Ministry of Change? why a third space matters in transformation work — part 1

Fully wrapping our arms around a system is a luxury we no longer have. So rather than writing up maps, we should carry a compass. — manifesto

Ways of working and relationships: ‘how we do things is just as important as what we do’

Public sector innovation practitioners need to think much more about what to cultivate within ourselves, and what to nurture around us, in order to create stronger leadership and enabling conditions for transformative and emergent innovation. — Lindsay Cole

peer and practitioner coaching space-

image: shared by Bas Leurs in recent internal session with Accelerator Labs

integrative and vulnerable space-

Cascading culture craft and building a learning community

What design constraints remain? What might we do differently next time? based on feedback:

  • acknowledge mindsets and competing agendas: often it’s an issue with investing the time, or seeing the value of practitioner spaces across the board. As one colleague told me: “It’s a classic UNDP struggle- how do you create that space so that people feel that they could really allocate time for it?” Another aspect that came up was how to meet people where they are: what if not everyone self-identifies as a practitioner or ‘innovation person’?
  • experiment with timing, rhythm and format: instead of having it so concentrated in a week it could have been more spread out. As noted, people have full agendas- how could bite size interactive spaces be sprinkled across the year? We do host several virtual meetings, and run case study sessions, yet not all of them are designed for workshopping idea stage concepts or get into peer coaching spaces. At the same time we are also need to be more strategic and reckon with the reality of zoom fatigue, and we are asking ourselves what might a 2021 COP look like when Zoom is not the only portal of impact.
  • proactively connect across the spectrum: don’t preach to the choir (only). It is important to strengthen the community of practitioners, yet building in more touch points across time, in different ways, was suggested as a process oriented way to reach even more of our teams. It was also noted that designing sessions to be more relevant for operations colleagues is important, and continuing to build bridges across silos sparks solidarity: “I got the feeling that we all face the same problem.. you see that people have similar struggles.. that was one of the things I was thinking — we are all in the same boat.”
  • facilitate more peer coaching and small circles: it’s clear that quality over quantity is critical. The best sessions seemed to have been those that were designed to build conversation and relationship- especially those that demystify jargon or process. At the same time, we held a senior management only track that allowed for peer exchange at a high level. So, less webinars and more curated conversations ahead.

What’s next?

More at



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Regional Innovation Centre UNDP Asia-Pacific

Regional Innovation Centre UNDP Asia-Pacific

Doing development differently through designing, developing, curating, collating and championing innovation and digital across the Asia Pacific Region.