How cross-sector collaboration can be a catalyst for social change: what’s the difference between action and activity?

Civil society leaders representing member organisations under the umbrella of Citizens UK meet the Prime Minister, David Cameron, at No.10 Downing Street, in April 2015 to discuss a range of hot issues, living wage and minimum wage, social care and engagement with faith groups on such matters as countering terrorism and violent extremism

Civil society leaders representing member organisations under the umbrella of Citizens UK meet the Prime Minister, David Cameron, at No.10 Downing Street, in April 2015 to discuss a range of hot issues, living wage and minimum wage, social care and engagement with faith groups on such matters as countering terrorism and violent extremism

Action is purposeful activity. I’ve read that if a cockroach’s head is decapitated, it’s possible the body continues to move for as long as a week. Does it make sense to speak of the actions of the said cockroach, or just its activity?

Through my involvement in the Annual Review of Social Partnerships – the focus of research on collaboration and interaction between civil society, business and government – I am editing for the second year running the Praxis section, where practitioners reflect on practice and draw learning from it that can shared with a growing global community of academics and practitioners in this field.

If like me you want to make 2016 a year of real, tough-minded collaboration across business, civil society and government, this is an inspiring publication, rich in insight and information. To adapt a quote from Marx: We have nothing to lose but our silos. We have so much to gain if we act more in concert, and make working with and through others as important as focusing on what we ourselves need to get done.

The combination of independence and mutual dependence is a powerful combination for social, political and economic change.
In my view, we cannot achieve outer change without inner change. Taking responsibility is critical. We need to lead by example if collaborative leadership is to be successful.

The 10th Annual Review of Social Partnerships (2015) was released in September to much acclaim. We are now planning the 2016 edition – a time to build on more than ten years of collaborative endeavours to bring together, share and learn from cross-sector partnership practice and theory.

Based on contributions in over 130 pages, this is what you can find in the 2015 edition of

Civil society leaders meet David Cameron for round-table discussion on matters ranging from adoption of Living Wage to improving social care provision and engagement with faith groups

Civil society leaders meet David Cameron for round-table discussion on matters ranging from adoption of Living Wage to improving social care provision and engagement with faith groups

ARSP:

* State of the art review of 100+ new publications on cross-sector partnerships

* New tools for designing highly interactive cross-sector collaboration teaching

* Academic and practitioner insights through interviews and original contributions

* News from the cross-sector collaboration community

* Celebratory section on ARSP volunteering, readership and cross-sector inspiration

To download the whole issue from our new publisher Greenleaf, link to www.greenleaf-publishing.com/arsp (registration is quick and for free).

Link to ARSP home page: http://www.greenleaf-publishing.com/page221/Journals/ArspHome

Link to Editorial Board: http://www.greenleaf-publishing.com/page227/Journals/Editorial

Thanks to our new partnership with Greenleaf, we have increased the number of direct recipients of the ARSP to 50,000 (up from 30,000). Greenleaf has also placed the ARSP on Ingenta Connect – reaching globally 1.4 million individual users.

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What Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump have in common

Strange juxtaposition, but that’s what I like: making connections. One reason for the seeming rise in popularity of two figures (who could not be further apart politically) is that they tap into an emerging reality of modern democratic politics: the need to respond to what’s actually going on in the present, provide crystal clear direction -with messages to match- and come across as authentic. It’s easier to come across authentic if you really are. Corbyn and Trump are what they seem.

Both Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump have seized on the need for leaders not to run ahead of themselves, but speak to what their target audiences need and want to hear. In both cases, they are rising to the challenge of the current role – effective opposition. Leadership in government will come later (so they face a bigger challenge than most to convince others they could be Prime Minister or President).

Of course, leadership – to be truly effective- needs to take people – preferably inspire people- to get to a place where they might not want immediately to be. But unless a leader connects on others’ wavelengths, people won’t be receptive to the bigger vision and more sophisticated arguments.

Aristotle said that the three key elements of persuasion were ethos, logos and pathos. Today’s world puts pathos first, winning people, specifically the need to engage first with others on the basis of an emotional response. Logos – winning the actual argument- is critical. And ultimately, you are only chosen as a leader if you are credible. That’s the test for both Corbyn and Trump, but other candidates seem now to have an even bigger challenge – to match Corbyn and Trump on pathos.

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Sir John Horlock: Thanksgiving Service

It was a great honour to attend a thanksgiving service for Sir John Horlock, The Open University’s second Vice-Chancellor.

In their tributes, Tim Horlock, Sir John’s son, and Joe Clinch, past University Secretary at the OU and Sir John’s right-hand man, brought to life Sir John Horlock’s character and contribution. He was so clearly a strong family man, a loving husband, father and grandfather, a distinguished academic and a very fine colleague. I can see why he will be so deeply missed.

Lady Horlock, Sir John’s wife, their three children and eight grand-children were all present.

So many people I spoke to afterwards found the occasion very moving. It made me feel so very proud of Sir John and his generation and what they together achieved. The Open University faces a new set of challenges and opportunities. I drew inspiration from Sir John’s leadership at a critical time in the OU’s history, his integrity and his lifelong commitment to education for all.

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Citizens UK meets the Prime Minister for round-table at No.10

Civil society leaders meet David Cameron for round-table discussion on matters ranging from adoption of Living Wage to improving social care provision and engagement with faith groups

Civil society leaders meet David Cameron for round-table discussion on matters ranging from adoption of Living Wage to improving social care provision and engagement with faith groups

I joined a round-table discussion last week with the PM, and used it to highlight the PM’s support for the Holocaust Commission. The Liberal Judaism website story recognises David Cameron’s and Mick Davis’s contribution.

http://www.liberaljudaism.org/news/1032-liberal-judaism-chair-tells-pm-diversity-of-our-communities-is-our-strength.html

Citizens UK is an interesting movement which the PM has positively engaged with throughout his time in office, often on issues that are difficult for all the main political parties. I thought it particularly important that we can show how different faith groups can work together on social action, including support for Holocaust education.

Reflection as a “strategic practitioner” in cross-sector collaboration? Organised citizen participation gives cross-sector collaboration depth, breadth and impact. It can reach parts that elected government and parliamentary democracy alone cannot reach because it is so focused on changing dynamics top down, ground up and across interest groups, and can find a constructive way to give expression to a wider social base, speaking truth to power.

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Jewish Book Week: interview with Patrick Bishop

Last Sunday I interviewed military historian and former Daily Telegraph Middle-East correspondent, Patrick Bishop, on his latest book, The Reckoning. Admirable author, so well and scrupulously researched, yet with the gift to tell a compelling and thought-provoking story. I am expecting the festival organisers to make available shortly a recording of the event attended by 100 people.

Patrick Bishop: The Reckoning
Patrick Bishop, Chair: Lucian Hudson
Sunday, 1 March 2015
As leader of the infamous Stern Gang, Avraham Stern fomented Jewish rebellion in Palestine against British rule. He was shot dead by a British officer on a cold winter’s day in Tel Aviv in 1942, his death hastening the end of the British Mandate. Bestselling author Patrick Bishop talks to strategy and communications expert, Lucian Hudson, about the man whose life and death held such momentous historical consequences. Patrick Bishop, formerly Middle East correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, was a foreign correspondent for over 20 years. He is now one of Britain’s most well-regarded military historians and the author of several acclaimed books.

Lucian Hudson is Director of Communications at The Open University and was a senior executive and television journalist for both the BBC and ITV. He has chaired several non-profit organisations, including Liberal Judaism.

- See more at: http://www.jewishbookweek.com/past-events/2389#sthash.wkYp6TWK.dpuf

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Lest we forget: those who served

image

Whether it is World War 1, World War 2 or any other war or conflict, this is a year when the big upheavals of the last century have been at the forefront of our collective memory, as well as any personal memory. The phrase “Lest we forget” comes from a poem by Rudyard Kipling, and has been used to remember and commemorate those lost in combat.

My generation have and had parents who survived World War 2 and grandparents who lived through World War 1.

My cousins recovered a photograph of my late maternal grandfather who survived both World Wars. He is featured here in a photograph taken in the 1930s, third from the right. Lucjan Zaleski was an officer in the Polish Army, having first served with the legendary Marshal Jozef Pilsudski in the struggle for Poland’s future. I was named after my grandfather and my brother’s middle name is Jozef.

Any more information about the group in this photograph would be gratefully received. One clue can lead to another!

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Fall of the Berlin Wall: Hester Vaizey’s new book

Born in the GDR: Living in the Shadow of the Wall

Born in the GDR: Living in the Shadow of the Wall

The youth of the GDR are in "psychological chaos".

The youth of the GDR are in “psychological chaos”.

Hester Vaizey’s new book is one of a clutch of gripping reads reflecting on the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Other books will track exactly what happened, but this one captures individual case stories and brings to light – and to life- what the Fall of the Wall was for East Germans. Eight East Germans give their account of the transition from Communism to Capitalism.

This is highly recommended because the author listens and with her subjects tries to make sense of a picture that is not necessarily black and white, but shades of grey and even colour. It is most insightful about loss, disconnection and disorientation.

The book provides a salutary reminder that much as the modern world- particularly the media when its coverage is superficial-like clean cuts and clean breaks, there is no one truth, but many truths and many interpretations. And that so-called “events”, however “historic”, are steps along the way, the build-up of unconscious and unforeseen forces, sometimes cohering, often competing.

As we continue to reach conclusions about being on the right or wrong side of history, I recall this piece of wisdom from one of our finest scholars. As the historian Asa Briggs and former Open University man told me last year, “History does not teach you anything. But historians might.”

Oh, and this is about the time when we journalists in newsrooms all got excited about “people power” before reality set in years later and we realised “regimes” can have good days and bad, but there is no substitute for a continuous nurturing of liberal democracy, respect for rule of law, human rights, freedom of expression and free and properly organised political parties. Contrast the Arab Spring with where we are now…

I was reminded of that day in November, 1989, working as a producer on the BBC Nine O’Clock News, liasing with our top correspondent the late Brian Hanrahan. Six years later I was proud to have him as one of my presenters on BBC World’s Newsdesk programme as he and other presenters such as Nik Gowing and Tim Sebastian pioneered the BBC’s 24-hour live television news.

No journalism of attachment, Brian told me again and again, only telling it as it is with a critical and sceptical eye. This was Brian’s 10th anniversary account of the Fall of the Berlin Wall:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8347753.stm

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OU Combined Communications Conference 2014

Martin Bean speaking at OU Combined Communications Conference 2014

Martin Bean speaking at OU Combined Communications Conference 2014

Suzy McGill in full flow on creative brand expression. Who needs a new brand expression  when we can have Suzy?

Suzy McGill in full flow on creative brand expression. Who needs a new brand expression when we can have Suzy?

More stars at the OU Combined Communications Conference: the thoughtful Wojtek Lubowiecki and the ultra-talented Lauren Hutton

More stars at the OU Combined Communications Conference: the thoughtful Wojtek Lubowiecki and the ultra-talented Lauren Hutton

Top man Ian Roddis, Deputy Director of Communications and Head of Digital Engagement. Poise and calm in the most turbulent situations.

Top man Ian Roddis, Deputy Director of Communications and Head of Digital Engagement. Poise and calm in the most turbulent situations.

Three stars at OU Combined Communications Conference: Caroline Dickens, Kathryn Baldwin and David Meadows

Three stars at OU Combined Communications Conference: Caroline Dickens, Kathryn Baldwin and David Meadows

Every year, with the support of Marketing and Communications teams, I convene a conference bringing together colleagues from across The Open University to share our achievements and initiatives. This year we had a particularly high number of academics from across all our seven faculties and two institutes.

This time we also used the conference to equip our academics, associate lecturers and other ambassadors with the latest tools and techniques so that they can be even more effective in their communication with target audiences. We had some great external speakers, including Judy Friedberg, The Guardian’s Universities Editor and Christophe Jouan from the Future Foundation.

Our outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Martin Bean, was an extraordinary hit, speaking about the need for being authentic and engaging meaningfully. He did so by example, inviting questions that were often probing and challenging. Many of us were very moved as we recognised that this might be one of his last major occasions here on the OU campus.

As I said in my tweet @LucianHudson:

So much rich insight and ideas shared at our #OU_CCC4 yesterday, captured here by @huttonite http://sfy.co/qlBN #storify

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Canada honours Sir John Daniel, former Vice-Chancellor, The OpenUniversity

Sir John Daniel

Sir John Daniel has been honoured for ‘advancement of open learning and distance education in Canada and around the world’. He tells me that he is pleased because this has indeed been the focus of his career!

To complete the picture, his knighthood, awarded in 1994, the OU’s 25th anniversary year, was for ‘services to higher education’.

Sir John Daniel, Vice-Chancellor 1990-2001, was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada by the Governor General, the Hon. David Johnston at Government House, Ottawa on September 12, 2014.

His other OU-related honour was the ‘Officier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques’ from France for ’services rendus a la culture française’. Sir John has received national honours from all three countries in which he has lived and work.

Photo: Sgt Ronald Duchesne, Rideau Hall © Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada represented by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, 2014

 

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Diplomat blogs: progress since 2007

2007-2008 will forever be an historic year, a milestone in digital diplomacy. It was the year when the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office gave its imprimatur to social media, and officially encouraged and supported its diplomats to start blogging.

This coincided with renewed interest in diplomatic, military, policy and development circles in the use of “soft-power”. In the UK, the Foreign Secretaries who drove this were first Margaret Beckett with her emphasis on climate change and energy security, then David Miliband, who embraced strategic communications and digital diplomacy in a bold and unprecedented way and pursued the climate change and energy security agenda internationally. Ed Miliband was soon to become Energy and Climate Change Secretary.

John Ashton, who served three Foreign Secretaries as Special Adviser on Climate Change, was a critical senior colleague who helped me develop a more campaigning approach to international diplomacy, by being almost messianic on the need to see tackling climate change as the most important policy challenge, and putting value on collaboration at every level of society.

The most recent blog to read is the one below from Nigel Baker, our man at the Vatican, and the FCO Annual Report for 2007-08 gives a full account of communications and public diplomacy.

www.gov.uk/government/world-location-news/digital-diplomacy-social-media-and-the-holy-see

FCO Departmental Report 2007-08, pages 96 to 99

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/228807/7398.pdf

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