Next debate: Sun Mar 8 International Women’s Day 2015

Click here to join the discussion on Sunday Mar 8th (4pm UK time, 5pm CET, 12pm EST)

The original version of the film The Battle of the Sexes was made in 1914… and while it might sound anachronistic it seems we’re not done yet. The most likely person to kill a woman is still her partner. 44% of women in the UK experience sexual violence at some time in their lives. In recent research I have done with young men they talk of the difficulty of understanding and dealing with unfamiliar emotions of attachment and jealousy with little or no guidance. As well as the shocking figures there is a more subtle problem that society as a whole needs to address.

ttt1503 IWD

On this year’s International Women’s Day we invite both men and women to consider the dysfunctional dance we have created between us and what actions might take to address the root causes of this situation which is not serving either gender.

For a quick and witty round up of the facts, you might want to prep by reading Soroya Chemely‘s piece on the Huffington Post. “according to UN gender reports, women perform 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of its food and earn a whopping 10% of its income.

Click here to join the discussion on Sunday Mar 8th (4pm UK time, 5pm CET, 12pm EST)

Or book your place with Eventbrite

Dive into the Thinking Tank today to share your insights and consider those of the diverse group of participants we have come to expect. for a short while today think freely about something that affects us all and let’s see where we can get together.You can share your views in advance on twitter #ttt.

Check out our report from the last debate on nationality.  The Thinking Tank Report Nationality 1412

The Thinking Tank debate on Nationality revealed this to be a complex and under-considered topic which requires a more proactive approach to make the most of the potential benefits and mitigate against leaving it to be hijacked by nationalism.

Report: Engaging Employees

According to recent research, If the average workforce were a basketball team, 2 people in the team would be trying to score, 2 would be actively sabotaging and the rest would just be standing around. Which of these are you? How does this lack of engagement or sense of purpose at work affect us and our teams? At what cost not just to the economy but to human spirit and wellbeing?

Read our short report and get thinking

report engagement 1406


Report: Are you a sustainable leader?

Have you got what it takes to be a sustainable leader?

And what does it take anyway?

As the Economist put it in their CSR supplement  “it is the interaction between a company’s principles and its commercial confidence that shape the kind of business it will be”.

Click on Glance (below) for 6 top tips from leading sustainability thinker Mark Wade and on the report  Thinking Tank – Sustainable Leadership to see what was said..

                  report sust leader

Report: Ethics of Banking

First off, it’s a shame we didn’t have more participants from the finance sector. Although they were 50% of the invitees. they were only 10% of the participants. Too scary? Come on bankers be braver next time. We considered over 150 ideas and opinions – here are the ones that got more than 70% support from the group

We call this the espresso report – the top responses.


  • Guess that the Anglo Saxon model of laissez-faire in financial institutions comes to an end in the near future / hopefully!
  • I am not sure if the laissez-faire model will come to an end. There are too many lobbyists in politics for that to happen.
  • Finance nowadays is far more than lending money. It’s an ex-territorial business of smart mathematicians who have no real ethics in mind.
  • Not only in politics but more simply bankers and their lobbyists directly or indirectly influencing the politicians
  • I feel the relationship between banks and clients has changed. It is no longer a supplier-customer relationship, customers have become somewhat dependent on their bank (unless you have loads of money) and banks pretend as if you should be happy they let you be a customer
  • It doesn’t help when the politicians are also the guys with lots of money – they have too much vested interest in preserving the status quo


  • Did they ever accept responsibility and announce they would reform? It’s the arrogance that makes me want to blame them more
  • I scored totally because the real economy does not count any more, what counts are the financial games played to move richness in the hands of the few playing the game
  • It’s an interesting example of moral failure. Probably most of them didn’t actively decide to do harm, but they ignored the signs and hid from personal responsibility
  • nobody in charge really wanted to stop the rat race/ greed competition that took place and still is
  • Indeed, financial authorities have failed completely in all countries in the Western world.  Not in a single country they were able to make a significant difference
  • I am not even sure that the large  majority understood the risks associated with these new products/ derivatives
  • What shocks me is the attitude. Like it was just a big game or a joke. They seem very removed from the reality of the consequences of their behaviour


  • Can’t see a pro from an ethical point of view.
  • Con. When someone shows they can’t be trusted and they have immense influence / power, why would you choose to carry on letting them do what they like?
  • Con. They cannot be allowed to persist in the view that the little people are irrelevant. That they can sit in their marble palaces and play with real lives. They need governance

Read the report

NG banking




Pirates! Oct 18th, 2012

On Oct 18 we had conversations at two time slots to consider our relationship with piracy in 2012. Over 300 ideas and opinions were put forward and considered by the group with some key themes emerging.


Download the more detailed report here: (coming soon)


These are the top statements that I tweeted immediately following the event (#tttpiracy):

Strongest statement (both groups)

  • Artists have a right to get money for what they produce

And conversely, the most opposed statement was

  • I think all music should be free for everybody

Other strong statements

In favour of piracy:

  • No major jail time for downloading or distributing music/ movies/ media

Anti middle men

  • I’d feel better about buying more music if I knew the money was going straight to the artist


  • On download sites they could put banners “why not get the legal version for $2?”
  • Micropayments… –> Bitcoin to the rescue!!!!!!
  • I would find it a lot easier to do the decent thing” [with pop up micropayments]
  • it is not about restoring the old market forces, but finding new ways for new channels to generate income to artists


Post-capitalism? Where next 1 Mar 2012

Now it turns out the crock of gold at the rainbow wasn’t quite what we expected, there is much debate about where we go from here.

Let’s say we consider deBono’s approach of zero budget thinking. If nothing was already decided, what would we want our socio-economic model to look like?

That’s too big a question, so we reframed it. See the quick results here: ttt1203 quick report The New Capitalism

What does the new capitalism have to do for me? What do you want from it?

Bill Gates says Creative Capitalism is the answer…

This RSAnimate video might also help get us started…

War on Drugs? Nov 24.

In June of this year one blog made this summary “Forty years and $1 trillion later, America’s “War on Drugs” remains a costly, colossal failure – as evidenced by a new report released this week by the Global Commission on Drug Policy.”

Click here to join the debate at 4pm UK time, Thurs Nov 24

One Thinking Tanker has commented

“The war on drugs not only is a total failure, it makes the problem much worse.
It creates much more and much bigger problems than it is trying to resolve, because it starts form a totally wrong premise: for purely ideological reasons, it totally irrationally defines a difficult medical problem as a criminal one.”

Click here to join the debate at 4pm UK time, Thurs Nov 24

Start the debate now by tweeting with #thinkingtank


  • Yesterday’s article in the NY Times ““It could lead to a nationalist backlash in the countries involved,””
  • Huffington Post: Is legalisation the answer?
  • RSA Drugs – is it always abuse?

Click here to join the debate at 4pm UK time, Thurs Nov 17

Future Thinking Tank Discussions

(always Thursdays, always 4pm UK  / 5pm Euro / 11am US East Coast…). Topics may change if there is a more pressing issue at the time. Please feel free to make suggestions by adding a comment below

  • 22 Dec (Winter Solstice): Rituals and their role in modern society. As you prepare for Christmas, Hannukah, recover from Eid or plan your own rites, we take a break to reflect on why rituals are so important to us and how they might help even a post-modernist society.
  • New Year (Jan 26). Stopping and Starting. What will you leave behind with 2011, what will you work on in 2012?
  • Feb 23: The F-word. Over a century after New Zealand gave all women the right to vote and nearly 50 years after the US Equal Pay Act the situation is still far from balanced. 70% of the world’s poor are women and girls and the gender pay gap still exists. Where do we go from here?

Prosperity debate 20.10.11

As the euro wobbles and personal and national debts mount around the world, we took a moment approaching Diwali to debate prosperity. Which involved into a debate around prosperity and scarcity – the yin and yang of creativity and progress according to the group.

Here are some highlights of what they said (statements in italics are verbatim, those in bold were supported by at least 70%):

Prosperity is a broad concept

  • My definition of prosperity is much broader than when I was in my 20s. The sun is shining, I am learning new things

Also mentioned: freedom,. education, family, sharing, mentors, work hard play hard. Seen by some as a privilege, a luxury for some people in some countries, not broadly available to all.

Prosperity is desirable and allows progress / evolution

  • Your kids are learning a lot of things that you had no chance to… (thanks to increased prosperity)
  • if all my energy goes into finding the next meal, when is the moment of brilliance going to emerge?

Prosperity also comes with risks

  • risk: smugness, complacency, stagnation
  • Risk to forget about the less fortunate

Though a smaller group disagreed with this view

  • At systemic level I disagree about complacency …. there is always a push from the bottom …. if you get complacent you stop growing …. others will ….

Prosperity and Scarcity

  • Scarcity creates some urgency in solving problems. So a good driver. But I think it leads us to focus on the basics so no good for human evolution
  • I like the occasional bit of scarcity eg a 2 hour power cut, a day when the shops are closed. It leaves me joyful when it is over
  • Plenty of budget makes us unimaginative, plenty of time makes me lazy
  • At the begining, need / scarcity motivates change, creativity …. then without a bit of prosperity you get stuck

Prosperity can be nurtured

The greatest levels of agreement were around ways to encourage prosperity

    • Continue to give freedom to women
    • Invest in clean and cheap energy (we are not there yet!)
    • Teach prosperity in schools (an inclusive view of prosperity which includes social capital, beauty, creativity, caring as well as financial security)
    • Continue to reduce trade barriers (e.g. CAP policy in Europe, fran subsidies in the US)
    • Continue to try to remove dictators …. (e.g. good news today about Gaddafi!)
    • Continue to educate all people
    • Nobody needs more than ten years living expenses. So increase your prosperity by sharing your wealth (or skills)


Results from 21.07.2011 debate. The Murdoch Effect.


Power corrupts: we must all be vigilant and selective.

  • We need to get our information from different sources , always to balance and weigh  whatever comes our way

Watchwords: Governance, ownership, checks and balances, avoid concentration of power

  • In Latin America we also see a similar phenomenon with the media companies and their power

The clean up process: ugly but welcome

  • Personally I thought that anyway so I am glad that it has been exposed like this. There are many honourable police officers but also systemic corruption that needs to be rooted out.
We are all part of the problem or part of the solution
  • Good reminder that we all make many choices each day. Sometimes the choice is to do what’s convenient or to do what is right.. If we go with convenient we are each part of the problem.


Click on the pdf file to see the full list of synthetrons ordered by topic 1107 Murdoch Effect full report

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

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