Recently in Karl Edge Category
Just before Christmas, I took part in a session at a local Academy working with 100 14 and 15 year olds. Our role during the session was to help them avoid setting limitations on their ambitions. We had an afternoon together and the spirit, energy and hunger to achieve was really evident - it just needed a spark.
I was sat at Birmingham Airport very early one morning last week and every headline I saw spelled doom and gloom - from Arctic freezes to market chaos to QE2 (and I don't mean the ship!) - it was enough to make you think the end of the world is nigh.
Yet, once on the 6.30am flight, it struck me that the plane was full to capacity with business people making the short hop to Brussels and there was an energy as people chatted about their business that got me thinking.
Business is still happening, companies are still being successful and positive actions are being taken.
The second city debate is going to continue to rumble on and is, as I wrote previously in my view, unnecessary. However, I do wonder if it is time to consider a secondary question- should Birmingham align itself as a centre of excellence for one or two sectors or should it be allowed to become a 'jack of all trades'?
Being at the heart of the industrial revolution, Birmingham and the West Midlands held an international reputation for excelling in manufacturing. While manufacturing remains a crucial element to the local economy, is it right that the city becomes known for only one thing in the future?
We're all guilty of wanting the latest gadget, the bigger house and the faster car, but isn't this leading us into a dead end rather than a brighter future?
This week we have seen the publication of the latest preliminary UK GDP figures. Not pretty reading. The UK is struggling to get back on its feet and pressures further afield are risking any form of sustained recovery. Perhaps it is too focused upon a consumption driven society?
For as long as I can remember, Birmingham has been struggling to define itself and with the success of Manchester, the argument over whether Birmingham's title of second city should head that way is forcing the debate. For me, I don't care much for titles, just what's happening on the ground.
Who really wants to be known as 'second' anything? Surely that is a negative message rather than a positive one and further reinforces the fact that Birmingham must sit in the shadow of another city?
Where has the word 'growth' gone? Having been the word of the moment six months ago, it now appears to be missing from most economic commentaries these days. There is no doubting that the global recovery has entered a sticky phase and growth is fragile, yet I wonder how much of it is down to our ability to focus in on the negative and not talking up the positive? Do we focus on negatives rather than positives?
The reason I'm putting this question forward is because in recent weeks I have spent some time in Russia, and was surprised by the contrast in hunger between the UK and this emerging world power.
The workforce of tomorrow will have a different dynamic to the present one and as a result, businesses are going to be forced to adapt accordingly to retain and recruit talent. I believe a corporate 'higher purpose' is going to be fundamental in this as employees force conscious capitalism up the board agenda.
This was one of the topics covered at the recent Conscious Capitalism Conference in the US, which showcased businesses that have a workforce that wants to belong to something they consider to be making a difference.
Inspiring, energising and impressive (which was a great high compared to the low of relegation for the Blues!)....just some of the words I would use to sum up my time at the Conscious Capitalism Conference.
I heard so much that struck a chord that to sum up in one blog would be too much. So, instead, I plan to share my thoughts on a few key themes over the weeks ahead.
This is my first blog for The Birmingham Post and with so much talk around whether the UK economy is set to grow or not, I thought I'd initially investigate where we might be heading and what the growth areas of the future might be.
So, to begin with I want to kick off with putting a question out there - can being 'good' be profitable?