Knowing What You Are Fighting For

There is suffering in life, and there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it’s better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without ever knowing what you’re fighting for. Paulo Coelho … [Read more...]

I’ll Name That JSC in….

Leeds City Council is inviting residents in Harehills and Chapeltown to enter a competition to name the new Joint Service Centres that are being built in their respective communities. One of the criteria is that name should appeal to all local residents.  Good luck with that! My vote would go for The Hayfield as the name for Chapeltown as it is built on the site of a notorious pub. You can access the competition details and entry forms here. … [Read more...]

Entrepreneurship or Rockin’ Da Vote?

There are a number of competitions out there designed to 'promote enterprise'.   In some of them the key arbiter of success is the ability of the would be entrepreneur to turn out a vote.  Whether it is about getting your pals to turn up at a dinner and vote (old skool) or winning support on the web as in Barclay's One Small Step Competition this is a puzzling phenomenon. Prizes are awarded in part on the 'quality' of your business idea, as established by judges, and on the number of people who you can persuade to 'click or tick'.  Kind of Dragon's Den meets Britain's Got Talent.  A popularity contest with business plans. I would rather see bankers, and others with cash to spare, investing in businesses rather than giving prizes through competitions.  Competitions identify winners and losers. We should be identifying 'investment ready' and 'not yet investment ready' if we are really interested in supporting entrepreneurs.  And what happens if the winner is not yet investment ready?  Or they require investment at a different time or level to the prize?  What if it is not cash that they need? Competitions work well for the publicists and the marketeers.  But I am not sure who else they really serve.  Let's put our time … [Read more...]

Anger Does Pay – Big Time

They usually write a lot of sense over at management issues, which is why I was a little surprised to read an article called Anger Doesn't Pay. In my book it is perhaps the most important driver for change and innovation. Anger serves a  surprising purpose .  It gives us a clue, a sign that there is something here that we can have the energy and creativity to make better.  Anger pays much more than indifference which at time seems ubiquitous. What does not pay of course is losing your temper.  Shouting and displaying your anger in ways that alienate people rather than recruit them to your cause. So value your anger, cultivate it, harness it and make progress.  Just don't let it ignite your temper! I help accidental managers become outstanding managers - if I can help you give me a call - 0113 815 3765 (UK) … [Read more...]

Living the ‘Vida Loca’ in Leeds?

Interesting things have been happening down at Granary Wharf in Leeds over the last few years.  It is a part of town I did know well. Some 25 years ago, when I was doing my Certificate in Education, I surveyed the site for its field trip and educational potential for teaching geography, history, science, environmental studies, design and biology. But these days the area is hosting a very different crowd to my Fifth Formers with clipboards and quadrants. With the development of City Inn, Candle House and a car park under the once vibrant dark arches the area is becoming another beautified waterfront development where those with access to cash can choose whether to invest or spend.  Both City Inn and Candle House offer spectacular views and the latter at least is a genuinely interesting piece of architecture (not that I am qualified to comment beyond my own personal aesthetic). Once the enormous 'wem' that is the Southern Entrance to Leeds Station gets built I am sure that we will have yet another riverside development to be proud of.  The perfect infrastructure in which the magical process of regeneration can happen.  New life breathed into a barren wasteland by a consortium of socially aware developers, … [Read more...]

Scroobius Pip Insights on Community Development

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Scroobius Pip on Young Enterprise

Now here IS an enterprise ambassador! … [Read more...]

Craft, Motivation and Wasted Talent

Richard Sennett's 'The Craftsman' is well worth the considerable effort it has taken me to read it.  Although very well written many of the ideas it tackles are not easy! He makes the point that we have used tests of intelligence and education to smear citizens along a bell-shaped curve of distribution that is in fact very flat and very wide.  As a result we have come to believe that 'ability' is not anywhere near uniformly spread through society.  And this belief has been used to justify the increased public investment in the education of the most able and the relative paucity of opportunity offered to those who, in the tests, appear to be 'less able than average'. Sennett then argues that this is a social construction with little basis in facts, outside of educational IQ tests such as the Stanford Binet.  These tests rely on questions to which there is an answer - either right or wrong.  They cannot deal with questions where the answer is a matter of opinion or insight.  Where the answer is contestable.  This especially, argues Sennett, serves to discriminate against those whose talents might lie in developing real craft skills.  Sennet is at great pains to point out that these are not just about traditional crafts … [Read more...]

Plans Unveiled for Tower Works – Curb Your Enthusiasm?

Yorkshire Forward have recently unveiled plans (again) for the regeneration of the tiny, but very well positioned Tower Works site in Leeds.  A quick search of the YF site shows that this has been rumbling on since the land was acquired in 2006. The usual PR froth is being spewed out - 'mixed use development',  'Italianate Towers', 'Giotto', 'supporting creative and digital industries', 'Leeds as a major business centre'....'vibrant community' etc.  But haven't we been fed this line somewhere before? Original plans for some 145 000 square feet of office space have been reduced to 18000 square feet in the 'first phase'.  But this will put still more pressure on Holbeck Urban Village where, at a casual glance, occupancy (outside of The Round Foundry) is poor. The re-development of Tower Works will be financed by a mix of public and private finance. The public element coming from Yorkshire Forward seems to be just shy of £20 million.  The private investment will mean that only those aspects of the development that are most likely to provide a good return are likely to happen quickly.  With Holbeck Estates going into administration it is not yet at all clear how any developer will make their returns. Perhaps it is a time … [Read more...]

Master Class for Creative Entrepreneurs

Last night I found myself in the very wonderful boardroom at Broadcasting Place in Leeds running a masterclass for students on the MA in Creative Enterprise at Leeds Met. In essence I told them not to worry about being too focussed (See Norman Perrin's excellent post on Obliquity).  I introduced them to the 'baited hook' strategy, where you cast out lots of juicy baits and see which ones get a bite.  This seems perfect for 'creatives' who on the evidence of last night seem incapable of not innovating.  They always have new ideas, skills and visions to bring to market.  My advice....don't fight it just find a way to get product to market quickly, and if the bites don't come, then fail cheaply and quickly.  We explored this against a backdrop of '10 000 hours theory' that suggests you never have a really tasty bait until you have served your time and really mastered a craft!  You pay your money and you take your chance.... I also did some stuff with them on the importance of building balanced management teams with people who can look after great product, great marketing and sales and wonderful financial management.  A quick dissection of a few businesses in the room showed them to be packed full of creatives - … [Read more...]


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