We’re zealots for curiosity and learning. Every so often, we curate a group of like-interested (but hopefully variously-minded) individuals to stoke an informal discussion. We keep the groups small – up to 8 people max – and meet on a specific topic, usually one that is impactful beyond a quarter! We try to get our intellectual juices flowing through the venue, a prior speaker, or something else. You can see our previous ones below, as well as the ones coming up.
If you’d like to join a future one, click on the button for the event and let us know. We keep numbers intentionally low so we can have a meaningful chat after, so if it’s full, please don’t take offence!
How to Make Decisions for an Unknowable Future
Mar 5th at 6:45pm in Westminster, with a bite afterwards for those gathering.
Rather than planning for our businesses by taking (informed???) guesses at the future, what would it look like if we planned on the basis that we can’t know the future? Ex-governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, and FT columnist John Kay will talk us through what has worked best (and failed abysmally) in decision making in environments with radical uncertainty.
How Ideas Change the World
May 4th at 7pm in Belgravia, with a bite afterwards for those of us gathering.
From its start as a small conference in beautiful Monterrey in California, Chris Anderson’s TED talks have become the de facto standard for presenting ideas both live and recorded. Here, he’s going to explore how these ideas, and the power of the spoken word, can change the world.
History, Ideology and a Manifesto for Social Justice
May 14th at 7pm in Westminster, with a bite afterwards for those of us gathering.
Thomas Picketty’s 2014 blockbuster (at least by economics books standards!) fuelled the flames of the debate about social injustice and its causes. In his follow-up, Capital and Ideology, he urges us to radically reappraise everything we think we know about politics, ideology, and history.
No small ask!
Leadership is Language
Feb 17th at 6:45pm in Holborn, London, with a bite afterwards for those of us gathering.
A key aspect of our focus is to empower leadership teams so they don’t need to wait for the boss. Ex submarine commander, author and leadership consultant L. David Marquet discusses how the language of leaders enables this. Simon Sinek says of Marquet “He is the kind of leader who doesn’t just know how to lead, he knows how to build leaders”. He’ll be talking about how changes in language for leaders can empower and create powerful change.
To Stop Climate Collapse, We Must End Capitalism
Jan 30th at 7pm in Kensington, with a bite afterwards from those gathering.
Join us for what is bound to be a heated debate on whether capitalism is compatible with environmentalism. George Monbiot (Guardian journalist) and Farhana Yamin (environmental lawyer and an Extinction Rebellion leader) face off against Adair Turner (Chairman of the Institute of New Economic Thinking) and Tony Juniper (ex-director Friends of the Earth).
Masterclass – How women rise in business
Nov 14th at 8:30 am in Holborn, with a gathering coffee afterwards until 11am.
This promises to be a fascinating and practical talk especially for women concerned about rising in male-dominated work environments. And for those of us males who would like to see more women rising through the ranks. Forbes describes Sally Helgesen as the world’s leading expert on women’s leadership. In this masterclass, she’ll be addressing the behaviours she says are most likely to get in the way of women as they seek to move to a higher level.
Naomi Klein’s On Fire
The magnificent Naomi Klein’s latest book, On Fire, catalogues in very clear terms the enormity of the climate challenge we face. A number of environmentally minded execs went to see a scintillating, provocative, and cautiously inspiring talk by Klein in her London appearance for its launch. She drew our attention to two fires – one metaphorical, the fires of populism and a capitalism that put profit above planet; the second the literal burning of a variety of locations we are seeing around the world. But she ended with the fire of environmental activists who are bringing the world’s attention to what’s happening, and activating for change.
Rebel ideas from diverse teams
Matthew Syed, aside from being an ex-UK table tennis champion, has a varied assortment of activities. He’s on the Football Association’s High Performance Committee; stood as a Labour candidate for parliament; hosts a wildly popular podcast; runs a sports marketing agency. The common theme? Bringing diverse thinking to decision-making groups. His latest book, Rebel Ideas, contends that it is more essential than ever to have cognitive diversity on teams, be that boards or project teams, and that this is more important than individual brilliance or expertise. Fascinating talk and book
AI and the Ethical Challenge
Stuart Russell wrote arguably the textbook on Artificial Intelligence. He was briefly in London at the Royal Institution to talk about his latest book, Human Compatible : AI and the Problem of Control, in which he draws our attention both to the ethical challenges that AI poses, and potential solutions. Frightening talk of drone assassins for hire, but hopeful talk of frameworks, which have been used in other industries, to bring potential threats under control before they get out of hand. Fascinating talk, followed by dinner for the execs attending, including the BBC’s go-to technology ethicist (yes, it’s a real job!).
Entrepreneurs won’t fix problems that entrepreneurs made
In Anand Giridharadas’s provocative book, Winners Take All, he suggests that those who created many of today’s social issues in the pursuit of profit can’t create a more socially just world. He spares no one – even those academics lured into a speaker circuit where they only have the chance to play a message which doesn’t threaten the existing elite.Well researched and articulate talk by the ex-McKinsey consultant (ahem!), attended by a number of us involved in corporate purpose and social responsibility, followed by a dinner to digest and debate what we’d heard.
Innovation talk with David Rowan
A group of us responsible for innovation in our various organisations went to see Wired UK’s founder talk about some amazing innovations he’s come across in a variety of industries as part of his book launch. Like building 5 stories below a hotel without the guests knowing what’s going on. Followed by a dinner where we discussed what we heard, shared stories, and made new friends.
Eating for good
Simon Boyle at The Brigade Bar and Kitchen kindly gave a group of founders and CEOs a tour of his restaurant, a social enterprise that gives skills and employment to the homeless, vulnerable adults, ex-prisoners and others at risk. Excellent food, great discussion, and amazing stories of ex-murderers doing good and contributing to society while earning a crust. Fantastic evening.