‘Courage and Culture’ took place on Monday 19th of November at Islington Town Hall as part of the Festival of Blackboards 2012.
The seminar posed questions concerning whether it is possible to transform the contemporary workplace into a humane, creative and empowering place.
We have all experienced bad managers, inept systems and stifling atmospheres in the office. Even in the voluntary and arts sectors, work cultures often seem to contradict the ethics and aims of outward-facing programmes. But is it possible to imagine a working environment that is essentially creative, supports independent thinking and values a broad range of contributions?
This was a unique seminar presented in partnership with Voluntary Action Islington, exploring the role of leadership, risk, creativity and ethics within the workplace and designed to provide individuals, whether leaders, staff, volunteers, or board members, with practical methods for enacting change in their organisation. Speakers included Henry Stewart, CEO Happy Computers, Hilary Jennings, The Happy Museum Project and Katherine Russell, The Young Foundation.
Henry Stewart is one of the most creative and inspirational thinkers in the UK business community. Having developed a unique ‘Happy Manifesto’, Henry runs his company, Happy Computers, with an ethos that embraces autonomy, freedom, empowerment and creativity amongst staff. He explored the values and methods behind the organisational culture of Happy, and how they might apply to voluntary and community sector organisations.
The Young Foundation was founded by Michael Young (founder of the Open University, Which Magazine? the Consumer Rights Association and the School for Social Entrepreneurs) and continues in Young’s footsteps as a space for the development of new ideas in practice and research around social policy. Katherine presented recent work on innovation, courage and leadership within the workplace: presenting practical methods for organisations to capitalise on new ideas, develop innovation with minimal resources, and nurture the ideas and ways of thinking that will help them thrive.