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Can we mark time as the world changes? We think London is set for change Burning2Learn explore how society can better bridge the gap between education and the world of work through open dialogue with thought-leaders and visionaires about the next paradigm shift.


“For many of us in the UK, Monday 15th June 2015 may be remembered as the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. For me however it will also be remembered as the day that me and my friend Philip Koenig embarked on a series of six back-to-back meetings with five other thought-leaders and visionaries. A day where we explored and planned new routes towards a more sustainable future and identified where bridges are needed for the next millennium. The energy that transcended across the entire day was amazing, and everybody that we met with spoke openly. Not one person asked ‘what’s in it for me?’ and they each helped unlock new potentials and collaborations by speaking from the heart. This report demonstrates some of the themes and topics of discussion that were explored throughout the day. Our theme was simple; to use technologies, resources and frameworks to help people and not just processes. Developing individuals to their fullest potential and not to a perceived target set by a third party is critically important. We must help our young people particularly to identify their own talents and the relevance the things they are learning has to their life. What a fantastic, fantastic day!”

Blue sky thinking brought down to earth

Alan Dean, Founder of Burning2Learn and The Acorn Hub with Philip Koenig, Swiss Strategic Consultant and Systemic Thinker.

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Leveraging a change in mindsets to bring about the 21st century’s much needed paradigm shift On June 15th 2015 Alan Dean of Burning2Learn and his Swiss colleague, Philip Koenig, took part in a series of back-to-back meetings with a variety of associates. They spoke to thought-leaders, innovators and holistic thinkers who shared one common goal between them that resonates passionately in the hearts of Alan and Philip; to bring about humanity’s next paradigm shift, starting with a change in mindsets.

is too big. Further still, John then expressed his view that not only must education tune into the needs of the business world, it must also better prepare young people to enter into it, based on current and future perspectives. John is extremely motivated about this issue and is currently looking to develop methods for bringing academia closer to the business needs of the 21st century.

1: A thought-leader’s vision for the next paradigm shift

Burning2Learn’s response to this issue was to inspire empowerment through media. There are many ways to engage young people and Alan’s approach through Burning2Learn is to harness the power of media by bringing the debate into schools and universities at a level that young people will want to respond to. The issues and topics raised at Quora’s summits are all things that will effect young people and they will want to have their say!

Today’s workplaces revolve around the complex interactions between people, space, technologies, and cultures. However, such factors can be notoriously tough to reconcile in a way that benefits the organisation as a whole. In 2002, thought-leader John Blackwell founded an independent consultancy called Quora that was designed to be devoid of any preconceived agendas. Through Quora, John enables leaders to innovate by questioning habits and routine and helps dismantle barriers, overcome corporate sluggishness, and embrace a mandate for workplace and work practice change. Quora transforms work practices and workplaces using their Work Excellence Platform™ and by bringing leaders together in an open environment to acknowledge the problems they face transparently and to tackle them head on. These events are called Smartworking Summits.

John’s next Smartworking Summit is set to take place on 14th October 2015 and will focus on the extent business silos constrain mindset change and what to do about it. Reflections on this topic: How well do we connect the dots between the various stakeholders within our communities? Who is responsible for building these bridges? How do we ensure they come together well and are as coherent and effective as possible - individually and collectively?

Having been present at Quora’s ‘Smartworking Summit’ on 3rd June at the RSA in London, Alan was keen to connect with John and explore his vision for workplaces and practices in the future. As a motivator and mentor for young people, Alan was also interested to find out how John believes education and the business world can become better connected.

Bringing academia closer to the business, human and societal needs of the 21st century John is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and a visiting fellow at three universities. He believes that the ‘lag’ between today’s business needs and what is being lectured in the classroom

London is gearing up for the next human, societal and economical changes of the 21st century

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2: Changing mindsets to work on three levels Philip Koenig is a Swiss strategist and systemic thinker who endorses a ‘working on three levels’ approach to all businesses that he works with. Working on three levels encourages organisations to look at the bigger holistic picture and to fully embrace their role in actively supporting societal change. It means that organisations are thinking holistically at every level - from seasoned thought-leaders and CEO’s to the person sitting opposite you in an interview room and includes a stronger focus on people and planet first, followed by profit.

Philip believes that open dialogue is the first stage towards CEO’s working in collaborative networks to better support society’s sustainability. John supported Philip’s view that during dialogue in existing networks we fall into the trap of talking about business and profit, and don’t talk about people and planet first - and that’s the challenge facing us, to change the mindsets of all the leaders.

At present, there is a great need in London to reduce pollution and traffic problems. There are many organisations who are equipped to support this issue, and yet the problem still exists. Taking Jaguar as an example, how can their sales team and the CEOs align their structure with the needs of society from a sustainability perspective? A prototype engine exist that could reduce this problem with pollution, yet it is not being used because it is so radically different from what customers have come to expect.

Who is responsible for the common greater good? How can we enable more people to acknowledge their role within their organisations - public or private - and within their communities? Can this be done by strengthening public and private partnership?

Reflections on this topic:


3: Enlightenment in the 21st century Matthew Taylor became Chief Executive of the RSA in November 2006. Prior to this appointment, he was Chief Adviser on Political Strategy to the Prime Minister. Burning2learn was interested in connecting with Matthew having recently heard an extract from his 2014 Chief Executive lecture on the ‘Power to Create’. Matthew shared his views on current economic structures and systems and explained the ways in which he believes they need to change.

Current system are fundamentally flawed? In Matthew’s view, most of the current systems in business are designed for a single reason – to make profit. This is a set up that he believes is fundamentally floored. Matthew explained how the RSA challenges current systems to make people more engaged and happier and encourages them to look at well being within the organisation to support the common good overall. It was encouraging for Alan and Philip to learn that people centred systems are already being integrated into organisations. The challenge now however will be to ensure that it is sustainable from a societal perspective as well. Both Alan and Philip believe that processes and systems should not just be designed to make profit but to support well being and economic sustainability as well. They referred to John Elkington’s Triple Bottom Line accounting framework to reinforce their view. Elkington’s TBL splits into three pillars of sustainability;

people, planet and profit and demonstrates that whilst profit is important, demand for it should not outweigh the demand for supporting the remaining two pillars ‘people’ and ‘planet’. These three sustainability pillars combined should be the ideals that empower holistic decision making.

Theory of diffusion of innovation Matthew supported Alan and Philip’s views and questioned why they believe it has not happened very much so far. In response they explained how there are only 2% of the population who are tuned in to their ideals. On hearing their response Matthew proposed a method for making the change that they were discussing happen. The theory of diffusion of innovation is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the participants in a social system. So with regards to an organisation: if you take the 2% percent that are tuned in to the new ideals and set up opportunities for them to collaborate with a handful of leaders within the organisation, they will then go on to collaborate with the next cluster of engaged workers and so on until you have introduced the ideals on every level, you are optimising the whole system. Reflections on this topic: How do HR systems and leaders tap into the full human potentials - based on our latest knowledge across all human sciences ? What are potential barriers we will need to acknowledge and remove?

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4: Exploring and harnessing human centric systems It was clear from what she was saying that Vall’s model is needed now on the island. She explained how often talented young people leave the island and that those who remain are not as literate as they She has developed a human centric model that is could be or should be. At present, there are a lot designed to get the most out of young people in of vocational schools with systems that aim for the education by honing in on the strengths that are average, rather than encouraging their students to specific to them and enabling them to be responsible realise their full potential. Vall explained that it’s not and autonomous. The model also involves bringing about you and your passion and strength, it’s about together primary and secondary school children to fitting a system and that model doesn’t allow them learn from each others’ varying dynamic, and is going to grow. to be created in Grenada. For Alan and Philip it was clear to see that the strength Home to around 100,000 people, the island of in Vall’s programme is its heart. She has embedded Grenada has had a stagnant economy since 2010 her own drive and determination for genuine societal which relies on tourism as its main source of foreign and human change into the system that she has exchange. Hurricanes Ivan (2004) and Emily (2005) created and she has woven her personal intrinsic severely damaged the agricultural sector - particularly motivators into its fabric. Vall looks at the young nutmeg and cocoa cultivation - which had been a key students as people and wants to open their minds, driver of economic growth. Grenada has rebounded rather than categorise them. She sees them as from the devastating effects of the hurricanes but is individual sparks with their own diverse and now saddled with the debt burden from the rebuilding versatile talents which she wants to embrace and nurture, rather that box up onto a conveyor process. belt education. Vall is well connected on the Island, and whilst tourism picks up and hotel chains start to come in, she has Reflections on this topic: noticed the extreme divide between the rich and the poor. In support of her education model for What are the key success factors in making any sustainable growth, she is challenging these large organisation, company, school or community companies to recognise their corporate social emergent and thriving? Who amongst us dares to responsibility and to make the companies that consciously pursue dreams by fulfilling concrete come to Grenada co-responsible for the future day to day actions? development of the Island. Vall Gordon is a consultant for women in leadership and sustainable change who is currently working in London with Initiatives of Change UK.

Fun in Grenada! How can we help light the sparks of talent and innovation in your learning? Who do you know in your community that could play a role in this too? Join the debate now by following @burning2learn on Twitter!

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5: A circular economy created through open data Professor Peter Head CBE is a champion of sustainable development and a pioneering thought-leader of the 21st century. He established The Ecological Sequestration Trust in 2011 and advocates that changing the way we invest public and private money in the built environment could be made very much more effective if the public and private sectors adopt sustainable development principles. He is currently developing a platform that can be used within communities to revolutionize the use of local resources and harness their accessibility for the greater good of the communities themselves. The platform itself will depend on trust and open dialogue as it requires companies to bring in their data and abilities, an area of the model in which Philip and Alan found truly innovative and promotes themselves from a human perspective. Now, through this platform, an integrative and sophisticated tool exists allowing all decision makers of a community to make better, faster and wiser decisions. Professor Head is set to launch a pilot model of this project in Mongolia later this year. Mongolia has was chosen due to its economic ability to leapfrog technologies because there are no deep routes into anything, which enables them to reinvent more easily and use different systems.

In his view, the critical success factors of this project will be: local banks managing the funding, collaboratory training run by local organisations, true corporation openness and the informal economy becoming more formal. Professor Head also explained how coming from a ‘people, planet, profit’ approach was critical and that it should happen in precisely that order; people first, followed by planet and then followed by profit. This will ensure that it becomes a people-centered model, rather than being materialistic centered. Reflections on this topic: When organisational leaders and community stakeholders reflect on their roles, will they improve their own inputs to better enable a sustainable platform? Whilst they may talk about frameworks and convene with other high level CEOs, will they implement actions now that there’s something on the ground? How can triple sustainability and circular economy systems positively impact your community and organisations?

Closing remarks The lack of agenda throughout the day enabled everybody to speak openly and to realise synergies that wouldn’t usually have surfaced from a day of business meetings. To have spent the day finding and sharing common goals with visionaries and thought-leaders was refreshing to have been a part of and has inspired Alan and Philip to continue in their endeavour to leverage a change in mindsets to bring about the 21st century’s much needed societal and economical paradigm shift. How do you tap into your full potential and allow those around you to tap into theirs?

‘The Great Recovery, RSA’ www.greatrecovery.org.uk This image was sourced from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and Burning2Learn believe that this model is an example of how to introduce the circular economy process into economic systems.

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What would you like tomorrow to bring? Do you want to get involved in designing the future? How can we unlock your full potential?

43a High Street Swanley, Kent BR8 8AE 01322 614000 schools@burning2learn.co.uk www.burning2learn.co.uk www.theacornhub.com

Profile for The Acorn Hub

Can we mark time as the world changes  

Leveraging a change in mindsets to bring about the 21st century’s much needed paradigm shift

Can we mark time as the world changes  

Leveraging a change in mindsets to bring about the 21st century’s much needed paradigm shift

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