Catalytic Governance: Leading Change in the Information Age

By Patricia Meredith, Steven A. Rosell, and Ged R. Davis

© 2016

Although the information age offers individuals from all walks of life the power to make their voices heard, we often end up with a cacophony of competing voices rather than a conversation. With so many people empowered to join the decision-making process, the number and diversity of stakeholders in governance situations poses a special challenge: how do you steer when so many hands are on the wheel?

Catalytic Governance offers a proven approach to managing this challenge, built on the insight that effective leadership and governance depends less on traditional top-down approaches and more on creating shared meanings and frameworks. Drawing on their experiences managing transformational change in a complex, multi-stakeholder environment on issues ranging from finance to climate change, health, and the digital revolution, Patricia Meredith, Steven A. Rosell, and Ged R. Davis demonstrate how to use dialogue to engage stakeholders, explore alternative perspectives, develop shared mental maps and a vision of the future, and co-create strategies and initiatives to realize that future.  While elements of this approach will be familiar, this is the first time they have been combined into a coherent model and tested together in practice. The book describes in detail how this was done in the process of transforming the Canadian payments system. The catalytic approach to governance is a powerful tool for leaders in the public and private sectors looking to lead and govern more effectively.

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Product Details

  • Imprint: Rotman-UTP Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 208 pages
  • Illustrations: 1
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

Catalytic Governance presents a new governance model for managing transformational change based on engagement, dialogue, and collaborative decision making.

Catalytic Governance: Leading Change in the Information Age

By Patricia Meredith, Steven A. Rosell, and Ged R. Davis

© 2016

Although the information age offers individuals from all walks of life the power to make their voices heard, we often end up with a cacophony of competing voices rather than a conversation. With so many people empowered to join the decision-making process, the number and diversity of stakeholders in governance situations poses a special challenge: how do you steer when so many hands are on the wheel?

Catalytic Governance offers a proven approach to managing this challenge, built on the insight that effective leadership and governance depends less on traditional top-down approaches and more on creating shared meanings and frameworks. Drawing on their experiences managing transformational change in a complex, multi-stakeholder environment on issues ranging from finance to climate change, health, and the digital revolution, Patricia Meredith, Steven A. Rosell, and Ged R. Davis demonstrate how to use dialogue to engage stakeholders, explore alternative perspectives, develop shared mental maps and a vision of the future, and co-create strategies and initiatives to realize that future.  While elements of this approach will be familiar, this is the first time they have been combined into a coherent model and tested together in practice. The book describes in detail how this was done in the process of transforming the Canadian payments system. The catalytic approach to governance is a powerful tool for leaders in the public and private sectors looking to lead and govern more effectively.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Imprint: Rotman-UTP Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 208 pages
  • Illustrations: 1
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "Catalytic Governance is an important book that shows and explains in detail how some of the new approaches to change – dialogue and scenario planning – are evolving as the crucial methodologies for dealing with the complex and systemic problems that private and public organizations are increasingly facing."


    Edgar H. Schein, Professor Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management, and author of 'Humble Consulting'

    "This book is as much a manual on managing an inclusive multi-stakeholder dialogue as it is a tour de force about the contours of technology-driven change in the information era."


    Rohinton P. Medhora, President, Centre for International Governance Innovation

    "Based on my experience as a participant in the remarkably successful transformative process described so clearly in this book, I believe that Catalytic Governance should be used widely to make progress on a range of wicked problems."


    Barbara G. Stymiest, Former Group Head of Strategy, Treasury and Corporate Services, Royal Bank of Canada
  • Author Information

    Patricia Meredith is a Fellow at the David & Sharon Johnston Centre for Governance Innovation at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, and a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, University of Waterloo. Her previous book Stumbling Giants, co-authored with James L. Darroch, was the Winner of the 2018 Donner Prize for the Best Public Policy Book by Canadian authors.


    Steven A. Rosell, the author of four books and numerous articles on governance and leadership, is the president of Viewpoint Learning, which develops specialized applications of dialogue for both business and the public sector.


    Ged R. Davis, an experienced scenario practitioner working with corporations, governments, and international institutions is the executive chair of the Scenario Study Group at the World Energy Council and the president of Forescene S.A.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction: Leadership and Governance in the Information Age
    Chapter 1: The Global Information Society
    Chapter 2: Engagement and Dialogue
    Chapter 3: Exploring Perspectives and Building Scenarios
    Chapter 4: Developing a Governance Framework for the Canadian Payments System
    Chapter 5: Co-Creating a Desired Future
    Chapter 6: Lessons Learned and the Catalytic Governance Model
    Appendix: Summary of the Scenarios

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