On the 17th of March we held our conference entitled ‘Blueprint in Action’ attended by over 170 delegates. The speakers were drawn from business and wider society. The conference looked at the practical application of the Blueprint thinking and challenging the underlying assumptions that lead to outcomes that are bad for business and bad for society.
Charles kicked the day off by talking about how he hoped that the day might help the attendees release some unrealised potential in their businesses and themselves. “Business can and should have a purpose – a reason for being – to serve society. Profit is the result not the purpose” and “human beings are meaning-seeking creatures, hard wired for quality relationships with others and desiring to make a contribution”.
Sacha Romanovitch followed Charles talking about the challenges and opportunities facing business leaders today and highlighted that “we are borrowing the world from our children” and we are facing pressing global issues that are too big for any one organisation to tackle.
Following this there was a panel discussion chaired by Mathew Taylor on ‘how business can encourage people to act beyond pure self-interest’ The participants discussed how the maximization of profit can dehumanise. Panelist Gillian Tett built on this stating that the “curse of efficiency” leads to dehumanised, siloed businesses with sub-optimal business outcomes. One of the bravest things a business leader can do is allow a bit of slack within their company to let the humanity in. Gillian went on to say how this will drive efficiency, creativity, and discretionary effort.
Paul Drechsler followed the panel discussion highlighting how business, at its best, is a force for good. He stated that because of the changing world “business as usual is not enough anymore” and having more focus on the needs of society is important because “consumers don’t just buy products, they are buying the values of the companies that make the products”.
Dame Barbara Stocking chaired a discussion looking at the practical examples of Blueprint in action and how companies are making a difference. The panel consisted of business leaders from easyJet, Vodafone, Centrica, and FloodRe. The panelists noted how Blueprint had acted as a ‘North Star’ on their journey of becoming a business with a purpose that serves society.
Sir Mike Rake who has recently agreed to chair the Blueprint Advisory Council gave the final key note about taking forward the opportunity for change. Sir Mike highlighted the potential that lies in the Blueprint Principles to both make a better society and better businesses.