Am watching monkey-hunting chimps and swarming army ants in David Attenborough’s The Hunt as I try to summarise a week that hit a horrible low point on Friday 13th, through we didn’t hear the news about the Paris ISIS attacks until we were home after a dinner in Victoria area with Doug and Margot Miller. Elaine was meant to be going to Paris on Monday to see a Japanese friend, but has decided to delay the trip.
The week started with a launch event for Peter Lacy’s new book, Waste to Wealth, at an event co-hosted by Accenture and BT in the BT Tower. Wonderful views from the revolving top of the tower – a perspective I first enjoyed in the 1960s when taken to the restaurant by family friends, the Hanks. That was the first time, I think, that I had been up a proper highrise. We were told at the launch event that the tower cost £2.5 million (sic) to build!
On Tuesday, we were visited by two old friends/colleagues, Paul Tebo (formerly the sustainability lead at DuPont) and Terry A’Hearn, who now runs the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency – but who was Deputy Director of the Victoria Environmental Protection Authority in Australia when I first met him, through the Antipodean speaking tours I did over some seven years with Murray Edmonds. In between, Terry ran the Northern Ireland EPA, and had some extraordinary tales to tell about the toxic waste trade there.
Paul reminded me of the evening when, at a dinner with DuPont’s then Chairman Chad Holliday, Chad asked me how I thought of the giant chemical company – and I replied it that it made me think of a slime mould. He, apparently, was shocked, until I explained that this was a good thing. A slime mould moves and evolves from opportunity to opportunity, morphing in extraordinary fashion along the way.
In the evening, Elaine and I went across to GlobeScan’s offices for the launch of Doug Miller’s new book, Can The World Be Wrong?, for which I contributed a foreword. Was on a panel with Doug, Professor (Sir) Robert (Bob) Worcester, (Lord) Mark Malloch Brown and Anna Comerford, the publisher from Greenleaf Publishing.
Wednesday included a trip by train up to Milton Keynes, then across to Cranfield University, where I am a Visiting Professor at the School of Management’s Doughty Centre on Corporate Responsibility. Sadly, David Grayson was away on urgent personal business, but my keynote went very well, followed by a great discussion and then a dinner with students and people from companies like Rolls-Royce and Coca-Cola.
On Thursday, I went across to Bose in Regent’s Street, with a pair of noise cancelling headphones whose headband had started to disintegrate yesterday into small black plastic pieces on my scalp and neck. Made me look slightly bubonic. They offered a discount on an up-to-date pair. Great sound. I use them to protect my tinnitus- and hyperacusis-impacted hearing on the Tube.
Much of the week has been spent on developing our exponential sustainability thinking, with Sam coming up with the tagline, ‘The Future’s Exponential,’ in the course of our conversations. Richard did great work on tracking down images of good and bad exponentials for the presentation I’m due to do for a UN Global Compact event in Madrid.
On Friday, my meetings included a session with Colin Peacock, who is chairing the Social Stock Exchange‘s new property advisory panel. Fascinating insights into the construction and real estate sectors. Then across to Wilton Road in Victoria for a delightful Turkish dinner at Kazan with the girls and the Millers.
Discovered that Elaine and Margot had found the front door open at a house, number 89, we used to live at in Ebury Street – and walked in. When the builders came up from downstairs, Elaine explained that she was in our bedroom from over 40 years ago. Then home, to discover with dismay what had happened in Paris.