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2024-2025 LILA Theme Announced: Navigating the Cs of Change

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LILA Theme 2024-2025  Navigating the Cs of Change  

For 25 years the LILA community has examined a range of strategic challenges organizations face as they aim to develop and perform in today’s complex world.  Looking back at our topics over the years, one theme continues to resurface: how can organizations effectively navigate change? Leaders continue to struggle to transform their culture, support employee development, accommodate emerging technologies, and adapt to changing demographics.   Shifts since the pandemic in where and when we work continue to challenge organizations.  The world continues to change and, along with it, so must organizations.   The question is: what contemporary models of change are best suited to tackle changing mindsets, processes and practices, and the social systems of work?

This theme will revive past powerful insights on navigating change and update them with emerging insights from research in social psychology, political science, ecology, and organizational development.  It will highlight ecological and iterative models of change that better fit the increasing complexity organizations and their leaders face.  It will examine three “Cs” of change –how we change conceptions, capacities, and complex systems –that touch on the cognitive, behavioral, and socio-structural facets of a changing work life.

Transforming Conceptions (October 2025). What models of change best support shifting mindsets, beliefs and other conceptions?  In a world of increasing disinformation and polarization, understanding how to surface and shift how and what we think is critical.  Shifting business values to include environmental sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and community engagement are vital for long-term organizational success.  These and other challenges speak to the internal challenges of change: how to best support the changes in our often deeply rooted values and perspectives.  This theme will examine past LILA insights into how we can move our mental models to adapt to emerging needs organizations face.

Developing Capacities (December 2025). How can we best support individuals, groups, and organizations to develop new skills, activities, and habits? Developing systems thinking, empathy, and complex causal reasoning in leaders continues to be a challenge for many organizations.  Unlearning habits and deeply rooted practices is critical for organizations aiming to change their cultures.  And developing new capacities throughout the workforce, such as critical thinking and creativity, is essential in today’s information-rich world.  This topic aims to look at ways leaders can shift individual and collective behaviors and develop new capacities to perform effectively in a globally changing workplace.

Shifting Complex Systems (March 2025). How can we shift macro-level systems of work to better adapt to the changing needs of the workforce, the organization, and the world?  This topic will revisit key models and insights of complex systems, how they emerge and how they change.  Whether it be transforming supply chains, forging new alliances with “frenemies”, incorporating AI into everyday work, reconceptualizing employee development initiatives, or shifting to hybrid forms of work, organizations continue to face a variety of complex system challenges.  These topics have been around for many years but today’s interconnected world, especially with the rise of AI, puts a new complexion on them. Drawing on insights from social and political science, this topic will examine how to lead change amidst complexity and emergence.

Summit: Navigating the Cs of Change.  The summit will bring together a new understanding of contemporary models of change that are best suited to tackle changing mindsets, processes and practices, and the social systems of work. We will update our thinking and doing regarding the worldviews that dominate organizational life in order to navigate the ‘Cs of Change’ that we will likely continue to face.

Harvard Graduate School of Education