Creative Leadership: From Manchester to Moscow in the new Trump era

November 17, 2016

A scheduled lecture from Manchester to students in Moscow took place in the week of Donald Trump’s victory in the election campaign. Here’s the content of the Skype arrangement

With some trepidation, I accepted an invitation to address an international course on the topic of creativity from my home base in England. The inevitable teething troubles with technology were solved in a somewhat tense day prior to the first of two lecture sessions, which took place [Monday 6 November 2016] a few days before the conclusion of the American Presidential election.

Professor Gershman developed the course ‘Managing Creativity and Innovation’ for the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK) within the Higher School of Economics, Moscow.

ISSEK is a well-known research and analytical centre in Russia, specializing in science, technology and innovation studies. ISSEK is collaborating closely with the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research  (Prof. Ian Miles is the head of ISSEK’s Laboratory of Economics of Innovation, and Prof. Luke Georghiou is a member of ISSEK Advisory Board).

Here are the outline notes I had propped up in front of me, and also visible to the students

Introductory Remarks

What is creativity: Many theories.

My background: A scientist, chemist, studied worked in UK and New York

The Creative act that had me fired for insolence

Definitions: ‘contingent not universal’.

Consensus around creativity as a process generating new, relevant, useful outcomes.

Policy and creativity:

Policy is not my strong area: My research more at level of individual, team

Educational policy in USA after ‘Sputnik’: the creative initiative 1957, Dawn of space age.

Guilford’s earlier speech to The American Psychological Association: Was said to have drawn attention to the potential in studies of creativity for educational advances (pedagogy)

Torrance tests, were later sent into space with other artefacts

Education policy in Venezuala: via Minister of Education to stimulate creativity through De Bono’s models (lateral thinking) Information processing (Cognitive) model. Escape from fixation via contradictions, randomness, fantasy. His work supported by recent neurological studies.

Creativity theories: support Kahnman’s biases in economic theory.

The technology hotspots model: Richard Florida’s controversial creative city model. Three factors of Talent, Technology, Tolerance, resulting in economic hot spots

The USA election: Say it may be worthwhile taking a look at the election for the next session, after the result is known.

Questions:

Creativity ‘past present and future’ [PowerPoint]

Psychological approaches to creativity in Heath service [PowerPoint]

Questions:

To be continued


PRESIDENT TRUMP

November 9, 2016

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Today, November 9th 2016, Donald Trump won the election campaign to become the 45th President of The United States of America

His triumph came as a big surprise to political pundits, pollsters, and the majority of politicians. It gives salience to the idea that leadership in a democracy is indeed a reflection of the will of the people who will get the leaders they choose.
Instant reaction is that the victory is through the votes of a majority of white voters, and more specifically under-privileged male white voters disenchanted by the political leadership who chose an outsider promising to reassert lost dreams. Around 60% of white voters supported Mr Trump. The split was even wider among white men.  In contrast, 88% of black voters supported Clinton.
It is essentially the central issue of this site, that democratic systems are grounded in mechanisms believed to serve the will of the majority of the electorate through the process of voting. In America today, the vote has granted Donald Trump the right to take over from President Obama. It is the will of the majority of voters (setting aside the subtle arrangements to avoid the outcome resting on a straight numerical count).
It has been said that representative democracy is the ‘least worse’ of political systems. The people of America, and therefore the rest of us around the globe, now have an opportunity to experience what this means.
To be continued
Image: Yes it does have relevance to the news of the day. Suggestions wecome (and my explanation later).

The Young Pope might work for the Mass market. Who knows what Donald Trump would have made of Diane Keating?

October 28, 2016

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TV Review

I noticed last night [25th October 2016], that in the UK the much-advertised new Sky block-buster was up against tough competition for the prime-time 9pm TV slot.

The Young Pope called out for serious attention, through its evident intelligent use of vast resources in what I believe is called production values.

I became a lapsed believer while watching the first instalment of this morality tale. Maybe it was because I missed the first few minutes and hadn’t been caught early enough for the experience to convert me into a true believer.

No plot-spoiler here

I don’t think there is much need for plot-spoiler caution in this post. There has been enough pre-publicity for anyone with access to Sky to know more than I do about this vehicle for Jude Law’s box-office manifestation. It comes complete with a cast of beautifully dressed prelates and the smouldering sexuality of Diane Keating. [Pause for confession: I have sinned, father. I have become increasingly troubled with thoughts of what Donald Trump would have made of the character played by Diane Keating.]

More confessions

The story mostly held my attention. But my lapses continued.  As well as the troublesome image of what Donald might do to Sister Mary, aka Diane Keating ,  I began to consider how to rate The Young Pope. [More confessions: Also, father, I tried switching channels during the ads to see if there was any secular relief on Sky Sports. I was sorely tempted by the devilish counter-attractions of live tennis.]

A bit of a switch off

Worse of all, having failed to survive watching a penultimate break for more ads, I found solace in a library book [Adam Sisman’s biography of John Le Carre, if you were to ask me, father].

Orthodox believers remained rather sanguine about The Young Pope

The truthfulness of Twitter

So it came about, that I never quite reached the end of the first celebratory festival in honour of the papacy of Lennie, the cigarette-smoking American Pontiff. That is not to say it will not become a block-buster.

In a week when Twitter announced serious malfunctions to its business plans, some of its tweets capture my  thoughts on The Young Pope.

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More to follow


Hillary duffs up Donald

August 26, 2016

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Donald Trump’s recent decline in the polls has been traced to his reactions to the Democrat’s National Conference. Hilary Clinton’s speech was one important and damaging blow before the Kahn family’s interventions

 

I first heard Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech as she was making it, and late into the night European time.  This gave me benefits of live radio (BBC5) as well as its drawbacks.

I missed the opening few minutes, but then listened to its ebb and flow uninterrupted by commentary.  (Except for one brief period when two American voices assessed the impact of  a pre-announced demonstration and walk-out by  Californian delegates supporting Bernie Saunders).

Rehearsed but not over-cooked

The delivery sounded to me rehearsed but not over-rehearsed.  Hillary does not do warmth, and did not attempt to do so.  The voice was familiar, somewhat detached, slightly strident (yes, I know that’s a judgement open to criticism as gender discriminatory. Men are rarely described as strident)

Hillary does Tough better than Warmth

The would-be POTUS may not do Warmth, but has to do Tough.  Hillary mostly let the words carry the Tough message.

Two portions of the speech struck me and rather surprised me.  There was lot of what our own dear Sun or Daily Mail would have sneered at as loony-Leftie stuff of the sort expected from Jeremy Corbin.  Holding Wall Street to account.  Even I.  Did she say that?  Surely I missed some vital qualifiers there. Leveling out inequalities. (Are you listening Bernie?). Whatever, the reception to her words seemed rapturous, but that was more predictable.

Trump kippered

I had wondered how she would deal with Trump.  On this I am more confident.  She kippered him.  It was as clinical and merciless as the weekly going-over which David Cameron handed out to Jeremy Corbin over the last few months.   She took as her main point the megalomaniac claim thatTrump alone could rescue a weak America. She contrasted it with her belief that no President fixes things alone. America is best when it works collectively, the United bit, right? I remembered how Obama had a rare failure when he once tried out that theme. He was challenged for dissing the entrepreneurial giants of big business, and the spirit of free enterprise.

‘Us not me’

Tonight Hillary got across the ‘Us not me’ point well. But how to deal with the giant shadow cast by Husband Bill?  I couldn’t she how that could be done. Hillary just said she had learned how to deal with a lot of bad stuff, and when knocked down got up fighting.  I think the audience got what she was driving at.

Will she be a great President?  I don’t know.  Will she even become President in the first place? I don’t know. Incidentally, the great futurologist Alvin Toffler died this week, but if he had lived I guess he would have found a way of predicting while maintaining residual doubts.

Her remark about not trusting the Presidency to someone easily riled was seized on and maybe will continue to rile the thin-skinned Trump. I do know that today’s speech [July 28, 2016] has not harmed the chances of a woman becoming the next President of the United States of America.

Postscript

Since the post was written, the Trump campaign has dropped further behind Clinton’s efforts. A series of misjudgements starting with the attack on the parents of an American fallen hero appear to have added to Mr Trump’s problems. At the same time, the setbacks may have strengthened his core support.

The campaign remains fascinating to students of politics, leadership, and trainwrecks.


Dame Lowell Goddard, Donald Trump, and thoughts on Leadership Selection

August 5, 2016

 

Nigel Farage

The New Zealand Judge, Dame Lowell Goddard, prompted controversy when she was selected to head the politically sensitive investigation into child abuse over English candidates. That decision, and then her own to withdraw, invite questions about leadership selection

Selection of course, rather than election, although the selection process is made by our elected representatives. This distinction that seemed to have passed by Nigel Farage, in his often-repeated remarks about non-elected officials in the citadels of the Evil Empire in Brussels and Strasbourg.)

Read the rest of this entry »


Mike Ashley to run for leader of the Conservative party

June 8, 2016

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It is rumoured that self-made billionaire Mike Ashley is to run as leader of the Conservative party. The plan was put in place after secret meetings with Donald Trump, Lord Alan Sugar and Simon Cowell earlier this year

Mr Ashley’s chances of becoming leader of the Conservative party was rated as “a good bet at 1000-1” a figure now famous for the odds available at the start of the season for Leicester City Football Club winning the league. Now, after his effortless intellectual bettering of the Commons Select Committee this week [7th June, 2016] the odds are likely to drop even further.

Getting a safe seat

He is, at present, ineligible to stand, but  a safe seat in Parliament has been identified from a short-list of current MPs who are in danger of being deselected, declared insane, or imprisoned for various criminal offences.

The Press Magnet

Sociologist Tony Scrivener of Urmston University says that Mr Ashley has the characteristics needed to get to the top in politics.

“He has a track record of success in business. He is seen as not a member of the ruling elite. He is a ‘press magnet’, a larger than life charismatic personality, not afraid to take on the establishment. He will build on what he will call his triumph over parliamentary attempts to lock him in Big Ben for contempt.

His physical bulk, and his macho image also work for him, often appearing in the style of President Putin, stripped to the waist surrounded by adoring fans at Newcastle, the club he owns.”

Abolitionist firebrand

He intends to bring in advisors to help in his plans, which include the abolition of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies, as ‘wastes of time and space’, the creation of five million zero-hours jobs, and winning the World Cup with the English football team.

The Ashley team

We have not been able to confirm the names of the advisors, but they are believed to include a top BBC football pundit who once worked for Mr Ashley, and possibly the Portuguese media specialist Hose Nourinho, to strengthen his PR department.

The Queen is safe

He intends to preserve the monarchy until after the demise of the Queen, but after her departure he is believed to  favour of an elected head of state who knows a bit about business.

My Pal Donald

He believes he will turn the criticisms about his own business affairs to his advantage. In this, he is being advised by someone he refers to as “my boony pal Donald”.

Other parts on his brilliant vision include the purchase of The Sun from another of his close friends, Rupert Murdoch, and holding mass rallies at Newcastle United Football Club. During each of these,  he will descend in a massive balloon bedecked in the club’s famous Black and White colours. [The balloon that is, not Mr Ashley], who will emerge, shirtless, displaying his Putinsque Six Pack, to the thunderous chords of Local Hero.

Stop Press

I have been unable to confirm [8th June, 2016] that Mr Ashley is about to join the Remain campaign to add his formidable communication skills in a last desperate attempt to win over supporters swayed by the brilliant rhetoric of  Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, and particularly Michael Gove.