The art of masterful inactivity

Sometimes, in strategy, it pays to do very little. Lessons for communications leaders from Albert Einstein. My “Back story” column for the launch edition of Influence magazine (Q1, 2016).1_66_the-back-story


GAFA: Do Not Like

The big digital companies are astonishingly brilliant at technology, innovation and customer service. So why are they so touchy when it comes to the media? My feature for Influence magazine (Q3, 2016). 3_034-039


Disruptive or obnoxious? Big Digital and the battle for public trust

Here’s my feature for issue two of Influence, the new magazine of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.


Articles for CMI’s Professional Manager magazine 2015-16

Management career advice: How to get your boss’s job (March 2016)

How to be decentralised: Mick Davis masterclass (July 2016)

Goodbye Powerpoint: Lunch with Prezi’s Adam Somlai-Fischer (July 2016)

The enthralling rise of the purpose-driven enterprise (February 2016)

Size zero: is this lean approach to business the future? (November 2015)

Internovation: inspirational tales of interns who grew to greatness (July 2015)

How to spot the hidden heroes who can drive your business forward (July 2015)

Precarious employment: the rise of the flexible worker (December 2015)


11 Instant Reflections on #ge2015

  • IMG_2056In the snug womb of the polling booth, people default to self-interest – unless they’ve been given a really amazing reason not to. Poor Ed Miliband won’t be the last politician unable to summon up a lure stronger than MONEY.
  • That Lynton Crosby must be one scary ice man. I mean, wasn’t he even tempted to bring out the dancing girls and pull some crazy stunts? To be convinced that Cameron and team should just keep saying “long-term economic plan” like well-drilled North Korean soldiers takes some chutzpah.
  • Me, I think the Liberal Democrats behaved with great integrity in 2010 and will rebound strongly in 2020.
  • Tony Blair?! I mean, really. Like a slapdash CEO, he abdicated responsibility for economic affairs to his finance director. Then he shattered the delicate equilibrium of the Middle East. Then he did play-tinkering with the British constitution leaving us, 18 years later, with a precious union that’s creaking at the seams.
  • Andrea Jenkyns – and, it has to be said, Ed Balls – restored my faith in politicians with a seriously gracious performance when she snatched the Morley and Outwood seat from the former shadow chancellor.
  • Sleeves rolled up are the new soapbox.
  • I can’t help but feel that lurking behind nice Nicola Sturgeon are some fairly mean SNP dudes.
  • How pissed off must Mark Reckless feel?
  • The BBC needs to up its game on election night. Too many superannuated commentators (Peter Mandelson, FFS), not enough of the sharp stuff that was taking place on Twitter.
  • If people in Sunderland can run so fast, how come there aren’t more famous Sunderland athletes?
  • We feel like a divided country. It’s all right for us lot in the south with our rising house prices and access to the City of London, diverse community bla bla. Life clearly feels very different in our old industrial towns in the north of England. If a majority Conservative government doesn’t start to bridge this divide, they will have failed in the trust granted them by the electorate.

Hastings: something is stirring…


There’s an edge, a darkness, to Hastings. It’s long been derided as “Smack City” and “Costa del Dole”,  but there are signs that things are changing…

It’s got a strong industrial pedigree, and John Logie Baird invented the television in Hastings…


It’s home to Europe’s largest onshore fishing fleet…spKBBtOcZHlmjPGaCj1x6fQcNPGDZoUHNuYuITo-z_E

There’s also a Bohemian edge to the town, and the tragic model-entertainer Paula Yates made her home here (the white house on the left)…


And it has the kind of gorgeous timbered houses that affluent arrivistes pay a fortune for…


… so inevitably property prices are now soaring…


But this isn’t just a “Shoreditch-by-Sea” story of incoming money driving up prices and pushing out locals. There’s a new raft of entrepreneurs and economic “catalysts” also emerging, helping to push the town forward…


Sarah Kowitz (above) is an important figure in the town, who’s galvanised Hastings’ International Piano Concerto Competition and recently brought Oscar-nominated director Mike Figgis to Hastings to make a documentary about the competition…


… and the seriously impressive Rich Moore (above) with his brother Mark have ambitious plans to reinvent one of Hastings’ most prominent landmarks…


Kevin Boorman, head of marketing for the town at the local authority, has a deep love for the town and the energy to go with it…


I think Hastings is a town on the rise, and I’ll be writing a lot more about it in the next couple of months.


You should go there…