Our journey with participatory leadership began in 2012 with the decision for UnitingCare Community’s approach to preparations for the future under an NDIS to begin by engaging the people connected to our organisation.
The NDIS Readiness engagement and sensemaking process marked the beginning of our commitment to working through participatory leadership methods as a way of learning and working together as we move forward. This approach to leadership requires the building of a culture that values good questions over good answers, and that supports collaborative generation of solutions, without diminishing the responsibilities, authority, or legal obligations of the organisation or its leaders.
From September 2012 – April 2013 over 800 people with disability, family members, staff, volunteers and allies across Queensland were engaged through workshops, generative interviews, meetings and conversations.
This first phase of our preparation for NDIS culminated in two major workshop events in April.
The first, a two day sensemaking event, that saw over 200 people participate in conversation in response to the question “How do we build our capacity as an organisation and as individuals to respond creatively and sustainably to the future under the NDIS?” The workshop ran concurrently in Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns via video conference and saw people work together to collectively make sense of the challenges and possibilities ahead, in order to inform future phases of the work – planning and implementation.
The second workshop, attended by 132 people, was a Participatory Leadership workshop which aimed to build participatory process skills and practice within the organisation.