A3: New power: Harnessing the power of others to achieve change

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The way in which we use power is changing. This session will not explore the theory: rather it will give practical, real-life examples of organisations in the UK that are adopting a new mindset, empowering their staff and volunteers, and transforming their organisations. In doing so, they seek to redefine the relationship with their users and make lives better. But, does it work?

Old power – like a currency – is closed, guarded, and held by a few. New power, a hot topic right now, operates like a current: it is open, driven by people and most powerful when it is channelled towards a cause. The ability to mobile people to a cause (or a service) – think #MeToo, Donald Trump or Wikipedia – is a defining feature of our time.

The Civil Society Futures report makes this challenge to the voluntary sector: we must devolve power, distribute leadership and reconnect with local communities. But how do you do this? How much power are really we willing to give away? How do we take our organisations on this journey? A new generation of leaders must find a way through this.


Alex Farrow, Lead Consultant, NCVO Charities Evaluation Services


  • Edel Harris, Chief Executive, Cornerstone Scotland
  • Kathryn Perera, Deputy Director, NHS Horizons 

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