A whirlwind week, this one. But almost over the pestilential cough that has haunted me for a month, thankfully. Elaine in Edinburgh, tidying up her aunt’s estate, for much of the week. Small highlights from the Barnes front: our mimosa tree is in blossom, with wonderful scent, and – a less attractive natural input – I discovered that a flock of birds, probably seagulls, had bombarded our glass-roofed kitchen during the night with the most insane quantities of liquid guano. Took quite a while to hose off. Could have done with the hosing mechanism I saw when leaving the Excel Centre in Docklands earlier in the week (see penultimate photo above).
A ferocious amount of writing to be done at the moment. Today has been spent writing the latest round of articles and columns, this time on social networks after the Just Means conference on Friday, and yesterday was largely devoted to doing an essay for the next issue of McKinsey’s What Matters. Fingers crossed on that front, because I took the brief – to be provocative – fairly literally. First time we have been able to sit out for lunch, though it got quite cold as soon as the sun went behind the clouds.
The week has seen a stream of visitors coming through 2 Bloomsbury Place, among them Jill Huntley and Jessica Wilson of Accenture, Richard Cree of Director magazine and Patrice Thramer of Nike’s GreenXchange. On Tuesday, I had a very interesting dinner in Covent Garden with Nick Parker of the Cleantech Group and his son, Sanjay.
Among speaking events there was a panel session at the BASE conference in Docklands and an hour-and-a-half event with Charmian in the Hilton Metropole, this one with a study group from the National Bank of Australia. Rather got into my stride at both, with energetic feedback.
With Spectator business editor Martin Vander Weyer in the chair, my co-panellists at BASE were: Business in the Community chief executive Stephen Howard; Paul Turner, head of sustainable development at LloydsTSB; Peter White, global sustainability director at Procter & Gamble; and Jeff Whittingham, director of business solutions at British Gas. had a productive coffee with Martin Chilcott of the 2degrees network, where I’m on the Advisory Board.
Then, on the evening of 17 March, Geoff (Lye), Sam and I went across to The Perseverance, near SustainAbility, to have a drink with Chris Guenther and other SA team members, before I shot up north to Highbury for a dinner on social innovation at Charlie Leadbetter’s house, with people like Geoff Mulgan of the Young Foundation, John Grant of Abundancy Partners and Molly Webb of the Climate Group – where we helped think through a new initiative, Bethnal Green Ventures.