Kathryn Perera

Kathryn Perera

Kathryn is Director at NHS Horizons. She is curious about people, the messy realities of making change happen and how we inspire others to action. Change agent!

Location Tooting, south London, UK


  • @AlvaroAstasioPicado There is lots in here! I would link all these dimensions back to courage, too. Stories are, if you like, an emotional resource on which we can draw not simply to show us a moral (HOW to act) but also to build our energy and intention TO act.

  • Simon this is a fascinating reflection, because many people might respond to what you describe in different ways. I wondered, as I read, about you referring to a job that's "doable" and well-balanced being "self-serving". I'm not so sure. Perhaps the question becomes what you do next with the latent energy that having a more balanced approach to work might...

  • Beautiful feedback, Emma, thank you. I try to pepper my week with conversations with people who inspire and energise me - even if they're only 10 minutes, they make all the difference!

  • Yes Hannah, this is great. It may also be about re-defining what "data" is. Stories are a form of data, and a really dynamic and emotionally powerful one too.

  • Love this, Cate. Marshall Ganz, a community organiser who teaches Public Narrative, says this about what stories help us to see and know:

    "Stories not only teach us how to act – they inspire us to act. Stories communicate our values through the language of the heart, our emotions.
    And it is what we feel – our hopes, our cares, our  obligations – not simply...

  • I like the idea of bringing in multiple perspectives, Trudy. We can feel uncomfortable about doing this, as it makes things 'messier' and can feel overwhelming. Later in the School for Change Agents, we'll explore how we bring other people with us and get them invested in this approach, even when it feels daunting.

  • Great stuff, Joanne. Let us know if you want more suggested reading, viewing and suggestions of organisations to follow beyond the School for Change Agents

  • And part of our work is re-framing what "data" means too, Kamila! There is perhaps a dominant culture in healthcare and care services to think of "data" as codified evidence and information. Whereas, as you say, stories are a form of data with a heart - and can teach us huge amounts.

  • I think this is right Charlotte. Helen Bevan often talks about making "small scale changes within a large-scale framework". Lots of small changes without a strategic intent and direction won't make the bigger, breakthrough changes we need.

  • Yes Claire, I see this too (including in our own work, unless we are very intentional about it).

    I'd be interested in your observations about why this happens. And also, where have people seen this done really well within a team or organisation?

  • Valerie this is a good observation. The two go hand-in-hand, as we need both 'hierarchical' and structured ways of making change as well as 'relational' or people based ways of influencing change. Perhaps the question is: How do we become ambidextrous - able to work with both?

  • Abi - this is so key. Often, it's about how we create and then sustain the ENERGY for change with others. Networks can be a key tool for this.

  • Bonnie I agree with this. There's a strong link between our behaviours and our underlying mental models, which often dictate what action we think is available to us to make change happen.

  • Hi @BrittanyFaux there's a lot of wisdom in what you've shared here. In our team, we try to pay attention to our "lived experiences" in a number of ways. We involve clinicians in our work, including Clinical Fellows. We also work with experts by experience - or current and recent patients/service-users. And we try to encourage each other to use our own...

  • @JudeGoddard hi - I completely agree with this. Animals can also be great storytellers, no? It seems inherent to any being capable of meaning-making. In other words, it operates at a deep, primal level and therefore has deep power, yet is often dismissed as "nebulous" or "soft" in the context of change...

  • @SarahTyler agreed that we can see this dynamic at work across the NHS.

    What would a framework that incentivised new power approaches look like...?

  • @CarolineColes there is something in what you're saying about the dynamic between the two different ways of effecting change. "New power" can be (but isn't always) an effective means to shift the dominant structure or culture. But often as that shift occurs a new structure or culture emerges and needs, in its turn, to be questioned and challenged. We see this...

  • @OliviaWalker Yes and whatever our formal role, the New/Old Power model shows that we have a lot of choice about how we "show up" in the world. We can channel the best bits of both modes to achieve change

  • @jasmineFeakes thanks for sharing, this is an important insight. It isn't that one way of thinking/operating is good and one is bad. It isn't that we should always be in one "mode". It's about how we learn to be "ambidextrous" and use both when needed and when effective

  • Hi @MohanaMaddula this is a really interesting contribution, thank you. What do you think the role of reflection is here?

    In my experience, effective next steps often follow reflection on action.

  • @SamanthaO'May I read today, on looking at the climate emergency, this comment: "If we wait for governments it will be too late; if we act alone it will be too little." Change starts with me AND if it stays with me it will be insufficient. Mo gets right to the heart of this, I think

  • @SarahShelton this sense of "I know there's something better and I'll take a small step towards it" is perhaps the most important insight that Mo offers to us

  • @ChelseyBaker you're right. This is a central insight that we will build on in the later sessions of the School for Change Agents. Thank you.

  • @NathaliePurchase yes I think so too! Mo is a great storyteller, but her point is also that ANYONE can choose to make small changes within a framework of "big thinking". Big ambitions and smaller changes...

  • @EmilyFowkes I completely agree. I would go even further - we CANNOT have all the answers at the start. If we do, we are designing only from our perspective and leaving no room to co-create the change WITH others

  • Christian - this is fundamental, isn't it? Going back to intention (or "purpose" as Martin Luther King called it) and remembering what we're seeking to change and what values we are acting on to do it...

  • @DebFitzPatrick Finding "your tribe" is what it's all about. I love to see people connect every time we host School. Welcome!

  • Hi Moruf, I hope it will provide you with inspiration!