What a week! It began with a reception at our Bloomsbury Place office for Canadians involved in social innovation and impact investment, bringing together perhaps 25 people from organisations like The McConnell Foundation, the MaRS Discovery District and Social Innovation Generation with people from our London ecosystem, including the Bridges Ventures, the Cabinet Office and the Finance Lab. A joyous, productive Monday evening.
Then on Tuesday I streaked west to Oxford for a dinner at Balliol College, launching the 2015 Skoll World Forum, with a wonderful before-dinner grace delivered by ‘Arch’ Desmond Tutu. A wonderful opportunity to catch up with social entrepreneurs from around the world, with my table including people from the Skoll Foundation, Barefoot College, Aflatoun and Lord Sainsbury’s office, among others. Could scarcely drag myself away.
Wednesday, back in London, involved a dinner at the Foundling Museum, hosted by Generation Investment Management. A fascinating dinner, with Al Gore and I flanking Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP at table. The Museum was deeply moving, telling the story of the Foundling Hospital. This continues today as the children’s charity Coram, but was established in 1739 by the philanthropist Thomas Coram to care for babies at risk of abandonment. Among those who helped Coram realise his vision were the artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel.
Then Friday saw the first major event for the burgeoning UK chapter of the B Corporation community, originally catalysed by B Lab. Volans has been helping build the momentum, with our Charmian Love working alongside James Perry of COOK and Panahpur. A tremendous day in Spitalfields, with much of the Volans team involved, including Richard (Johnson) handling the technical side very much like a DJ.
During the day, I did a filmed interview, which involved me roving around the area with a cameraman in tow, having a meeting with someone from the OECD who wants me to speak at a big event they’re doing in Paris in June, and a panel session at the end of the day, alongside two B Lab founders: Andrew Kassoy and Bart Houlahan. Great sense of emergence and excitement – with a fascinating mix of people I have known for ages (including Fran van Dijk Dixon of One Stone Advisors, who used to be at SustainAbility) and a bunch of extraordinary people who were totally new to me.
In all, a week that showed how many waves we are surfing, or perhaps how many different waves are beginning to coalesce into a single superwave? Very relevant as we race to put the finishing touches to our new publication, The Stretch Agenda: Breakthrough in the Boardroom. Jacqueline, Sam and I have been working on this for much of the week – and the weekend. Very excited with how it is now coming together.
Then late this morning,, up to Clissold Park for a delightful home-cooked lunch with Gaia and Paul, followed by a memorial service for Mark Lushington, with Jake (Lushington) and Hania. A delightful celebration of some I sadly never met.