Change in Cities, a Case of Change in Systems with Mike Staresinic

This webinar will be hosted by Mike Staresinic, a Consulting and Coaching For Change alumnus.

The Speaker

Mike Staresinic has 25 years' helping civic and political movements organize to catalyze participation and change in more than 40 countries in crisis, conflict, and transition, specialized in democracy and governance, civil society development, civic participation

Mike has held leadership roles in two Washington international affairs organizations, and served the boards of eight nonprofits.Mike’s City50 Project helps cities imagine their futures and create them. What kind of international trading city built for people do you want to live in, in 2050? So far, Kharkiv, Mariupol, and Severodonetsk have engaged the City50 Project to learn from Pittsburgh’s transformation as the USA’s Comeback City from heavy industry to a modern economy in a thriving city, among 20 cities across the globe.

The change agent is willing to look at things from new angles and with new eyes. Panorama offers a fresh look at familiar topics. Armstrong Cork was the world’s largest cork company, the above building is now one of more than 65 historic industrial sites transformed to modern use. 


Learning objectives : By the end of the webinar, participants will be able to :-

1. Identify city transformations as a specific type of complex adaptive living system transformation

2. Gain facility with tools and methods that can be developed to understand complexity and interdependence in city systems

3. Understand new dimensions of transformation in the city of your interest


The Session

Change in Cities...A Case of Change in Systems“Nathan Coleman was paralyzed from the neck down in a car accident at age 18. In Pittsburgh, tens of thousands of patients are informed when medical research relevant to them is underway. Nathan signed up for research that now has his brain controlling a robotic arm. In November 2018, the New Yorker Robotic Arm Controlled by the Mind reveals the catalytic power of collaboration underway in cities across sectors in medical, education, and technology research.

Our tCL colleague Mike Staresinic has worked with organizations, coalitions, in over 60 cities and 40 countries. In his work he has encountered interesting and courageous people and daunting challenges. He will share his experience and reflections of using CANVAS tools in his work with cities’ transformation, in the City50 Project he founded.

What kind of internationally connected trading city for people do you want to live in, in 2050? Mike asks this question in different permutations to thousands of people to help build a shared vision of the future. Using Pittsburgh as a case study of transformation from a heavy industry, heavily-polluted city to a modern mixed economy with a high quality of life, Mike will share tools he developed and uses to help cities reimagine their futures and create change to do so:

  1. Paired Dimensions: Catalyze Thinking in Complexity
  2. Cities for People: Civic Participation Drives the Quality of Transformation
  3. The Globe Theater: A Map of the City’s International Connections
  4. Engage the System Through the Organization – Organizational Development
  5. Visual Literacy – Develop Personal Vision as a skill

Mike will bring illustrative experiences from his current work connecting cities in Ukraine and Pittsburgh, notably a project to map city-to-city relationships.

Oxford 2019 Conference

How to Register

This conference is open to 2019 tCL registered members. If you are a CCC alumnus you can now activate your tCL membership for 2019 and register for the conference at the same time.

Once you have successfully completed payment, we will send you further details to complete your conference registration and invite a guest.

To register for the conference:

1-Please ensure you are logged in to your member space. Click on “Log in below. If you are having trouble with your log-in details please contact

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2- Once logged in, the register button will appear below. Please click on the link to register to the conference.  If you are having trouble with the conference registration process please contact

 Active Members Register Here 

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Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first-completed-first-served basis.

Re-imagining Work

From rapid adoption of automation and AI technologies to demographic shifts and different consumer pulls, the world is changing at a rapid pace and with it the workplace, the workforce and the nature of work itself. We speak of the 4th industrial revolution or the 3rd cognitive revolution; a new era that has fundamentally altered the way we live, work and relate to one another. Yet, as billions of people connect around the world, social inequality is on the rise with the widening gap between rich and poor. Today, we face a future of unlimited possibilities and gruelling uncertainties. New modes of employment are on the rise, with gigsharing, or platform economies; Progressive models of organising are gaining in popularity with the move from hierarchy to wirearchy and a marked emphasis on horizontalismself-management and agility. What’s more, the traditional boundaries between home and office, night and day, work and leisure are blurring…

What does the future hold?

In this dynamic landscape, this conference will be the space to engage around the various facets of work through a critical and reflective lens. Together, we will re-imagine the future of work, how it will be organised, and our very own current approaches.

We will tackle the following questions:

  • How will work be organised in the future and how will that shape our organisations?
  • What is the meaning of work, and can we imagine it beyond success, recognition and personal achievement?
  • How can people be better equipped for that future? What are their most relevant assets and skills and how can we grow them?
  • How will these futures affect the practice of leadership and change agency?
  • What can we do today to re-imagine and reshape our organisations, our societies and our own work?

he Speakers

We are very fortunate to have academics, researchers and practitioners passionate about reshaping work, organisations and our societies, joining us to facilitate diverse and interactive sessions.

The Change Leaders Oxford 2019 Speakers

The Conference Book

You will find the detailed conference programme here: tCL Oxford 2019 Conference Book.

Speaker Presentations

Our Speakers have generously given us permission to share their slides. Members can access them here.

If you have any questions, please contact:

A Change in Cities—Review

Attendee review summary available here.

tCL Oxford 2016 post-conference summary

Theme : At our Oxford 2016 conference in September, we examined the relationships between Influence, Power and Change, and their overall role in change processes. As power is a critical resource for every actor, be it in organisations or in society as a whole, the conference aspired to help us understand how some individuals acquire power while others do not; why some individuals retain their power once they have attained it; and why others fall from their lofty positions in spite of the political advantages power provides. Given the role of power in organisational and societal processes, it is important to understand how the dynamic of power changes and how power can inhibit or enable change.

In addition, the detailed knowledge was subsequently ‘unfolded’ into more detailed discussions using the unconference approach. This engagement framework enabled participants to put more contextual sense and meaning around the topics using a consensus-based approach, and generated a further set of learning outcomes.

Going forward, a SPREAD paper will be produced, articulating the key discussion points and learning outcomes from the conference.

We started by sharing our first thoughts on power: the taboo, the negative connotation versus power as a positive source, the different types of power, the origins of power, and the unavoidable presence of power. The questions that we had going into the conference mainly focused on how to better understand power and how to apply power within organisations.

Our first speaker Phil Wall is a CCC graduate and the founder of WeSeeHope, a charity enabling children isolated by poverty to create a better future. He introduced the notions of the power of purpose, the power of courage, the power of vulnerability and the power of responsibility. Phil helped us see how the powerless and underprivileged can be viewed through a new lens such that they can be empowered and inspired to create better futures.

Leading the second session, Martin Hermann a Physician by training, focuses on implementing complex change in global health and development. He contrasted the knowing, certain, control and individual with the not knowing, the uncertain, the not in control, and the group. Martin’s activity-based sessions helped us to re-evaluate the time-bound myth that power is the possession of the privileged few, and to analyse what is really is a pervasive and multi-dimensional property of wider human interconnectedness and relationships.

Our final presenter, Stewart Clegg is an Australian professor in the field of Organizational Studies and the author of many books, including the Sage handbook of power. Leveraging a seventies’ TV political satire and Luke’s power structures, he created a frame of reference of different aspects, bases, and concepts of power. This frame highlighted the endless political ecosystem struggle that leverages influence, rhetoric, and resources in pursuit of political agendas. Stewart’s insights helped to surface and illustrate the many components and states of ‘power’ as they exist and influence the real world.

Dorthe Sorensen prepared and orchestrated the unconference process, and facilitated further unfolding of the topic such that attendees could create more contextual sense and meaning. This created a further set of learning outcomes and activity-based engagement, which Dorthe captured.

In summary, many interesting questions and new ways of looking at power in organisations and wider society emerged during the course of the conference. These comprehensive perspectives demonstrated how tCL has evolved as a platform for reflection enabling meaningful conversations within a diverse group. There will be many outcomes resulting from this impactful conference starting with the SPREAD paper later in 2016.




The Change Leaders Par17 conference paper

This paper details the key points from the Paris 2017 conference on 'leading change in a disruptive, sharing economy'. The conference uncovered a diverse range of insights from global multi-national corporations through to local cooperatives. Perspectives on dis-intermediation, co-creation, and cooperation emerged. These created a new world-view of built-for-purpose business vehicles and innovative process frameworks that are not universal banking or generic business process models.

The SPREAD paper from our Par17 conference on 'Leading change in a disruptive sharing economy' is now available.

To download the paper please click here

The Change Leaders Oxf16 conference SPREAD paper

Influence, power, and change

This paper details the key points from the Oxford 2016 conference on “Influence, Power, and Change” and charts how the subject matter was subsequently ‘unfolded’ into more detailed discussions using the unconference framework. This engagement framework enabled participants to put more contextual sense and meaning around the topics using a community approach, and generated a further set of learning outcomes.       

To download the SPREAD paper please click here

The Change Leaders Oxford SPREAD Talks video still

Oxford SPREAD Talks 2014: Storytelling Change

Thea Hazel Stals – Developing healthy financial behaviours in young people
Many young people have difficulties managing their money. In this talk Thea presents four different types of young people. She explains how her agency uses co-creation to reach young people to develop workshops and online tools to improve youth financial behaviour.

Mark Clark – “Camp K. When A to Z doesn’t work. Systems thinking for adaptive change”
Sometimes a linear “A to Z” plan doesn’t work. Clark explains the non-linear, adaptive approach required in complex social systems, whether large organisations or the world’s largest refugee camps. He highlights using multiple frames, using dialogue to transcend polarized debate and compromise, and re-expanding situations of collapsed complexity to generate more options for action.

Lars Theusen – Co–creating solutions in our welfare societies

Lars talks about how we co–create solutions to wicked social problems in our welfare societies. His talk illustrates how it is possible through inquiry processes where we look for behaviors that already work – the “what” and the “how” – to solve and disseminate sustainable solutions to some of our most pressing problems.

Tom Miller – Transforming the city of Dallas, Texas with inclusion
A Dallas real estate developer is transforming a portion of The City of Dallas using a very human approach to change. Historic populations are being offered a place in a community in transition as opposed to being forced out of homes, business and neighborhoods. By focusing on community, character and choice, human needs are being met while economic goals are also accomplished.

Mike Staresinic – “Get Vision Back”
How to “get vision back” in a world that seems to have lost its compass?
Mike outlines twelve essential tips on forming an inclusive vision, especially for those change agents working on vision in the EU and US. Generated by an unprecedented look inside the flawed outcomes of seminal nonviolent protests.

Martin Thomas – “How much represents enough?”
How does ABC’s new CEO set about balancing environmental, social and economic impacts in ways that make meaning? The MultiCapital Scorecard engages stakeholders to answer “how much represents enough?”  Financials and non-financials set standards for sustainable performance in local and global contexts. Common principles and practices allow meaningful consolidation.

Choosing Change: How Leaders & Organizations Drive Results One Person at a Time

I am delighted to share that our book is now available. Walter and I, CCC graduates from different cohorts, combine two different perspectives on change – how to change yourself and how to change an organization – as it is our firm belief that a key factor in performing change better is leading it better. Further, we think leading change better, in yourself and your organization begins with a conscious choice.

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.

- Albert Einstein

As the title says, the book is all about Choosing Change. Both authors are passionate about helping others to improve their ability to change. This book is about equipping you to be more successful in leading change in yourself and in your organization.

With data and stories gathered from more than sixty interviews, the book offers a proven new model for not just facing inevitable change but leveraging it as a tool for long-term success. The first step is personal: You must decide that you are going to change in your self; only then can you lead change in others.

Organized into two thematic sections, Choosing Change takes you step-by-step through the authors’ dynamic model for leading any company to success. Part I, written by Susan, explains how to apply the newest research findings in psychology, neuroscience, and executive development to implement change in yourself. Part II, written by Walt, focuses on organizational theory, neuroscience, management, and organizational learning, showing you how to integrate change into your organizational DNA. Each section makes the process easy to understand by breaking it down into the Five Ds:

  • Disruption: Involving an experience or event that creates an awareness of the need for change
  • Desire: Committing to goals and deciding upon the change necessary to meet them
  • Discipline: Consistently taking steps that build the momentum required for sustainable change
  • Determination: Developing the resilience to focus and deliver even when faced with setbacks
  • Development: Establishing a system for continuous improvement, feedback, and ongoing learning

If you want to survive and flourish in today’s business world, you must be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances. Sudden changes in markets, society, and the economy have ruined industry- leading companies overnight—because they weren’t change-focused.

Don’t be one of them. Lead yourself and your organization to the top—and stay there—by Choosing Change.

  • Cutting-edge thinking from the field of neuroscience, psychology and executive development
  • By two renowned practitioners in the field of change
  • Based on interviews with 60 global executives

Available now on and

“An outstanding contribution to the literature on leadership and change. In fact, their focus on both is unique. I recommend Choosing Change highly.”

Michael Watkins, international bestselling author of The First 90 Days, cofounder of Genesis Advisers, Professor IMD Business school

“Change. Or be changed. This amazing book takes a deep dive into helping leaders create new possibilities — for themselves and for their entire organization.”

Patrick Sweeney, President of Caliper and coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Succeed on Your Own Terms

“There were good books about personal change and good books about organizational change. Choosing Change is a great book linking the two domains and giving you the tools you need to succeed on both fronts.”

Jean Francois Manzoni, Shell Chaired Professor of human Resources and Organisational Development and Professor of Management Practice, INSEAD, author of the award-winning The Set-Up to Fail Syndrome TM

“Goldsworthy and McFarland change the game around change. Explaining not just why its hard, but outlining a whole new approach to change, resting on both science and real cases. Congratulations on a great book.”   

David Rock, Director, NeuroLeadership Institute, Author Your Brain at Work

“The most essential talent for successful leaders will be having the capacity for conscious evolution — changing themselves and their organizations for the better. Susan and Walt introduce a fascinating multidisciplinary approach for developing this capacity. If you aspire to be part of the solution, this book can help, big time!”

Richard Olivier, Artistic Director, Olivier Mythodrama, author of Inspirational Leadership 


About the Author: Susan Goldsworthy

Susan Goldsworthy is CEO of Goldswolf & Associates, a company specialising in leadership development, executive coaching and change communications. A former Olympic finalist, Susan combines experience from the fields of sports, business and neuroscience. She is passionate about helping people turn knowledge into behaviour. Susan is co-author of Choosing Change, with Walter McFarland, published 2013 by McGraw Hill, and co-author of award-winning Care to Dare, Unleashing astonishing potential through Secure Base Leadership, published in 2012 by Wiley, in the Warren Bennis Series. She is also a contributing author to New Eyes, 2013, published by The Change Leaders. Along with her CCC MSc, an Executive Masters in the Neuroscience of Leadership, and other academic qualifications, Susan has more than twenty years management experience in large multinationals, and works as an executive coach at a number of international business schools.

Improving International Capacity Development: Bright Spots by Jim Armstrong

$150US billion is spent annually on international aid. 25% percent of this goes to capacity development projects—most of which fall well short of their objectives. Yet, nothing is more important to a new, fragile or developing nation than developing the capacity of its government to support national well-being. Every society is complex; every government is complex. Surprisingly, well-intentioned international development aid, born in an era of infrastructure projects, continues to apply simplistic technical solutions to these wickedly complex development problems. It’s an outside-in approach that rarely succeeds, even by the development industry’s own admission. But out there, amongst the billions of dollars of failed interventions, are bright spots of success – places where capacity is harnessed. What is working so well? Drawing on research, practical experience, and stories of success, Jim Armstrong explores these emerging approaches in his new book Improving International Capacity Development: Bright Spots published by Palgrave MacMillan (May 2013) More information, including a sample chapter and order form, can be found on the book’s website.


Endorsements for Improving International Capacity Development: Bright Spots

‘This book is a well-documented, fascinating and insightful analysis of how to apply principles of change to the business of government and the public sector. For those in government making a contribution to society, it illuminates a way forward in creating impact for citizens served. It is a must read for all students and practitioners implementing OD in the public sector.

- Lennox Joseph, American University, USA

‘Whether you work in Government, an NGO, the private sector, or a donor agency, this book is important because it focuses on a critical gap in implementing governance improvement programs. Armstrong focuses attention on the importance of national ownership of the development agenda and provides some concrete alternatives and examples of where this has made a difference.’

– Fred Carden, RTI International, Indonesia

‘This is an extremely timely book. The author recognizes an emerging consensus that for a developing country to raise itself out of poverty – and to stay that way – it needs a capable government that is responsive to the needs of the population. With a clear and well-targeted focus on government capacity development, the author observes that ‘Building effective and accountable public institutions is arguably the core challenge for sustainable poverty reduction.”

– Peter Taylor, Think Tank Initiative, Canada

‘In this outstanding book, Jim Armstrong brings a much-needed set of theoretical and practical insights to the field of Government Capacity Development. This is an important book which should be widely read not only by governments and their advisors but also business people who wish to help enhance the future of their nations.’

– Karl Moore, McGill University, Canada


Review of Improving International Capacity Development: Bright Spots

The world is facing troubled and uncertain times. For too long, we have focused largely on the invisible hand of the market acting through corporations. We have relied on these institutions to help us move forward on some of the world’s most critical problems. Yet, during the Great Recession, I believe that many came to see that government has a critical role it should play, in concert with business and civil society. In this outstanding book, Jim Armstrong brings a much needed set of theoretical and practical insights to the field of international government capacity development (GCD). If there is any hope of solving the crushing poverty and civil unrest that still plague many corners of the world, the civil service and the institution of government must be strengthened. Armstrong emphasizes the importance of the civil service and, more specifically, the role that the often maligned technocrat played in the development of now-rich countries. He explains how the capacity of these stakeholders evolved over time to suit the needs of a country. However, an important issue has come to the fore in the past decade.

Can these models be successfully adopted by developing countries? GCD efforts have gone awry mainly because efforts have been made to implement a standard model for all nations and civil services. Armstrong delves into how development and assessment programmes often lack potency due to the complexity of the issues they face when combined with the adoption of a stale approach. For a long time, external government agencies and other institutions have treated these problems from the outside-in, electing for a top-down approach that has yielded little success. Part of the problem with this approach lies in its underlying ideology. The author compares the positivist view of knowledge with that of the constructivist. Although the positivist approach can have some success, he convincingly asserts that constructivist methods are much more in line with the complex problems of capacity development. The positivist approach tries to strip away context and freeze a problem in time so it can be analysed and addressed. Social constructivism rightly observes that in a social system there is no universal solution and that context will inevitably shape the solution. In the end, the author argues that social constructivism is better suited to tackle capacity development and the governance of public institutions. He also states, however, that there definitely is, and must be, room for the positivist approach within many projects, and attempting to approach these problems from only one perspective is folly.

Armstrong then examines a real-life case study of the Trinidad and Tobago programme called Ministerial Performance Management Framework, introduced to initiate and sustain a culture of performance transformation. This case forms the foundation for analysis in the remainder of the book. The historical survey of the case examines failed attempts at revitalizing the civil service and finally examines how, with a renewed focus on performance management through capacity building, the country was and is making real strides towards its goal. Yet, progress is subject to the effects of political shifts and personal and partisan interests.

In order to tackle the wicked problems of GCD, the author argues for a non-linear process and outlines distinctive strategies for dealing with wicked problems – the system working with an external facilitator but also harnessing the knowledge and purpose lying within the system itself. He emphasizes the importance of developing a system that can handle a changing environment and one that welcomes the opportunity to learn from failed projects, instead of simply dismissing them or not allowing riskier projects at all. Capacity development needs experimentation and adaption.

The author goes in depth into the many rounds of development the Trinidad and Tobago project underwent to examine the co-diagnostic process of capacity development projects, along with co-learning, co-acting, and co-evaluating. Each of these four aspects emerges from the author’s extensive research into and analysis of surprising successes or bright spots in international GCD. After clearly explaining each of the four aspects, the author presents the results of his research of the GCD in the Trinidad and Tobago central case study. The book concludes with ‘The Way Ahead’, in which the author answers his questions about improvements to GCD and discusses the challenges that are still faced when dealing with the wicked problem of improving public sector capacity.

This is an important book which should be widely read not only by governments and their advisors but also business people who wish to help enhance the future of their nations.

Karl Moore, Associate Professor, Desautels Faculty of Management,McGill University; and Associate Fellow, Green Templeton College, Oxford University


About the Author: James Armstrong
Jim Armstrong is President of The Governance Network™ and has been involved with major change projects with national leaders around the globe. He has a PhD in Applied Management from the University of Birmingham, UK and Master’s degrees from the University of Guelph, Canada and HEC, France and University of Oxford, UK. He is a member of the ChangeLeaders. Contact Jim at