Sunday, 11 March 2012

Class & Culture

Melvyn Bragg on Class and Culture - Episode 3

Katy shared this link with our fellow Master's student, i caught the end of the episode and thought I'd missed something interesting so I'm definitely going to check it out. Here is the BBC's synopsis:

'In this three-part series, Melvyn Bragg explores the relationship, from 1911 to 2011, between class and culture - the two great forces which define and shape us as individuals and as a society.
Melvyn looks at the last 30 years of culture in the UK, and examines whether class is still relevant to what culture we create and consume. The 80s brought the all-embracing force of Thatcherism - from the new, aspirational house buyers, to the disenfranchised industrial working class and the cataclysmic miners' strike. Melvyn Bragg talks to the cultural voices of this radical decade - dramatist Alan Bleasdale; Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall (' was for posh people...'); writer Sue Townsend; genre-breaking band The Specials; and Chris Donald, the creator of Viz magazine ('...a comic created by a lower middle class Geordie became an organ of the metropolitan middle class...'). These people broke through to become key voices not simply of their class but of the whole, changing, cultural landscape.
Melvyn travels to Leith, where he meets Irvine Welsh, a brilliant and mischievous literary voice of both the 90s rave generation and Scotland's disenfranchised working class. In the 90s, our leaders claimed we were all middle class, and culturally there has been a reaching out to the nation with free museums and galleries, fuelled by the National Lottery. But is this open, accessible culture simply masking newer divisions - a super-rich class of bankers and celebrities at one end and a poor underclass at the other, demonized by 'chav' culture? We may be more culturally democratic and varied than ever, but is wealth now creating a new, more extreme class system?' (, 2012, 11/03/12)

Friday, 9 March 2012

JK Inspiration - Failure & Imaginnation

Now i am a HUGE Potter fan, so of course i was going to be drawn straight away to this clip of JK on TED! Don't worry though, if you're not 'Potty' about Potter the jokes and puns are kept to a minimum and it truly an awe inspiring speech about the importance of failure and imagination.

'...Expiry date for blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction...'J.K.Rowling, 2008

'...Ultimately we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure...'J.K.Rowling, 2008

JK explains that failure enables you to 'strip away' the inessential, you are set free because your greatest fear has been realised and that rock bottom is a solid platform for the future.

'Imagination is not only the unique human capacity to envision that which is not and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation, in its arguably most trans formative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans, whose experiences we have never shared' J.K.Rowling, 2008

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

I can lead!

'Philippa, I'd like you to be team leader' Uh oh, suddenly i feel weighed down, like I've been asked to carry a tonne of bricks on my shoulders. I've always preferred to be an active team player than a leader and the word 'leader' (as my fellow student Julia has blogged) has always been for me a 'loathsome' image.

To me being a 'leader' has always clashed with my personality and i have never really felt i have what it takes to be an effective leader. However, the Understanding and Managing Creativity as part of my module has been giving me greater insight into what leadership means. I have blogged previously about leadership and also management but today Julia's blog and her post: 'About being a leader (and its loathsome image)' has really struck a chord!

Julia blogs about her recent experience of being a leader:

'i was being passionate. Really passionate. It was rather about achieving a really good project outcome, about making the most of this experience and learning opportunity than about getting my opinion through or being the leader. I had a clear vision and it made me enthusiastic.' (Buschmann, J. 2012)

Passion, vision and enthusiasm! These i do have! So therefore i can be a leader right? I also like her 'Top 5' , 5 'musts' of leadership which i believe i can fulfil, how about you? What do you think?

Go and check out Julia's blog and let her know!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

IBM’s Creative Culture

I have been meaning to blog a little about IBM as until starting my masters i had very little knowledge or understanding of this multinational corporation, other than it was BIG and SUCCESSFUL.
Did you know that during 2011 IBM received 6,180 patents?! IBM was the lead patent recipient for the 19th year! (IBM, 2012)
The articles i have been reading online today suggest that the scale and success of IBM is due to it:
 ‘creating a culture of innovation’ (Macanfo, E. 2010)
IBM has ‘Think Fridays’:
‘we like to give half a day per week as think time. Our employees consider how you make your life, the clients’ life or the world easier.’ (Petite, J, 2010 cited in Macanfo, E. 2010)
Innovation Jam is an impressive online idea generation session. Over 150,000 employees, universities, IBM business partners and clients worldwide take part and in 72 hours generate thousands of ideas they explore:
‘IBM’s most advanced research technologies and considered their application to real-world problems and emerging business opportunities’ (Macanfo, E. 2010)
Innovation Jam is:
 ‘harnessing the energy and the power of our staff to take things to the next innovation plateau’ (Petite, J, 2010 cited in Macanfo, E. 2010).
Richardson (2010) refers to IBM’s CEO Samuel J. Palmisano who highlights why they believe in a culture of innovation and creativity:
‘Events, threats and opportunities aren’t just coming at us faster or with less predictability; they are converging and influencing each other to create entirely unique situations. These firsts-of-their-kind developments require unprecedented degrees of creativity — which has become a more important leadership quality than attributes like management discipline, rigor or operational acumen.’

According to Richardson (2010)

Creative leaders invite disruptive innovation, encourage others to drop outdated approaches and take balanced risks’.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Who gets the best jobs?

Following guest speaker Helen Ross's recommendation today in my Understanding and Managing Creativity module i have 'googled' and found 'Who gets the best jobs?', a BBC  documentary from last year. I haven't watched them yet but thought i'd post them up on here for my fellow course mates and all you other lovely people to have a watch too.

I believe that its looking at the value of Higher Education, should be quite interesting!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Monday, 27 February 2012

In Times of Leadership

‘To be or not to be: Should leaders be nasty or nice?

In the consulting I do for businesses, I find that leaders are increasingly wary of being nasty. They go on courses to develop their emotional intelligence. They subject themselves to feedback from their peers. They read books on how to motivate their staff. They’re getting a lot nicer. But is that a good thing?

The debate has a noble antecedent in Machiavelli, of course. He argued it was better to be feared than loved, but since then the forces of democracy, modernity and celebrity have reversed the equation. A case point would be Vladimir Putin, who has to struggle against his inner Stalin, and overcompensates by showing off his torso in the hope of adoration. Modern leaders love to be loved.

In a business context, however, this can be unhelpful. A business exists to generate value in the form of a product of service. Generating it is what we call work. The fundamental role of the leader therefore is to secure the greatest value for the least work, a mixture of effectiveness with efficiency. That leader might not need to be nasty as such, but he or she does need to be a pretty steely technocrat.

But the niceness of modern leaders is not an end in itself. It’s a technique aimed at making the workforce more efficient-the nicer I am, the harder they’ll work. After all, if niceness isn’t aimed at that, it’s kind of irrelevant. The same goes for nastiness too; if it doesn’t help the business, it’s just bullying.’

(Smith, R. R. 2005. To be or not to be: Should leaders be nasty or nice? The Sunday Times, 27 February. (Kindle Edition))