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Human Learning Systems: International Action Learning Group

As part of our work to explore the Human Learning Systems (HLS) approach to public management, the Centre for Public Impact proposes to bring together people from across the world who are seeking to undertake (or support others to undertake) HLS experiments.

The Action Learning Group will provide:

Networking and Relationship Building - peer to peer support

We know that being in the vanguard of change can be lonely, and that it is helpful to have relationships with others who can provide a sense of fellowship when times get tough. The group will enable people who are developing and running experiments with the HLS approach to build a sense of community with other pioneers, who they may not otherwise have the opportunity to connect with.

The group will have its own shared digital space and mechanisms for peer to peer communication.

A space to share and learn - designing and running HLS experiments

The group will offer structured support and help for those who are creating and running experiments with HLS principles and practices. You will get help from others who are wrestling with similar challenges, and structured support to help you get started. This will be a space where critical friends challenge and develop one another.

You will also have a place to share what you are learning from your own explorations with HLS practice, and to learn from others’ experiences. Hearing how others address their challenges will help your practice develop faster.

An ever growing knowledge base - a critical mass for change

We will capture the learning from all of the experiments to create case studies and other resources which will help with spreading the knowledge, and gaining support for the work amongst actors in your network. You will be part of creating a critical mass of examples of doing things differently.

Launch: trialling Action Learning Group activities

We will set up the Action Learning Group initially as a 6 month experiment, which will be free to people who want to join. We will offer it to our current partners across the world, and invite those in who we know are experimenting with HLS approaches. After that initial 6 months, those who wish to continue to be members will need to collectively raise the resources to support the facilitation and infrastructure of the group  - for example, through a membership fee model.

We will develop and adapt the programme of activities with you as we go. During this trial period, we will try out one each of the following types of session, plus have a launch session to kick off this work:

1. Experiment design workshop - 3 hours

We will undertake a guided workshop session using the forthcoming ‘how to’ guide for HLS experiments. This session will enable a team to propose a particular topic/area for an HLS experiment and receive structured facilitation and feedback to develop the idea into an experiment in doing public management differently.

Members of the group will be able to ask for their idea to be the subject of each workshop.

2. Sharing & reflection workshops - 2-3 hours

The group will have the opportunity to undertake deep dives into the experiments that different organisations are already undertaking - helping to reflect on their HLS journey. Potential content for this detailed exploration includes:

  • The Innovation Centre in the Finnish National Agency for Education

  • Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Public Health Scotland

  • Plymouth City Council

We imagine all the events will be virtual events.

We will also workshop with the group what digital tools would be helpful to enable connection and learning. For instance, we could create a dedicated Slack Channel (or other suitable digital channel) and noticeboard for people to share their experiences, maintain relationships, and record what is happening with their experiments.


This group is running initially for 6 months, until autumn 2022. After this period, we will explore if the group would like to continue, and what the options for financial sustainability will be.

Start your HLS journey

If you are ready to start your HLS exploration, and would like to be part of this Action Learning Group, complete the form below, so we may assess readiness and timing - either for the initial group, or subsequent groups going forward.