Our 12-Step Methodology for Making Change Happen

We’ve developed a 12-step methodology for making change happen, which is not only simple, replicable and cyclical, but which can be effectively applied in any context, at any level, and on any scale where the goal is to engage more people, crowdsource wisdom, empower changemakers, and co-create shared outcomes.

It’s a 12-step system for taking a diverse group of people from initial handshakes to co-production in a short space of time, through a series of facilitated conversations. And we’re going to be out and about across South West Wales over the next 12 months, putting this model into action.

We bring the system into communities, companies, sector groups and projects whenever we’re invited to do so, because we know it’s the key to unlocking our individual and collective potential. We’re excited to see the genius that emerges when we simply create space for people to think and work together.

Conversations Worth Having

As a small group of committed citizens, we started 4theRegion in 2018 because of our passion for South West Wales and our determination to help transform the region, for the benefit of current and future generations.

At that time, we were fueled by a whole lot of optimism, a whole lot of worry, and a sense that we had to do something. We knew that the time to start was Now, in the context of City Deal, Brexit and UK Austerity, and that we couldn’t afford to delay while we figured out a detailed plan. So, our practical strategy would have to emerge over time:

How, exactly, are we going to make change happen for South West Wales?

In the 8 months since then, we have thrown ourselves into regional engagement. Travelling across the four counties, we have held meetings, events and conversations with as many people from as many different sectors as possible. We’ve spoken at length to our members – regional businesses – about the challenges they face and the opportunities they see. We have listened, asked questions, and tested our ideas, we have sought feedback, asked for help, and learned a massive amount.

We have read everything we could find about how change happens, and how to engage people in regional development. And we have been trained by some of the world’s top practitioners in the fields of organisational change, appreciative enquiry, generative conversations and leading from the emerging future. In September 2018 we had the opportunity to co-facilitate the Cleveland Sustainability Summit, part of a 10 year “whole system” regional transformation effort that’s resulted in Cleveland’s amazing progress on environmental issues in recent years.

And in October 2018, we achieved our LEAF certification from the Flourishing Leadership Institute, which is a qualification to:

  • design and facilitate new conversations;
  • craft questions that draw upon and engage collective strengths;
  • allow groups to quickly co-create and enroll in shared purpose, vision and action;
  • enable complex and strategic change
  • not only in individuals – but also at the scale of the whole system
  • (team / division / organisation / community).

A Regenerative Approach to Regional Engagement for the Emerging Future

It is on the basis of all this that we are now able, a year on, to set out a clear routemap for how we intend to help make change happen, for the region, by working together. And it’s our sincere hope that this methodology will be adopted not only in South West Wales, but across the world in many other regions that are struggling with the same questions, divisions and levels of deprivation that we live with, here in Wales.

Discover the 12-Step Methodology

Connect people

Get the whole system in the room

Purposeful Connection

Why are we all here?

Listen & Share Perspectives

What are the obstacles?  Where are we now?

Elevate Success Stories

When are we at our best? When does it work well?  

Uncover Strengths & Values

What strengths and values emerge?

How Might We Questions

Identify / Co-Produce Big Questions

Divergent Thinking

Crowdsourcing wisdom – collective brainstorming

Convergent Thinking

Collectively Identify themes, energising ideas, practical actions

Rapid Prototyping

Co-create action plans, initiatives

Ask for Something Big

What can you do to take these action plans forward?


Make the business case

Make It Happen

Collaborate, take risks, promote radical trust, empower ownership

Sustain It

Embed the 12-step methodology – cyclical and regenerative

Sector Success Clubs

State your wish and your obstacle – it’s amazing how solutions emerge.