Thursday, 31 December 2009

The growing focus on creativity

Fast Company is terrific – inspired by Tom Peters it contains nuggets of news and opinion that keep you on your toes. Have a look at this lists a bunch of the world’s most impressive creative minds.

They leave me in awe, especially Jonathan Ive who comes in at the top of a glittering bunch. He’s the man who with Steve Jobs have transformed Apple. Here’s what design creativity can do…Steve Jobs on the MAC OS X’s user interface, from Fortune January 24th 200o “We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them”

Design, inspiration, breaking rules, hypotheses and creative breakthroughs - all the geniuses in the Fast Company do these. Here’s the challenge – let’s make it impossible for them not to stop at 25 but go on to do a top 50 at the end of 2010. And here’s how – spend a lot more time running creative workshops; if you feel stuck in a same-as, same-as gloomy place short of new ideas get a group together to eat, drink and talk innovation. Creativity doesn’t stand furtively behind a lamp post waiting to mug you…you’ve got to work at it, persuade it to come out from the shadows of routine life, to feel at home with you and all your people.

Try this New Year Resolution. Be more creative by spending more time in face to face meetings and less time behind a PC. Spend more time looking around you rather than just ahead. Be more interested in asking questions than seeking answers. Happy New Year.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

An unashamed plug for my latest book

It’s called “Brilliant Creativity” and it’s out on January 1st 2010. You should, soon enough, see it on the shelves of WHS in airports and stations.

I wrote it because I believe passionately in the need for the human race to be more creative in the way they think about all the issues we face – from global warming to educating our children.

Creative thinking does three things – when it’s done well. It provides an action framework which
  • does things faster
  • does things cheaper
  • does things better.
The book provides an array of techniques which enable you to run dazzling workshops or if you want me to run them or arrange someone else talented to do them, e-mail me on

Being creative is easy once you discard your reserve, your desire to be a statesman and your foolish wish to be a person who ticks all the boxes. The best creative people are a bit rebellious, have a strong sense of curiosity, are always trying to find new ways of doing things and generally have a great sense of humour.

I hope this book helps.

Buy it and see if you agree. If you don’t, you know where to reach me.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

How to sell yourself into disaster

I denounce NPower.

I denounce them as an exploiter of the young and innocent and the old and needy.

Here’s the scam - a dialogue on my doorstep.

The dramatis personae. Appearing for NP - young, innocent, female and cunning. Me – old, needy and stupid (at least that is the plan, the cunning NP plan).

NPower: Hi, can I talk to you about your supplier of gas and electricity for this house?
Me: Well it’s British Gas
NP: For both Gas and Electricity.
Me: Yes, both.
NP: Cool. Do you know if you switch to NPower we’ll give you £100
And if you pay on a Direct Debit (you do? – I nod) well that is so cool
because that’s another £100 you get. So now you have £200 in your

Me: No. It’s £200 less out of my wallet if I sign up – it is not £200 in my

NP: It’s in your pocket.
Me: No, it’s not in my pocket.
NP: It is! It’s in your pocket. Is!
Me: Hmm. So I have this literature you’ve handed me with these
offers…thank you …I’ll give the leaflets to my wife to decide.

NP: You can’t keep those brochures - if you aren’t going to sign up now – the
deal may change – I have to have them back.

Me: Why?
NP: (pause – that desperate pause of a bad lie) They’re my last ones.
Me: Go. I shall keep them. You have done a bad job here.

The rest of the exchange was unhappy. I gave the poor girl a round chastisement for representing her brand so badly, for seeking the sale not the relationship. She left shaken. I was upset for her and for the poor suckers who’d said “yes” to similar approaches.

NPower shame on you.

And if anyone wants to see these wretched leaflets get in touch (or better still call, e-mail and harass NPower.)

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Bankers just aren’t very bright are they?

I was prepared to forgive the poor souls their indiscretions and absurd Toad-of-Toad-Hall poop-poopness about their bonuses. I was even prepared to concede that leveraging your debt to the tune of forty four times (as Lehmans did) was a touch over bold but not exactly criminal.

But then I realised what it meant in layman (or Lehman terns) terms was if you, personally, had a house, net of mortgage worth say £600,000 and other assets, pension, cash, paintings, car, lawn mower, books worth another £300,000 then you were in Lehman terms, worth around £39.5million.

And then I read “Too Big to Fail" by Andrew Ross Sorkin (read it – it’s an essential insight into financial hell) and I realised these people quite simply weren’t very bright at all.

Firsts, yes. MBAs, of course. Millions of dollars, very many.

But they had absolutely no clothes. They were stark, bollock naked when it came to pass the parcel.

The penny finally dropped when I recently saw a poster for the shamed HBOS, trading under Lloyds TSB. Here’s what it said:-

“Our bank managers are here to help you. Their specialist subject is money.”

I think that lies on at least three counts.

And I think it means you the customer have to start giving that so called “specialist” a very hard time indeed.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Why I stopped blogging, tweeting…and bothering…

To my readers – yes you sir, over there dozing…sorry; and you madam, looking slightly grumpy.

My apologies.

It was my back, you see, which went into chronic pain and I rather lost whatever plot there was, which given the way the global economy seemed to be heading put me in good company.

We don’t talk about pain but when it gets you, you are gone.

God preserve us from, for instance, a pain-filled US President – Roosevelt, Kennedy – how did they cope?

Anyway (as if you needed to be told) a simple, relatively non invasive procedure later and now I’m almost human.

And back to asking four questions:

  1. Isn’t it going to be get a whole lot worse in 2010?
  2. Don’t we need it to?
  3. Shouldn’t we coach all our young people to cope with this new, erratic world as a number one, key priority?
  4. Isn’t this sense of change exhilarating – the new worlds, opportunities and excitements?
Being optimistic wasn’t that easy in 2009 but the resilience and creativity of those around me was inspiring. Trust me, trust us, 2010 will be better. And new ideas are what will drive it.

It’s nice to be back (as it were).

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


What do people really think about social networks?

“Facebook and Myspace is just a slow, crappier version of e-mail.”

Why are creative people (in particular) turning their back on all this?

“Perhaps because creative people aren't shallow narcissists? Perhaps they have better things to do with their time than tweet what kind of sandwich they had for lunch or post a Facebook update about their wholly uncreative daily activities?”

These comments appear on Digg which I got on to via Fast Company – the – now daily – site I think is the best thing on the Web.

I’m inclined to agree and think the burn-out on these sites will be increasingly vast.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Advertising Age recently had this article by Paul Ashby whom it transpires is pitching interactive marketing as the saviour we all need.

Here are some of the juicy bits.

“Advertising Age has just claimed that we are living in the "Post-advertising age"…… Actually we're just stuffed. Marketing & Advertising hit a tree….. There is no replacement advertising model for us to drive off in. We must bash out the dents, clear the broken glass, remove the bumper from the front wheel, and limp on as best we can. We should accommodate ourselves to that prospect…..

But behind the curve, and banging the table as ever, the marketing gurus all have not yet latched on to the rhetoric of the "new economic model"…. They are still trying to kick life back into the old one. But it becomes apparent even to the Marketing & Advertising community that there is to be no return to that golden decade of no hard choices and uninterrupted growth….. This recession is not a failure of market economics. It is a reassertion of market economics after a decade in which we paid ourselves more than we were producing, and funded it precariously and temporarily, together with a total lack of accountability so that it took a while for the market to rumble…. Now a prosperity that always baffled ordinary citizens has collapsed.”

Fair enough but it’s a touch cynical. Clever and effective marketing is exactly what the world needs right now in whichever form it takes. Marketing creates the confidence and the relationship between brands and that consumers that helps make this world go round. I am proud of being a marketer and not ashamed to say to people I’ve advised “sometimes it’s smart to spend less – it’s always smart to zig when the others zag”. I agree with Maurice Saatchi who said:-

“Creativity is the last, legal way to secure an unfair advantage”

Monday, 11 May 2009


Perhaps to be a little cynical that is why it is over almost before it has started.

All the signs are that green is the colour and surge is going to replace shoots.

If you believe what you read.

The story about male recession was in the Times a week or so ago and was about a McKinsey study revealing an emergence of an alarming gender imbalance in the city. Women are departing in their droves through voluntary redundancy, resignation or whatever. The emigration supposedly brought about by a high level of disapproval and anger at male excess and sheer bad behaviour.

One woman said “they were foul enough in the good times but now they are repellent”.

The women are off to set up their own businesses – what price the first all female bank? – now that would be a winner. And behind they leave chaos. Because without some kind of gender balance this is going to be a very unstable and erratically managed place.

If this was a male recession this loss of women terrifies me. It would terrify Tom Peters even more. It was Tom who said in Re-Imagine!

“Women make most of the buying and investment decisions. Women are better investors than men.”

He added “women roar”.

I think that’s what they’ve just done.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


Take a view of global activity.

How many executives flying to how many meetings?

How many decisions made by jet lagged brains?

How many ulcers?

How much fuel consumed?

How much carbon emitted?

How much food eaten?

The most comforting thing is that we can look at it from our dispassionate cloud and smile.

So if you have a minute take a look.

Our Skies...

This is a 24 hour observation of all of the large aircraft flights in the world, (recorded by the 'plane flight transponders, via Geo-stationary orbital satellites), patched together and condensed down to about a minute. (viz. what you see is 24 hrs duration compressed into 1 minute).

From space we look like a beehive of activity. You could tell it was summer time in the north by the sun's footprint over the planet. You could see that it didn't quite set in the extreme north and it didn't quite rise in the extreme south.

We are taught about the Earth's tilt and how it causes summer and winter and have had to imagine just what is going on, now the "tilt" is visible.

With this 24 hour observation of aircraft travel on the earth's surface we get to see the daylight pattern move as well across the face of the planet.

Sunday, 5 April 2009


JWT have just published, as ever from that excellent agency, a beautifully crafted paper on why you should spend money on advertising in a recession.

I don’t get the “spend-your-way-out-of-disaster” argument that JWT and Gordon Brown are putting about.

I prefer the McKinsey argument which simply says – whatever else you do survive; this is not a time for dogma; it’s a time for do-what-it-takes and looking after the cash.

And I should add to this looking after your customers – present, past and potential so as to avoid massive revenue fall-off.

Simply coach your people to be brilliant at customer service.

Make people feel good about you and your product.

There’s never been a more important time to coach your own people to help you survive.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009


Just how big is the problem we face?

Arguably it’s a presentation issue. If only we could find a simple way of showing how big this issue was then we could do something about it.

Too many noughts may have dulled the brain so try this.

What does one TRILLION dollars look like? All this talk about "stimulus packages" and "bailouts"...A billion dollars...A hundred billion dollars...Eight hundred billion dollars...One TRILLION dollars...What does that look like?

I mean, these various numbers are tossed around like so many doggie treats, so I thought I'd take Google Sketchup out for a test drive and try to get a sense of what exactly a trillion dollars looks like. We'll start with a $100 dollar bill.

Currently the largest U.S. denomination in general circulation. Most everyone has seen them, slighty fewer have owned them. Guaranteed to make friends wherever they go. A packet of one hundred $100 bills is less than 1/2" thick and contains $10,000. Fits in your pocket easily and is more than enough for week or two of shamefully decadent fun.

Believe it or not, this next little pile is $1 million dollars (100 packets of $10,000). You could stuff that into a grocery bag and walk around with it.

While a measly $1 million looked a little unimpressive, $100 million is a little more respectable. It fits neatly on a standard pallet...

And $1 BILLION dollars... now we're really getting somewhere...

Next we'll look at ONE TRILLION dollars. This is that number we've been hearing so much about.

What is a trillion dollars? Well, it's a million million. It's a thousand billion. It's a one followed by 12 zeros. You ready for this? It's pretty surprising. Go ahead...Scroll down...Ladies and gentlemen... I give you $1 trillion dollars... (And notice those pallets are double stacked.) So the next time you hear someone toss around the phrase "trillion dollars"... that's what they're talking about.

Monday, 16 March 2009


The late Dame Anita Roddick said “trying to use research to manage your business is a bit like driving using the rear view mirror”.

In the current world situation many people are reflecting on the sheer impossibility of forecasting. Anatole Kaletsky thinks we live in a world without radar. So good luck Chancellor.

At the end of March the RSA have a table of experts debating the following at the Encyclopaedia Britannica/RSA debate on “The Economic Crisis and the Age of Uncertainty” in which panel members will discuss the crisis if confidence in our previously trusted sources of knowledge.

So the left brain has let us down and it’s over to the intuitive entrepreneurs who have dreams, visions and insights.

These are people who do not use research in the conventional sense.

Look at the link below and you’ll see why.

Produced by an innovation company in the States it deals a mortal blow to old fashioned market research.

And about time too.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009


Making something happen rather than moaning has always been good advice.

Here’s one way.

Every Panasonic employee has been told to go out and buy a Panasonic plasma TV – that’ll get sales momentum going.

Back in the ‘90s in a recession every employee was sent out on the road to sell whilst in Japan they did door to door calling on consumers to sell product and to change light bulbs and fuses for free.

What have you done today to make something positive happen?

Monday, 16 February 2009


I believe in professionalism

I believe presenting has never been more important than in the current business climate.

More judgements are made on the basis of a presentation than ever, whether it is to a bank, a stakeholder, your peers or a boss. And the quality of a presentational performance is as important as its content.

Whatever do you look like? It’s inconceivable that you’d go along to an important meeting wearing a crumpled, shiny blue suit, a jazzy green and red kipper tie, scuffed shoes and a curry stained shirt (or if you are a woman that you’d wear a crumpled dress with laddered tights).

Yet the Les Pattersons of the presentation world abound. People who have no shame in having poorly produced, overly complex slides and a badly thought through, crumpled argument. They are going to suffer in a world that is getting more demanding.

Spot the difference

Whilst you don’t want to be remembered as a punk presenter nor do you want to be forgotten as someone who has done a completely unmemorable presentation. In a world where PowerPoint bullet point slides have become a well understood business-language it is your job, in the world of presentations, to stand out from the throng. Not as an eccentric but as someone who is mainstream with a little more polish and accomplishment.

The medium is the message

Marshall McLuan coined this phrase forty four years ago. He described the style of a piece of communication as a piece of juicy meat a burglar carries to distract the watchdog of the mind. In other words great presentations lull people into agreeing.

If you are going to do a presentation the harsh reality is a professional slide maker will do a better job than you, an amateur. This does not mean you have to spend a fortune; just an appropriate sum for an important message in an important medium. Because does this, as an alternative, sound clever to you?

“The interview went brilliantly until it came to the presentation.”

OK. I’m sold

It is becoming increasingly common for anyone being interviewed for a job to be asked to do a presentation. I’ve sat on interview boards hearing an excellent candidate – good CV, impressive credentials and skills losing to a weaker candidate on the strength of their presentation skills.

Quite simply many interviewers make their judgements on the sales and presenting skills of a candidate on the day in question and not based on their lifetime of learning. Presenting well is the difference between success and failure and between employment and unemployment.

This is showtime. We are not talking about a quick haircut here. We are talking about making sure we understand all the components of a good presentation and that we have them all in balance.

What is the context of the presentation, what is the key argument, what are the powerful words, phrases and messages that will “sell” the argument, how will we give special and memorable colour to the communication, how will the slides look professional and have stand-out but without being too slick and how can we perform the presentation so it is remarkable and compelling?

In today’s world being “good enough” at presenting is just not good enough.

Monday, 2 February 2009


Jim Rogers went to Balliol so he can’t be all bad.

But last week he told the world that sterling was finished, to sell the pound and that Britain was bankrupt.

It was all rather depressing.

Especially as Jim’s an exceeding rich and successful person and a one time colleague of George Soros.

So he should know.

Yet apparently this is the man who told us a couple of years ago to invest in Zimbabwe.

This piece of news about him cheered me enormously.

Britain is not finished but some of its aspirations are and thank heavens for that.

  1. We are not a Premier League country any more.
  2. Britain sounds great without the Great
  3. Can we stop giving our money away to Overseas Development – we don’t have much left
  4. Can we have a sensible conversation about the Olympics?
  5. Can we invest in a 21st century manufacturing/innovation economy?
  6. Can we stop trying to keep the terminally ill companies alive that have no future?
  7. Can we get an SAS economic squad together to resuscitate the ones in peril that we need to keep by taking smart people out of retirement if necessary to help them?
  8. And can we stop paying stupid fees to advisers? I heard about a consulting firm who claimed they had to charge large fees as their overheads were so high. Ironically their first name is “Price”.

Britain will be fine.

All it needs is for us to be resourceful, innovative and energetic and – this is the real key – stop listening to the doom mongers….Jim Rogers is wrong (again).

Tuesday, 20 January 2009


“Bob the Builder
Can we fix it?
Bob the Builder
Yes we can!”

So it was Bob the Builder that provided Barack Obama with his campaign slogan.

And Bob the Builder with whom I am now a close friend having spent an afternoon with my very young grandsons. “And Richard has joined the building crew”. Aagghh!!

But there’s an important lesson that Bob teaches us.

That anything can be sorted out if you try hard enough. “Yes we can” is a pretty reasonable rallying cry in a climate where a few people seem to be giving up hope.

Just remember what that other Bob the Builder figure of the past week, pilot Chesley Sullenberger achieved for US Airways and 155 passengers in New York.
And both Bob and Chesley are so well mannered.

Maybe this really is the way to go. And I feel better after an afternoon with Bob.
I think this is all going to be all right in the end if a bit frightening for a while.

Just remember one thing – “brace for impact”.

Thursday, 15 January 2009


It was the original J.P. Morgan who said “our customer’s belief in our integrity is our most precious possession”.

What price that axiom today?

We are not only going through a crisis of trust with all the institutions, we no longer believe in tried and trusted formulae.

Albert Einstein said “insanity is when you do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.” Welcome to 2009 Albert because at long last the equals sign is broken. The equals sign used to lead to a result and a smug QED. No longer.

The economists are hopeless – I really believe I’m a better predictor than Anatole Kaletsky of the Times who said “punish savers and make them spend money”. The mathematicians in banks are incompetent. I don’t believe scientists. Politicians can’t help telling lies (Lord Mandelson “a lot of people think the VAT reduction was a good idea”, who, Peter, who?) Primark gets caught using below-minimum-wage-slave-labour.

This is terrible. There is no one left to trust.

And when someone says “my word is my bond” look over their shoulder because, as sure as eggs is eggs, their fingers will be crossed behind their back.

Forget about profit. It’s time to rebuild trust in each other.

Saturday, 10 January 2009


We need a lot more conversation. A lot more coaching of talent. A lot more teamwork. A lot more competitive pricing. A lot more sense of community and – odd to say this – a lot more good and effective marketing. Bad selling got us here; good marketing can get us out. And one other thing. However dark it looks retain your optimism and your unquenchable desire to win.

Find a new business plan if you have to and go for it.


Set them! In times of such uncertainty and turmoil no-one is going to be very good at forecasting the future. So respond to this unpredictability by being happy to turn on a sixpence.

Review your numbers and performance – sales, cost, margin, new business, overall success rates, customer satisfaction etc. every month and be prepared to tear up your plan and start again.

Watch cost with obsession.

Thursday, 8 January 2009


It’s game over for the reputation of most politicians and time more smart people got involved.

Time for Vince Cable, perhaps. He’s the only one who’s got it right. But in the meantime there’s never been a better time to have your say. Talk to No.10 on their website. Stand for the Local Council.

Make a noise. Simply take a stand. Yes you can.


It is going to very severe but over quicker than we’d thought say some pundits. The survival manual says there are four keys to making it work in a recession culture:-

i)As Libby Purves says “feel-good is box office”. Be upbeat and on the lookout for opportunities
ii)Become a passionate persuasive presenter
iii)Be successful by being on time, looking good, being cheerful, helping your boss and his boss keep their jobs
iv)Stay on people’s radar screens by feeding them ideas and things of interest they may have missed.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009


You have a job? Congratulations. They say HR is going to be like Casualty or ER in 2009. A lot of good people are going to be going into teaching, the church and counselling. Freelance is going to become a profession.

And we’ll see a rush of potters, painters and novelists – which would be terrific – but for that mortgage. So what can you do? By working harder; trying more stuff…new ideas; learning new tricks; learning new skills; being taught to improve.

2009 is the year to make more of whatever it is you have and then reaping the harvest in the next decade.

Tomorrow - making things work


Or rather it isn’t. In the UK we were dreadful until taught how to do it right by the now retreating tide of Eastern Europeans. They swept in and showed us what good manners, customer focus, smiling and a belief the customer was ALWAYS right, can do.

We are now going to be on our own.

Let’s make 2009 the year in which we lift our game and become exceptional at serving our customers. Let’s train everyone to be great at it. We’d better….

Tuesday, 6 January 2009


We live in a world that is looking for a bargain. Prices are falling and will continue to do so. Reconcile yourself to lower prices, smaller margins and lower earnings. See how to get your prices lower without killing your suppliers.

Do everything you can to be a low cost producer.

Tomorrow - a point of view about 'service'.


The young have technology under control, the old are willing learners of technology and teachers of other stuff. Between them they are the majority…know a little all too well and have forgotten more than they knew. This is the new alliance. Grandmother and Grandson against the world. Spend time educating and helping the next generation and the one after.

Look what the current one has managed to do. And if you are the next generation insist you get this help.

Monday, 5 January 2009


Too rich, too greedy and mostly not good enough. Especially football – this is the scene of the next credit crunch disaster. Watch a spectacular salary slide there.

And what a terrible year in prospect for sponsorship. But support your local side and avoid the feet-of-capitalist-clay Premier Division giants. Example in Germany is village side league leaders Hoffenheim.

Time to learn that money alone doesn’t make winners.

Tomorrow - 'The Age Sandwich'


It’s what happens when the economy zigs; we zag back to cheap live theatre.

The West End will have a horrible time as we sniff out good value pre-runs and small theatres. This will be a golden age for low-cost young talent. Check out what is going on locally in churches, small theatres or town halls.

You can have a great evening out for the fraction of what you normally spend. Or go to the Cinema which is still cheap for the experience.

Next - something about Sport

Sunday, 4 January 2009


2009 is the Barack story. For the first time for ages we have a world leader. And what would be interesting would be if he, Putin, Wen Jiabao, Luiz da Silva, Pratibha Patil and Ban Ki-Moon get it together.

He seems to have that crisis smile and a “don’t worry – we can sort it” attitude.

If America is happy then so are we all (remember the USA is where this started) –place hope in Obama and keep on encouraging the Americans otherwise we get Mrs. Palin next time.

Tomorrow - 'The Arts Have it"


Brazil, Russia, India, China South Africa. A disturbing slowdown in growth for China and India to only + 5% to + 6% in 2009. Life is going to harden for them.

Watch out for the power of the emancipated new middle class. The web is shaking China as we speak because some 300,000 web users are breaking ranks, speaking about poisoned milk, bureaucracy and other stuff. And the authorities don’t like it.

Try to learn as much as you can and visit one or more if this is possible. If not devour the papers and books on these nations. They are the future.

Next - 'New America'

Saturday, 3 January 2009


Prawn cocktail, minestrone, casseroles, curries, roasts, trifles, bread and butter pudding. It’s kind of back to basic, hearty and family food.

I predict a pause in sophistication.

And it’s hurray for beer and quaffing claret. Sales of onions, herbs and wooden spoons are booming already in the UK.

Become a great, economical cook. Make 2009 the year of the noisy positive supper party with friends with reasonably priced wine and delicious frugal food. Sort out the world while you eat.

Tomorrow is about 'The New Nations'.


It’s the world of “best value for money”, Primark, E-bay, the Co-op, on-line shopping, Farmers Markets, “needs not wants” and charity shops.

Bargains don’t exist unless you need the product. And if you do need it, bargain with vendor and see what happens. Shop for quality and price. Complain if things aren’t good enough. Demand compensation if you think it’s warranted.

Buy much more carefully.

Friday, 2 January 2009


New stuff that matters will be on what we should focus. Things like improving water purity, reducing pollution, creating better educational aids, getting mosquitos under pressure (we’re doing it!), innoculating more widely, getting HIV under control and making communication free – people power and the web.

And finally finding new ways of fighting back.

Lord Rutherford (Scientist) once said “we have no money so we shall have to think.”So think. Think about how life could improve. Think about what’s missing.

Maybe in 2009 you’ll become an inventor or mini entrepreneur just doing this.

Something tomorrow about consumerism


Not really, if we take a hard look at our world and its values.

We shouldn’t put up with knife crime, functional illiteracy, epidemic marriage collapses, obesity, binge drinking, incompetent bureaucracy and all that stuff that is so irritating, any longer. Recession slows things down so it will give us time to deal with what we want our children’s world – this world – to be like and make it happen.

The values debate will be big news in 2009 – be part of it. Decide the few things that really matter.

No. 3 tomorrow - it's about innovation.

Thursday, 1 January 2009


I refrained from mentioning the elephant in the room over Christmas.

Apparently this incorrigible optimist was sounding too many warning notes about the economy and dampening the festive spirit. But now we are in 2009 I thought I’d give you my 1000 word view of life from the perspective not of “is there going to be a train-crash?” (because there is, in my view) but “what shall we do about it and how shall we individually survive it?” So, over the next few days, I'll be posting a few observations for the New Year.

1.The economy

The world is going backwards fast because it got drunk on greed. It’s completely lost its sense of balance. Next year most of us we shall feel poorer and confused. The UK is worse off because Financial Services and Media were our two big tricks. We have undergone a major realignment. Be in step with this rather than resenting it. Don’t worry about what’s gone (like Woolworth) focus on the next opportunity.So we are destined to be smaller. Should we care?