Stand at Holyrood


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    From 22 to 24th November 2011 we secured a slot to have a stand in the Members Lobby of the Scottish Parliament. See the attached photo. 

    The front line message was – “The Unreasonable Learners – Creating a progressive learning society.” The six panels addressed:

    1. The problem – inordinate waste
    2. The fundamental cause – Command and Control thinking
    3. The Opportunity to think differently – to move from the need to control to the design of systems to enable people
    4. It Works – Designing systems to enable people does produce significant benefit
    5. We are flooded with resources
    6. The way forward

    The draft Holyrood Stand posters 3 prior to printing can be viewed  from this link.

    We were aware that the posters can only raise awareness – and cannot provide much detail. We  therefore provided each MSP with a hard copy of an 8 page booklet, see Holyrood leaflet

    The sponsors of the posters and the leaflet were: Resolis Associates, Abermed Ltd, Breaking the Mould, Vanguard and The Deming Learning Network.

    The eight pages of the booklet covers

    1. A massive opportunity if we are prepared to think differently
    2. Waste
    3. Fundamental cause – C&C thinking
    4. The Opportunity to Think differently
    5. The nature of the change – and how it will change methods and our management language
    6. It works – examples from Public sector, education , community sector and employee owned companies
    7. Available resources
    8. The Way Forward

    Those maning the stand over the three days were Mike McCarron, Allan Taylor, Fiona Savage, Tom Candlish, Frances Gallagher, Gordon Hall,  Louie Gradiner, David Fraser and Jamie Cook.

    Nanette Milne MSP was our sponsor. Her office very helpful as was the Exhibition team at Holyrood. There is a very positive aim for the Government to connect with the electorate.

    The following are some brief notes of the outcomes from the exercise.


    Those who manned the stand were enthusiastic about the outcomes

    MSPs do appreciate that there is inordinate waste with Command and Control thinking. They see examples of alternatives, but the path to transform the thinking of the whole of the public sector is not clear to them.

    MSPs are elected to represent how we, as a society, think. They may play a leadership role but if they move too far ahead of society they will cease to be re-elected.

    A Plan: In developing a plan for the future we may have to think through how we can use modern internet technology to inform and engage a critical mass of our society. Our MSPs (and others) could well play a leadership role in facilitating in depth discussions across society.

    The present signs are that the current media will not be able to play a significant positive role.

    Petition: The next short term initiative is for the UL to raise a petition to the Parliament. We only need one signatory. But what we need to discuss is the subject matter of our petition.

    Some Bullet points to further summarise our three days at Holyrood

    • As is detailed on the UL web site our aim was to convey that a Command and Control culture is inordinately wasteful and there are proven alternatives. We conveyed this through the stand itself and the booklet that we printed up. Each MSP received a hard copy of the booklet.
    • We also aimed to convey that there is an abundance of forward thinkers here in Scotland – which if required can be supported from internationally recognised thought leaders
    • We were able to engage with 36 of our 128 MSPs
    • We were able to engage a cross section of the parties – so we will be able to maintain our apolitical stance
    • The vast majority of the conversations were supportive and appreciated the challenge. Many mentioned the work of Jim Mather
      in the previous parliament and were aware of the term Systems Thinking, some even professed a knowledge of Edwards Deming’s work
    • Some SNP members talked about “The National Conversation” – in context of engaging the population but also in context of their fear of change.
    • Mike had prolonged discussions with an ex-policeman on the drugs issue
    • A suggestion was made that we approach the TV stations to run a programme on the issues raised
    • A member who had studied in Sweden talked about their egalitarian culture and that Scotland had much to learn from the Scandinavian countries.
    • The concept of cooperation was raised but the primary issue is “What do we do now.” The UL now needs to develop and agree on a comprehensive strategy to take out to the population an understanding of modern concepts

    So what now – we are to an extent pushing against an open door – any thoughts please enter in the discussion page or send an email to Gordon Hall on


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