Goodbye – it’s been real (or should that be virtual)?

Photo: cjsimmons

After eight wonderful years, iKnowHow is calling it a day, kicking off its trainers and walking off into the sunset (while owner Jemima Gibbons looks forward to no longer having to talk about herself as a separate entity ☺).

It’s been a fabulous time. Made more so by the amazing people who I’ve met along the way. Thanks to all the particularly brilliant friends and mentors who’ve helped me out: Andy Bell, Anthony Mangion, Barbara Benedek, Charles Baden-Fuller, Clive Holtham, David Sims, David Wilcox, Dotun Adebayo, Gemma Lines, Joanne Jacobs, John Prescott (not that one!), Joseph Lampel, Karen McCarthy, Kate Kinninmont, Matthew Fairtlough, Nick Watt, Nick Witte-Vermeulen, Paul Richards, Ricardo da Sousa, Stowe Boyd, Zoe Black and, especially, Noam Sohachevsky.

The world has changed a lot since March 2002, when I set up iKH with Alison Linskey to “provide consultancy and training in digital media to film and TV production companies”. When we started television was still very much at the centre of the media universe and the early years were shaped by work with Women in Film & TV, BT (in its efforts to become a broadcaster), Skillset and the UK Film Council.

But things were shaken up so much more than we anticipated. While the web has gone stratospheric and mobile is truly ubiquitous, interactive TV has diverted up its own strange back alley. Instead of television becoming “all media”, the web has become the most powerful medium we have. To the point where we no longer see the boundaries (between us and “it”).

More recently, I’ve been working with Triarchy Press, Cass Business School and the RSA, the first two organisations focused very much on the future of business, the other focused on the future of society as a whole. And all three looking deeply at the impact interactive, digital and social media are having on our lives.

My 2009 book, Monkeys with Typewriters, was a stab at understanding this brave new world we’re in. It feels like I was only scratching the surface. Now, I want to focus more on my writing, and more on social business design. It seems like the time is ripe for a re-brand – this will be my final blog post at iKH.

If you’ve supported iKH over the years, thank you so much. If this is the first you’ve ever heard of it, feel free to read back through the blog for a re-cap. ☺

For the next three months, I’ll be based in Jaffa (Tel Aviv), exploring Israel from the grassroots up. Beach, sunset, here I come. See you on the other side!

In the meantime, you can always:

Join my Jaffa adventures on Twitter
Muse social business with me on the Monkeys with Typewriters blog
Follow the re-brand at


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!