From Social to Formal: professional development in the Social Age

Social Leadership Syllabus

The curriculum for Social Leadership has emerged from the iterations through the social spaces. It wasn’t the starting point: it’s the output

Over a year after i started working on the Social Leadership Handbook, i’ve started to write the programme design. Ten years ago, i’d have started here, and my work would have been weaker for it. In the Social Age, it’s the sense we make within our communities that counts.

My first iteration of the Social Leadership model was just three segments: Narrative, Engagement and Technology. It was a sketch. I think I was sat in the Ysbreeker cafe in Amsterdam when i did it. Just an idea really, a play on some themes of ‘co-creation‘ and ‘community‘ that i’d been working on whilst writing about music over the months before.

As i shared these early ideas into the community, there was a strong response. That response encouraged me to write more, and the bare bones of the framework came together: nine skills, based around the outer edge of the circle.

I wrote nine articles, one on each skill (as well as some others that fell by the wayside). At every step i shared everything: some things stuck, others morphed, some quietly faded away. Each iteration firmed up the structure in my head, but there was still no central plan: it was more a case of emergent ‘sense’ from a community of engaged and like minded colleagues.

Iterating the Handbook

This is very much a pattern of developing ideas in the Social Age: we start in our communities and work through to the formal space from there, after we’ve built a cohort of support around it. It’s a very different method of working and a very different way of thinking.

We have to be prepared to share, to learn and to fail.

The ways we learn are changing: it’s no longer a case of one syllabus and one path through it, but rather it’s about spaces where we come together and pick a way forward, challenged and supported with communities and resources at each step.

The syllabus i’m building for Social Leadership won’t be static either, although inevitably it will become more formal as it touches ‘real life‘. But it it, now, founded upon the initial ideas that have crystallised into the Handbook. What started out as a sketch and an idea is becoming tangible: the trick is to keep it agile, because in the Social Age, agility is key.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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6 Responses to From Social to Formal: professional development in the Social Age

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