Next Tank: 16 June 2011: To network or to notwork?

Is twittering just for twits? Or can you not work without networking? Are you face to face or screen to screen? What does that reveal about you?

Here is a random selection from tweets on #networking:

  • How to: Supercharge Your LinkedIn Profile
  • Tired of adapting to Facebooks constant changes? Need a new networking platform?
  • Driving Results Through the Power of Social Networking
  • The invent of the social networking sites have made everyone these self-imposed multi talented humans

Just a quick sample but already it shows what an obsession this is all becoming.

  • I tweet therefore I am? (Tweet now with #notworking)
  • Do you use work to avoid networking or the opposite?
  • What is the breakthrough thinking that takes this up a notch from chatting aimlessly at the virtual bus stop to something that can change our world?
  • Top tips for networking?
  • Top tips for notworking?

Join the debate live online here. 4pm UK time. Thursday June 16th

Next Thinking Tank 19.05.2011 “We’re not as ethical as we think”

This is the challenge thrown down by Max H. Bazerman, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Ann E. Tenbrunsel, a professor of business ethics at the University of Notre Dame. Their new book examines the reality gap between how “good” we like to think we are and what we do in practice. Uncomfortable stuff.

The main causes they identify include biases and prejudices, turning a blind eye and self interest. In our discussion we will attempt to look at our own blind spots and consider what we – and society – can do to address this issue.

Join us for this online debate where we dare to examine our deepest motives. 45 minute live event on Thursday 19 May. Starts 4pm UK time, 5pm CET

See here for information about their book: Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What’s Right and What to Do about It

Join the discussion here. As promoted on RSA USA website

Thinking Tank 21.03.2011 Global or local?

The subject for this week’s Thinking Tank discussion Is Local or Global? Where would you start to make the world a better place?Thinking Tank debate Global or local

When I worked in multinationals and international development, I was all for global solutions. The more time I spend at a microcommunity level the more I wonder if it isn’t just the same – so we may as well do something where we find ourselves. You may feel though that big initiatives like global warming need a top-down approach.

This Thursday, online, at 4pm GMT. Be local, be global, enlighten and be enlightened. Stretch your mind with people you might never otherwise meet. And if you can’t make the live event, why not twitter now using #tanklocal and we can feed in your comments

Next Thinking Tank 17.03.2011 4pm OR 8pm GMT

In our next discussion we will consider Enlightenment 2.0Bold Vision Enlightenment 17.03.2011. What does it mean to you? Does it matter? Does it help?

Both discussions will follow a similar format, though the journey can be quite different depending on who is there. Pick the time that suits you best 4pm GMT or 8pm GMT.

Be enlightening, be enlightened. Stretch your mind with people you might never otherwise meet.

Pick the time that suits you best 4pm GMT or 8pm GMT. Be enlightening, be enlightened. Stretch your mind with people you might never otherwise meet.


Thinking Tank on Crime and Punishment 17.02.2011

In this debate we took a broad look at the challenging area of crime and punishment. Considering reports of high correlations of those in prison and those with dyslexia, communications disorders, child abuse, sexual abuse etc, maybe it is time we reflected on how to address crime in a more integrated way – and we saw more empathy for criminals than the popular press might suggest.

For the first time we ran the discussion at two time slots – afternoon and evening (GMT) to see which worked best. Turn up at the evening slot was very low but we will try it again in the March 17 debate in case that is just a one-off. All the results below are based on the combined debates. All comments are verbatim and got support from at least a third of the group, those in bold had majority support.

Tough on crime and the causes of crime?

The overall attitude towards crime was split with about half the group on the “hang them” side of the spectrum and half on the “heal them” side. There were diverse views about the underlying causes of crime because of this diverse group of participants, but we did agree on:

  • lack of community
  • sadly enough it is often related to social factors, education, family life, role modelling.. moral values

The view that “there are really bad people out there” split the vote, but there was general agreement that putting all crime in one basket from shop lifting to murder was unhelpful. The Thinking Tank did not feel that it was reasonable to manage these through the same system.

  • I am more relaxed about petty crime.. the stolen PC etc is annoyance, but no infringement in my family’s physical safety
  • Though crime is always crime I think a clear classification of crime is needed. Also perhaps for really petty crime a better way of dealing with it.
  • eg just focus on violent crime / criminals


There was a lot of debate about the possibility of pretty much anybody losing their path and becoming a criminal of some sort. Many did not see criminals as a different species. But there was not enough convergence on this view to generate strongly supported statements other than:

  • Criminals come in all ages, ethnic backgrounds, etc.
  • I’ve done massage for women prisoners. Very moving (and disturbing) that they are so unused to kindness

There was much more agreement on the positive aspects of criminals, particularly if they are reformed and prepared to communicate about their journeys:

  • There are some reformed criminals who make excellent mentors for younger people. They understand how it goes, on the right wavelength, high credibility and a strong message
  • indeed my son has been given info from an ex drug addict criminal and this has helped him
  • My decorator was an armed bank robber… now he works in the local community centre and tries to discourage young people from making the same choices that he made
  • Yes, I think there are examples in lots of communities where criminals have made a positive contribution to society.  In terms of peer education, many young people are more likely to listen and take heed from people who have experienced it themselves.  It’s much more meaningful and so if they can prevent even one other young person from following a life of crime then that is positive

But this wasn’t enough for everybody and these statements also got support:

  • I don’t like the hopelessness of giving up on people but I’m no softie either, I’m a mum of 2 kids … I agree with the comment re life should mean life … but for me that would be a lifetime’s worth of rehab I guess!
  • Although I can see many criminals as “victims”, I believe that their real victims are more entitled to attention and fair treatment – which is not trivial

What next?

Lastly we discussed ideas for useful action in this area – which focused on prevention and cure rather than punishment.

  • Rehabilitation through work: couldn’t prison sentences be turned into useful work ? Doesn’t have to be slavery …
  • “I have recently learned how poorly “re-entry” into society is managed. Criminals need to be welcomed back if they are to “”recover”” rather than be treated as outcasts – so they may as well reoffend.
  • If criminologists can use their skills to work out who committed a crime, or profile a likely murderer can they not use this insight to help prevent criminals before they are fully developed?

To see the full list of comments made contact Catherine Shovlin
Some Inspiration:
TED talk by Kiran Bedi – the female former Director General of the Indian Police Service who introduced education and meditation for all in one of India’s toughest prisons.
Lord Ramsbotham on startups not lockdowns
Life science in prison TED talk
Women in prison. Smart Justice video on youtube

Business as usual or time for a change? Thinking Tank 27.08.2009

Overall the group are aware of the need for a change in style in this Thinking Tank carried out in partnership with Aspire Coaching. The time for rigid leadership styles is over, in our fast changing world, flexibility is key.

  • Someone like Obama is changing what being a leader means

80% of comments about leadership style are about TRANSFORMATIONAL (traditionally female) attributes.
Communicating is the most frequently mentioned behaviour for a leader today while the need for emotional intelligence and empathy are also well recognised. Teamwork is an important aspect of this approach.

  • The key attributes are good communications, clarity of vision and purpose, high emotional intelligence, openness

The group see a growing need for honesty and openness in the way senior management deal with their teams… as well as a demand for a more ethical and sustainable approach to business decisions

The remaining 20% of comments about leadership style are about TRANSACTIONAL (traditionally male) attributes.
Despite the emphasis on transformational attributes there were also several comments about the need to be tough as a leader.

  • Leadership is a tougher job in an uncertain climate and it takes more than a sympathetic ear for staff concerns!

Some comments are about leadership in general – neither transformational nor transactional
Clarity and focus are important for any type of leader and inspiring visionary leaders are valued. Customers are mentioned in the context of the need to understand their needs in order for the business to survive

Lastly, the process of business leaders in a peer group discussion was seen as useful by many participants and there was a desire for ongoing on-line connections

  • We need some radical changes. Business and people need to be led by STRONG leaders with clear vision and the will to tackle the issues

The wordcloud for the whole debate looks like this (the bigger the word, the more it was used / supported). See full report here.results leadership 0908

Strategy Think Tank May 14 and 30

Can co-creation help to improving the process of strategy formulations? 

Thanks to for capturing the opposite of what we are hoping for!

Are you a senior manager in a large or medium sized European business? 

Do you ever wonder how good your company is at developing its business strategy? Or if some  co-creation might improve your strategy?

Join this senior managers online brainstorm in association with Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management to share insights and ideas on the hows and whys of  strategy creation. What are the elements to be taken into account? Which approaches work? What is essential?

The discussion is part of a research project initiated by a Koen Tackx, a PhD student at Solvay under the direction of Professor Paul Verdin (Chair in Strategy and Organization). It will run on an innovative on-line brainstorm platform:  written and anonymous. You can expect an active and intense debate where you contribute your ideas, share your experience, hear from others and react to their opinions. All you need to participate is an internet connection.

What’s in it for you?

  • You will get an overview of the opinions and best practices from other strategy managers, which you’ll be able to discuss immediately
  • You will get to know a new online discussion platform which you’ll probably want to use yourself in the future
  • You will have access to the conclusions of the discussions and of the overall research in a free webinar and via a presentation which we will forward to you

What’s your investment?

Half a minute to register and one hour of your time to take part in the debate at the date which suits you better.

Just select the date which suits you best and click on one of the links below – the organisers will send you confirmation with instructions on how to join on the day

  • Tues May 14  (4:30 to 5:30pm London time) or 
  • Thurs May 30 (between 11:30am to 12:30pm London time)
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