You are involved with a profound organisational change that depends as much on enthusing people and earning their cooperation as it does on delivering new structures, processes or technologies.

My skills are in change strategy, facilitation and communication: engaging people and spreading ideas in ways that make change very much easier.

My experience is in complex public sector organisations: enabling the significant changes in both capabilities and mindset needed to adapt successfully in the digital world.

I study and offer consultancy services to support business change, technology reform and digital transformation.

For more, see Services below…

“Mark has shown me how transformational change might be made to happen in practice within the NHS”

Debbie Morgan – NHS Programme Director – see case study


Mark Foden

When you may need me

For your change to be successful you need the willing cooperation of people outside your authority. You’ve organised meetings and workshops, spoken energetically at every opportunity and written until blue in the pen. But stuff isn’t happening the way you’d like.

You feel that, despite doing the right things, it’s hard to make change stick. The unexpected too often causes delay. Traditional, programmatic approaches seem too hard. Business cases look unrealistically ambitious and depend too much on hand-wavy assumptions about “culture change”. Things are just too unclear, too complex.

You may be using agile methods but progress is slow because your wider organisation isn’t very agile. Maybe there is too much emphasis on technology. You sense a lack of connection between those creating new capabilities and those who use or support them. Perhaps there is conflict.

What I do

I support organisational change programmes. My skills are in…

Change strategy – Working with management teams and individuals to develop ideas, approaches and behaviours that bring about genuine change in complex, uncertain situations.

Facilitation – Running events, workshops and conferences in inventive ways that connect and inspire people. (Without yoga, eye-closing or hand-holding.)

Communication – Writing things, creating presentations and making videos that explain complicated stuff simply and capture people’s imagination.

I work on business change, technology reform and digital transformation in government; which I also write and speak about.

Typical engagements range from a few days on something specific to longer periods providing more general support.

What you get

What you get depends on the situation. I cook from fresh. Here are some examples…

NHS change I helped some people in the NHS change the way they worked together – see this case study.

The Four Ex Model – A government organisation I worked with was struggling to get innovations into operation effectively. I found that the problem was the model of delivery; so I developed a new one – which I called the Four Ex Model. They liked it. And it fixed things.

More Tea Vicar – Some SME leaders new to providing services to government asked if I could help connect them better to people who might want their services. I started a discussion and networking group called More Tea Vicar. It grew to several hundred strong, with members from both SMEs and government. People met people and good things happened.

The Gubbins Video – There was confusion about the future architecture of government services. I made a video called the Gubbins of Government. It went viral. People were less confused. And many were delighted.

And there’s other stuff – but with duller names.

What I get

What I get is the satisfaction of using my skills and everything else that I am to enable others to crack hard problems. I like helping people and the acknowledgement that comes from that. (And, with luck, I get to make a living as well.)


Change is very much easier when the people involved understand and believe in what is happening. Get this right… and good stuff just starts to happen.

“A work of considerable genius”

Tom Loosemore of GDS about the Gubbins of Government


NHS Gazette & Herald article on implementing EHR systems

4 November

I copied this from the NHS Gazette & Herald about NHS Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems: “Blankton & Countyshire NHS Trust has been announced as another of the NHS Centres of Global Digital Excellence. The trust is one of two specifically told not to implement any of the leading EHR systems as the centrepiece of […]

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Adaptive change in the NHS – a missing conversation

2 November

I’ve been reading tweets from an NHS technology conference that is on at the moment. I can’t help thinking that there’s a conversation missing… about Adaptive Change. The NHS is beginning a significant effort to digitise itself. The last one – the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) – was canned five years ago: it cost […]

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We should talk more with each other

4 October

I spent yesterday afternoon facilitating an event at City Hall in London. It was an agendaless, unconference-style session to discuss women in technology. I gave a short introduction and set the 50 or so people there off on a series of 20-minute discussions in small groups. It seemed to go well, although I had very […]

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Not really digital

21 September

Email and electronic documents are the management communication tools of choice in most big organisations.  These tools are clanky and inefficient: even the new cloud versions. Think of the problems of following complex, branching email discussions; or of keeping track of multiple versions of a document.  Email and electronic documents are computerisations of paper-based processes. […]

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Communications at the NHS’ digital gunfight

14 September

Last year, I had two main jobs. About half my time I worked in an NHS organisation – improving elderly care in Cambridgeshire; and the other half in a digital software start up – TextThing. Unsurprisingly, just about everything about the two organisations was different – size, culture, behaviours – but most stark were the […]

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Blueprint – Overhaul – Streamline – Turbocharge

20 July

I’ve just read this piece by the NHS Chief Executive about the survival of the service. The emotive language in it relies on machine imagery.  I believe the NHS is more like a complex organism and I’d feel much more comfortable with words like seed, fertilise, nurture, propagate… Mindset is important. We need to think […]

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“Your Four Ex model is deeply embedded in the organisation – it’s become part of how we think”

A senior change manager in a government agency talking about my Four Ex capability maturity model




Or you can write to me at…
1 Church Cottages, East Woodhay, Newbury, Berkshire, RG20 0AL