Courageous Conversations

Building on insights from the Voices of Progress and working with our partner organisations, we are running a series of workstreams: driving research and developing insights and innovation in collaboration with a range of organisations. These lines of inquiry have been selected for their direct value in defining what tomorrow’s company will look like.

Innovating for financial inclusion: Addressing in-work poverty

Participation in the economic life of the country provides a foundation for inclusion in society itself. To exclude people from one aspect of life begins to consign them to the margins of society. The face of economic life is changing. How can we include everyone?


Mental health, Technology and Productivity

A.I., data and new technology will further transform work and society. How will we harness these amazing technological breakthroughs to increase productivity, whilst keeping mental and physical wellbeing at the centre? Can we create better work and improve lives rather than ‘hollowing out’ jobs, destroying careers and destabilising society?


Truth, Transparency and Trust

How do we create a different dialogue between business, civic society and community? How do we ensure that organisations responsible to the public are more effectively held accountable for their actions? Is the development of new practice inhibited because of the way we report on and scandalise failure? We lack forums for effective public discourse and seem unable to explore issues and develop ideas together for mutual progress.

All our futures: Education and the next generation

We know that life and work are changing. The next generation are forecast to live to 100, to spend a life in a portfolio of gig jobs, facing mental health challenges and working with technologies that we don’t yet fully comprehend. At the other end, we will all need to work longer and need much faster upskilling than ever before. So what kind of education do we really need as a society?



New business models for a new era

Can we conceive of new business models which harness new technology platforms, the sharing economy, the circular economy and volunteering? Is it possible to conceive of company ownership, that doesn’t simply build share capital, but directly foster other kinds of capital too: be that human, community or environmental capital?

Diversity and the skills opportunity

Business is increasingly seeing the benefits of a diverse workforce. But how do we move beyond simply counting numbers or a ‘just add women and stir’ approach.
How do areas of diversity intersect with other strategic issues facing our organisations? How can tackling diversity solve Britain’s growing skills gap?


Stewardship and sustainability

How can all aspects of the investment chain more effectively work together to deliver sustainability? Stewardship is an ethic that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources. How do we more effectively apply the concepts of stewardship to the environment, nature, health and humanity? How do we safeguard and enhance our natural resources for future generations?

Power of place: Local capability and global connectivity

Today’s technology enables some work to be done almost anywhere. Companies often harness this to go global – but how can it be used on a local scale? How could this new capacity combine with community and local creativity to generate new ways of imagining how communities could work together with business to create powerful new economies?

Underpinning our workstreams:

Future boards

What do boards need to do if they are to enable their organisations to create lasting value in the context of all their stakeholders? How can boards develop new mandates that connect to all stakeholder dimensions with a coherent and cogent sense of strategy? What does it mean to be a board member in these revolutionary times?

Future leaders

New challenges have emerged for this generation of leaders. They will be expected to integrate the requirements of demanding shareholders with very different expectations of a fast changing society. Closing the expectation gap through innovative and courageous action will demand new thinking, new business models and new behaviours. How are we creating the conditions in which this next generation can grow and flourish.

Photo credits for this page to Susan Yin, Jurica Koletić, rawpixel, Philipp Berndt, Philipp Pilz and Francesca Fitzgerald