Creative entrepreneurship News

Another ’80s revival?

Photo: Snrang

It’s not often you hear former prime minister Margaret Thatcher and ex cabinet minister Chris Smith praised in the same sentence, but they were both commended yesterday at the launch of a new report on creative entrepreneurship (which took place at Cass Business School).

According to the report’s co-author, Barbara Gunnell, these two incongruous politicians deserve the most credit for driving forward the UK’s creative sector.

Margaret Thatcher (somewhat inadvertently) enabled the creative industries to thrive when her government introduced the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, which ran for six years between 1983-9. The scheme took entrepreneurs off the dole and gave them financial support and subsidised training for a year in order to get their businesses off the ground.

Chris Smith, the UK’s first Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1997-2001) was the architect of Creative Britain – a New Labour project which championed the importance of the arts, both socially and economically.

Both Thatcher and Smith leave their mark in the report, which makes 12 recommendations for improving the skills and job opportunities for young people wishing to enter the creative industries.

Key among these is a call for the next UK government to establish an Enterprise Allowance Scheme for the 21st century. This Scheme would place artists at the vanguard, and enable a new generation of creative professionals “who will lead Britain out of recession”.

The report was written by Gunnell with former New Statesman deputy editor, Martin Bright. Bright is so taken with this new idea (which came out of a New Statesman article) that he has quit his day job and is now working full-time on a new project, New Deal of The Mind, which he hopes will be a vehicle to drive the report’s recommendations forwards.

I know very little about NdotM but the report is well-argued and they have a good website incorporating vimeo, twitter and other social tools. Lobbying is hard work, especially in these testing times. I wish NdotM the best of luck!


Social Business Summit Review (pt II)

Photo: cacaobug

After lunch we broke into smaller teams to try and find some solutions to the problems identified in session I. The easiest way to to do this seemed to be to work on one specific case study.

So, we wondered what might happen if a large American multinational food company acquired a small, much-beloved British chocolate company founded on altruistic principles. How would that new, combined company deal with the clash in cultures? How would it synthesize the many individual brands? How would it combine and streamline production processes? If it shut down UK factories, would the British public boycott its products? Above all, what would this new integrated company need to do to become a fully-functioning, fully social business in five years time?

First off, we had to define this company’s ecosystem. As a quick and easy way of identifying all the stakeholders that might be involved. My group decided to use Porter’s Five Forces model as a starting point: employees, competitors, buyers, suppliers, partners and new entrants were all identified as key.

Here are the five “solutions” we came up with:

Management/ bosses: as a way of easing uncertainties, get as many managers as possible to blog. Make the managers more visible, give faces to the names (and policies?); provide staff with more information about rationale; combine online openness with offline – more physical walking of factory floors; if morale gets really bad and redundancies are inevitable, maybe even consider public apology ala Tiger Woods (to staff who’ve lost jobs, their families and communities).

Ecosystem: Map existing networks: find out who’s already talking to who; identify lynchpins and influencers.

Employees/ suppliers: establish a social networking platform and encourage people to build communities of interest/ share best practice; in a toxic environment (where people fear losing jobs etc) be careful to use appreciative enquiry: ask what’s working rather than what’s not; foster leadership; give some kind of incentive for contribution. Use these networks/ communities to empower and engage staff by pushing decision-making down: say, this is our problem, how would you solve it? If possible, announce a two-year moratorium on factory closures, this means that employees feel they at least have a chance to argue their case.

Suppliers/ partners: open up networking platform and – especially – problems to suppliers and partners.

Buyers: practice customer engagement through existing public social networks like Twitter and Facebook; use customers in product innovation/ R&D.

Big thanks to Alex Ang, David Osimo, Gillian Martin Mehers, Glen Mehn, Steve Dale and Tillah who were on my team. Thanks also to everyone who participated in the malleable “ecosystem” stream.

Overall, it was a great day: frustrating and inspiring in equal measure. Maybe we spent too much time deliberating and not enough time coming up with definitive “answers”. We certainly spent a lot of time connecting, arguing and – even! – listening to the others’ points of view.

All that can be quite messy and the immediate benefits are often unclear. And we still don’t have a coherent definition of “ecosystem”. We didn’t come up with any ground-breaking solutions, but we had fun.

For additional perspectives on the day you might like to take a look at these posts by Lee Bryant, Anne McCrossan and David Terrar.

Finally, here are a few things that came up in discussion that I hadn’t heard about and am now off to take a closer look at:

Twitter Always: “the future” according to 90:10’s David Cushman
Netflix: offered a $1,000 prize for anyone who could improve their algorithm.
Child’s i Foundation: run baby showers on Twitter
Business Model Innovation – a book on user-centric business models.
Unilever’s “happy” acquisition of Ben & Jerry’s
Boeing’s construction of the 787: the “dreamliner” project


Social Business Summit Review (pt I)

Photo: david.nikonvscanon

As promised, here’s a summary of the group discussion I moderated at the SOMESSO/ Headshift Social Business Summit last week. The discussion ran over four hours with an hour-long break for lunch. This post is all about the morning session.

Our pre-lunch session was devoted to identifying and appraising positive case studies in social business, but we quickly became absorbed in what my mum would politely call “pencil arranging”. First off, we spent a bit of time in introducing ourselves – it turned out we were a real mix: some public sector, some working for charities, a couple of big corporate employees and a sprinkling of independent consultants. Then we got rather bogged down in defining the area we’d been given to look at: business ecosytems.

I’ve already blogged about this over on Monkeys With Typewriters: thinking about ecosystems is very de-constructivist: where do you stop – and where does it all end?!!

After some debate, we agreed to stop worrying about definitions, and decided to focus instead on the problems organisations might face in developing a social approach. Here are the key issues we identified:

  • Behaviour (i) individual – people not wanting to share, familiarity with operating in silos; our cognitive, behavioural side is under-developed when it comes to making the most of what social tools have to offer; “Look at dieting – we know it’s good for us but we still don’t do it!” (Mark Earls).
  • Behaviour (ii) organisational – resistance to change, kneejerk reaction to social tools (“let’s just ban them!”), groupthink etc.
  • Compliance: keeping on the right side of legislation/ regulation.
  • What’s in it for me? The lack of incentives, eg a clear reward system for sharing.
  • The lack of a “strong, unified cultural vision” (Anne McCrossan).
  • Is the “utopia” we [social media evangelists] envisage realistic? “At the moment, we [social media evangelists] gain competitive advantage from sharing” (David Osimo).
  • Too much jargon and hype.
  • Monetising content – all this is fine if you’re a non-media company, but for media & entertainment businesses, there have to be some direct revenue models (Anu Gupta).

After lunch came the real challenge: could we come up with workable solutions?

Live blog News RSA Fellowship Council

RSA Fellowship Council: live blog of third meeting

1315: Here we are at the RSA again for another Council meeting. It’s been a slightly late start but we’re kicking off now. Please hit refresh on your browser for live blog updates.

Chair Tessy Britton is running through today’s agenda.

1317: Tessy Britton: a quick look at “accelerators”: these include a high level of support from John Adam Street, high levels of energy amd enthusiasm, the collaborative partnership we’ve established with JAS staff leading groups in conjunction with dedicated Fellowship Council members.

Tessy shows graph representing how working groups are developing: this is already online so I’ll find link and update later.

1320: What’s making stuff slower (“brakes”)? Geography – FC members are very spread out and Time – FC members very busy.

1323: Word of caution: we have to reasonable about what we can expect from other fellowship council members: two members are currently pregnant, for example. We can work flexibly if any lack of activity is temporary (eg: 2-3 months) and if the percentage of members unable to contribute doesn’t exceed a certain level. it is the responsibility of both the individual member and the FC to find a way of contributing.

1325: Comment: there’s always the point in the evolution of a team where we shift from everything being really exciting and new to maybe a little less engaging. It would be good if we could look at ways of to avoiding any inertia. For example, what advice is there for people who haven’t got started on their working groups yet?

Comment: it helps if there is more than one person driving a group forward.

Comment: what are the questions that each working group is trying to answer? Once I know the questions, I might be able to help.

Comment: all of this is pretty experimental at present. We’d like as many fellows and fellowship council to be involved in the work. We need to manage the dynamics, we can’t all be highly involved all of the time.

Tessy: 778 people on the Ning. Membership up 83% since 1st January. More people participating: adding blog posts, commenting, adding videos, events etc. It’s still emergent, unpredictable, fellow-led and complex.

1330: Tessy summary: there are signs of growing confidence in the possibility of seeing some progress, particularly on complex issues and that dialogue is proving to be helpful. Co-creating and mutuality are important: we’re not a rubber-stamping dept; we need to create a balanced picture: make space for everyone; ensure that fellows are at the heart of all conversations, make it relevant and practical; create new opportunities and pathways where possible – make it easy!

Comment: could you give examples of some of the more complex areas?

Tessy: for example, the project framework and the regional review.

1335: Bob thanks Tessy for all her hard work in getting things started. He’s about to give a “whistle-stop” tour of the FC Review of the “Regions”.

Firstly, makes it clear that this review only looks at UK regions.

Review is really about getting the most from the RSA fellowship across regions. Relationship between regions and RSA House has not always been easy. Aim of review was to assess the RSA’s current regional framework and exploring regional representation for the future.

1338: How do we ensure that the RSA derives max benefit from geographically based structures and support and from combining the energy and commitment of unpaid volunteer fellows in regions.

Primary focus points: transforming the fellowship, more equity (geographically), how should resources be administered? what’s the role of the FC? How do ensure democratic input from Fellows in regions and responsiveness to national/ regional/ local needs, need for flexibility and change, yet meet charity regulations.

1340: Outcomes of first meeting: confirmed aims and objectives; agreed timescales – final report to be transmitted to Trustee Board ahead of October 2010 AGM; underlying principles include involving all fellows, being bottom-up rather than top-down, it’s not something where a clique of the few are doing everything; collecting evidence: we want to know what all regional committees are about, eg: what are their objectives etc; some key words: permissive and flexible framework, light touch, one size does not fit all (use different modes of operation), bottom up not top down – how can democracy be made to work within the fellowship – in the right way, to actually deliver something?

1345: Any questions?

Comment: it seems right that strategy should vary from one region to another.

Comment: there’s some evidence that bottom-up doesn’t work, but that a “customer-centric” approach does.

Comment: with regards to Wales, we do need a structure that’s open, accountable and transparent. There’s sometimes idea that regions provide a sort of impenetrable layer. I hope work we’re doing with projects framework will help create more transparency.

Bob: each regional group will have to have very clear objectives about why it’s there, and be complimentary to other RSA activity. It’s like a lot of concentric circles. We should be working with, not against each other.

Matthew: it’s inevitable that organisations should constantly be re-organising themselves; in trying to create a way of working that fits these criteria (flexibility, openness etc) – if we did this and we got it right, it would put us right at the heart of vanguard thinking. This is an institutional attempt to produce an organisational form that fits in the modern world.

Comment: lots of organisations get very hung up on who’s in which region. We don’t need to have this dialogue about what’s this region doing and what’s the centre doing, but more interchange between regions with each other.

Bob: we need to get the information out so people can cross the articifical boundaries that have been established.

Ann Packard: I’ve been charged with producing a questionnaire re regions – does anyone here have a question they would like to be included?

Bob: please email me if you have a question you’d like to be included: porrer [at] blueyonder [dotcodotuk].

UPDATE: PLEASE EMAIL ANN DIRECT: annpackard_pppt [at] onetel [dotcom] – be sure to use underscore not hyphen, suggested email subject field: “RSA: F/C regions questionnaire draft question”

1355: Jocelyn Cunningham: review of project framework.

David Dickinson: Factors to be considered: (1) differentiation – what is the nature of an RSA project (2) Adjudication – what are the criteria by which a request for RSA resources might be judged? (3) Equivalence – should the same criteria be used to evaluate ALL projects?

1358: Differentiation: what’s the USP? What makes an RSA project different from, for example, an Arts Council or ESF-funded project? We feel the clue is in the RSA name: “encouragement” – so we may finance projects that are already funded.

1400: David shows two slides representing spectrum of RSA projects, currently moving between those that are fully fellow-led and those that are fully staff-led (will try to get links).

Suggested criteria for fairly determining resource allocation: RSA alignment, quality assurance, unique contribution, managed risk (eg: impact on RSA brand), feasibility, replicability, scalability, dissemination, viability, time-bounded. We’ve seen examples of projects which weren’t replicable, weren’t scaleable – we have to ask how useful these really are.

Equivalence: we feel that right across the spectrum, all projects should be assessed using same criteria.

1406: Jocelyn: scoping the objectives. How can we make this as easy as possible? I’d like to pick up on the term “light touch” – we’d like to minimise bureaucracy while enabling as much as possible. Next steps? We’re looking for input on idea and tools so would anyone like to contribute?

Comment: Michael Devlin [missed this – will have to update]

Comment: sometimes projects don’t need money, they need other types of support – eg, validation. We can say these are things we think are good, for example. Can we embody values of RSA in ways we support projects – can we ask all projects to open source their learnings etc?

David: yes, we could say, we’re not directly supporting this project but it’s an interesting one run by one of our partners

Comment: we need to look at the consistency between a proposal and what the RSA stands for. The other thing was making sure the evaluation process adopts the most sopisticated evaluation technologies. For example, there is almost always a vast under-estimation of the timescale needed to make any kind of social change. Most of the long-term impact is on the lives of the people taking part in the project – even if a project is short-lived, the impact on the lives of people is not necessarily picked up. How you frame the evaluation is very important.

Comment: the RSA should have a default position of not funding any projects directly. We should seek external funding (?) We have an organisation whose projects are very suited to peer review. Peer review should happen before and during the time a project is commissioned. I’d like to hear a lot more about diferentiation: anything that isn’t replicable, highly original or likely to have a deep impact on making society a better place…let someone else do it.

Matthew: as they say, the future is out there but it’s not evenly distributed. If it’s not new, but it’s new to Bury St Edmunds, then we should probably do it. Whatever system we’ve got, ultimately it will work. People at all levels will have to be able to take risks. These systems only work if you keep proselytising.

1420: Successful social entrepeneurs never need to have their hand held. I don’t think things should be too easy. Fellows should strive because part of the journey is striving and part of the success is striving.

1423: Tessy thanks Jocelyn and David and adds: we need to make sure we don’t have very simple ideas being passed through a very simple system.

1424: Vivs Long-Ferguson: Seed fund update.

[a paper on the fund is circulated: this can be downloaded from ]

We’ve wanted to create a seed fund for fellows for quite a while. Some of the regions already have their own. We took this idea and wanted to develop a central one. We’re ready to soft launch in April with formal launch in June. We’ve got £60,000 allocated. This will be allocated (£500-£2,000) every month. There will be a bigger allocation (£5,000 quarterly) which will be announced in June. There will also be a skills bank – this will tap into fellows who don’t have a big idea but want to collaborate with other fellows. There’ll be a collaborative online space – we’re not quite sure how this will look as yet.

Comment: you said this is for Felllows who don’t have a big Matthew Taylor idea – but we’ve just been talking about a project assessment process that applies the same criteria to every project. If we’re going to have one process, I have to say I feel rather uncomfortable with the way this is being developed separately. These appear to me to be two parallel but inter-related tracks. Can someone reassure me this is not the case.

Belinda: I appreciate this feels disjointed but please believe me they are being developed in line with each other.

Comment: can we be sure that the same principle of innovation is applied to the seed fund project?

Belinda: Yes

Vivs: Rather than do one first, we decided to develop the seed fund at the same time as the project process.

Belinda: your project will go on the website and you’ll have to report on progress.

Comment: just want to come back to the value and criteria for this project/ seed fund. At the moment: positive social progress and aligned with the RSA values isn’t enough. Do you have any more on articulation of values etc? Im not clear. What’s the distinction of this fund as opposed to the many others out there? What’s there to say, don’t go to UnLtd (for example), go to the RSA? I just want more information so that we on the RSA Fellowship Council can act as ambassadors for this fund.

Comment: the key thing I’ve heard is that we’ve not got to put too many barriers in people’s way. Fellows always think they need money but we have the opportunity to maybe offer something else – legal or planning advice, for example.

Comment: is the fund available to fellows overseas?

Vivs: yes, it’s international.

1437: Tessy: thanks Vivs let’s take a break.


1450: Matthew Taylor: RSA update

I’m so impressed with the work you’ve all done so far. Now to update you on RSA, we’re in the middle of a soft rebranding process: you’ll have seen the tagline: 21st Century Enlightenment: I’m trying to write an extensive essay on what we mean by that. I’m going to do another post after this meeting. I’ve had some great comments so far. I’m trying to open source as much as possible.

We’ve got new flyers which will be on tables whenever anyone has an event, telling you about the RSA and what it does. We’ve got a new coffee stand (21st century coffee shop); we’d got a revamped journal. More and more people are watching our lectures online. We’re working on a real focus for our projects – eg, Prisons Project, our Peterborough Project launched two weeks ago. Last week the publication of the 20:20 public services commission report was announced here. We want to see what really works in terms of fellowship engagement: we had a conference where we told fellows how much we loved them, let a 1,000 flowers bloom – about 60 flowers bloomed and then fell over two months later. Now the challenge is to say, what really works? Let’s develop a toolkit, a set of insights. I want the RSA to become a radically different organisation from the other organisations I’ve come across. I hope you’ll see over the next few months a richer account from fellows of what really works for them. We wanted 2010 to be our greatest year. The steepest bit of the hill is next to come.

1458: Paul Buchanan opens floor for questions.

Comment: what exactly do you mean by ’21st century enlightenment’?

Matthew: I wrote a blog post last week and had around 40 really great comments. I don’t want to go back and reclaim the Enlightenment, or say that we need another four principles. I’m trying to use the Enlightenment as a kind of metaphor. What should we be against now? Firstly, I’m against blind progress – we need substantive progress rather than progress for progress’ sake [Matthew talks at length but you can read more about it on his blog].

Comment: I’m interested in how this council can go along with this debate but in a sort of parallel way? At a council level, is there an intellectual function for this council? There seems to be, because we are constantly talking about what are the values?

Comment: What you have to be careful about, is the idea of a 21st century enlightenment. You don’t want to do what John Doer (?) did. You don’t want to give an American 20th Century view of the enlightenment (which you’re in danger of doing). You have a fantastic body of expertise in the fellowship – how do you make the most of that?

Matthew: You can see all these potential streams where our energy and thoughts might flow but there hasn’t been a lot of water falling into them for a long time. You have to combine ideas resources, commitments and values. I really feel that’s beginning to happen.

Comment: maybe we should have a working group on how we take 21st century enlightenment, the new RSA brand forward?

Matthew: Nina and I need to come back to a future FC meeting and talk about the whole re-branding process. There’ll be all sorts of different perspectives to try and bring these ideas in line.

Comment: A lot of us struggle to understand identity: what exactly the RSA is and what is it trying to do. But I like the fact that there isn’t too much definition. I don’t think there’s necessarily always benefit in being too definitive and too prescriptive.

Comment: with the use of web 2.0 you find you quite often put your values out there, people will start taking them apart again quite quickly. We need to think about how we introduce these new ideas.

Comment: why can’t we just use the original Fellowship Charter?

Belinda/ Laura Billings: because the language is too archaic.

Matthew: first 100 years dominated by prizes, second 100 dominated by learned lecgures, last 50 years have been more uncertain. So the RSA has always reinvented itself.

Michael Devlin: I see we want to raise the level of debate, raise involvement. I think the easiest way is to join this particular debate (what do we mean by 21st Century Enlightenment?) on Matthew’s blog.

Paul Buchanan: Thank you Matthew, now for report back on gender group.

1515: Laura: women currently make up 22% of fellows – although proportion of women joining has really increased in recent years. We’ve got a series of events. The launch event will be here next Tuesday 30 March: over 150 women are coming, including around 75 non-fellows. Katie Moore especially has been building links with women’s networks. We’ve been building up an archive exhibition – which will also be viewable online. We’ve had posters printed out which will be at events. There will be two further events in Bristol (led by Katie) and Milton Keynes (Olivia). We’re also actively promoting Ada Lovelace Day (24 March) by encouraging people to blog about female RSA fellows who are/ were outstanding in science and technology.

[NB: If you’d like to blog about a woman in science and technology for Ada Lovelace Day tomorrow, you might like to take a moment to sign the pledge]

1520: Zena Martin: update on Terms of Reference. Feedback from last RSA Trustee meeting where two fellows, Zena and David have now being co-opted.

[Paper is handed out with revised version of draft terms of reference for the Fellowship Council – this paper will be available online when official minutes are published – I’ll update here as soon as I have url].

Comment: Some of the wording here is rather outdated, for example: “becomes incapable by reason of mental disorder” talks about a mental illness and therefore could be seen as discrimination.

Comment: I would feel a difficulty personally and professionally signing up to some terms of reference which included discrimination against people like this. Is this clause really needed?

Comment: Have only two council members been co-opted to Trustee Board – when will third member be co-opted?

Zena: There are three places but we are waiting to appoint a third when the required skillset becomes clear.

1535: David: The fellowship council is an important new bit of government and one of the important bits is how the FC ties in with existing governance. Zena and I attended our first meeting the other week and I’m delighted to say we were really welcomed in. Before each trustee meeting Zena and I will meet with FC chair and deputy chair to agree which points the FC would like to raise at the next Trustee meeting, so if you have anything you’d like raised, either approach the chair/ deputy chair or talk to Zena and I at any time. [David runs through key points covered in Trustee meeting: including RSA re-branding, review of budget – it’s healthy, apparently – and that membership fee will remain unchanged next year].

Zena: just to add that the Trustees are really supportive of Fellowship Council and really interested in what we’re doing.

Comment: would it be possible to see the agendas for Trustee meetings?

Belinda: agendas are confidential but we can certainly make you aware of any items that are directly relevant to the FC.

Comment: I can understand that papers or content might be confidential, but the notion of an agenda being confidential seems a bit strange. Secondly, I guess it takes time to align these things, but we need to know exactly what decisions are being made and when, eg, in relation to the seed fund.

David: yes, we need to decide the sequence of things.

Comment: I would really appreciate it if confidentiality of the agenda was raised as a key issue.

Belinda: we know there’s a communications gap and we’re looking at ways of taking this forward.

Comment: in the old days there used to be something that came out of the Chairman’s office highlighting key content from the Trustees meetings, and this information would then be disseminated through the regional network.

Comment: there’s a feeling that the FC has been mildly disempowered by the Trustees – for example, deciding the budget for the seed fund.

David: I absolutely hear that in terms of budget timescale, that was the meeting at which budgets needed to be approved.

Zena: my feeling is that we (the FC) are more advisory than governance.

Comment: I would like to feed back to the trustees that there is a really powerful role that the FC can play if we are involved more fully in decision-making.

Paul Buchanan: Both sides are making noises about working cooperatively. I’m sure as feedback is circulated and the year progresses, this will work even better.

1546: Tessy: thanks David and Zena.

1547: Tessy & John: Fellows Education Network: update

Tessy: we had a meeting/ discussion and highlighted four key areas. (1) supporting RSA initiatives, (2) sign-posting to Fellow educational events, (3) designing new conversation-based events (4) high level educational forum to informal policy.

Tessy: 20% of fellowship are working in education to we should find ways of helping these fellows work together, finding connections. The discussion we had was around (1) taking education out of the policy world and involving parents and children and (2) looking at a trans-educative forum which would impact on policy in some way. For me the most exciting thing was this idea that the fellowship can be a way of distributing ideas. We don’t always have to be coming out with new ideas. There might be fellows who want to get involved in a very lightweight way, for example hosting an event or debate at their school – we might have 100 debates around the country on 5 or 6 subjects (maybe 21st century enlightenment could be one?). One thing that’s struck me today, we’ve deconstructed a lot of things and actually we need to start drawing in some ideas.

John: One of the key things we need to do is decide on a formal agenda which we can then put out to the wider fellowship, get the feedback in. Discussions don’t have to be on a regional basis, they can be international. We’ve got an education charter which I presume is non-political with a big ‘p’ and we have a fellowship charter, so why can we not have a policy forum, a standing forum, using the educational charter and the fellowship charter as a background?

Tessy: I’m keen that we stay focused on taking action. The gender group is a great example of that. The scope of education is enormous but I think we need to focus on a few ideas and just get cracking. Another great idea is the social innovation network which is nothing to do with council, it was launched by a fellow last week.

Paul: okay let’s stick to time!

Michael: I would advise against launching another newsletter. We already have a newsletter.

John: okay.

Michael: finding issues that excite people at a local level is key to action.

Paul: also the central dichotomy of getting caught in our own navels with the intellectual pursuit of something, we need to also translate it into action.

John: I’ve been promoting the idea of a cross-party forum; it’s been promoted today by Tim Brickhouse in the Education Guardian. The RSA is in the ideal position to define a prototype of that.

1600: Paul: thanks John & Tessy and introduces the “Road Show”: presentation and idea generation.

1602: Michael: presents new idea of RSA roadshows. Idea behind roadshows is to go out to the regions and showcase new opportunities and new messages, to encourage involvement and an attempt to show that the RSA is not London-centric. RSA wants to reach out to fellows who aren’t necessarily engaging online.

Content for the roadshow includes enabling fellows to register for new Fellows directory which is being launched; to help people sign up to Ning online networking; to raise RSA profile and recruit, to run informal events in the style of the New Fellows Evenings which take place in London, to run charter development workshops, to meet fellowship council members and local FRSA leaders, to run project workshops or ideas surgeries and to promote the seed fund. Should events be big or small? Any questions?

Comment: what’s time scale, how many have been decided?

Michael: A budget has been ringfenced. We still need to decide exact format and schedule. I’d like to kick off roadshows as soon as possible, and involve fellows as much as possible.

Comment: are you envisaging that events could be tagged onto existing events?

Michael: yes

Comment: from the EasternRegion point of view, there’s a very elaborate programme of events that this could be tagged onto. What is the consultation process going on with chairs of the regional committees?

Michael: you (the Fellowship council) are the first step!

Comment: we don’t want to demonstrate and unconscious incompetence.

Comment: I’m more optimistic about this. I like the idea of people coming from the RSA to the regions. I live in Yorkshire and I like the idea of the RSA running ‘intellectual rock concerts’!! There’s a real hunger for this in the regions. I think the RSA could draw on its network of big names who reallly have something to say. Around that you can have the stalls. The last thing we want to do is attract people who like joining committees. Do one in Leeds, I would support it!

Comment: why don’t you run them along the 21st century enlightenment theme?

Paul: let’s take a vote on the format:

Big: 8 votes
Small: 1 vote
Both: everyone else!

Paul: thanks Michael and I think it would be good if everyone commits to helping out with roadshow events in their region.

Jemima: just to say that we’ve convened a group on digital engagement. Vivs is the RSA staff representative. We don’t want the group to be all social media luvvies so if you’re a bit of a cynic about all this stuff we’d love to have your voice. Please have a think and contact me afterwards if you’re interested.

1625: Finally does anyone have any feedback on the meeting today?

Comment: I think we’d like to have some time to reflect on that and get back to you.

1630: Tessy: We’re doing great work and thank you all for your active involvement today.


Clear blue water

I hate to mention politics but…

No, don’t worry – I’m not going to talk about The Election or ask whether any major UK party is a viable contender for government right now (because that would be a long and cheerless blog post), I’ve actually been thinking about politics with a very small ‘p’ – namely the way in which power might be shared between two hard-working blogs, and if the relationship can ever be harmonious between them.

You might have noticed that, since January, things have been a bit quiet here at iKnowHow, while over on my new blog, Monkeys with Typewriters (first post, November 2009), the interaction has been a little more lively.

I admit, I fell in love with Posterous‘ adventurous ways: its insatiable desire for tidbits and instant appreciation of dodgy iphone photos, its cute interface. WordPress, meanwhile, was the reliable and familiar partner: always here but less exciting, more demanding – and way more crotchety.

At some point I will find out why WordPress refuses to upload my photos (meh). In the meantime, you might be relieved to know that – at last – there’s a blogging gameplan!

I started this blog, first and foremost, to write the book, Monkeys with Typewriters (back then, the title was a twinkle in its mother’s eye).

At the time, the book was my sole project and thus the only work of this consultancy. Now, needless to say, there are other projects afoot.

Really, the time is right to parcel off my book neatly to its own eponymous blog and continue writing company-related stuff here. Sadly, it’s not as simple as that. I can’t say there won’t be a crossover because, of course, there will. The central themes of Monkeys – social business, social leadership, social evolution – are a key part of the projects iKnowHow now delivers.

So, instead, I’ve decided to make this blog the home for long-form pieces (essays, live-blogging, in-depth analysis etc) as well as any actual “news” (work/ life updates). Meanwhile, Monkeys with Typewriters will be more of a scrapbook – for short-form stuff: ideas, photos, sound-bites, musings and mutterings.

Let’s try it and see!

As ever, your feedback is much appreciated.


Snowed out

It’s snow-time!

So far, 2010 has been a bit slow off the starting blocks, stuck in a snowy rut, wheels spinning, going nowhere fast.

We moved house, we did Christmas, we went to Budapest, we got stranded. It was meant to be a long weekend in Hungary, but we nearly had a week. Our flight to Gatwick last Sunday night was cancelled with no spaces available until Wednesday. We were literally frozen out of the UK!

Now the thaw finally seems to be happening and iKH can get back to work. First off, a seminar for The Society of Organisational Learning, which you can read all about over on the Monkeys with Typewriters blog.

Happy New Year everyone – I’m sure it’ll be fabulous once we get our skates on!

Live blog News

RSA Fellowship Council: live blog

13:09 Live blogging was the first item on the agenda today and I’m starting a few minutes late because of that. But I’m thrilled to say that the Council has voted by a large majority to allow live blogging to go ahead, as long as general comments are under the Chatham House rule (ie: not attributed) and people give permission to be named/ quoted. This seems fair because (as one Fellow pointed out), people may feel inhibited from saying what they really think if they know they will be referenced.

The meeting has kicked off with a summary of responses to the feedback questionnaire which was circulated by temporary chairs Bob Porrer and Tessy Britton a few weeks ago.

13:29 A discussion about the key activities of the Council led by Tessy Britton: we’re in a development phase as a new council. We don’t know what the plan will be. Maybe we can review what’s working best in six months time. Which model should we adopt, centralised or distributed? The overall emergent strategy was along the lines of leadership being “distributed and co-ordinated, promoting high levels of activity and developing a flexible structure to support this activity.

Comment: we don’t want to set up a whole raft of things and have most of them burn out quickly.

Tessy: maybe we should make a decision about a broad way forward and discuss the detail later.

General opinion in the room is that the emergent strategy outlined above seems reasonable.

13.38: Point 2 on agenda: what should be the difference between elected and appointed Councillors?

Matthew Taylor: It’s right that elected and appointed reps should have exactly the same status. Ultimately, ideally, everyone will be elected. We are at a transitory stage where the RSA is trying to respond to the complaint from Fellows that they are not listened to.

13:45: Summary from Bob: all elected/ appointed reps from each region/ nation should co-ordinate response/ feedback to that region between themselves.

Item 3: Do we need a chair and deputy chair?

Overall vote: yes.

Discussion about how long these roles should last. Generally agreed that a year seems right in principle with Deputy chair automatically becoming chair after one year. Thereafter elections would only be held for deputy chair. Discussion about whether chair and deputy chair should automatically become trustees (there are two vacancies on the Trustee Board). General consensus is that they should be separate/ “uncoupled”).

13:51: Comment: I’m a bit worried about complete lack of reference to regional chairs. Will regional chairs be feeling a bit marginalised?

Bob: The exact nature of the regional network is being reviewed at present and we would hope regional chairs are actively involved in that.

Comment: do we vote for Council chair/ deputy chair by show of hands or secret ballot? What if incumbent isn’t working out?

What should the election process be? Proposal is that FC members should self-nominate. Today we hope to have the chair and deputy chair elected, and the two nominations to Trustee board decided. Michael explains the election process (which will be proportional representation rather than first past the post).

14:00: Three minutes per descision.

Co-ordination and advance preparation for meetings? Yes; papers to be circulated 2 weeks in advance.

Transparency: unconfirmed minutes will be made available on RSA website to all Fellows within ten working days of meeting. Minutes to be confirmed formally at the next FC meeting.

Live blogging: already addressed at start of meeting.

Comment: Issue between live blogging and confidentiality still not resolved.

Should future meetings of the FC be observed? Suggested that current situation of live blogging with non-attributed comments and people flagging up confidential items beforehand, plus minutes available on website, is a good middle-ground; agreed that we could try live streaming if there is genuine demand.

Tessy: if young people want to come and observe meetings at later date, that should be an option at chair’s discretion.

Comment: we don’t want to be in danger of taking ourselves too seriously!

Bob: to conclude, live blogging and open minutes are acceptable for now as we are in development stage, but this could change at later date.

Comment/question: is there information that the trustees have that the council should also have access to?

Discussion: Trustees have a governance role but Fellowship Council is different.

14:12: Communications between members of fellowship council: proposal that we have a regular email newsletter: all agreed.

Problem of people hitting ‘reply all’ button in communications: Andy Gibson pointed out that Google groups or Yahoo groups where people can manage their own settings might be a better way of communicating.

14:17: Frequency of meetings: agreed that three meetings in 2010 would be better than two. Possibly March, June and October (as opposed to April and October)?

Fellowship Council meeting attendees (from RSA) will include CEO, Director of Fellowship, Head of Fellowship networks, COO, Director of external affairs and Director of projects/ research.

Fellowship council operations – contents of slide tbc.

14:35: Break

14:45: Nominations for Chair and deputy chair.

Tessy Britton nominated for Chair – uncontested.

Tessy Britton elected.

3 candidates put themselves forward for Deputy Chair (everyone wants to work with Tessy).

5 candidates have been nominated for 2 positions as RSA Trustees (1 withdraws due to clash of interests – sorry, not sure what, I think they’re also standing as deputy chair maybe?)

14:50: 4 candidates for Board of Trustee nominations give reasons as to why they should be elected; elections held for Board of Trustee nominations.

14:57: 3 candidates for Deputy Chair give reasons as to why they should be elected; elections held for deputy chair.

15:00: Networks, groups & projects
How to use issues, interest forums/ groups and projects to engage and communicate with Fellows, knit the network and activate fresh activity. Julian Thompson, new director of projects, will give some ideas to open/ stimulate discussion.

Julian: RSA projects aim to achieve and realise human potential. Broadly, current projects focus on:

1. Learning and education
2. Enterprise
3. The arts and design as creative tools that help us reconceptualise the world and act in the world
4. Ideas around communities and citizenship: how to live as social beings

There’s an exquisite tension between keeping projects on right track and being creative.

Transformation of fellowship and transformation of projects are implicitly linked.

Examples of some recent RSA projects:

1. Redesigning support services for people with long-term drug problems.
2. Network maps: mapping bonds between people in a community: showing people where their local connections are; proving to them that there is a network (despite the fact that sometimes people feel alienated/isolated within a community) and showing that there are opportunities/ ways to get things done.

RSA projects going through stage of consolidation and transition both at same time. Reaching conclusions on several big, important projects, but also trying to engage more with Fellowship.

Ideally Julian prefers hub and spoke model: hubs of activity around the country; becoming more self-sustaining, and developing spikes of activity around each one.

15:21: comment: a seamlessness in projects sounds heartening but I don’t hear much about the regions. It seems there is a separation between regional committee projects and there are central John Adam Street projects. I’m in the London region and there’s a slightly semi-detached feeling for the regions. It’s not so much about establishing the hubs as about making sure the connections are there.

15:23: Bob: Yes there has been a disconnect, I agree. But communication is key in changing that.

Julian: I’d like an online space where we could connect better with fellows.

Vote for open forum rather than group discussion (as a time-saver).

15:28: election results: Paul Buchanan voted Deputy Chair

Nominations for trustee board: Zena Martin and David Archer

15:30: Discussion around achieving the aims outlined by Julian. How do we create very local interdisciplinary forums?

Comment: yes, you need an “aims” framework, but that should come out of interaction with the fellowship.

Julian: we’re doing a formal evaluation of the Open Minds project but in terms of learning from past projects, I don’t know how easy that is to do. How much cultural memory of projects is there among fellowship, for example, and how do we capture it?

Comment: in terms of knowledge management, managing knowledge is incredibly different, but people need sense of who’s the right person to ask. (Back to ongoing issue of the fellowship database and how great it would be to have one…Belinda promises this will happen at some point).

Comment: We need more benchmarking, especially now that we’re seeing a blurring of boundaries between public, private and third sectors.

Julian: all our projects are online; you can dip in and see exactly what we’re working on at the moment.

Comment: we need to find was of being more motivating; encouraging fellows out there to get involved in the JAS projects; and vice versa; there needs to be some other way than going into all the regional Nings. Is there a forward plan of project priority areas? The fellows and regions need to have some influence…we need more democracy and citizenship and joined up-ness, and some serious mapping of who the Fellowship is (in Wales we have very incomplete and outofdate information).

Comment (Stephen Coleman): great mistake is to separate communication from the project itself. The way you make things work is to have a communicative infrastructure. You need to have evaluation built in from the beginning. Topics don’t need to be *either* regionally-based or topic-based – can be both. How should we approach this? (1) describe problems in a way that neither the media or existing government would describe them (2) decide how to generate/ facilitate discussion effectively between 27,000 fellows of RSA – in a way that nobody else is capable of discussing this (3) inclusion: how do we include people affected by projects in a way that respects them and listens to them? If the RSA can work out ways of doing that, that would be incredible. These are three principles of an approach to projects that I would like to see.

Comment: a lot of lessons came out of RSA Networks project. What are the terms of engagement on RSA projects? These still aren’t clear. If I have a project I want to take to the RSA, how do I do that? Where is the transparency around RSA research?

15:50: Can’t we use the RSA lectures/ talks in a more dynamic way?

Belinda: in the new year, as well as fellows database, we are looking at doing a much more comprehensive mapping of the fellowship database. Next year we will have a seed fund to give money to fellows’ projects, which will be a great way of testing a lot of these issues.

Julian: important that everyone should note that the RSA no longer funds projects. All projects now are externally-funded – central government, private sector partners etc.

Comment: fellows want to meet local fellows – that’s the biggest thing that came out of a recent south-west regional meeting. Many fellows see the regional committees as blockers rather than enablers.

Belinda: fellows are starting up their own networks all over the world: we’ve had a group start up in Singapore, for example.

15:59 Discussion around views on new fellowship charter.

Laura Billings: the biggest thing about feedback has been the lack of feedback, the lack of engagement; there’s been confusion around the purpose of the charter; on the plus side, we’ve been consistently told by fellows that they want a charter; my main reason for bringing it back to Council is that the charter is really important in embedding the current cultural shifts within the RSA. We need to take it forward to present to the AGM in 2010; it needs to be redrafted. It does need to be a spur to action; we need to find out what works for fellows; is there anyone who wants to form a smaller working group?

Comment: there really is too much confusion about what this fellowship charter is. We’ve got a royal charter. What’s this one for? I personally dont see why we need a second charter, we have a charter, and we are quite adrift from that charter already. The project we should be doing as a council is the RSA – what is the RSA? This should be our first project. And from that project, other projects should emerge.

Matthew: we have a Royal Charter that was written 255 years ago. We have tested our current work against that charter and it is broadly in agreement. The Fellowship charter is a way to be clear about what fellowship means and the expectations that fellows have of each other. The Royal charter is one that is difficult to change; the Fellowship charter is expected to be a living document.

Comment: is it a cultural document, intended to inspire, or is it an operational document, that will be used, for example, to exclude fellows, to tell them why they’re not being funded etc?

Comment: I think people think, well, this all sounds very well, but what does it mean in operational terms.

Matthew: We’ve been engaged in this process for some time; many years ago fellows said that they felt they weren’t being asked to do enough; there was a feeling that fellowship should be a richer, thicker, more content-full thing; the idea of a charter emerged organically from that; fellowship is a donation, not a fee.

Comment: can we call it something other than a ‘charter’?

16:13: Working groups: everyone is asked to (preferably) volunteer for at least one of the following:

1. Regions
2. Charter
3. Project framework
4. Fellowship (supporting/ connecting/ mapping/ specialist networks)
5. Developing partnerships
6. What is the RSA?

+some further issues eg: gender balance, digital inclusion which are to be discussed.

16:25: Meeting is about to wind up and as Bob very firm about 16:30 finish, I’m about to log off! Just wanted to say that this seems to have been a really productive, action-filled meeting and Bob and Tessy have done fab work in setting a great agenda and driving decisions forward. In fact, it’s all rounding off with a big applause for Bob and Tessy’s excellent facilitation!


A beach with wifi

Can’t quite believe I started blogging here about leadership, work and Web 2.0 way back in June last year, trying to suss out exactly what I’d be putting in the book I was supposed to be writing. Well, I’m chuffed to say that the book is done, dusted and about to become reality – December 1st 9th is the publication date (fingers crossed).

Maybe unsurprisingly, the book, Monkeys with Typewriters, has taken on a whole life of its own, so it seems a good time to set up a dedicated blog for those critters. And to reclaim this blog for all other iKnowHow news and projects. So, if you’d like to follow the monkeys, they’re over here.

As for iKH, well, all sorts of exciting plans are in the offing. But I’m trying to get priorities right. During a recent chat with Luis Suarez (yeah, Luis with the great job at IBM, and the life on Gran Canaria), I found myself saying that we were relocating to a beach, too. For a few months at least. That’s, um, after moving house. So, first big project? Find somewhere new to live. Second? Track down that beach with wifi!

Thanks to Princesscy on Flickr for the beautiful beach pic.

Live blog News

Live blog: RSA Fellows’ Council meets

RSA HQ, John Adam Street

Originally uploaded by Grievous Angel

Last July the RSA held elections for a brand new Fellowship Council – the work of this council should mark a change in the RSA’s history. The RSA has around 27,000 Fellows worldwide and a central aim of the council is to form a conduit of communication between the Fellowship and the people who actually run the RSA on a day to day basis (ie the board of trustees, CEO Matthew Taylor and all the full-time staff).

It’s a grey Wednesday afternoon in October and the inaugural meeting of the new council has just begun. Most people have got the train or flown in from various parts of the UK this morning. We’ve been fed a nice lunch of beef bourguignon and butternut squash pasta, and had a bit of a chat, and everyone (I spoke to at least) seems very up for this idea and keen to get going.

14:30 Nearly all the newly-elected council members are here (around 35 people or so), plus key members of RSA staff, plus of course, Matthew Taylor, who is speaking at the moment. Taylor is talking about the ways in which the RSA has been trying to open up the organisation: projects like OpenRSA, RSANetworks etc (I’ll put in links to these later).
14:47 Debate about the nature of civic activism. Taylor gives example of “Opening Minds” – an initiative of the RSA now being taught in schools, but says it’s a shame that few RSA fellows are aware of this (especially if it’s their local school). RSA wants to give people support individually for the stuff they want to do in the community.
14:50 Stephen Coleman (Yorkshire) We tell everybody come and join get involved and then we bore them to death as soon as they walk in the door…we need to address this repeated failure to engage people.
Unknown (Scottish lady): We have to remember it’s a global network we’re dealing with (The RSA)
Dave Clarke: Online tools are a great way to engage fellows. It’s important to keep looking at the forest and not the trees
Taylor: The RSA is fundamentally about enhancing human capability: more engaged, more self-reliant and more altruistic – that’s fundamentally what we’re about
Ken: Matthew, you’ve said various things and honestly, you can’t deliver them – I think you’re raising expectations that the house can give help – it can’t! You’ve said there’s £100,000 venture capital available. It’s not venture capital. It’s seed capital. Don’t make promises you can’t deliver. You should be telling Fellows to set up their own activities, to do it themselves. We set up something called Shoot the banker – but no bankers turned up.
Taylor: I think it’s a false dichotomy. If people turn up here with good ideas we’d like to support them. Can we do an article in the journal? Can we film that event? Can we add a bit of money? Are there other fellows who are expert in this area that can help? Belinda can go through the list of fellows and find ones who can help you.
John Bale: reputational risk is a problem. We were right to sponsor one academy rather than many. It’s best to have one or two exemplar type projects in many diffierent categories.
Gerard: I don’t think failure is always a bad thing. We need bold endeavour.
Outgoing chair: The place is littered with RSA projects which didn’t succeed.
Matthew: The first three attempts to organise a Great Exhibition foundered. The fourth succeeded. You learn from your mistakes.

15:00 Man from Scotland: We need to look at communications and share best practice.
Lopa Patel: I’ve never spent an afternoon just talking about social change with like-minded individuals. But social change has to come from ground up and we need to make sure that we are representative.
15:05 We are becoming more representative: younger, more women. it is slowly happening.
Long-haired man: Where should the RSA be in five years time? We’d like to be able to say there’s an engaged fellowship and a real potential to exercise social change. This council could be an absolutely pivotal point in the history of the RSA. The council is here to build bridges – if we build bridges, the resources will be there for the things we want to do.
Anne: We need to find out what else is going on that can tie into the fellowship council.
Matthew: we’re carrying out various bits of research that will be fed back to you. At the moment it feels like it’s only meetings but that’s because we didn’t want to overwhelm you. We found groups of fellows who were acting together had hidden because they didn’t want the regional committees to close them down!
Rosie Ferguson: it seems to me that we need to be really clear about what’s on offer. All the talk is about groups of fellows coming together but how about fellows inspiring non-fellows? if so, that needs to be made more explicit. Don’t spend too much money in mapping and organising social change. Put resources into doing and enabling rather than organising.
15:10 Matthew: The govt had a ‘new deal for new communities’ programme but activism from community actually went down in the areas where this programme was implemented – so yes, I agree. All our fellows, because they’re fellows, are doing things, they’re already connected to the world. We’re not here for people to take their pet idea and push it through. It has to be a collaborative progress. This council is going to be an intellectually demanding process.
15:15 break for tea

15:35 back from tea break
Belinda Lester: talks about the Exhibition: a graphic illustration of the RSA’s draft Fellowship Charter. It looks very beautiful and detailed but I haven’t had the chance to have a look at it yet. One of the jobs of our council is to finalise this charter (from what I understand it’s so far all been put together by fellows). Three main elements: to inspire, to support and to enable. The exhibition itself will change over time, but the three main elements will remain the same.
Long-haired man: you need to look at the text in context of the international fellowship.
Bob (Scotland): I look at documents like this and I say ‘so what’? We need to think of ways of strengthening it. How do we make this ‘real’?
Andy Gibson: I think two of the areas of work could be almagamated – they’re the same thing. Also, what’s the difference between ‘support’ and ‘enable’? I think just ‘inspire’ and ‘enable’ is really strong.
Laura: Enable was meant to be a practical toolkit
Andy: Maybe connect a better word
15:45 Kevin: How come the fellowship charter is already in draft form? This is the first I’ve heard of it! A lot of fellows haven’t been involved. Why was there no letter? We’re going to do a new charter etc. How does this charter fit in with the RSA’s Royal Charter?
Man in pink shirt and stripey tie: Isn’t empower a better word than enable? Building social capital needs to be represented. It’s very London centric.
John Bale: people are from very broad range of backgrounds but have a common commitment to these three goals. We must be careful not to raise expectations.
Andrew: I like it. I like the three words. I think very often you have an over strong message. I think this sets expectations perfectly.
Frances: I like the fact its not a set text page, there is creativity, there’s movement…but I think it’s a shame there’s not the global dimension there. Congratulations for doing something different.
Zena: I think the exhibition is beautiful. But there is a perception of the loftiness of the RSA – but no reflection of the society that we are trying to change. It’s very much about ‘us’.
Lopa: There’s a few things missing for me. The word ‘action’ for example. It would be good to see a timeline. We’ve got the street view and above, but what about the basement view? Children down coalmines, people working in their garages, basements etc?
Gerry: we don’t want to create a whole load of structures, bureaucracy as I said earlier.
Belinda: I want to spend a good 20 mins in our groups chatting about what’s possible. What is it that we can unlock? What are the practical actions we can take? How can we help fellows talk to each other? How can we evolve the fellows charter?
Matthew: this is an enormous organisational change for us.
1600: group discussion

16:30 Feedback: Big themes of group discussions included: how to get grassroots projects off the ground in local communities, how to identify great projects, how to simply structure and application processes (RSA has pot of money it distributes every year – a chunk of this is traditionally allocated to regional committees but this is now being questioned as it’s not always clear where money goes) and how to deal with obstructive fellows (eg a member of regional committee who refuses to work with a project that hasn’t come through his/her committee), also communication between fellows is key and one point (made by Andy Gibson) that we should have some kind of ‘parish newsletter’ for Fellows Council so we all connect better between meetings. Rosie Ferguson points out that RSA seems quite elitist and on the illustration of the RSA fellowship charter there is no ‘door in’ to the organisation.

16:45 Belinda and Matthew say thanks. Now we get a 15 min break before AGM starts at 5pm.

Nice ideas to come out of discussion include ‘bring a friend’ events where fellows always try to introduce a potential fellow to the RSA when they come to events


The monkeys are coming…

Monkey typing

Originally uploaded by Jemima G

It’s nearly over! As you might know if you’re a regular reader of this blog, or if you’ve ever had the misfortune to bump into me after a hard day’s graft, for the past two years I’ve been working on a book looking at social media at work.

It started out with a focus on leadership…and then morphed a bit – because you can’t look at “leaders” without taking “followers” into account as well.

So it’s turned out to be a bit of a socio-cultural, anthropological snapshot of the contemporary workplace, with some practical business stuff and future-shaping trends thrown in. All looked at in the context of the digital/ social media/ Web 2.0 revolution.

The title is “Monkeys with Typewriters: myths and realities of social media at work” and the publication date is 1 December. There’ll be a launch event at Cass Business School on 9 December.

Why the monkeys? Well, it was probably Andrew Keen who got me started on that. He warned that monkeys with typewriters are authoring our future. And the more I looked into the monkeys with typewriter idiom, the more I liked it.

Because, of course, we are the monkeys!