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March 30th, 2017 : The Royal Geographical Society, London

Margaret Heffernan


Time: 9:30 - 9:55

How do we re-build trust organisationally and societally?

Dr. Margaret Heffernan produced programmes for the BBC for 13 years. She then moved to the US where she spearheaded multimedia productions for Intuit, The Learning Company and Standard & Poor's. She was Chief Executive of InfoMation Corporation, ZineZone Corporation and then iCast Corporation, was named one of the "Top 25" by Streaming Media magazine and one of the "Top 100 Media Executives" by The Hollywood Reporter.

The author of five books, Margaret's third book, Willful Blindness : Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril was a finalist for the Financial Times Best Business Book Award 2011, and the book was named one of the most important business books of the last decade. In 2015, she was awarded the Transmission Prize for A Bigger Prize: Why Competition isn't Everything and How We Do Better, described as "meticulously researched… engagingly written… universally relevant and hard to fault." Her TED talks have been seen by over four million people and in 2015 TED published Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes. Through Merryck & Co., she advises CEOs and senior executives of major global organizations and is Lead Faculty for the Forward Institute's Responsible Leadership Programme. She holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Bath and continues to write for the Huffington Post and the Financial Times.

Session Overview

How do we re-build trust organisationally and societally?

Every organisation claims to want employees who are creative, bold, honest and entrepreneurial. But few seem to get them. Why are companies so frustrated by their workforce and employees so disappointed by their jobs?

Human beings start life full of energy, curiosity, a passion to explore and to create. It’s rare that that those qualities are wholly intact by the time they leave school and rarer still for them to be alive and kicking at work. What happens? Why do so many executives feel like Flat Stanley: half an inch thick, manipulated, folded, nailed into place?

If twentieth century HR was dominated by physics envy – the desire to measure and predict human behaviour – then the twenty-first century sees the emergence of arts envy: the deep desire to find inside ourselves and our employees the genuine creativity and daring that makes us human. Easily said – but how do we do it? Do we dare learn from artists?

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