I had high expectations for the 4th SLOW LIFE Symposium and it certainly didn't disappoint. With three days of conversing and debating with thirty of the great leaders and visionary thinkers from diverse areas of expertise, I knew from Day One that we would leave here with a sense of renewed energy and enthusiasm to change the world.
We had a whole series of wonderful mini-presentations from participants - and there were only two rules: no Powerpoint, and take it for granted that everyone else already knows just how dire the situation is out there. Instead of first wandering around forlornly in the bad stuff, cut straight to the good stuff - and stick with it!
Last summer, I had the opportunity of visiting several research universities and liberal arts colleges in the New England region. I was particularly impressed with several aspects that really attract international students to study in America: collaboration, innovation and individuality. This journey excited me so much that I wish there was a time capsule to take me into the future...
Today's workforce no longer expects to be kept within the confines of the four walls of the office; people expect to be able to work from home and on the go and if their employers won't provide them with the technology to do so, they'll simply use their own. Unfortunately, this has opened a can of security worms for IT departments worldwide.
Corporates tend to make and drive decisions only from a "giraffe's perspective", i.e. from the top down. But companies are essentially two kinds of animals foraging together - executives at the top as well as workers at the bottom - and workers should have the ability to influence action based on their unique perspective of happenings "on the ground".
In these straightened times, joining forces - sharing people, expertise, operating models and ambition - with another organisation can significantly improve a charity's chance of survival. Working in partnership also has the potential to reduce inefficiencies and unnecessary duplication across the charity sector, something we know is a concern for the public.
If we can successfully implement these four recommendations, and commit ourselves to facilitating greater university-business collaboration in the pursuit of innovation, then not only can we secure the UK's research and development base, but also provide a springboard and platform for growth for decades to come.
In 2013 and over the next few years, I predict that many places will regret the abolition of their LSPs and other places will be creating new local partnership and collaborative arrangements. What they are called is of little matter but what they can achieve can be very significant and relevant to local communities, businesses and citizens. And surely that is the whole point?
You might also have thought that after fifty years, the Catholic Church would have reached a fixed mind as to the significance of the Council. Not so either. Its consequences are contested, its nature, continuity or break with the past disputed, and all subject to opposing interpretations. Zhou Enlai's assessment of the French Revolution applies: "too early to tell".
Collaborative tools are just one element of the changes that the internet and related technologies are enabling. Yet they alone have the potential to boost innovation and growth in key service sectors. The technological revolution is increasing not only our ability to innovate but the speed at which we can do so.