Transforming Politics in the 21st Century 11 Jun 2015

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I’ve just returned from a debate at the RSA on transforming politics in the UK. The resounding – and familiar – conclusion is that the adversarial party political system is so over. Fit for purpose 200 years ago it now woefully ignores advances in technology, citizen empowerment and expected standards of public service. Click here to join the […]

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

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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 […]

Report: What is nationality? Dec 2014

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Nationality … what matters to you and why? How can we make it work for us? Post Scottish referendum and with serious ongoing challenges in Ukraine, Syria and Palestine to name but a few, in this Thinking Tank we took an open minded, open hearted and challenging look at the concept of nationality and its value […]

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Christmas Thinking Tank Results 07.12.2008

Kids want happy families not presents, yet adults feel the pressure to spend!???

In December for the first time we ran two Thinking Tanks. One for under 16s and then one for adults. Children talked a lot about families, the sparkle of decorations and the feeling of excitement. Adults talked about the over-commercialisation of Christmas but recognised it only works because we buy into it. We concluded with some great ideas to buck the trend.

It’s not the way we want it

The general conclusion was this Christmas had lost some of it’s spark for adults. For some that was the declining religious significance while the majority rued the seemingly irresistible commercialisation of the event  – almost 60% of adults felt Christmas had less value today than when they were young.

  • Pity it as been turned for many people into a purchasing circus over the last 15 years
  • [I feel a] bit of guilt, as we are not celebrating it as it should be celebrated

What we like

The positive aspects of Christmas for the adult group were mostly around feasting—good food and wine, shared with family and friends. There was nostalgia for a simpler era when presents were homemade and there wasn’t the same pressure to spend.

  • human beings need rituals, especially those to do with change

In the young people’s group, the emphasis was also on family, though food was hardly mentioned! 60% of them felt that Christmas was most enjoyable for families (surprisingly, 20% thought turkeys!)

When the young people got to make a wish for Christmas, they went for peace, snow, health and love. Much lower scores for i-pods and quad bikes.

Offered a wish for the world, less environmental destruction, poverty and racism were unanimously supported.

  • racism to stop
  • don’t waste the world
  • people to recycle

When we forced the issue by challenging participants to limit to a £50 budget most adults chose to spend it on food. And many thought they might even enjoy it more

  • More. Because the reason to come together is not the gifts, the food, …. it is only the friendship
  • More value. Will have to be creative and invest personal time to find the right present and please the recipient

Hope for the future

In good Dickens tradition, at the end of our discussion we considered future Christmases and whether we might find ways to increase their value. 50% felt this would be possible.

Some of the more popular suggestions were:

  • I’m a great fan of the “random acts of kindness” school – if we ALL do it, it encourages others!!
  • ensure that we see giving of their time and presence as valuable as presents
  • maybe if we include a personal promise (eg to read a bedtime story, get home from work in time) in each Christmas card we send, word will get around

When the young people came up with their suggestions for improving Christmas they recognised adults need some help with enjoying themselves:

  • but adults are part of the family (!)
  • help each other more on Christmas day – my mum always says it’s exhausting
  • I think a lot of the magic that is “created” at xmas is FOR children – and maybe adults should enjoy that more, seeing children happy and excited
  • I think if it could be made a bit simpler and be more about being with people and showing the nice side of life, rather than consumerism all the time, it would be loads better.

The final word comes from the children’s debate on how to improve Christmas for everyone:

    be nice and share

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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