Meaning Conference: Rethinking workplace culture
Earlier this month, members of Team AC attended the Meaning Conference at Brighton Dome. Here's what they learnt!
The purpose of the annual Meaning Conference is to explore disruptive, exciting and radical ways of working to make the world a more equal and sustainable place; exploring “what it means to live, work and organise with integrity and purpose”.
At Advice Cloud we’re all about creating a workplace culture that not only benefits us as individuals, but also contributes to a wider social system which supports the environment, democracy and equality. So, here’s a round-up of some of the key speakers and what they spoke about:
As well as hosting the event, business strategist Nilofer kicked off the conference by introducing the idea of onlyness. That is, each person is the only one of themselves, and that in itself means that we all have something unique to contribute.
The CEO of the New Economics Foundation spoke about how, as a country, we need to carry out large scale investment in green infrastructure and technologies. One way to do this involves “building re-use into business models” and – highly relevant to Advice Cloud and our clients – “use procurement power to incentivise green practices across supply chains.” This is certainly a point for suppliers to consider when bidding for opportunities; namely, what environmental benefit does your service provide?
Rachel is a researcher into behavioural insights. Focused on politics, she spoke about how emotion and rationality should not be separated by leaders and decision-makers, as these two parts of the brain are intrinsically linked. So often we see people in positions of power failing to acknowledge the importance of emotion, and as a result, Rachel champions the power of mindfulness in influencing social change.
On another note, she added that that there is a piece of legislation in Wales stating that all decisions made in Welsh Public Sector have to consider the impact on the wellbeing of future generations. Although the theory of this is brilliant, we need to think about how this can be put into practice in reality, and effectively implemented on a wider scale.
Entrepreneur Armin spoke about how within privately owned organisations, distance in decision-making is dangerous. Therefore, he champions self-governance and trustee ownership, in which people within the company are given the decision-making power. Definitely one to think about!
From the World Fair Trade Organisation, Erinch works in the area that isn’t related to the sticker that we see on food and cosmetic products. Instead, he works with Fair Trade Enterprise Models, which have a social mission throughout the whole of the organisation. Businesses such as this have representation at board level, a social mission priority in their governing documents, and profits for purpose (93% of such companies reinvest all of their profits into the business).
In addition, research shows that in these types of organisations 52% of them are run by women, far above the global average! To summarise, he celebrated moving from competitive business models to collaborative business models that product social value – certainly one for government tech suppliers to consider.
Co-founder of a number of local energy initiatives/solutions, such as Repowering London and Energy Garden London. His main message was that you don’t need to leave where you are now in order to seek a better life – let’s use our collective power to build a better community where we are! This point is certainly relevant to government procurement, as we often see Local Authorities seeking to procure locally, in order to boost their local economy.
Paul is a journalist and author who was invited back to the conference after being a previous Meaning speaker. He discussed the “dysfunctional relationship between technology and society” and the idea of fatalism. That is, we live in a time surrounded by algorithmic control and digital bias, which “dehumanises decision-making”. However, he reminded us that we have the power to take back control of ourselves, the economy and the environment. Technology is a brilliant tool is allowing us to ultimately improve society; but it is crucial that we uphold the humanity in the relationship between tech and decision-making.
That’t sums it up. We hope you found this information as interesting as we did!