Reaching For The Future.

An Advantaged Thinking call to action

“Advantaged Thinking to me is like a pair of magical glasses I get to wear all day, every day which, in the simplest of terms, sharpen my view of the important things in life."

“These Advantaged Thinking glasses clear up how I talk about people. They remove the fuzziness around how I work with and understand people, and they even help me stay on the pathway to thriving which, at times, can be difficult to see. When I’m wearing my Advantaged Thinking glasses, just the knowledge that I am wearing them is enough to remind me to truly hold high expectations for people and to seek out their stories and listen with sincere curiosity so I can better understand them and look for ways of empowering them to reach their potential. I also like to offer my magical Advantaged Thinking glasses to others around me just so they can try them on for a bit as this often sparks incredible conversations around what they now see and how this new ‘clarity’ affects their thoughts and ideas.” Dan Frost, Colony 47, Tasmania

An Advantaged Thinking call to action is not about encouraging people to act in response to a problem but inspiring people to take action to create good. Advantaged Thinking should always be someone’s approach of choice. Reaching for the Future is the penultimate chapter in our Advantaged Thinking series. Here we summarise the Advantaged Thinking offer and put out three calls to action for the sector.

Where to start? 

Advantaged Thinking can help to address both practice development and systems change. It has tools you can use to resource your journey, including a range of off-the-shelf examples you can instantly plug into. Advantaged Thinking has an international community of practice to learn from. Moreover, Advantaged Thinking has the power to inspire people at all levels. Crucially, Advantaged Thinking can be measured and quality assured. 

Advantaged Thinking is a powerful, proven framework for delivering an asset-based approach with a decade of practice impact that is far richer than just ‘positive thinking’, being strengths-based or delivering psychologically informed environments. Advantaged Thinking works. But without comprehensive, sector-wide takeup of Advantaged Thinking approaches and funding to make them a reality, young people will continue to be underserved by deficit-based approaches. 

The ninth chapter of Adventures in Advantaged Thinking summarises the Advantaged Thinking offer and sets out three calls to action:

  • Call One: The aspirational ask for service managers and funders
  • Call Two: How service managers and funders can take immediate action
  • Call Three: Challenges to inspire future success

Key Learnings:

Embedding Advantaged Thinking in services for the benefit of young people requires commitment and understanding from both service managers and funders.

Authentic, meaningful change requires commitment at every level – from the governance of your organisation to its staffing, processes and funding. 

Consistency is key - through time, between services, in the way you communicate and work with young people.

We must be accountable to the people we exist to serve; genuine decision-making power should be held by young people.

What are we doing?

We are delivering actions to progress each of our three calls to action. To support service managers to deliver on the aspirations of Advantaged Thinking and implement it in their day to day work, we have refreshed our core training in Advantaged Thinking and created a suite of in depth training options across the 7 Tests of Advantaged Thinking to provide more comprehensive support in each area. We actively work with each of our external funders to ensure they fully understand the potential and impact of the Advantaged Thinking approach and look for opportunities to share our learning and resources with their networks. 

Furthermore, we are co-creating Handbooks on Advantaged Thinking People and Advantaged Thinking Practice to challenge people to go further in their implementation of Advantaged Thinking and to inspire future success in this area. These Handbooks provide examples of best practice, inspiration for change and practical steps for organisations and individuals.  

Inspiration from around the sector

Better Way network

The Better Way is a network of people working together to improve services, build strong communities and bring about a fairer society. Crucially, they welcome anyone who is attracted by the concept;, people at the frontline of practice as well as thought leaders from across public, private and voluntary spheres. They believe that if we change the way we work, together we can build a fairer  and more inclusive society in which everyone can enjoy a good life. Their events challenge all attendees to think differently, to be ambitious about the future, and to work together to achieve a better future. 


Mayday provides direct support through their Person-led, Transitional and Strength-based Response (PTS), which works alongside people going through tough times, providing person-led, transitional, and strength-based support. Mayday say they are “constantly striving to create a paradigm shift to a person-led response, which puts people back in control of their tough time and their future…We never get complacent and always reflect on our work and people’s experience so that we adapt, improve, and provide better individual services for people.” 

They work at a systems level through The New System Alliance; a platform for those who feel there is something wrong with the current systems encountered by people experiencing tough times in the UK, which acts as a home for those who have felt frustrated, unheard or invisible, whether working in services, commissioning or with direct experience. Through the PTS and The New Systems Alliance, Mayday are able to challenge the wider sector to work in more asset-based and person-centred ways, and inspire them to do so. 

Reflection Questions:

Q1. Which of the offers and calls to action is most important to you?

Q2. Is there anything else you need to help you begin to advance Advantaged Thinking?

Q3. How could you challenge yourself or others to do more with Advantaged Thinking?

The Foyer Federation is registered in England and Wales under company number 2699839 at Work.Life, Core Building, 30 Brown Street, Manchester, M2 1DH. The charity is registered under charity number 1040482.
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