Epoch Hothouse: Business and communications in 2010December 3, 2009
OverviewThe launch event of corporate reputation and business communications agency Epoch's Business and communications Hothouse 'explored the nexus of world events and forecast the trends shaping the coming year'. Epoch's strapline is 'Challenging conventional thinking through curiosity about the future' and it seeks to raise the quality of insight and debate to help its clients beyond shaping messages. [Disclosure: I collaborate and consult with Epoch.] Presenting were James Woudhuysen [Twitter], Professor of forecasting and innovation, De Montfort University; Paul Mason [Twitter], Economics Editor, BBC Newsnight; Adam Boulton [Twitter/Boulton & Co. blog], Political Editor, Sky News; and Bronwen Maddox, Chief Foreign Commentator, The Times. Epoch MD Chris Clarke introduced the event and outlined Epoch's perspectives.
- Chris Clarke: New business psyche: demonising risk, more shareholder involvement, demand for radical transparency as people expect businesses to act more like government bodies than commercial enterprises
- Chris Clarke: Some of most important and successful brands were developed in a downturn. The same will be true of the dominant brands of C21, whether born in the West or the East
- James Woudhuysen: Government increasingly focuses research funding based on impact. But where was the impact of Einstein's 1905 paper that proposed E=mc2 at the time or in Switzerland?
- James Woudhuysen: Innovation used to mean saving time and labour, new processes, and other universals such as portability, maintainability, versatility. Today it is about about minimising your impact.
- James Woudhuysen: There may be only one earth in carbon fuels, but there is more than one earth in in artificial fuels.
- James Woudhuysen: 'Scale is beautiful': let's make that our slogan. See Japanese factory houses, Chinese cleaner coal; Chinese electric cars with 120 mile range after 10 minutes charging; and China's high speed rail network which is a continental endeavour they are building something new rather than bailing out the banks.
- Paul Mason: In 2010 we are entering the decade of political economy.
- Paul Mason: Consumers' technology obsession is new. Today my definition of a slump when they take your mobile away because you can no longer afford it.
- Paul Mason: We have had a century of finance 'taking the piss' and government making its safety net more and more flexible. If you read one thing on the financial crisis read Andrew Haldane's speech Banking on the State', 24 September 2009 [Bank of England|Publications|Speeches|By Date|2009].
- Adam Boulton: The impact of sleaze and loss of confidence in government will lead to very different reactions in different constituencies. We will see the first Green MP in Brighton, and perhaps a UKIP MP.
- Adam Boulton: Are models of social leadership becoming more like West than China? Obama has moved politics from top-down spin, dragging people along, to explaining and laying out one's position to shift opinion. David Cameron has noticed.
- Bronwen Maddox: If you are wondering who will re-build Iraq and Afghanistan, it is China looking for unresolved conflicts in which to play a part.
- Bronwen Maddox: [Region by region] China is doing well, though will feel like a poor country for some time. However, in India there is a failure to address fiscal problems and create economic stimulus, or tackle corruption. Countries in Africa, such as Rwanda, are getting investment to do what a half century of development failed to do.