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It's time for digital leadership

By October 13, 20142 Comments

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This week local authority chief executives and senior managers arrive in Liverpool for the Solace Summit.

As regular visitors, we know just how much this annual get-together has changed. Recent events have felt pragmatic – with leaders concentrating on delivering first-class public services at a time of huge cuts to local-government funding.

In some ways this conference won’t be different, but that hasn’t made Solace one-dimensional. It’s testament to the strength of local government that the conference has stayed positive and concentrated on the opportunities that are available in tough times.

Leading local solutions

This summit’s theme, ‘leading local solutions’, bears this out – and it’s interesting to reflect on how 2014 may present even more opportunities than were around in 2013 or 2012.

Of course, it’s important to remember that for chief executives opportunities are often accompanied by uncertainties. At the moment those uncertainties include a changing political environment, an ageing population, the pressures of austerity and the huge shifts we are seeing in our economy.

New leadership

Addressing these will require leaders to develop new skills and understandings, not least in keeping abreast of digital technology – which if used adroitly can help local government deliver services better and more cheaply. However, sadly, it would be fair to say that chief executives have struggled so far with digital.

Our digital leadership paper, written by Catherine Howe, nicely summarises this: “While no chief executive or [council] leader would claim that digital has no place in solving the complex ‘wicked’ issues they are facing, very few appear to have the knowledge, or access to the knowledge, that they need in order to leverage it effectively and to make it a key enabler to their central strategy rather than a single strand of activity.”

Towards digital

If bridging this gap is so important, and difficult, it will need leaders and chief executives to tackle it head-on – which is why Public-i is adding a Digital Leadership programme to accompany its already successful Networked Councillor programme. While Networked Councillor introduces local government members to digital and the networked society, Digital Leadership concentrates on equipping leaders to manage digital experts and incorporate digital into a strategic view that’s in harmony with their organisation’s vision and values.

The digital leadership programme will:
• Provide your team with an overview of the different areas of digital thinking;
• Help you identify how evolved your organisation is within each of these areas;
• Identify the practical, social and leadership skills which your team will need to engage effectively within a networked society;
• Enable individuals to make informed choices about the technology they use, and how it aligns with their preferred communication style.

Delivered in three workshops, the programme offers leaders a fast and flexible way to take on the vital learning they need without having to immerse themselves in the subject in a way they don’t have the time or head-space for. We’ll be talking in much more detail about the Digital Leadership programme, Networked Councillor and all of our products at Solace Summit, and there are more opportunities to find out more.

  • You can read the Digital Leadership paper (this is PDF document, to download).
  • Catherine will be talking about Digital Leadership, as part of a panel discussion on Wednesday, 1.30pm, at the Solace Summit.
  • We’re very happy to talk to you straight away so you can learn more. Please email or call us – or grab one of the Public-i team at the conference.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • I was involved with a group including Socitm, LGA, SOLACE and public-i in early drafts of this paper.
    Your blog states:
    “You can read the Digital Leadership paper (this is PDF document, to download)
    I discovered by aaccident that the words ‘Digital Leadership’ are linked to teh URL for the paper. Can I suggest that the words need to be underlined and highlighted!

  • Thanks Martin! Well spotted. I think there’s an issue with the CSS which we’ll try to tidy up.

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