John Atkinson is a designer, architect and catalyst for whole system change. He has instigated and led projects around the world in corporate and public settings that help people design approaches that will make fundamental change to their work and lives.
John has been one of the leading practitioners in public service leadership development in England. He has designed and led a wide range of leadership interventions at national and local level. Most notable of these were Total Place and the Leeds Castle Leadership Programme for Elected Mayors/Leaders and Chief Executives. He also leads the ‘Systems leadership –Local Vision’ programme tackling a wide range of deep social issues in over 60 places nationwide. This includes support to Integrated Health and Social Care Pioneers and Vanguards.
He has been involved in the development of political leadership. At the Leadership Centre for Local Government he sponsored ground-breaking work in developing leadership within party political settings. In 2010 he was involved in work to establish better links between Conservative local government leaders and the then shadow cabinet. This gave him a unique insight into the unfolding policy of the coalition government and the implications of its localizing agenda.
John’s background has been in leadership development as a means of driving organisational change for well over two decades. Current commercial clients include Alibaba, the Chinese online marketplace that provided the world’s largest technology IPO, and Zurich Insurance. This multi-national element to his work provides new and unique insight into how large human systems work.
His experience across the public sector also includes working with Police Forces to improve responsiveness to emergency calls and with CCGs, acute, primary and mental health trusts in the NHS. His extensive experience of leadership development in the private sector has included designing and leading work with a number of blue chip companies including Asda, IBM, British Gas, nPower, Cummins Engine, RBS, HBOS and Johnson & Johnson Medical.
John has worked with a number of the world’s leading thinkers on ‘whole system’ leadership including Margaret Wheatley, Peter Block, Myron Rogers, Adam Kahane and Dick Axelrod. His appointments have included Managing Director of the Leadership Centre for Local Government, Director in KPMG’s local government practice and officer commanding the Royal Artillery leadership wing. He was a commissioner on the Warwick Commission on elected mayors, has spoken on leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and is a regular contributor on the topic in the sector press and on national platforms.
Emma Loftus is a researcher and writer, specialising in organisational learning and the human process of change. Emma was the researcher and co-writer of The Art of Change Making. Emma provides support to national and international programmes for change, across public and private sectors, including work with open innovation and systems leadership programm
Her work is underpinned by her experience and knowledge of living systems, systems thinking and the theories and practices of change. She undertakes commissions across a variety of sectors and fields, and offers support to those seeking to explore and understand change in living systems.
Emma is always willing to take on commissions in this field. Her ideal work asks her to be curious about a social situation, to observe, to question, to slowly see the bits fall into place and then be able to capture that in a way that helps others make new sense of it. This has made her a valuable addition to people’s change programmes; sometimes we get so caught up in our own story and enthusiasm we miss what others are feeling, thinking and saying. Emma has a knack of quietly getting to the heart of this.