Highlights from EVA29 2023

Written by Paul Major on

This year, the changemaker team attended the 29th EVA conference in the prestigious Armourers Hall in the City of London. 

For anyone not familiar with the EVA events, they are organised by Steve Wake, Ex-Chair of the Association for Project Management and current Chair of the Association of Cost Engineers

This year’s focus was 'People and Data', exploring how we use data and AI in decision-making and the role of the human being in this increasingly technical world. We saw practitioners who are leading some of the most influential projects and programmes across the UK come together to share knowledge, ideas and best practices.


Dr Timothy Sheldon from the Dreadnought Alliance delivered a notable presentation that shared how the team tasked with delivering our replacement nuclear submarine fleet by the 2030s has put behaviours at the heart of the programme governance approach of the largest engineering programme underway in the UK. 

Placing people and behaviours as central to the success of such a large, complex endeavour is something that is very close to the heart of us here at changemaker.

This was backed up by a great presentation from Carole Osterweil, who discussed the importance of understanding the neuroscience behind human behaviour in driving successful change and transformation delivery. She explained the “project stress cycle” where a change project runs into difficulty, but the subsequent innate human behavioural response actively works against project recovery. This triggers a “flight response” (our brain doesn’t distinguish between physical and social threats), resulting in a subconscious reduction in rational behaviour.

This really resonated with the experiences we often see in difficult project delivery situations, and will be a subject Jonny Baber looks to further explore in one of our new year blog posts.

Eva29 Conference

The day closed with a highly entertaining and interactive session on the Natural Intelligence of Diverse Teams, led by myself and Jack Pinter. The session explored what happens when programme leaders with very different objectives and approaches come together to make high-impact decisions using actors that were directed by the audience in a method called Forum Theatre. 

During the session, we highlighted the value of cognitive diversity and how we can use an understanding of psychology and preference to bring different people together to solve intractable problems.

Frameless Automotive Event - Lumina Spark 1

To close the session, we introduced the audience to the Lumina Spark tool, which is something we use here at changemaker to help teams embrace diversity and build a common language that encourages people to create connection and rapport.

All in all, a great day of learning and interaction. We look forward to attending again next year.

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