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    How great leaders inspire action

    By Matt Jenner, on 11 March 2013

    Simon Sinek’s talk, How great leaders inspire action filmed at TEDxPuget carves a visual model for inspirational leadership. By going into examples of Apple, Martin Luther King and the Wright brothers Simon unearths what he calls the ‘golden circle’ and how leaders in their field can inspire others where the others are not.

    What? How? Why? Model

    The ‘golden circle’

    Before you carry on, you might want to watch his talk:

    (if that doesn’t load – Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action)


    As bought up in the talk and mentioned by my colleague Clive a few times is Roger’s 1962 model of diffusion of innovation and Clive has mentioned how this can be used to view e-learning permeation across the institution. The model isn’t some theoretical utensil; it’s actually fairly useful for measuring innovation within certain contexts. For example if we look back to our Total Moodle (where every taught module/programme of study must have at least a Baseline Moodle component) from 2010 we were geared up with an email template called ‘laggards’. Naturally we’re not some kind of automated E-Learning-a-tron-2000 unit who fire our emails of disgust to the rebellion, but we expected the hesitant, reserved, traditional or otherwise objectors to stir. This email never saw the light. For one reason or another; a significant majority came on board. If we have laggards now, we’re on a 1-2% group – and you know what, their autonomy is sacred, and we’re really busy with the other 98%.

    To think of this diffusion of innovation within E-Learning Environments we have the privilege to work with academic and support staff to support, promote, develop and evaluate e-learning within UCL’s teaching and learning. This generally means inspiration from the innovators, a lot of work with the early & late majority and having some of the most interesting (and sometimes heated) interactions with Those on the Right (*ahem* or laggards, not that we see them that way). But the e-learning staff member does not say ‘this is how it’s done, so get on with it’. As mentioned in the talk, people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. What you do simply serves as the proof of what you believe. We believe in e-learning, it makes an impact, some call it supportive, others disruptive – and we subscribe, invest and build.

    When considering any of the activities within the e-learning team (learning spaces, new projects, existing services, biggest problems, smallest ideas, daily support) and overlay each and every user over diffusion of innovation model we’ll find they’re scattered all over the place. Some are more to the left, others to the middle or the right & many are in multiple places. The implication was that people will only subscribe to what they believe in, so we have to keep refining that Why component.