Recent figures released by Westminster City Council in London show the terrifying rate that small office space is being lost to high end residential conversions. This is particularly challenging in London's Soho, long the birth place and home to so many of the country's great creative companies and performers.
Life is full of moments which were always considered 'dead time': the walk to the station or the doctor's waiting room. This dead time may have felt irritating, but it created space in our lives for meditative thinking. The next time life creates an opportunity for dead time, seize it with both hands. Leave your phone in your pocket, the radio off, and allow your idle mind to wander, to experiment and to be brilliant.
Important in and of itself, a craft education isn't just about creating beautiful objects. It has a vital role to play in wider industry, helps with problem-solving (as Matthew Crawford illustrated in his best-seller The Case for Working with Your Hands), and contributes to general cognitive development.
So we feel that providing a way of linking the talent around us within the local community with the experience and opportunities that both large and small companies can offer is extremely important. That's why we are supporting Connecting Tech City and why we think initiatives like these are vital if we are to nurture the skills base companies like ours will need to prosper and grow.
Despite superficially positive figures regarding unemployment coming out in the past few months, let's be clear, there is a massive employment crisis in the United Kingdom. We have unemployment at 6.8%, with a further 500,000 people in work being underemployed and a shocking 2% of the workforce on zero hours contracts with no certain earnings from week to week. This is not a stable situation for the nation, for working people or for the economy.
When people think about publishing, they tend to think about content, and assume that the technology challenges in publishing are about transferring the printed page to screen. For many consumer publishing businesses such as newspapers, magazines and trade books this is mostly true, but in science and education publishing the challenges are much greater as we are increasingly in the software business.
Beyond established hotspots such as the US and UK, there's a whole movement of other digital and creative hubs, from Nairobi to Recife and Jakarta to Cairo. Less obvious pools of ideas and talent: growing markets of youth consumers and the originators of new creative ideas, social innovation and cultural leadership.
Working environments have become more pressurised. With obtaining and retaining business now incredibly competitive, clients are becoming ever more demanding for their cash. However increased workloads in conjunction with reduced response times (further exacerbated since e-mail went mobile) means that employees are rarely given the necessary freedom to produce their best work. Overall, whilst the advertising industry naturally holds innovation and creativity as paramount importance, client pressures typically prevent such a culture from being entrenched into working life, and is instead an all too often an unfamiliar luxury. But what's being done and how can we all make room to be more creative?