Thursday, December 30, 2010

Is discipline your bridge between thought and accomplishment?

December 5th is my wife’s birthday. And in 2009 it was the day Jim Rohn, one of my heroes, passed.

Of all Jim’s quotable quotes one stands out for me at this time of year when so many people make new years resolutions they will never keep. Jim said Discipline is the bridge between thought and accomplishment.

How disciplined will you be in 2011 to turn your thoughts into reality?

I have the honour and privilege of mentoring people in 9 countries. One tool I share with many is the rituals I keep daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. I encourage my clients to create their own rituals document and many report back that it helps them immeasurably in achieving their goals.

You can download my rituals one pager here.

Create your own rituals document, be disciplined, and 2011 can easily become your best year yet.

I can help you by becoming your performance partner for a period. Please checkout my mentoring programs here.

On most Monday mornings wherever you happen to be in the world I can provide a 30 minute mentoring session for free. See details at the above link.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Founder Differencemakers Community
The Change Master - catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Want to do well while doing good? Please watch a six minute video here and then get in touch with me.

Sign-up here for a least one free resource per month and to get your complimentary copy of my ebook Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Thankful List

For many people around the world we have just finished giving and receiving gifts. Of course upon receiving gifts we have given thanks in appreciation of what we have just received.

A few days later it is worth slowing down and reflecting on all the things for which we are thankful.

The Dalai Lama has shared that western people, despite their wealth spend most of their life suffering. The suffering comes from wanting something they don't have and not appreciating what they do have.

The Festive Season often results in people receiving some of the things they have wanted. Unfortunately it is not long before western people then want something different, or better than they currently have. So the suffering starts again! It is for this reason that this time of year provides an opportunity to stop, reflect and to consider all the things for which you are thankful.

The act of writing your list seems to make it real. As you write down each item you automatically reflect on why you are thankful for that item.

To create your Thankful List I encourage you to be as specific as possible. Think of all the things from all aspects of your life for which you are thankful. For example name the people for which you are thankful.

You will be amazed at both the length of your list and what you have included on it. Interestingly, it is a list that, once started, seems to keep growing.

Once started, place your list where you can see it regularly. You'll be amazed at the tension in your life that is reduced from running your eye over your list on a regular basis.

What's on your Thankful List?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Who writes your favourite blogs?

Here are my top 10 for 2010, not in any particular order.

1) Toby Webb’s Reflections on Ethical Business. Toby’s blog on why Sweden is leading the world in managing climate change is a good example of his well researched blogs.

2) Word of mouth marketing guru Andy Sernovitz’s Dam! I Wish I’d Thought of That! blog.

3) Richard Millington’s feverbee blog is excellent for all things about leading and managing successful online communities.

4) Speaking of communities. I am in awe of my colleagues in differencemakers community who write such inspiring and insightful posts here on this blog.

5) Corporate Eye is also written by many authors. I find it a very valuable blog for my work in the corporate world.

6) Hello my name is blog by Scott Ginsberg, That guy with the nametag. Always thought provoking.

7) Mitch Joel of Twist Image and author of a great book Six Pixels of Separation.

8) Garr Reynolds Presentation Zen. Even though I rarely use slides in my presentations Garr’s work has revolutionized my approach to all things design.

9) Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity.

10) Chris Jarvis and Angela Parker Realized Worth for great insights about employee volunteering and other great things anyone can do to embrace corporate social responsibility.

Who writes your favourite blogs?

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Founder Differencemakers Community
The Change Master - catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Sign-up here for a least one free resource per month and to get your complimentary copy of my ebook Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cafes and Castles in 2011

Creating hubs for 21st century learning

In a previous post I talked about intercultural leadership and its significance as an aspect of the leadership learning that is required for the 21st century. My intention is to develop learning hubs and projects to support interdisciplinary, intergenerational and intercultural learning. I explain the root of this vision here - click to read my story.

As it's that time of year when I'm reflecting on the year that has passed and considering the year ahead, I am happy to say that this vision is starting to become a reality. This has come about partly as a result of connecting with others through the Networlding approach - one of the incredible new things I have learned in 2010 and been able to share with others.

In this two-minute video I outline a vision I have. Perhaps you're working on something like this or know about similar initiatives? Perhaps you or others you know are working to develop learning for collaboration and innovation in business? Are you passionate about education transformation for inclusion and societal change?

If you're interested in collaborating with me in 2011 to develop this venture - wherever you are in the world I would be very interested to hear from you

Click on the arrow to activate the video, enable audio and enjoy!

Sara Knowles - Connect Create

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Do you have 'Happiness Magic'?

Last night, while putting my three year old son to bed, he raised his hands, palms facing forward and said, "Dadda, why don't I have magic?"

I couldn't help but think to myself, "Yes you do!", but what was I to say?

Within a moment my answer emerged.

"Yes you do son. You have Happiness Magic!"

A big smile spread across his face.

"Do I have Happiness Magic Dadda?"

"Yes you do," I replied. "Do you notice that when big people are looking at you that they are smiling?"

"Yes Dadda they do smile at me."

"See, you really do have Happiness Magic don't you"

"Yes Dadda I do have Happiness Magic, see", and he raised his palms and faced them toward me.

I smiled a big smile and so did he. His Happiness Magic was at work!

Maybe Happiness Magic is not restricted to children.

During this Festive Season I encourage you to share your Happiness Magic - hopefully I'm sharing mine right now and you are smiling!

Have a terrific and safe Festive Season.

Gary Ryan is the founder of Organisations That Matter and the OTM Academy.
In 2010 Gary published his first book What Really Matters For Young Professionals!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Is the ultimate joy giving and receiving at the same time?

For several years now I have embraced a philosophy in ethics called enlightened self-interest which states that persons who act to further the interests of others (or the interests of the group or groups to which they belong), ultimately serve their own self-interest.

Enlightened self-interest is often expressed as doing well while doing good.

I was raised with the biblical concept that It is more blessed to give than to receive. The vernacular for blessed is happy. This concept never sat well with me particularly as a child where I was definitely happier receiving than giving!

As I sat briefly in a shopping mall yesterday and observed 100’s of stressed people carrying Christmas presents and fighting one another in queues to buy gifts, it occurred to me that the ultimate joy is giving and receiving at the same time and that giving and receiving shouldn't be stressful at any time.

I would be very interested in your thoughts.

In whatever way you celebrate Christmas, and if you don’t, I wish you a joyous, stress free time in the next few days and may any reflections you have turn into actions that mean you experience joy in both giving and receiving all year round.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Founder Differencemakers Community
The Change Master - catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Want to do well while doing good? Please watch a six minute video here and then get in touch with me.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is the co-operative business model one you could emulate?

The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual retailer and they are changing what’s normal.

In the UK they are the fifth largest food retailer, the third largest retail pharmacy chain, the number one provider of funeral services and the largest independent travel business. The Co-operative Group also has strong market positions in banking and insurance. The Group employs 120,000 people, has 5.5 million members and around 4,800 retail outlets.

I read the following on The Co-operative Group’s website:

The Co-operative model

Like any business, we want to be a commercial success. However, even more important to us is the way that we do business, and the way that we use our profits. We believe that we should offer our customers both value and values. Which makes us a bit different.

Our members are our owners; they tell us what is important to them and we listen and act on it. It’s part of our model: as a consumer co-operative, we run our business for the benefit of our members. That means our members are involved in democratic decision-making, and we re-invest in our business – share of the profits - sharing profits with our members. Our members also set a social and campaigning agenda that we support. In fact - because our members wanted it - we’ve become pioneers in areas such as fairtrade and combating climate change. Of course, the more commercially successful we are, the more we can do to give back to the communities we serve and to influence the wider world.

In an article by Adam Jupp in the Manchester Evening News 14th December (see full article here) Chief Executive Peter Marks is quoted as saying The Co-operative Group is aiming for 20 million members by 2020. Achieving this goal would mean this organisation would be serving a third of the UK’s population!

What principles of a co-operative could you emulate in your business?

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Founder Differencemakers Community
The Change Master - catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Sign-up here for a least one free resource per month and to get your complimentary copy of my ebook Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why low risk projects are a smart leadership tool

As a People Leader/Manager do you have more ideas than you can implement? Are you frustrated by not achieving as much as you would like?

My experience shows that one of the Top Ten motivators for employees is 'opportunities for improvement'. Imagine if you joined these twofactors together; your frustration with not getting as much done as you know needs to get done, with your team members desire for opportunities for improvement.

Below is a four step process for creating low risk successes from this situation.

Step 1
List all your ideas/actions for things that you believe need to be done.

Step 2
'Chunk' these ideas/actions into groups - these groups of ideas/actions form the basis of possible projects.

Step 3

Using the attached matrix, identify whether or not your projects are:
  1. High Risk - Hard Implementation
  2. Low Risk - Hard Implementation
  3. High Risk - Easy Implementation
  4. Low Risk - Easy Implementation

High Risk means that if the project fails there will be a significant and negative impact on the organisation.

Low Risk means that if the project fails there will be no major negative impact on the organisation.

Hard Implementation means that the resources required to implement the project involve both a lot of people and a lot of money/assets to successfully complete the project.

Easy Implementation means that existing resources with minimal budgetary impact can be used to successfully complete the project.

Step 4
Low Risk - Easy Implementation projects are your gold. These are the projects that you can easily provide to your team members. Should the project be a success then the organisations benefits (because it gets something useful that otherwise may not have existed), the staff member benefits (because they have implemented something that didn't previously exist) and you benefit because a number of the ideas/actions that you had on your original list will now have been implemented.

The beauty of creating low risk projects is that they generate opportunities for people to shine. If you have never tried a system like this before, try it out and please let me know how you go.

Gary Ryan is the founder of Organisations That Matter and has published his popular first book What Really Matters For Young Professionals!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What have been your lessons from the saga surrounding WikiLeaks?

There has been lots of talk about WikiLeaks. In my view most of it absolute nonsense, particularly from politicians; some of their rhetoric is so nonsensical it is laughable.

The best balanced view I have come across is from Six Pixels of Separation author Mitch Joel who suggests seven lessons:

1.Transpareny first
2.You are media
3.Publishing has changed
4.Informaiton travels fast. Legal or not.
5.Decentralization is real
6.Credible anonymity
7.We are not ready

You can read Mitch's thoughts in full here.

My one conclusion; it is really a long held feeling that has become a conclusion - Political leadership is an oxymoron! We need politicians however no longer as leaders.

What have been your lessons?

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Founder Differencemakers Community
The Change Master - catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Sign-up here for a least one free resource per month and to get your complimentary copy of my ebook Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business.

Monday, December 13, 2010

How the Social Web Has Changed Internet Marketing

Internet marketing has changed - in a BIG way - in the last few years. Many people don't know how to take advantage of this change, and most don't even know what has changed. So let's look at what's changed and what it means for you.

In the early days of the Web, when the Internet first peeked out of academic institutions and crept into the "real world", most people only used the Internet for downloading. Whether you were visiting a Web site, downloading a software upgrade, listening to a music clip or watching a (small and slow) video, you were downloading information from the Internet.

Somebody had to upload that information for you to download it, but most people didn't know how to upload. You either needed to have technical skills or money to pay somebody who had the technical skills. As a result, only a few Internet users would upload - or publish - information; while most would download - or consume - it.

That's changed now.

In the last few years, ordinary Internet users have the ability to upload - or publish - their own material to the Internet. And they've used that ability to turn the Internet into an upload medium. If you've heard the term "Web 2.0", that's it in a nutshell.

Here are some examples:
  • Do you know something that belongs in an encyclopedia? Add it yourself to the world's biggest encyclopedia,;
  • Want to produce your own movie? It's easy - just publish it to;
  • Think you can write a better newspaper column than most journalists? Start a blog at;
  • Interested in starting your own radio station? Publish a podcast and put it in iTunes;
  • Fancy your camera skills? Upload your photos to;
  • Got an opinion about a movie, book, restaurant, city, restaurant or pop star? Write a review at any of the myriad review Web sites.
  • Passionate about something and want to share that passion with others like you? Start an on-line community at;
  • Always wanted to start your own retail business? Start it at;
  • Looking for an easy way to share things with your friends? Sign up at
Get the point? The content on the Internet is no longer in the hands of the few. Now anybody can be a publisher, a content provider and an uploader.

What does this mean for you, your business or your cause?

In marketing terms, the Internet has changed from the Yellow Pages to the White Pages.

If you think about a listing in the Yellow Pages, it's all about being found by category. If you're an electrician, you're listed along with all the other electricians. When somebody wants an electrician, they look up "Electricians", and you hope they choose you. They might never have heard of you before, but they can still find you. The only problem is, you've got to fight hard to make them choose you rather than any of the many other electricians vying for that same business.

The White Pages, on the other hand, works differently. If you're in the White Pages, you're listed by your name. Somebody who doesn't know you won't find you in the White Pages. However, if you've got a strong enough brand and reputation, customers can find you there because they know you by name.

That's the key difference in Internet marketing now. It's no longer about fighting it out in a crowded marketplace, shouting, "Pick me! Pick me!" as customers walk by. It's about getting an unfair advantage over your competition by being so good and so well-known that customers seek you out by name.

At first glance, this might look unreasonable, but in fact it's easier than you think - and a huge advantage for small players.

So what should you do?

In brief: Use Internet marketing techniques that build your on-line reputation - things like blogging, video, webinars, slide shows, podcasting, writing articles, and answering questions in forums.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dare you create a newspaper of YOU? You can do it now online free. Absolute revelation!

I think is going to redefine social media (if it survives its embryonic beginning). I have just created my own newspaper online - The Kwai Yu Daily. takes its feed from what you have posted and those you follow on Twitter and Facebook - and create a newspaper from all the updates. When you see it like that, it absolutely gives you the best impression about the company you are keeping. Here are the questions that dawned on me
  • How good are my own content?
  • How good are the content given out by the company I keep?
  • How remarkable is my OWN paper?
  • How long would my OWN paper survive the circulation?
More importantly, what does the paper say about ME? ...... and here's the Kwai Yu daily on 11th December 2010.

Friday, December 10, 2010

5 reasons why making the impossible possible is the coolest way to grow

I met Ronald Ligtenberg yesterday. A brilliant Dutchman who founded the skywayfoundation. An organisation that is dedicate to making the impossible possible.

Ronald's journey started when he was challenged by his sister to do more with his 'cool' life as a music lover. He took up the challenge .. and still wanted to remain a cool dud! So he began thinking about bringing another purpose to his life whilst remaing cool ... and that's when it struck him.

"TAKE ON SOMETHING IMPOSSIBLE ..... " thought Ronald - 'now that would be seriously cool'. And that's exactly what he did.

He decided to organise the Deaf Valley event. A music event for deaf, hearing impaired and hearing teenagers. Yes, you heard it right. A music event for deaf and hearing impaired. This took place in the club Nighttown, in March 2003. Ronald and the team organised all kinds of 'happenings' that give the audience different sensory awareness of the music they were experiencing, from;
  • spraying scents for different aspects of the music performance - smell the music
  • providing ice creams flavours that evoke a certain mood - taste the music
  • standing on a large vibrating floor that vibrate to the music - touch the music
  • dancers who 'sign-danced' the words to the music - see the music

People responded enthusiastically to this music event, and so Skyway Foundation was born. Skyway Foundation began to organise more events like Deaf Valley. It has already happened several times in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Mexico, Jamaica, South Africa and the United States. More than ten-thousand people visited these events.

From making one impossibility possible - Ronald has now created lots of possibilities to tackle more impossibilities! Making the impossible possible is challenging of course. However, the fringe benefits are so cool because making the impossible possible
  • gives a great sense of fulfilment. That's what happens when you are on purpose and following your passion
  • helps you to develop your authentic self ... and to be yourself and be who you are all the time ... now that is very, very cool indeed.
  • fun (that's cool too)
  • grounds you in curiosity - you have to continue to learn if you are to succeed (this kind of learning is cool)
  • nurtures and grows your creative (creating things is cool - look at Apple)

In short - when you tackle the impossible ... you become I'M-POSSIBLE.

I take my hat off to Ronald Ligtenberg for being another shining example of someone who knows what it takes to move from Knowing to Doing to Winning.

Are you expecting more from 2011?

For the fifth year in a row I have contributed to the expect more ebook compiled by Gihan Perera.

Differencemakers Community Members Karen Boyes, Shelley Dunstone, Maree Harris (Torchbearer), Sharonne Phillips, Ann Rolfe, Karen Schmidt, and Dr Ann Villiers (Torchbearer) also feature.

This edition of the ebook contains strategies for success from 29 leading experts in personal and professional development.

You can download it from the home page of my website here.

Just scroll down to the picture of the ebooks cover. The download link is on the left.

I wish You and your family, friends, and colleagues every good thing for 2011 and beyond.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Founder Differencemakers Community
The Change Master - catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

10 actions for adopting a strengths based approach

A colleague recently posed the following question - “ how do we get organisations and managers recognising and acting on the strengths concept, rather than the negative weakness focus we see so regularly? ”

Here are 10 things you could consider for your team, organization and business:

1) Having right people in the right job/role so they can use their key strengths has to be a start!

2) Continuously ask, “What is working well for our team, organization or business?”

3) Ask routinely, “What do we well which we need to keep doing?”

4) Do a strengths-based check. How much of our daily work time is spent using our strengths?

5) Not everybody including managers and leaders always know their strengths. Get feedback on what others perceive as your strengths. Sometimes we can be too close to it and or take it for granted.

6) For leaders to commit to fostering a culture that values innovation and creativity and enables individuals within them to utilize their strengths and “push the envelope” without feeling they will be penalized. Clearly leaders in organisations have to be supportive of a strengths-based approach otherwise it can feel all uphill!

7) Check regularly and tune in to where our own cognitions and feelings reside. Where is the “default” setting? What do we spend more time thinking about – problems or the desired future, solutions, possibility and what could be?

8)For managers and leaders to acknowledge, praise, notice and give feedback when they notice people using their strengths. This can be a powerful reinforcement as it makes the recipient feel good and also increase their levels of engagement.

9) All of this has an assumption that people are still enjoying using their strengths. There is thing called overused strength! (Not being negative here in this strength-based piece!!) Just acknowledging though that overused strengths which can lead to burnout is not what we are referring to here.

10) Finally, as Mary McGuiness said to me, a few weeks ago at the Australian Association of Psychological Type Conference, “make sure you use your strengths in ways that you enjoy outside of work things.” This really struck a chord as indeed this a part of that essential yin yang of “balance and restoration.”
Jasbindar Singh is a Business Psychologist and leadership coach who loves working with people in business.

Jasbindar Singh is a business psychologist and leadership coach. She loves making a difference to the lives of people at work.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Are you measuring what matters?

I was taken by the following comments by Rebecca Charles in a email to me about the upcoming Measuring What Matters workshop in London on December 14th.

Why should you or someone from your organisation attend this workshop?

1.) 80% of CEOs at large cap companies now believe sustainability and CSR performance is critical to long term success

2.) A wide variety of leading British brands have already made substantial investments in sustainability and the reporting process. See here.

While European countries continue to lead in sustainability performance, every OECD country is exploring mandatory non-financial reporting requirements.

3.) Institutional investors and financial advisors are making buy recommendations based on sustainability and CSR performance

4.) Consumers and other stakeholder groups are using CSR rankings to run comparative campaigns and this will have continued impact on purchasing decisions over time

5.) Companies that are not reporting, or are reporting poorly, are having their messaging hijacked by activist organizations and international NGOs

What does the above mean to you? I would be very interested in your thoughts.

There are some valuable short interviews with Martin Smith of Just Means here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Founder Differencemakers Community
Catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Sign-up here for a least one free resource per month and to get your complimentary copy of my ebook Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lost in translation. Why Robert Burns would turn in his grave.

I heard a wonderful 'lost in translation' story today relating to Burns Night.

The Burns Supper is an institution of Scottish life: a night to celebrate the life and works of the national Bard. A haggis supper can range from an informal gathering of friends to a huge, formal dinner full of pomp and circumstance.

One of the key elements to the running order is 'Address to a Haggis'. The honoured reader seizes their moment of glory by offering a fluent and entertaining rendition of To a Haggis ... which goes something like this.

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm :
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace
As lang's my arm.

A Burns Night was organised in Germany and the 'Address to a Haggis' was emailed to the German host. For reasons unknown, the host had the address translated to German and then back to English again. As a result, the line that read 'Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!' became ....

'Mighty Fuhrer of the sausage-people'

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thinking in Pictures

A strategy needs a vision, and the first ingredient is imagination.

A mental picture of a desired future situation motivates people much more than does a carefully worded vision statement. If people can “see” what they are trying to achieve, it brings the vision alive for them.

Imagination (sometimes called “the mind’s eye”) is “the ability to form images and ideas in the mind, especially of things never seen or experienced directly”.

To come up with an aspirational vision, you need to project yourself into the future, take a quantum leap, and see beyond the incremental options of extending, adding-onto or tweaking what already exists.

Some people are more imaginative than others, probably because they permit themselves to be. Some people see themselves as “unimaginative”. Sometimes imagination is denigrated using phrases such as “that’s fanciful”, “completely unrealistic”, “you’re dreaming”, and “she has an overactive imagination”. Sharing an imagined new future requires courage, and the knowledge that there is likely to be some resistance.

There are three skills needed here:
1. Being able to visualize an alternative future, and
2. Being able to describe to others what you see, and
3. Being able to listen to what others are imagining, whilst suspending judgment.

Even thinking about a future very different from the present can feel extremely audacious. Have you ever thought fleetingly about some possibility and then thought better of it, not even permitting yourself to develop the idea, let alone voice it to others?

To create a mental picture of your new future, speak to yourself as if you are already achieving it, e.g. “We are…” “We have…” rather than “We will…” or “We want to…”

Marketing pioneer Theodore Levitt said “Nothing drives progress like the imagination. The idea precedes the deed”. Let your imagination go to work for you.

Without imagination, you’re stuck in precedent.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Creativity Loves Constraints

How many people do you know would describe themselves as being creative? A lot I find.

“I love new ideas, creating new concepts, building new models, etc.” they will tell you.

And many of them are highly creative when working with a clean sheet of paper, in “green field” situations or without any limiting constraints. This could be considered as pure creativity. But I think that the really creative people are those that can come up with new ideas, a reconfigured concept or innovative new models in response to constraints in order to solve a problem. This is what I call practical creativity. In other words it is the constraints that trigger the creativity required to overcome them. Cause and effect. Now, ask those same people how good they are at problem solving. I think you might get a very different answer? Creativity seems to evaporate rapidly when confronted with real problems to be solved.

So here is my point: No constraints, no creativity. The good news is that you can activate your creativity on demand by recognising problems, existing constraints or future constraints. Practical creativity is simply an advanced form of problem solving.

The key thing to remember is that creativity loves constraints. It is often times difficult to tap into our full creativity, but it is seldom difficult to find a constraint or three in our daily lives.

May the problems you face become the drivers of your practical creativity.

2.2 Billion Imaginations

2.2. billion is the approximate number of children and young people in the world. That's a lot of imaginations to light up.

Imagine it, the glow of 2.2.billion lit up imaginations, just for a second

Imagine…every child has access to cultural learning as part of their education from birth onwards - stories, literature, music, drama, dance, visual arts, museums... In this way every child has the ability to grow, see things from new perspectives, comprehend humanity, be socially included themselves and, ultimately grow their own creative abilities. Why is this so critical?

In the Five Literacies of Global Leadership (2007), the futurist Richard Hames foresees that, ‘The future belongs to a very different kind of leader with a very different mind and very different values: those who can create and connect; those with compassion; story tellers and meaning makers’.

Creativity is a critical skill or competency for navigating the new world during the so-called ‘age of austerity’. Creative and cultural education - focussing on the arts in all their forms, communication, observational, performance and making/creating, collaboration and appreciation of diversity and heritage – will be the key to developing collaborative communities capable of innovating, dealing with the world’s unprecedented volatility and navigating the future.

Nurturing creativity is critical

Yet cultural learning continues to have a relatively low profile in school/national curricula and its incorporation into the currculum is ad hoc, often the reserve of schools with teacher-leaders passionate about cultural learning.

Should the profile of cultural learning – the arts and intercultural understanding - be raised to sit alongside literacy and numeracy?

How can we better prepare our young people for the challenges of the 21st century?

What is the business world and economic climate already telling us about the skills and competencies required to lead the future to make it a brighter place for the 2.2.billion and their children?