I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Paul Skinner this week as he prepares for the launch of his book Collaborative Advantage: How Collaboration Beats Competition as a strategy for success.
Paul tells us how we have we now reached a turning point in history from which creating competitive advantage is no longer in our best interests. He describes how Collaboration Beats Competition as a strategy for success and explores how we can re-think the fundamental assumptions on which business strategy is based, driving a greater level of success that can be better for business, better for customers and better for society.
The book is intended to show how Collaborative Advantage can be applied to grow any business or non-profit and is brought to life with examples of businesses that are putting the principles of Collaborative Advantage into practice around the world.
Rory Sutherland, Vice-Chairman of Ogilvy Group UK and The Spectator’s Wiki Man, said ‘[the book is] a valuable contribution to the vital task of getting people to see the business world as a complex, interconnected ecosystem rather than as a sharp-elbowed race to the bottom’.
The book contains contributions, feedback and relevant examples that illustrate Collaborative Advantage in action.
The book will be published by Little, Brown Book Group on the 22nd of June and is now available for pre-purchase on Amazon.co.uk. On the morning of the launch he’ll be celebrating with a breakfast event at the Museum of Brands. If you would like a free ticket to the book launch, let me know. There are limited places, but I’d love to see you there; I’m filming the whole event.
Two things happened to me recently that prompted me to reflect on Nostalgia.
- I went to see former Pink Floyd man Dave Gilmour’s Live in Pompeii gig streamed from a Roman Amphitheatre to the Watford Vue cinema
- I went back to my old school; after 40 years
Gilmour’s guitar playing just gets better and better. He played tracks from Dark Side of the Moon (which I bought in 1973) alongside Comfortably Numb (which I loved as a student in 1979) and newer, fresher pieces like Rattle That Lock (2006). Base notes scoured depths I thought impossible for a guitar and the highest notes found perfect pitch right off the top of the fret-board. His lyrics provoked and his astral solos reared and soared like a big bird on the wing.
And School: Your education and your teachers shape you much more than you realise. I don’t think I was a perfect pupil but I was well taught and well cared for by a fine community of monks.
Forty years on, they greeted us like heroes; the living product of their efforts. And after a tour and a very good lunch they listened to stories of careers and family details, glowing with pleasure in what they had helped us to achieve.
Both events were, in their own way, nostalgia trips. Both experiences were more pleasurable today than I remember them being all those years before. Nostalgia is a powerful aphrodisiac, it teases out emotions that have lain dormant for a long time. It is the opposite of a bad memory.
The lesson I learned from the emotions these events triggered was that it is what we do today that will or can become nostalgic tomorrow. Do a thing wrong or badly and we’ll only want to forget it. Do a thing right and do it well and we’ll reap the reward of a little nostalgia in days to come.
Mrs G. and I are just back from Mykonos, part of the Cyclades group of islands that pepper the Southern Aegean Sea about 100 miles south east of Athens. But enough geography.
Like so many Mediterranean Greek islands it was invaded by Romans, Venetians and Ottomans all of whom left numerous cultural and archaeological graffiti before heading off to plunder somewhere else. Fully restored to Greek ownership, the streets are now thankfully back to Cerulean blue and white.
More recently, it’s become a tourist honeypot with cruise liners paying £50k for a one-night mooring. Each day, their numerous overloaded tenders plough over to the quayside looking like Albanian refugee boats bristling with selfie-sticks. They disgorge flocks of currency-laden day-trippers who quickly become prey to the patient yet adept local restaurant hustlers.
Mykonos town is a maze of tiny cobbled streetlets barely two selfie-sticks wide. Maps exist but are unhelpful due to the irregularity and similarity of every corner. Invaders, I was told, found the town impossible to attack for this very reason. Today, between a cacophony of jewelry shops there’s big-brand shopping and super-fine dining at sky-high prices – think Bond Street, shrunk in a hot wash. With selfie sticks…
But it’s a pretty island; offering more photo-opportunities than a royal wedding. The sunsets are heroic, the beaches are clean and the locals are genuinely very welcoming. Food-wise we found and loved Kounelas a courtyard fish restaurant in central Mykonos town (choose your own fish from the kitchen) and Kiki’s Taverna in the more remote North of the island, no power, no light or broadband, just a fire pit with sizzling chicken and unfeasibly big pork chops plus a salad bar all overseen the big man and owner Vasilis who gives you free booze until a table becomes available.
If you’re on a budget go to Paragas, the fishnchips end of the island with 25 euro sunbeds and a few nervous nudists. Pale and probably from Sheffield, they glower at you until you take your kit off. If you’re loaded then go to Panormos and after hiring your bed for the day at 90 euros, shop in Principote where I was offered a pair of sunglasses for 600 euros. No thanks.
Visit in May (sea cold) or September (sea warm) to avoid the crowds and enjoy Mikonos for three days max then catch a ferry to nearby Ikaria, Paros or Naxos to become an island hopper and broaden your Cyclades knowledge.
How come Belgians aren’t fat?
Bruges, Belgium’s medieval jewel, “Venice of the North”, is home to a thousand chocolate shops, too many famous artists to mention and Wally de Backer, better known as the pop star, er, Gotye. (no, nor have I). Here, when you are tired of chocolate, you eat chips, mayo, waffles, cream, egg nog (Advocaat), drink copious amounts of Trappist Beer (around 6-14% alcohol) or a bewildering variety of locally made Gins, Vodkas and weirder spirits.
We stayed in The Dukes’ Palace, super-central, flawless 5* Gaff. Actually, most of the multiple hotels and BnBs are super-central; you can walk from one side of town to the other in about half an hour.
Bruges is small, pretty, ancient, friendly, free of crime, with confusingly planned cobbled streets connecting the many churches and squares all of which are delicately lit at night.
Art: we stood in awe before Hieronymus Bosch’s Last Judgement, a kind of Dali-esque depiction of both Heaven and Hell and we admired one of the finest collections of Bruge’s own welshman Frank Brangwyn. God: We genuflected before the Blood of Christ himself in the Basilica. Food: we ate at Patrick Devos (fabulous and expensive) and Poules Moules (fun and cheap) and drank Brugse Zot beer (6%) with three brothers from Leeds whilst watching Scotland beat Wales at rugby in Delaney’s Irish Bar.
It’s hard to find fault with this lovely little town only 3 hours away by Eurostar (via Brussels). But like the taxi driver said, watch out for cyclists and above all the horse-drawn carriages who could all use an visit to driving school.
Well knock me down and call me Susan; I’ve just heard a sensible thing from a politician.
Yesterday, Radio 4’s Nick Robinson couldn’t resist probing Ed Balls on his efforts to conflate being both a credible politician and a Strictly Come Dancing contestant at the same time. And his reaction shed an excellent light on Mr Trump’s appointment to the world’s most powerful role in politics.
Trump came from Reality TV to Politics and Politician Ed Balls will descend on a rope to dance the Jive on Strictly this Saturday – Nick called this a “reverse Trump”.
Ed’s reply (which I paraphrase) was brilliant: Look, Reality TV is about entertainment, risk and shock. Granted, Government can sometimes be risky and some may find it entertaining at times but there is no room for shock in politics. If you allow shock to become your default political style then you become a reality TV president – a very dangerous thing for America and the world.
(Hear the whole interview at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b082j0n9 go to 1h 56m in.)