Ian is renowned for his multifaceted career in innovation, education, coaching, and advocacy for women’s leadership. Ian is a respected author and a prominent social entrepreneur, contributing valuable insights and driving meaningful change in multiple domains globally.
With a background in banking, Ian embarked on a path of pioneering creativity, notably establishing one of Europe’s first innovation units during his tenure at Barclays. Over the course of two decades, he has emerged as a respected independent consultant, channeling his expertise primarily into the realm of education and coaching.
Ian’s journey is marked by a commitment to originality of thought and innovation, qualities that led to the inception of Bright Field Consulting with his wife Hilary over a decade ago. His portfolio of accomplishments includes influential roles in projects with organisations such as the DfE Innovation Unit, Odyssey Charter School, the Learning Schools Trust, and Woodard Corporation. His coaching acumen has been instrumental in the success of many clients, both corporate and in the realms of education.
In 1986, while working in the Natural Resources team at Barclays Bank, Ian’s life took a transformative turn during a course as part of BP’s in-house MBA program titled “Creative Problem Solving and Innovation.” This experience exposed Ian to innovative problem-solving techniques that BP was pioneering, techniques not yet embraced by the banking industry.
Over the subsequent seven years, Ian immersed himself in private research and delivered keynote addresses at conferences across Europe and North America. Often the sole banker in attendance, he authored a series of influential papers that ultimately laid the foundation for one of Europe’s earliest innovation units. Between 1993 and 1995, Ian and his team embarked on diverse projects, collaborating with both Barclays’ business units and esteemed external clients such as ICI, Shell, Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, and Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Since 1995, Ian has thrived as an independent consultant, specializing in coaching, strategic planning, and leadership development. His clientele has included industry giants like Boeing, Barclaycard, Santander, and Boots.
More recently, Ian has turned his attention to education leadership. He has provided guidance to the UK Government, the Church of England, and schools across Australasia, North America, Europe, and Africa.
In 2013, Ian and his wife Hilary founded Bright Field, earning recognition for pioneering work in both the state and independent education sectors. Their efforts, particularly in empowering young individuals to build confidence and self-awareness, have been commendable.
Notably, in 2016, Bright Field established the Global Mentoring Network for Aspiring Leaders, which has since supported over 200 women through what The Times described as a “unique” mentoring program. The program’s remarkable journey is chronicled in Ian and Hilary’s book, “The Magic in the Space Between.” Ian’s most recent book, “The Magic In the Space Beyond,” features contributions from over twenty women who participated in this program.
Together with Erin Skelton, Ian is currently engaged in crafting a third book. This upcoming work will delve into the dynamics of women’s leadership, offering a rich array of case studies to illuminate and inspire.
Alongside his role at Bright Field, Ian is also a trustee with two multi-academic educational trusts, in addition to a trustee role in the Anglican Diocese of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich. Ian is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Colonel Lucy Giles, first female College Commander, Sandhurst
Having been the beneficiary of mentoring myself, and as a practitioner on the mentoring programme, I know first hand the benefits of collaborating with other sectors. Ian and Hilary Wigston expose us to an external perspective in leadership development, highlighting the organisational advantage gained through diversity of thought.
David Laws, Schools Minister 2012-2015
Thought provoking and based on a wealth of personal experience. Great insights on raising our sights for professional development in the world of education.
Trudy Hall, formerly Principal Emma Willard School
Ian Wigston artfully and provocatively blends the right questions with a gentle yet productive prod. He has that rare ability to adjust his style as needed, no cookie cutter strategies, no formulaic protocol. Each session is what you need it be; your energy drives; his energy offers a roadmap through uncertain terrain.
Julie Taylor, CEO Thomas Deacon Education Trust
I was attracted to your work initially because of the EQ measure. I felt it had a credibility as a model for beginning to understand why some people were more effective as leaders when you stripped away all the common skills and qualifications.