Programmes and Services

In addition to ResearchEvents and Broadcasts, Swoboda undertakes other programmes and services. These are mainly aimed at its subscribing Members, but may extend to non-member organisations where this activity supports the research agenda. Currently, these comprise Facilitation, the Sensemaker’s programme and the Research Engagement Group.

Facilitation

Swoboda directors and associates deliver board and senior management training and development, in particular in credit union governance, where Swoboda has deep and internationally recognised expertise in reflected in its research work.

Premium membership of Swoboda comes with up to a day per year of onsite, bespoke support, often taking the form of a board development session.

While its focus is on the research programme, Swoboda values its direct engagement with credit unions in this way, which enables it to strengthen the relevance and practicality of its guidance on governance.

Sensemakers CEO development programme

Sensemaking “is the process through which individuals work to understand novel, unexpected or confusing events” (Dyer, 2016) – or what we could call ‘the future’!

Dyer, R. (2016) Cultural sense-making integration into risk mitigation strategies towards megaproject success. International Journal of Project Management

1. What is Sensemakers?

  • An annual programme of active learning for credit union CEOs looking to understand and map the future and build the resilience of their organisations
  • Professional development led by experts and facilitated by Swoboda
  • Peer-learning for the participants
  • Exclusive to Swoboda Members!

2. What is the format?

  •  A quarterly, two hour webinar
  • Small and whole group discussion
  • Pre-reading where appropriate to maximise discussion value to ensure the discussion is more exploratory than explanatory
  • Registration is required for the full Programme, not individual sessions
  • Designed for and catering to CEOs or lead managers only, so there is peer learning too.

3. What is the Sensemakers agenda for 2024/25?

Our inaugural Sensemakers programme will be an in-depth focus on the development and deployment of strategy, with the following sessions (agenda subject to change):

Sessions 1 and 2 ‘Flipcharts and marker pens’ – The process of developing a strategy. Considering: Why do strategy? How to do strategy; How to use scenarios; Strategy by spreadsheet – or not?

Session 3 ‘It’s mine vs it’s ours’ – Getting buy-in. Considering: The role of a credit union board; How to engage the staff team; The involvement of members?

Session 4 ‘On or off the shelf?’ – How to use strategy effectively. Considering: Life after sign-off; Measurement vs management; Operations and other plans; Risk (and opportunity)

4. Who is the course leader?

In 2024, the Programme will be led by George Hofheimer from The Strategy Circle. George has extensive experience advising credit unions large and small in the USA, but also knows the movements in GB and Ireland, most recently presenting at the Swoboda conference in Manchester in 2023. George has thought long and hard about strategy, and last year published a book, Banking On A Human Scale, which sets out his ideas on how credit unions can compete sustainably and better serve their members. George is an extremely respected and popular figure within the movement internationally.

5. How much will it cost?

Participation in the Sensemakers programme is free to Premium Members and £600/€700 for Members (a 50% discount).

6. When can I apply to join in?

Nick Money will be emailing Swoboda members very soon. Places are limited and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis!

Research Engagement Group 

Swoboda is proud to introduce the Research Engagement Group, a new, annual consultation forum for Premium Members to discuss future research topics and the overall Swoboda programme.

Swoboda values feedback and this is the chance for our Members to have their say in a facilitated conversation. Participation in the Engagement Group will be available exclusively to our Premium Members. Other Members will still be able to provide feedback and make suggestions through discussion at conferences or making direct contact with Swoboda.

The Group will meet by webinar once a year, in July, strategic planning time for many credit unions. It will include a presentation from Swoboda and potentially other authors summarising recent work and previewing ongoing projects.

This will be an excellent opportunity for CEOs/directors of our member credit unions to influence Swoboda research agenda and cater for their credit unions’ needs.

The first meeting of the Research Engagement Group will be in July 2024, and invitations will be sent out in due course.

For more information and if you have any questions or queries, please contact Nick Money, nick.money@swobodacentre.org.