Celebrating Digital Leaders: A Recipe

Written by Sally Dyson, Head of Digital Participation at SCVO


3 x Digital Leaders

1 x Inspiring Venue

1 x Presentation from Lifelink Glasgow

1 x Presentation from Art in Healthcare

1 x Refreshments

15 x Keen Beans

1 x Huggin of Post It Notes (or similar)

1 x Bag of Sharpies – mixed coloured


  1. Make everyone feel welcome with great refreshments, an inspiring environment and good opening chat
  2. Friendly and insightful start to the event to make sure everyone is on the same page
  3. Presentation 1 and Q & A from Learning Link Glasgow
  4. Allow a little time to take in the enormity of the achievements in their digital journey (and what they still want to achieve) – and grab a cuppa
  5. Presentation 2 and Q & A from Art in Healthcare
  6. Allow further time for reflection and comparison between the two different stories
  7. Choose key themes to discuss (in this case Strategy Implementation, Social Media, Networks and Tools and Apps)
  8. Break out into small groups (with more refreshments)
  9. Get down to the hard work of analysing challenges, how we overcome them and what works in different situations


  • The perfect mix of celebration, inspiration and re-assurance that the group were part of a change movement.
  • A range of new contacts and relationships firmly made
  • Two hours of time well invested
  • An appetite for more

Conclusion – or cook’s notes …

Okay, it’s not quite as easy as suggested above.  We are after all working with people, not culinary ingredients, so the change process leans more towards art than science.  However key themes coming from the session included


Leadership is critical

  • Be bold, set the general direction and give clarity
  • Give space for curiosity, innovation and experimentation
  • Get support from others, ideally one or two Trustees from your own organization
  • Develop a network of likeminded people and support each other
  • Remember this is about people first, not digital first
  • It’s okay not to know all the answers – see the third point above
  • Bite off what you can chew, and then just a tiny bit more

Beneficiaries / Service Users / Customers

  • Put them at the heart of all the changes you’re making
  • Don’t make assumptions about where people are at and how they ‘might’ like to receive support.  Ask them, involve them.


  • Create a network of supported colleagues – they will bring peers along with them
  • Put discussion and review process in place giving people ownership and leadership
  • Training must sit alongside the change process
  • Time devoted to encourage creativity and the boldness that you bring
  • Try different approaches, test, learn, keep some things and leave other things behind
  • There are lots of resources out there – use them.  Don’t reinvent the wheel


  • Be open
  • Encourage and reward a learning environment – nothing is failure, it’s all learning
  • Talk about what you’re doing (lots)
  • Create space and time for experimentation

Tech, data and processes

  • Use the free stuff that’s out there
  • Focus on data driven changes (with the addition of expert analysis)
  • Be agile, in a way that works for you
  • Look for scalable, flexible solutions

To explore these issues further and support Charity Chief Executives and Senior Leaders on their digital journeys the next Digital Leadership Programme will be opening in autumn.  To make sure that you don’t miss out on this, or any other opportunities follow us on twitter @digiscot or sign up to our e:bulletin

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