I read the new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation today that explores if civic leaders can tackle social exclusion by engaging in radical public service innovation?
It made for very interesting and positive reading, and really validated a lot of notions I knew insitinctively were accurate. It places the importance of leadership, empowerment, inspiration and new thinking at the heart of fostering a farier society.
It is sort of true that the current economic and political climate will not be moving away from a programme of cuts and austerity any time soon. However, radical initiatives which stress the importance of place-based leadership in advancing social inclusion are in development in the UK and elsewhere. We at Dare2Lead and other groups are doing lots of work on nurturing leadership daily. This is often in aid of improving social outcomes and tackling poverty and social exclusion. Those at the bottom have never had it harder, and we MUST do more to give a voice to the voiceless and engage the disengaged. So where do we channel our energies? Leadership and radicalism of course!
Exploring the role of place-based leadership in Bristol and Swindon in the UK, and Enschede in The Netherlands, the JRF study found:
– that the narrow vision of cutback management lacks wisdom.
– that leaders with an emotional commitment to social inclusion enable innovation to flourish and can encourage others.
– That ‘Innovation Stories’ recording practical experiences on the ground offer inspiration to other areas.
This study offers an alternative to the dominant ‘do more with less’ philosophy dominating public policy making in many EU countries. As such, in our opinion it makes a valuable contribution to the debate about the nature of post-austerity society.
Our only point of concern here, is a plea to JRF to recognise more the central role young people play as change makers and leaders. Look at Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere, we are taking a stand. We need generationally sustainable solutions to these problems. Its the only way to break the cycle of exclusion.
You can get your mitts on the report here :