reflections on a better way
Members of Better Way cells are sharing their reflections and ideas about A Better Way. If you'd like to share yours, get in touch.
Lessons from Grenfell Tower
This terrible event has already revealed a wide range of shortcomings that go far beyond the quality of social housing and regulation. The survivors and local community - through the most awful of circumstances - are holding a lot of power. What do they have the potential to change?
"Mainstreaming or specialism?" The development of self-help groups with the slogan “nothing about us without us” has been a characteristic of the British civil society sector over the last 30 years. When is it more appropriate to signpost to these organisations or to mainstream services?
"Change that lasts" The dominant approach to women experiencing, escaping and recovering from domestic abuse is to wear them down with constant reminders of their own inability to cope.... Classified by means of a risk assessment tool, a woman deemed a “high-risk victim” will have her case discussed by a group of professionals at a Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC), at which she is not present...
"Advantaged thinking" Many services for young people frame their offers in terms of needs or deficits, with young people seen as 'vulnerable', 'homeless', 'care leavers','young offenders' and so on. This is ‘DisAdvantaged Thinking’ and it teaches young people that it is enough for them to survive or to cope with their disadvantage rather than enabling them to build a thriving, sustainable life for themselves. Advantaged Thinking on the other hand starts from the premise that everyone has the talent and ability to create their own future and be someone in life.
"Yes, it is time to take back control" In these extraordinary times, it’s important to remind ourselves, that overall and broadly speaking, we continue to make great steps in both social and political progress... But in our pursuit of social progress and more benign political representation we have all but ignored the growing concentrations of economic power... The real question is who owns what? where does power sit? and who has got all the cash?
"We are the leaders we've been waiting for" These are the words that, first heard in 2016, have stuck most in my mind. It’s easy to see ourselves as passive victims in the face of events, rather than recognize our potential to take control.... But think of any of the major social changes that have occurred over our lifetime, for example, greater equal opportunities for women and minority groups. These would not have happened without the individual and collective leadership of the many, not just the few.....
“So this is Christmas, what have we done?” We entered 2016 with business leaders predicting economic recovery but with austerity still pounding through the public realm. Even the Governor of the Bank of England talks about the “growing sense of isolation and detachment” and “the first lost decade since the 1860s”. I understand why friends tell me that they turn off the TV news. Lately I’ve started to do that too and it scares me more than anything. But we have work to do and, difficult though it may seem to be, we must embrace the New Year as another chance, a chance to rediscover hope ...
A Better Way for business: from shareholder to stakeholder capitalism
Business is the most powerful force invented by mankind. It shapes our world like nothing else. It is, at the end of the day, a machine. Capitalism is the system that we have created to direct that machine. But what have we directed it to do? .... We are fortunate to live in a time where we are on the brink of an historic culture shift. Capitalism is rapidly evolving. The homo erectus of Shareholder Capitalism is just starting to die out, as it is replaced by the homo sapiens of Stakeholder Capitalism. From shareholder value to value-for-all.
Enabling people to take more control of their lives
Last year I joined the Board of a small charity called Groundswell. The way it works is simple. Volunteers act as health ‘advocates’ for homeless people. They accompany them to their appointments with GPs, dentists, and hospitals. And they provide encouragement along the way…To my mind the most important thing is that the volunteer ‘advocates’ are all people who have themselves been homeless… Why is this kind of opportunity for homeless people so rare? Is it something about the behaviour of the homeless charities themselves? Have they, despite their best intentions, become a barrier?
Love, trust and the teachable moment
Three months ago today politicians were united across the normal divides in paying tribute to Jo Cox, their murdered colleague. I doubt whether the word “love” has been used in the House of Commons as many times in the entire lifetime of a government as it was in that single afternoon. Love was, they agreed, Ms Cox’s defining characteristic, love of family and friends, love of constituency and colleagues, love of humanity.... Briefly and optimistically I thought those last days of June were national “moments” and that the awful shock of the murder might jolt politicians, and more broadly our national discourse, into a new appreciation of love and trust. To read more...