation of the activities that can be used. Theses activities are often delivered by a number of people working together.

Systems convening:

  • creates and utilises adaptive spaces to increase connections, collaborations and knowledge flows across boundaries enabling spread and adoption of innovations
  • supports development of relationships, trust and learning partnerships and networks
  • strategically coordinates spread across the local system helping focus on innovations of local system benefit
  • supports spread across a system and enables early involvement of adopters helping to build a shared purpose

Systems convening activities include the following:

Enable a spread receptive environment

  • Create adaptive spaces, for developing and adapting local and national innovations, which act as a safe learning interface between innovation and ‘usual business’
  • Adaptive spaces can provide a psychologically safe environment where connecting and conflicting can occur in a positive and supported way
  • Enable people from across boundaries to work towards a shared purpose
  • Engineer meaningful encounters for key people across the system that are productive and stretching.

Provide and encourage enabling leadership

  • Think in complex, strategic and interdependent ways managing polarities and uncertainty
  • Use a range of approaches to mobilise and engage staff and patients to actively spread and adopt innovations

Be a Bridge

  • Act as a bridge connecting people within a system and between multiple systems and at different levels, and between old power and new power
  • Look for innovation opportunities for local adaptation
  • Seek knowledge and form relationships beyond own area and utilise to enable spread

Enable faster learning across the local system and wider

  • Use and share knowledge within and beyond the system and engage others in doing so too
  • Collate learning from the innovation in use and feedback to innovators and other adopters

Ensure system perspective

  • Help people take a system perspective understanding the role of other parts of the system
  • Strategically coordinate innovation spread activities meeting agreed and aligned needs and expectations

Create a shared understanding

  • Help create a shared understanding of the problem to solve, its priority and the expected value of the innovation
  • Develop a shared purpose

Decrease ambiguity for adopters

  • Help form a co-created narrative which appeals to different stakeholders
  • Help understand how an innovation can be successfully adapted and adopted locally

Champion innovation spread and adoption

  • Encourage innovator and adopter participation including patients and carers
  • Communicate effectively and widely, celebrating success and share learning

Provide local knowledge to predict and plan for likely disruption

  • Understand the impact on the system routines and resources
  • Utilise knowledge of local history, values, beliefs and customs to enable and sustain innovation spread and adoption

Provide spread expertise and guidance

  • Offer insights based on knowledge and experience of quality improvement, spread and complexity
  • Match approach taken so appropriate to the situation

Further resources

Read the glossary

This guidance is primarily offered to support system leaders. Please send all feedback here.