A Natural Change Catalyst Project creates time and space for leaders and influencers to work together to tackle a critical, complex challenge. Applying their expertise and experience, the group draw on insights from social and ecological psychology and systems thinking to develop effective strategies to catalyse real change.
A Catalyst Project can be commissioned by any organisation – public, private or third sector – that seeks to catalyse real change for a fair and sustainable world. To create an effective group based on deep trust and shared purpose, a maximum of 12 people take part in each project.
Catalyst Project or Leadership Programme? Catalyst Projects support a group of partners or stakeholders to tackle one specific problem or challenge. Leadership Programmes develop people’s capacity to bring about meaningful, long-term, lasting change in a range of situations.
WWF Scotland identified that delivering the targets included in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 would require a fundamental change in Scotland’s schools to ensure that young people left formal education equipped to live a low-carbon life. In 2010, they commissioned a Natural Change Catalyst Project that brought together 12 influential stakeholders from the Scottish formal education sector. This group went on to catalyse fundamental changes in Scottish school education. By 2014 Scotland was recognised by UNESCO as a world leader in Learning for Sustainability in schools.
Complex problems are typically embedded in a web of cultural, structural and technical factors. By definition they are not amenable to simple cause and effect analysis. The nature of these problems means incremental change is not sufficient.
Successful solutions will only be found by embracing the complexity of these problems and adopting a systems-thinking approach. Such thinking enables key points of leverage to be identified and a range of mutually reinforcing activities to be designed. This multi-faceted approach can then be applied within the interlocking web of cultural, structural and technical factors to catalyse a transformative step-change in the system.
A Catalyst Project creates a strong, committed peer-group of leaders built on deep trust who:
Natural Change projects have a profound impact. Organisational culture and professional practice have changed. Government policy has been influenced.
The complex nature of the challenges that projects tackle are such that specific outcomes cannot be defined; as with any genuine innovation or transformation, the result can not by definition be predicted in advance.
For those willing to accept the nature of such challenges, Natural Change fosters an enduring sense of commitment, achievement and belonging that enables the group to lead change they never thought possible.
A Catalyst Project can tackle challenges and build solutions in a range of contexts. Applications include:
Each Catalyst Project follows a tried and tested pattern, tailored to the particular needs of the client, the issue and the stakeholders.
A Catalyst Project brings together selected people from organisations and groups with a stake in the situation, and supports them to work together to address it by:
Each project is led by two Natural Change facilitators.
On commissioning we work with the client to define the scope of the project, identify potential group members, and agree dates and locations for residential workshops. If required, we assist with identifying and engaging leaders and influencers; this may include one-to-one meetings and introductory workshops.
A series of three five-day residential workshops in a wild and beautiful place. During these residentials we will mostly work outside, weather permitting, and we will support the group to feel comfortable and safe outdoors. Some sessions will run indoors if the weather insists.
The three residentials are typically spread over six to twelve months, allowing sufficient time in between for the group to investigate the problem and its context, to develop strategies to address it, and to start implementing them. One-to-one mentoring from project facilitators is available to support the activity between workshops and after the final workshop.
Each residential includes:
After each residential, participants:
Participants share ideas and proposals, and review their experience with other participants at each subsequent residential.
By the end of the project the group will have:
Read about our approach to find out why Natural Change is so effective.
Participants often say that Natural Change has a profound effect on them, significantly influencing their perspectives and ways of working. They value the opportunity to continue exploring the issues that matter to them with others who share their experience of Natural Change.
Catalyst Project participants can join the Natural Change Community of people who have taken part in Natural Change projects, programmes and courses. This diverse professional network provides a source of ongoing support, advice and collaboration to sustain your change-making into the future.
If you are interested in commissioning a Catalyst Project, please contact us.