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Key Executive Leadership Programs

A group works together in the Foresight, Innovation, and Leadership Program in the Key Executive Leadership Program

Foresight, Innovation, & Leadership Program

A Leadership Program Using Foresight, Innovation, and 21st Century Methods

Existing knowledge and standard operating procedures will not solve today's VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) challenges. VUCA challenges call for new mindsets and learning new ways—changing attitudes, values, behaviors, and skillsets. In addition to developing participants' leadership capabilities for developing themselves and those they lead, this program is designed to introduce simple and powerfully structured tools, including people-centered monitoring and evaluation tools, for leaders desiring to create viable and innovative alternatives and inspiring organizational cultures.

While the agenda is ambitious, the high-energy six-day program will leave participants more confident about how to forge new opportunities and put into practice what they learn when they return to work.  Participants will depart engaged and inspired to identify unforeseen opportunities and take on new challenges in an increasingly VUCA world.

High-Level Program Overview 

DAY 1: Leading Self

Leadership "basics" are presented including different ways of conceptualizing leadership, the leader's role in creating followership, how the workplace is changing, and the role of a leader in an increasingly VUCA world. Participants will be introduced to a cognitive model to help them see themselves with "new eyes." They will also be introduced to adult development theory and stages of mind and develop a hypothesis about their own level of sense-making and what would be required to advance to the next level. Toward that end, they will learn simple habits of mind:

  • Asking different questions;
  • Taking different perspectives;
  • Seeing systems.

Day 2: Inspiring Your Organizational Culture

An inspiring organizational culture requires paying attention to the feelings of employees (emotional culture) and the shared values, assumptions, beliefs, expectations, norms, and artifacts that shape behaviors (cognitive culture). Participants learn a well-known model of emotional and social intelligence (EI), take a questionnaire to diagnose their EI, and develop a strategy to develop needed EI competencies to enhance their ability to get results through others. They will learn a practice for developing self-awareness and presence, a necessary first step in developing other and meta/systems awareness. Day 2 concludes with a discussion of the importance of aligning personal values and agency values.

Day 3 (morning): Achieving Results through Transformational Action Learning

On the morning of Day 3, participants apply what they have learned to a real challenge they are facing using a (modified) transformational action learning process.

At the end of the first two and a half days, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the key attributes of high performance leaders;
  • Understand the differences between technical problems and adaptive challenges; 
  • Understand adult development theory and satges of mind;
  • Learn and apply simple habits of mind to increase their ability to handle adaptive challenges;
  • Understand and apply the emotional and social intelligence competencies to create an inspiring organizational culture;
  • Use (a modified) version of transformational action learning as a toll for learning and working with technical problems and adaptive challenges. 

Day 3 (afternoon) - Day 4 (morning): Strengthening Policy Implementation through People-Centered Development Evaluation

The African Union's Vision 2063 vision envisages capable developmental states on the continent that will have: long term visions, the ability to intervene in society and the economy while facilitating civil society and private sector initiative and innovation; and professional, skilled meritocratic public services. Attaining this vision, which is also reflected in the South African constitutional values and principles of public service and administration, requires effective people-centred participation and strong leadership.

People-centred development evaluation is a conrnerstone of public policy implementation and good governance. It can go a long way toward realizing the African Union's Vision 203 and finding democratic solutions to Africa's development challenges including poverty, social inequality, unemployment, and environmental degradation. Participants will:

  • Learn and apply specific evaluation tools to facilitate community participation and implement participatory development evaluation;
  • Understand the role of monitoring and evaluation in support of accountability, achievement of developmental outcomes and attainment of the African Union's Vision 2063; and
  • Learn the role that outcomes-based monitoring and evaluation can play in changing the way in which governments work.

Once participants have gained a mindset of innovative leadership and understand the fundamentals of people-centred development evaluation, they will then build the skill sets needed for great leadership. The final two and a half days of the workshop is designed to:

  • Use structured innovation tools effectively to prepare for future change and ambiguity;
  • Engage stakeholders, partners, and teams to share and develop radical solutions together;
  • Inspire participants to capture user/customer-driven opportunities; and
  • Build high-performance leaders and teams to execute on these opportunities.

Day 4 (afternoon): Lead By Innovation 

The afternoon will transition to understanding how to see the changing "big picture" as leaders. Participants learn three strategic tools designed to gain perspective and better anticipate future changes. The learning format will rely heavily on team exercises, ongoing demos, and hands-on application:

  • Context Maps identify the main dimensions of current problem or opportunity space.
  • Progression Curves put event timelines, industry lifecycles, and other developments in context.
  • Janus Cones enable viewing multiple, overlapping, and intersecting events in a single framework. 

Day 5: Lead Through Change and Experimentation

This session will first focus on finding opportunity. Participants develop an ability to see growth opportunities that exist today and extend into the future by understanding future changes in population and users (customers). Next, they learn how to prototype possible future solutions and alternatives, which will help participants anticipate which actions to prioritize.

Foresight and Innovation methods: 

  • Generational Arcs view the demographic changes and generational views of a target population.
  • Future User profiles future customers based on what will (and will not) change from today's customer. 
  • Futuretelling uses role-playing to illustrate a particular user need as a realistic scene from the future. 
  • White Spots finds hidden markets and provides a borad look at the competitor landscape.
  • Paper Mockups create tangible models of ideas that can be tested at low cost for high learning value.
  • Change Paths plot the major milestones will be needed to achieve on the path to action.

Day 6: Leadership Results & Execution

At the end of the day, great leadership requires results. Participants learn how to mobilize their teams through visionary innovation and sustainable action. They sharpen their ability to lead with vision so that it may take on a life of its own and guide everyone's actions forward.

Foresight and Innovation methods:

  • Crowd Clovers helps map the innovation network of self/team/project to bring an idea to life and develop a community of experts.
  • Buddy Checks helps find good potential matches for more partners and teammates.
  • VOICE Stars identifies the team's aptitude for radical innovation leadership.
  • The Vision Statement helps tell the idea as a clear and concise summary.
  • The DARPA Hard Test measure the visionary potential of the team's radical innovation.
  • The Pathfinders method determines an idea's best path through the organization or network.

Learning Model

Foresight, Innovation, and Leadership Faculty

An experiential learning environment will be created to promote dynamic interchange of ideas, shared learning, teamwork, collaboration, and greater personal accountability for achieving results.  The experiential approach includes small-group discussion to leverage multiple perspectives and encourage peer interaction, self-assessment exercises, role-playing of actual work scenarios, and discussion and debate from multiple perspectives.

The emphasis is on learning by doing. All sessions are structured in multiple learning modes to accommodate different learning styles and job roles for an optimal learning experience. The final sessions on innovative learning styles and job roles for an optimal learning experience. The final sessions on innovative leadership will draw upon the tools in the Foresight Framework, a proven methodology to find future innovation opportunities and also to create innovative organization ans leaders. The Foresight Framework is a holistic and comprehensive approach developed by working with multiple organizations - such as the South African SETAs, U.S. Army, Microsoft, Deutsche Bank, SAP, and others across a range of industries around the world.






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Institute for Leadership Development

International Skills Development Trust
240 Blairgowrie Drive

Tel +27-79-672-0304

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Institute for Leadership Development in Africa

Core Program Faculty

Dr. William Cockayne

Dr. William Cockayne

Principal, Lead|X; Lecturer, Stanford University

William Cockayne, Ph.D., is a principal at Lead|X, which delivers on-demand innovation coaching for business leaders. A seasoned technology executive, he has led diverse teams in research, product development, and manufacturing, shipping over 20 successful products at companies including Eastman Kodak, DaimlerBenz, and Apple Computer. As an entrepreneur, Dr. Cockayne led the award-winning Travel by Handstand, created the Nota “MOOC in a minute” product, and is infamous as the co-founder and CTO of Scout Electromedia, a consumer mobile company that pioneered mobile advertising, social media, and barcodes on mobile displays. At Stanford University, he teaches the ME410 course series, Foresight & Technological Innovation, a mainstay of executive programs on campus. He holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering and a masters of science in computer science, is the inventor of multiple patents, and authored numerous publications including Mobile Agents and the Playbook for Strategic Foresight and Innovation.

Richard Levin

Professor Richard Levin

Professor, Principal National School of Government, South Africa

Professor Richard Levin holds a PhD in Political Theory and Institutions from the University of Liverpool, England; a BA Honours in Development Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; and is a graduate of the Senior Executive Programme of Harvard/University of the Witwatersrand. He is an accomplished scholar and is currently a visiting professor at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa and a visiting professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He has previously held various academic and teaching positions at the Universities of the Witwatersrand, Swaziland and Liverpool.

Levin has occupied numerous leading roles in the South African Government since 1997. He has served as the Director-General of the Department of Public Service and Administration (2004-10) as well as the Economic Development Department whose establishment as a new department he led (2010-2012). He was the Director-General of the Office of the Public Service Commission from 2012-2015. He joined the National School of Government in June 2015 as the Principal. He is responsible for steering the NSG as a centre of excellence from which public sector training is coordinated, curriculum and training standards directed and as a hub for learning, research and development.

He is the current Chairperson of the South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association (SAMEA).

Dr. Ruth T. Zaplin

Dr. Ruth T. Zaplin

Executive-in-Residence, Department of Public Administration and Policy, School of Public Affairs, American University

Professor Zaplin is Executive-in-Residence in the Department of Public Administration and Policy where she teaches courses in public sector leadership, strategic human resource management, conflict resolution and organizational diagnosis and change. She also serves as the Director of International Programs, Director of Executive Coaching, and faculty member in American University’s Key Executive Leadership Programs. Dr. Zaplin served as a senior advisor and project director with the National Academy of Public Administration in Washington, DC and founded the Academy’s Global Leadership Consortium. As a Senior Manager at BearingPoint, she led enterprise-wide transformation plans, large-scale government reform, workforce restructuring, and work redesign initiatives in both the public and private sectors. Selected achievements include: leadership development, succession planning, and diversity study for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; designing a Government Center for Innovation to strengthen the capability of the State of Qatar’s public sector leaders and serve as a leadership development model of excellence for the Middle East; and leading the organizational change effort to integrate the core US Internal Revenue Service’s financial management systems. Equally adept at bridging research, organizational theory and practice, her background includes executive leadership of a nationally known non-governmental organization and social science research in criminal justice. Dr. Zaplin has two internationally known textbooks in criminal justice and numerous book chapters related to leadership development including “Believing is Seeing: The Impact of Beliefs on Evidence-Based Management Practices,” “Organization Transformation: Strategic Succession Management and Leadership Development,” and “Developing Leaders in the New Age of Government.” She holds a DPA, MPA, MA, and BA. She received her Executive Coaching accreditation from Georgetown University and is certified by the International Coach Federation. She is one of only 30 researchers in the country certified to score the subject-object qualitative research methodology developed at Harvard University.

Tamara Carleton

Tamara Carleton

Tamara Carleton, Ph.D., is CEO and founder of Innovation Leadership Board LLC, a global leader in the design of tools and processes that enable radical innovation. Clients have included Deutsche Bank, Microsoft, Samsung, SAP, Tekes, and Volvo Construction Equipment. She oversees the Sugar Network, a global innovation network of academic institutions collaborating with companies to solve challenging, real-world problems.

Carleton has served as an Innovation Fellow with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, as a Fellow with the Foundation for Enterprise Development, and also as a Fellow for the Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium. As a former management consultant at Deloitte Consulting LLP, Carleton specialized in emerging solutions in enterprise applications, customer experience, and marketing strategy. Drawing on her business experience, Carleton’s research agenda focuses on industry innovation, particularly issues related to technical visionary leadership, innovation culture, regional innovation, and foresight strategy. This work builds on her pioneering study of the innovation practices of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

A multidisciplinary scholar, Carleton holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, a masters of science in public relations from Syracuse University, and a bachelor’s degree in communication from The George Washington University. She has been published in a variety of technical journals, as well as the general business press. She is frequently invited to discuss her work and research in the United States and abroad.

Bernard Altman

Bernard Altman

Bernard Altman (M.Psych) has practiced as a Clinical Psychologist in Cape Town, South Africa since 1992. Bernard has consulted widely in South Africa at schools, for the Office of the Family Advocate and for the High Court of South Africa. He chaired the South African Institute of Psychotherapy and was clinical head of James House - the first privately run state sponsored treatment facility for young people in South Africa. Together with earlier training in law, Bernard is passionate about the clinical developmental variables that inspire organizational leadership and leaders.

Dr. Surendra Thakur

Dr. Surendra Thakur

Dr Surendra Thakur has a D.Tech in Information and Communication Technology from the Durban University Of Technology, South Africa. His thesis was a multi-disciplinary effort combining Computer Science, Engineering, Biometrics as well as Political Science to propose and analyze an optimal mobile voting election solution. Dr Thakur is the KZN e-Skills Director. It is in this capacity that he evangelizes Online Netiquette as well as Safe Internet for Parents through public lectures, radio and a popular newspaper column, DigiTalk. He is a past Treasurer of the Computer Society of South Africa.