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Issue Five 2018

‘Key Collaborator’ case study:

Marketing Visual Persuader


Where does vision live?

Mark Neild

JACKIE PERKINS Is hindsight 20/20 vision?

Visions are vital in times of ambiguity

Andrew Horder, Colin Newlyn & Mark Neild Creating a bold vision with open space

The Quest is a BeCollaboration digital publication

Published by BeCollaboration, 21 Victoria Road, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 4JZ UK Issue 4, first published on 20th December 2017. All rights reserved. Copyright Š BeCollaboration and Contributors, 2017 While aligned to the vision and values of BeCollaboration, the views expressed here are soley those of the contributors and are not expressions of policy on behalf of the BeCollaboration leadership.

For more details about The Quest and about BeCollaboration, visit our website at www. You can contact the team by writing to, or to one of the contributors whose contact emails can be found at the end of their articles. The Quest is a publication platform open to members of BeCollaboration to contribute to major debates and issues of concern. Operating within the UK economy, and part of a global economic system, contributors to The Quest hold a big picture. They are personally involved with complex issues that require the skills and intent of many to solve. They are on a passionate, sometimes a lifelong search, to secure change in the world and as such hold a great responsibility for benefitting future generations. BeCollaboration believes in working for a world where every individual has the opportunity to be the best they can be: where we are empowered to recognize and honour our ‘innate genius’, exploit our full potential and make our dreams real. We seek a world where business and work are designed to meet a Human need for respect, to be valued, to achieve and to contribute to others. Most of all we seek a world where everyone has the opportunity to have their voice heard and make a positive difference to the planet and humanity.



Issue Five About the contributors Editorial Where does vision live? Erkan Ali Is hindsight 20/20 vision? Jackie Perkins Visions are vital in times of ambiguity Mark Neild Creating a bold vision with open space Andrew Horder, Colin Newlyn and Mark Neild Collaborator profile:  Scott Campbell

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About our contributors

Erkan Ali Creator and Co Founder of BeCollaboration Erkan Ali has been working with business owners and their teams to produce breakthrough results for over 20 years.

Jackie Perkins Empowering through colour, personal brand, image & style. Jackie is Interested in business and education projects helping young people find their path.

Mark Neild From flying Navy helicopters to realising ÂŁ1/2bn benefits through innovation consulting, Mark now empowers innovative people to monetise their creativity in an authentic way.

Andrew Horder What gets Andrew up in the morning: finding YOUR Joyful Genius in business, work you love & are brilliant at – AND can get properly paid for.

Colin Newlyn Colin help people leaving corporate life in mid-career to create a new career and lifestyle that is rewarding, resilient and sustainable.

Scott C. Campbell I inspire businesses to get actual results, by developing your success mindset and implementing effective marketing strategies.


Editorial Gill Tiney

Welcome to the latest issue of The Quest from the talent of the BeCollaboration community. This issue came about from our Collaborator members who identified that Vision is often a rare commodity. Vision comes from free thinking, radical ideas, dreaming BIG! The society we live in is based around conformity, from schooling, the job market, politics etc., and so, thinking ‘outside the box’ is not a natural phenomenon for many of us. Acknowledging that vision is predominantly a right brain activity and we are processed into left brain thinking, I wonder how many more inspirational inventions, creative solutions, incredible opportunities we are missing as our right brain lies dormant. You only have to read Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, ‘A Stroke of Insight’, to understand how powerful and under utilised our right brain is. So where might our vision take us? Using technology to support their vision and ambition, the State Council of China has developed a Social Credit System, currently voluntary, but by 2020 it will be mandatory. It is a way of developing and instilling a ‘Trust Score’ for their citizens. Let that idea settle for a minute. On the surface an app to help us to know who to trust is useful – right? Rachel Botsman is a Trust Researcher and has written the book: ‘Who Can You Trust? How Technology Brought Us Together – And Why It Could Drive Us Apart’ published by Penguin She highlights that ‘Trust’ is becoming the new economy. People are ready to trust a stranger because of the digital interface that makes it appear ok - take AirBnB for example. In the case of China, they are taking it one step further, to reward ‘good citizens’ and to ‘punish’ those who cannot be trusted, through a digital app. She says ‘The behaviour of every citizen in China will be ranked and rated. It will determine whether they can get a job, or even a date’ While we in the West raise our hands in horror, it does not take much vision to understand that many corporates would love to surreptitiously employ this technology to implicate and influence us in our everyday lives. In fact, they already are. China is simply doing it in the open. They are pitching it to their citizens as, “It will forge a public opinion environment where keeping trust is glorious” the downside is akin to 1984 with ‘Big Brother’ controlling and dividing whole communities. The vision is to have data on every area of their citizen’s life. How much of YOUR data is out there? We have to be awake to the vision of others as well as creating our own. From global vision to an individual one, as Mark Neild shares with us, his belief that a powerful shared vision is imperative within every business. Not from a fluffy ‘nice to have’ experience, Join the discussion...


[Editorial - continued]

but from an essential, ‘you can’t grow without it’, commitment. Learn from him as he walks you through a 7-Step plan to create your vision for your business. Jackie Perkins shares with us how powerful her personal vision has been. She has used it to drive her forward, be a touchstone when things weren’t working out and a calm port in a storm when she had lost her way. Whether we believe we personally have a vision or not, we have to acknowledge that by working towards a personal vision, irrespective of a business or a future dream, we are creating our life. Would you rather work and find your vision to guide you and to support you, or allow your life to happen around you with no anchor to steady you, or rudder to steer you forward? Creating your own life empowers you to greatness, to fulfil your purpose and reason for ‘Being’. Erkan Ali, the Creator and Co-Founder of BeCollaboration is himself a visionary. Seeing life through his eyes is a lesson in what is possible. He is constantly working towards breaking his own paradigm of what is possible, for himself and those around him. He refuses to play small and sees massive potential in everyone around him. His research borders on OCD and his enthusiasm for new and inspirational concepts knows no bounds. Indeed, his flagship program ‘Be Inspired, Discover Your Genius’ highlights how we are all playing small as a result of our society and upbringing. He believes that everyone has a purpose and should lock in to that vision which drives each of us every day. In September we had a first for BeCollaboration. Three of our members Andrew Horder, Colin Newlyn and Mark Neild stepped up to the challenge and created an Open Space event. This was a new event for me, and I attended full of anticipation for what could be created. It didn’t disappoint, on all levels. Read their account of how it started – every vision has to begin somewhere, what the actual day was like and the future of this successful venture. Put the right people together, sprinkle with visionary thinking and you have a recipe for success. Whether you have your own vision locked in, are looking for inspiration or simply want to enjoy a cracking read, with diversity of thought and indeed visionary thinking then this is the place to be. Don’t forget if you would like to meet with any of these contributors you can find them at a BeCollaboration meeting, ready to continue the conversation.

About The Quest Team The Quest is produced by the BeCollaboration Digital Team and is made possible by, you

For being a great webmaster and technical lead, our huge respect to Simon Thomas of Toucan Internet LLP.

For marketing and communications, our huge thanks go to Scott Campbell of Affecting Peoples Lives scott@affectingpeopleslives. com

For content development, sincere thanks to Sara Wilbourne of Becoming Us sara@

For concept design, layout and art, our warmest gratitude to Angela Makepeace of Angela Makepeace Motion Graphics Studio

For her driving force to bring the project to fruition, proofing and liaising with contributors, writing of editorial and case study and being our Team Dynamo we give huge thanks to Gill Tiney’ 6

Lead article

Erkan Ali


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Vision, as I will be using the term in this piece, the WHY, where most will talk about the HOW is a linguistic phenomenon. and the WHAT, or put another way, the Do’s and the Have’s, or Actions & Results. Human beings have language, and language is the key tool for conveying a vision. It’s in our Think about that for a moment, just pause……… speaking that vision exists and it’s the ‘Listening’ what do you talk about all day long? In the of others that a vision manifests. Your vision will business arena and the world of the small to exist when others align with your purpose. medium enterprise (SME) it will often be, what you do, how you do it, and why you are different One definition of insanity is doing the same and then you expect a result, a buy-in or a sale thing and expecting different results, another or a yes. view of the insane mind, is talking about things that are not there. The language of possibility is different, it’s a state of being - it’s in the now, it’s in the We have heard it a million times, “build it and moment. It exists in the moment, right now, not they will come,” or “are you telling me you built some-day, one day, maybe, hopefully… a time machine out of a Delorean,” or “you’re only saying it’s impossible because no one has The language of possibility has a gravitas, it done it before” these and many quotes like this conveys certainty, it shall be. The language are familiar. of possibility is like a declaration, and in the speaking it becomes reality. In the moment, Yet, it can be challenging when a visionary things change, and they change for ever. propositions us. Is it because what they are saying does not fit our model of the world and “I now pronounce you husband and wife”, or what is possible? Or are they speaking in a way “guilty” or “I love you”. that we find hard to comprehend? When the words have power, reality is altered. What is it about the visionary that often puts When a Visionary speaks, them ahead of their time and why do the rest the world is altered, lives are changed. find it hard to keep up? You can see from these simple examples, that Nikola Tesla, the Wright brothers and even the visionary has a power that is not his or her Gandhi, struggled to have their vision realized own, where does that power and certainty at first. Very few were able to stand alongside come from? Every day we allow ourselves to them and see their vision. be disempowered by the language we use. Today’s visionaries Peter Joseph, Jacques Fresco, and Ian R Crane are all people on a mission with an incredible vision for mankind. If you haven’t heard of them yet, make sure you look them up – you will be astounded!

We often think of language as merely descriptive. This does not do it a service. Language is powerful, words create, words do not simply describe, they bring into being a reality. Only when this is understood does the world of the visionary become clearer.

Defining the language of ‘Possibility’ Here are some examples of power-less words; Visionaries will often talk contextually, offering 8

“Nikola Tesla, the Wright brothers and even Gandhi, struggled to have their vision realized at first. Very few were able to stand alongside them and see their vision.” “I will try“,“maybe“,“we will see“,“one day“,“I They see the challenges ahead as the pathway to the future possible reality, they live like it is don’t know“,“I am not sure“,“it’s hard“. already the case. You can feel these worlds lack something, what they lack is conviction, intention and ultimately, They also have an ability to put ideas in others you just cannot believe in them or the people hearts and minds such that those ideas live in behind them. You would not risk your life for the lives of others. them, would you? Fulfillment and results come about once a The language of the visionary, is endorsed by critical mass is achieved, a tipping point if you the listening of others. When others can stand will. It was said in a BeCollaboration meeting with a visionary the vision lives, it’s the buy-in a while back that dreams can only be realized and endorsement of the others that turns a with collaboration, otherwise they would stay as dreams and never manifest. “lone nut” into a visionary. The efforts of many in alignment are what makes a vision a reality.

So how does the visionary speak?

They speak in a way that allows others to see it, to feel it and to emotionally connect. They What does it take to make your vision a reality? become the living embodiment, not for the In a word, courage. The courage to speak it, to speak your truth and not shrink back, to have visionary but for themselves. the compassion and empathy to meet people The visionary articulates in such a way that where you find them and then be a stand for others are touched, moved and inspired to what is possible. play a part, in fact to play the part that they Developing your linguistic skills to influence and inspire others are the tools of the visionary. have been yearning for. It’s about developing the ability to engage, They will speak with words that impact reality, challenge and be a stand for what is possible Practice this daily and you will find the future words like; will alter, and you will see you were the catalyst, “It shall be“,“we will do it“,“it will happen“,“we the visionary, the reason it exists. YOU did it! are going to make it happen“. Erkan Ali – Creator & Co Founder of They are a stand beyond reason. BeCollaboration They make a case for what shall be. Join the discussion...


What are the BeCollaboration meetings all about? We are a community of motivated and passionate people who choose to work closely together so we can make a positive impact on businesses, organisations and the lives of individuals we work with. People get involved with BeCollaboration for the buzz of being part of something larger than themselves. They want to be able to fulfil their dreams and ambitions with a team of collaborators who are as passionate as they are, and share the same goals. Collaboration creates empowerment for personal, professional and philanthropic growth. In short, we are up for changing the world. Fancy a bit of that? You can see a little more about the whole BeCollaboration approach to life and business here: www.becollaboration. com/our-vision

Details of all our meetings are on our website:


Jackie Perkins


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Leaning over seats, stretching across the aisle, standing in the aisle; the bus returns from Tel Aviv to Netanya - amid much animated conversation, from time away with the Team Management and Leadership Programme. After spending the weekend identifying and transforming self-limiting conversations, we created and explored possibilities, high-level declarations of how an inspiring future might look. Exploring is a fabulous conversational activity! We were playing with answers, from the obvious to the ridiculous, and in this creative flow, back in September 1999, something clicked. I believe we each experience this ‘click’ in a different way, mine feels like positioning the final piece of a jigsaw and leaves me with a calm sense of knowing I’ve got ‘the answer’. Not the only answer, or even the best answer, but the answer that fits, feels complete and is aligned with who I am at my core.

Simon Sinek1 succinctly explains how your purpose, your ‘WHY’, can manifest in many physical ways. My purpose is to lead people to flourish, I can do this in many ways. Equally, the same physical job can be performed with massively varying vigour and enthusiasm depending on the context provided by your ‘why’. This can be illustrated with the story of two stonemasons ‘doing’ identical jobs. One was building a wall (and had been doing it ‘forever’) while the other was building a cathedral. Their ‘why’ was different and the passion for their job shone accordingly! July 2000, I resigned. With the clarity of hindsight, I realise it was inevitable. I’d created a massive and inspiring future eight months earlier and while I’d had some fabulous jobs, with great employers, with my newly created context and an inspiring vision, it no longer fitted so comfortably. Oh, the clarity of hindsight – the writing was on the wall but I hadn’t joined the dots and so a gap year ensued before applying to join House of Colour (HOC) in 2001. I felt the click, although my logical brain wouldn’t allow me to acknowledge it straight away. From my earlier experiences revolving around customer service and training, helping people make the most of their (IT) boxes, the connection soon revealed itself, I now helped people make the most of their (physical) boxes - there was the click.

As the rain fell for the first time in several weeks, the spray kicked up and visibility reduced to metres rather than miles. I fell into thinking about this experience and this article, which had been churning around in the processing part of my mind for a while. As a child, I never understood how to answer the ‘what do you want to do …?’ questions. I wondered how people could ‘know this’ and have since realised it’s the wrong question. ‘Who do you want to BE when you grow up?’ would be far 1Simon Sinek: Start with Why, Penguin and TED talk, “How great leaders inspire action” more appropriate.


“As a child, I never understood how to answer the ‘what do you want to do…?’ questions. I wondered how people could ‘know this’ and have since realised it’s the wrong question. ‘Who do you want to BE when you grow up?’ would be far more appropriate. “

Why did I choose House of Colour? There were many other training options available and many cheaper - but my vision was clear. I was about empowering people, who they were, not what they were. Who they were on the inside, as a person, an individual, a personality. We access this through the physical exterior, but it’s ultimately about the individual.

Unlocking the potential of human confidence, at HOC we have clarified our vision to being recognised as the creators of empowered, authentic and visible people; empowering through colour and style.

In my experience, the clearer the vision people have, of who they are and their ‘why’, the more engaged, motivated and alive they appear – all That conversation from nearly 20 years ago essential qualities for fulfilling on a vision! And has stayed with me, sometimes clear and loud, the more they attract people to that vision. sometimes stored away for rediscovery but Enter BeCollaboration! essentially the same. It has been a guiding light. Some of my biggest decisions have been Empowering individuals and organisations to made at times when my health and mental make a positive impact on our world through I’ve been around the capacity were far from prime, yet referencing working together. my vision, I made, what I absolutely knew to be BeCollaboration conversation from before it the right decisions, not being thrown off course even had a name – a bit like the conversations by diminished health or well-meaning advisers on the bus, from possibilities and creating - Sinek refers to these as ‘gut’ decisions. ideas, there have been many twists and turns along the way. Understanding my own colours and style in the ‘90s was my first key – providing access to What’s been clear is the strength and clarity validation and affirmation. Clarity on who I am of the vision that Erkan has held throughout. at my core with the knowledge of how to dress It firstly resonated with Gill, in whom he found it so that I feel comfortable and empowered in a business partner and their complimentary my own clothes, no longer a shrinking violet, skill sets have been essential building blocks OK to be visible. Imagine that world unfurling! in creating the organisation as it is now. But Clearly a click with leading people to flourish! it’s not about them – it’s not even about us, the Join the discussion...


members, or the group meetings which are inspiring, enlightening and unique, it’s about the difference we’re going to make in the world, together, a big, inspiring vision to hold our focus.

you feel empowered, what might you be able to imagine? My larger vision morphs and changes and the bits which have materialised always surprise me. Very little of it looks how I imagined that day, but the overall clarity and simplicity of that vision still connects and inspires me, informing conversations and decisions in business and life, challenging me to grow into the leader I see in the future. None of this would have been possible without input, support and collaboration.

Do visions need to be large? Not necessarily! Sometimes depending on our circumstances, one day at a time is a good way to operate. After all, when navigating an uncharted jungle, an explorer hardly knows what’s beyond the next tree, they do however, know they’re out to discover something and keep focused on that - one day at a time. In fact, sometimes, if the vision is too large, it can be too daunting and I still hold on to my original vision but whether (perish the thought) no fun! it will manifest as I created it in 1999 is not important. For me, it doesn’t need to look Identifying who you are, your purpose, values a certain way but having it, provides an and beliefs from the inside out will enable you invaluable reference point. I love playing with to create a vision that can be your guiding light. it and exploring how it might look in 2030 and As they say, there’s more than one way to skin beyond - that vision is my anchor. a cat. At HOC we work from the outside in. It doesn’t matter where you start, it does matter If a goal is a dream with a date on it, a vision that you start! is a dream that could be reality. Israel, 1999, WE created a vision and signposts that have When your reflection in the mirror shines helped me make significant decisions over the back, it can illuminate the dark, we see past 18 years. ourselves, as do others in a new perspective. As visual beings, this constant and positive What’s yours? reinforcement can be initially challenging. It is widely acknowledged that how we look and You can contact Jackie at: how we feel are integrally connected – when


Mark Neild

Visions are vital in times of ambiguity

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If you have ever found yourself stuck in an blue sky thinking. It is good fun, but does not endless debate about which of two seemingly actually achieve anything. equivalent options should be selected, then you should read on. An effective vision becomes a magnetic field that neatly aligns the various strands You would have saved yourself a lot of trouble of an organisation, enabling it to work in if you had a well written vision statement. You harmony without micro management. It see, a vision is not meant to be some wishy provides grounding for empowerment, giving washy goo dreamed up as a piece of PR. Yes direction for chaotic creativity and preventing I know, many do seem that way, but only 6% of it descending into anarchy. Best of all a people really act strategically, and achieving compelling vision provides a huge motivating buy- in to new ways of working is hard. force. Much like a moth is attracted to a bright light, people are attracted to a brilliant vision. Done well, a vision statement is a motivator, a They want to contribute to making the world rallying cry and a strategic decision support a better place, it gives them a reason to go tool. In this article, I explain why a vision the extra mile beyond mere management statement is a vital management tool for any KPIs. In a world where change and ambiguity organisation and how to go about writing one are becoming the norms, an effective vision is that is engaging and fit for purpose. increasingly important. I use ‘visions’ a lot. My line of work is innovation. Specific and measurable goals really don’t cut it and realistic and time bound goals are far too constraining. By its very nature, the final deliverable may not be well defined at all at the outset, and this makes people, unused to working with ambiguity, very uncomfortable. How on earth can you set off towards a destination if you don’t actually know where it is? This neatly illustrates the constraining nature of ‘how’ thinking. ‘How’ thinking is all about solving problems and we need to know what the problem is before we can solve it. In contrast, ‘what’ thinking is more about problem definition. It is more creative and far less constrained. With ‘what’ thinking, we don’t much care about the final output. What concerns us is what it will achieve; the outcome of all our efforts and it is the desired outcome that informs our vision. Without that vision our creativity becomes fluffy and ethereal - literally

Does this all sound a bit of a tall order, an overkill in hyperbole? We are becoming immune to the amazing claims made by marketing, so I will ask you to reserve judgement until we have been through how to create a really effective vision statement. Let me introduce you to the methods used by top performers and encapsulated through Neuro Linguistic Programming. I know not everyone is a fan of NLP, but having used this particular approach called ‘Well Formed Outcomes’ with a number of clients, I know that if you follow its steps properly, it is highly effective. But first a few words of caution. For a vision to be effective, it needs to be shared and this has important implications for management. To be shared, a vision needs to be co-created with key stakeholders. It cannot be imposed top down and it cannot benefit a few at the expense of the majority. If you subscribe to the view that the role of marketing is to transfer value from customers to the company and the 16

“We are becoming immune to the amazing claims made by marketing, so I will ask you to reserve judgement until we have been through how to create a really effective vision statement. “

stakeholders are far more likely to support role of management is to extract value from something which makes the world (or at resources for the enrichment of shareholders least your bit of it) a better place. then I would stop reading here because what follows will be alien to your view of the world. If, on the other hand, you want to empower 2. How will you know when you get there? your people to a new dynamism and develop better relationships with key partners and • Frame a discrete goal that motivates you / other people as its achievement gets closer. customers, then read on. The seven question Contextualise (next question) to make the steps that follow could be a great tool to add goal specific to your organisation. to your armory. • ●Express it as if it was there now to make it more accessible and associated with Here is how it is done: reality. Visualising can be a good technique to get buy-in 1. Where do you want to be? • ●Express it in multi-sensory (visual, auditory, written and if possible experiential) ways to Describe a tangible outcome in positive terms engage people who think in different ways. (what you really want, not what you want to Emotional terms (what the outcome feels stop, avoid or feel you should have). like when people get there) helps the sub• ●It should be an end in itself, not a step on conscious to associate with it. the way or a by-product (Good customer feedback is a by-product of a great • ●Tangible measures can be good, but beware of vanity metrics that seem fine until customer experience. It is possible to rig perverted by game-playing shortcuts with the former by reframing the questions, but unintended consequences. (An example the latter is only authentic if it is genuine). is the tricks used to reduce patient waiting • ●It should have a higher purpose or wintimes like only allowing people to book win element (beating somebody else appointments a few days in advance) is not a great outcome and can again be manipulated). Partners and other Join the discussion...


3. In what context do you want it? Be as specific as possible to guide people towards the precise circumstance. A good test is whether the destination is well enough described to inform day to day decisions on which path to follow. It is a fine ambition to ‘make the world a safer place’ but only by adding the context ‘by providing actionable intelligence that allows our clients to mitigate climate risks’, that it becomes tangible. Remember that what is obvious to you may be equally obvious but hugely different to somebody seeing the word through a different lens. Being specific reduces that ambiguity particularly for those not privy to the experiences that incited the imperative for a vision in the first place.

partners can directly influence is more likely to be achieved, even if it means sacrificing some ambition. On the other hand, your ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals’ can help bigger and more influential groups achieve amazing things. It can help you reach out to partners you would not have thought about before. Steve Jobs needed the agreement of the music industry to launch iTunes, but anything that reduced piracy was good for them. iTunes revolutionised the whole music industry in less than a decade, something no individual could have achieved on their own. Collaboration is a key part of disruptive change. The point is to gauge what is desirable against what is doable, while thinking creatively about who can, and will, best help you do things others only dream of.

4. How much of your vision can you influence 5. What resources do you need? on your own? Your organisation needs to own the achievement of the vision. If this is not possible then go back a step and reframe the context. Framing an outcome that you, your team and

While the previous question relates to influence and buy-in, this one is more about the physical means and capability to deliver. Key questions here are: 18

“It is not essential to have the whole pathway mapped out in detail – change is likely anyway, but a key test for a vision is whether the first step is explicit and participants commit to take it. “

●Do we have access to the resources we need to deliver the outcome ourselves, or can we develop them / buy them in within our own or partner’s means? ●If we need others to provide the means, do we know how to apply for them and how likely we are to succeed in our application

6. What really needs to change?

craving inspiration, you will appreciate why too many great ambitions limp back onto the ‘Todo List’ never to re-emerge. The less obvious it is quite how to start the journey, the lower the chances of starting at all. It is not essential to have the whole pathway mapped out in detail – change is likely anyway, but a key test for a vision is whether the first step is explicit and participants commit to take it. Be precise – it makes it so much easier to start even if turns out to be slightly wrong. If the outcome is truly desirable a few missteps won’t matter and if it is disruptive they are inevitable. Every time you discover a better path to your vision, you are making progress.

Beware of ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’. Radical change can be good, but also risks unintended consequences. Build the structure for a future vision on the foundation of past successes. It motivates and engages the architects of those successes and reinforces what really works. If you have to discard bits, You can contact Mark at: do so with your eyes open. Using an effective problem solving discipline to really understand root cause is a vital part of the process. Critically assess whether the end really does justify the means in your vision. If not make the outcome better or find a way to reduce the effort. 7. What will you do first? If you have ever sat staring at a blank screen Join the discussion...


Andrew Horder, Colin Newlyn and Mark Neild



It started, as do many of the world’s great collaborations, over a beer. The three of us (Andrew Horder, Colin Newlyn and Mark Neild) were in the bar after a BeCollaboration meeting. Mark had been talking about impact through innovation and was wondering how BeCollaboration could get collaborators involved with some projects; nice short-term things, that got real results. After all, the vision of BeCollaboration is ‘Inspiring collective action’, but it was happening in small private pockets of collaboration rather than larger more public groups. People learn far more about each other by actually working together than by sitting in meetings (or indeed at the bar), talking about the day job. Coupled with that, there was a degree of frustration with the lack of action. We wanted to find a way to act as catalysts for the membership to step up and make stuff happen. But managing an independent bunch like our Collaborators is like herding cats, we needed to encourage free expression with few rules and without a predefined output. We hoped to create a vision for something great. The ‘Open Space’ method seemed to provide the answer and embodied the spirit of collaboration.

It may have been the beer talking but the three of us immediately collared the founders and announced our plan. I think we were a little taken aback by the response we got, although we really should have expected it: “Great idea, go for it! How about September?” Open Space emerged from a couple of organisational transformation conferences in the 1980s, organised by consultant Harrison Owen. Participants observed that the highlights of the event were the coffee breaks, when seemingly random groups with common interests started impromptu discussions. After two conferences, Owen did not relish the effort of organising a third and retired to the bar to ponder. Inspiration for Open Space methodology came to him at the bottom of his second Martini. Is there a theme here? The third conference ditched formality. Instead, participants sat in a circle and those with a burning passion came to the centre to talk about it. They summarised it on paper, and posted it on a wall. After about 90 minutes his 100+ attendees had organised the entire 3-day agenda, hosting, presenting and scheduling the whole thing.

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Over the intervening 30-plus years Open Space or ‘Unconference’ methodology has become slightly more formalised, but retains the initial “opening the space” approach. Owen never commercialised the method, saying that anyone with “a good head and a good heart” could run an Open Space meeting. He estimates that since its inception over 100,000 events have been held under Open Space principles.

‘The Rule of Two Feet’, says that if participants ever feel that they are neither learning nor contributing in a group, they should walk off and join a different discussion. This rule leads to three distinct roles for participants: •

Open Space has five main principles, and just • one rule. The principles are:

Birds are the ‘owners’ of a topic, who remain with it throughout the discussion, akin to ‘sitting in the nest’. Bees join a specific discussion and work on it until they have contributed all they can. They may then join another group. Butterflies float between groups, getting involved in several over the course of the event, cross-pollinating information and ideas between the groups.

1. Whoever comes are the right people. This applies to the whole event, and each topic within it 2. Whenever it starts is the right time. Each discussion will happen at the right time for that group. 3. Wherever it is, is the right place. This allows for discussions to move around as required for them to be effective, not limited by a designated space. 4. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have, be prepared to be surprised! This removes all expectations and prevents participants from feeling there is something they ‘should’ make happen by the end. 5. When it’s over, it’s over (within this session)

The reason for this is that if a discussion comes to an end, there is no point in filling in any remaining time with re-hashing it. Finished is finished.

Open Space is best suited to exploring more open questions, and complex issues where it is difficult for one person or group to think about every aspect. It works particularly well where

Owen’s ‘facilitator’s guide’ to Open Space describes these slightly differently. He talks about “Bumblebees” as the ones moving from group to group cross-pollinating ideas. And his “Butterflies” are described as apparently doing little, often on the edges of the space (or even out by the pool), but somehow supporting the openness of the event and having occasional conversations that somehow end up being quite pivotal. Owen doesn’t mention “Birds” at all.


“...managing an independent bunch like our Collaborators is like herding cats, we needed to encourage free expression with few rules and without a predefined output.”

it is not immediately obvious who has skills to contribute, but less well where the outcome and strategy are already decided. Other things that can get in the way of the value it can create, include a management (or sponsor) that is unwilling to loosen the reins of control, or an atmosphere of judgement or blame. An overinvolved facilitator can also stop it working to its full potential. As one practitioner put it. “There is a thin line between a facilitator and a space invader”.

Projects discussed on the day included: •

• • •

Community Hub Pub – creating a community owned hub within a local pub that was up for sale, to avoid it being turned into housing. Funding BeCollaboration’s growth – with an open mind about the exact method The Little Book of Big Love Stories – a collection of uplifting anecdotes about how people’s lives were changed for the better. Timber Trail – moving a timber business, including how to move 18 lorry-loads of recycled timber Systemic Win – how to apply a new approach to making teams and businesses more effective Tree-house Retreat – a timber structure (tree-house or log cabin) which could be made available to Collaborators for retreats, away-days and workshops. A Big Hairy Audacious Goal – using convergent tech to unite the children of the world for world peace (maybe a little outside of the brief for things we could achieve in 3-6 months, but it made some progress anyway!)

A family commitment prevented Andrew from coming on the agreed date. With a normal event, this would have been disastrous, but • Open Space requires very little management on the day. It tends to run better the less interference the organisers make. So, Colin • and Mark planned and ran the day, feeding collaborators with some examples and a bit of briefing over social media ahead of the event. • The Open Space at September’s London Collaborators’ meeting consisted of a brief introduction explaining the principles, followed by two open sessions with an update in between. Over 25 collaborators took part, with a variety of topics and projects up for discussion. Most were taken forward into Most of these projects received support from Open Space sessions, but one was withdrawn the Collaborators present, with a number of because it was more about execution than an them being taken on to a next stage, that we open question. Recognising what works for an will be watching with great interest. Open Space environment is important. Join the discussion...


“Projects need to be relatively selfcontained to work in this forum – it is easy to become paralysed by dependencies that we cannot control.”

The important thing about this first attempt at Open Space is not so much the project outcomes that were created by it, but the way the community came together and embraced the concept as a means of inciting us to action. The level of engagement spurred BeCollaboration to plan another Open Space. We found that even the whole of a normal meeting didn’t provide enough time for people to fully explore all the possibilities, next time will be on a larger scale, and for a full day.

Maybe we constrained that creativity in the brief. Maybe we should have expressed our objective differently or maybe we simply did not have enough time. But often, the only way to find out is to try stuff.

The whole process even taught us a few things. Projects need to be relatively selfcontained to work in this forum – it is easy to become paralysed by dependencies that we cannot control. Also, people need to be open minded. Open Space is really not a great way to get to a pre-determined outcome. It is far better suited to creation, ideation and effectual thinking – creating a shared vision that can be owned and delivered by the group, but larger than anyone could conceive or deliver on their own. Curiously this was what was most lacking. Most of the projects were pretty tangible, we were problem-solving, rather than agreeing on a great wrong we could right.

You can contact Andrew, Colin or Mark at:

Often, just identifying the next step towards an amazing vision is goal enough. So, watch this space for the next instalment on this exciting BeCollaboration journey!


Profile: Taking a look at a key Collaborator in the community.

Scott C. Cambell Marketing Visual Persuader

Join the discussion...


Who is Scott Campbell?

If you could choose one value that you identify with, what might that be?

A softly spoken quietly determined person, and definitely three very distinctive mindsets/ There’s a few that spring up immediately and wouldn’t surprise anyone that knows me even behaviors. just a little bit. Values like integrity, honesty In my personal life I’m laid back and happy, with and performing at my best. But the number the quiet life. Living in a small hamlet in north one value for me is building relationships for Essex with a very small group of family and the long term. friends around me. This is a million miles away from where I was brought up in Leytonstone You have been a member of BeCollaboration in the east end of London, and I find it quite for over two years now, can you remember amusing how surprised people are that I’m a what first attracted you to the organisation? born and bred Eastender!! For me it was quite simple, I wanted to surround In business it’s a different story. I’m very driven myself with like-minded people to help create and work at a fast pace, continuously from an empowering environment. start to finish. I very much have an ‘all in or nothing’ mentality. I’m also a lot more decisive, Ironically I didn’t see that in BeCollaboration at first, and it needed a member to be very organised and practical in my business life. persistent with me to even get me along in Then we get to sport and hobbies and another the first place. But when I looked into it a bit Scott surfaces. I’m incredibly passionate and deeper and saw people like Baiju Solanki was competitive when it comes to sport and I’ve involved it was a big attraction for me. Then always had a love for football, snooker, darts, within about 20 minutes of attending my first tennis and anything to do with cars, particularly meeting I knew it was the ideal environment Formula One racing. Recently golf has for where I was at that point and the journey I become a serious hobby that I’ve combined wanted to start. with business and it’s the one thing where the ‘business Scott’ and the ‘sport Scott’ have quite You have jumped in with both feet and embraced the culture and community of clearly merged. BeCollaboration. I can confidently say that In terms of my philosophy, I don’t think that’s EVERYONE in the community knows who you changed that much over the years. I’ve always are. had a ‘looking forward’ point of view, and loyalty, trust, integrity have always been important. I Is this how you normally approach a new think the one thing that has developed a lot membership organisation? more in recent years is creating a positive With everything I am a bit ‘all in’. But with environment. 26

Join the discussion...


BeCollaboration I quickly saw the opportunity of the organisation being a vehicle to support me to grow. Being an introvert I found it very difficult at the start to turn up and be visible within an organisation of big personalities. At the time I was doing some personal development that required me to set some goals to take me out of my comfort zone. So BeCollaboration was the perfect environment and I set myself two goals. The first was to be known by everyone in the community, which meant I had to be visible. The second was to be a catalyst for a change, and the one thing at the time that I felt could be different was the ‘Know and Be Known’ section. Because although there was some great presentations and knowledge share, a lot of the time I was sitting there thinking that I want to know more about the person and be inspired by them, not just educated. So when it came to my ‘Know and Be Known’ presentation I shared some very personal stuff that I had never even said out loud before. This instantly raised my profile amongst the community.

It’s not given me a clear vision for my business, but what it has done is made me think bigger with no limiting beliefs. If someone is interested in coming along to a BeCollaboration meeting, what might they expect when they get there? I came up with the phrase “it’s a place where transformational breakthroughs are created”, and that wasn’t just a clever marketing message, I do firmly believe that. If someone comes along as a guest or a current member and are you truly being the person you want to be then whatever it is you need, it will show up in that meeting. Whether it’s in the form of someone who can empower you or something someone said that lands with you in a transformational way. You can contact Scott at:

This issue of The Quest has focused on VISION, how do you see the importance of having VISION for the future, for your life? Massively important. Without a vision I don’t believe you can be determined enough or have the desire to create the future of your vision. This goes for having a vision for your business and life. Would you say that BeCollaboration has given you a clear vision going forward with your business? 28

The Quest Invitation to visit.

BeCollaboration believe that true collaboration – as you have witnessed here in The Quest, occurs when people develop and deepen their relationship, building trust through sharing their authentic self. This doesn’t generally happen as a result of online communication. Meeting face to face is the best way to create amazing possibilities where wonderful projects happen. The Quest is just one such project. We believe that meeting regularly is fundamental to our growth and learning so we have monthly meetings for guests and Collaborators to meet and discuss new ideas, issues and potential solutions. Each meeting delivers knowledge sharing, business insights, personal development opportunities as well as thought leaders in the making presenting their genius to the room. All of this in an atmosphere where fun and laughter are paramount. At the end of the meeting, we find no one wants to leave so we continue the conversations in a social get together for as long as you want to stay. If you would like to visit and meet our community you are very welcome. There is no cost to attend, simply bring an open mind and a listening heart. You can get full meeting information including upcoming dates and venue details here www. just click on ATTEND A MEETING. We look forward to meeting you soon.


Dates: 4th January 12th January 18th January 23rdth January

Essex, Herts, Surrey, London,

Chelmsford Hertford Banstead Shad Thames

1st February 9th February 15th February 27th February

Essex, Herts, Surrey, London,

Chelmsford Hertford Banstead Shad Thames

1st March 9th March 15th March 27th March

Essex, Herts, Surrey, London,

Chelmsford Hertford Banstead Shad Thames

What happens at a BeCollaboration meeting. 2pm – 3pm is the Introduction for guests. Learn more about what inspires us to be part of the community, our journey so far and how to make the most of your visit. 3pm – 6pm The Collaborators will join you to share, create, discuss, inspire and learn – plus have fun! 6pm onwards there is always a social vibe to continue the conversation, you are very welcome to stay and we can get to know you more too. We look forward to welcoming you to a BeCollaboration event soon.


The Quest - Issue Five  
The Quest - Issue Five  

THE QUEST is produced by BeCollaboration™ believes in working for a world where every individual has the opportunity to...