On transitions and loss (part II)

Transitional periods are a mix of both letting go of the old and experimenting with the new. Relationships, habits, patterns, behaviours, identities, ideas… It is not simply the case that a transition is a clean switch between two known states, the before and the after. Usually the after can’t be known. It arrives after a […]

On the tube

It’s so long since I last took the tube. The Thursday before I started working from home in response to Covid-19, so my last tube ride would have been March 12th. Exactly a year ago. I’m realising it’s possible to have a degree of nostalgia even for things that previously felt like a necessary evil. I […]

On public services taking the long view

1st March was world Futures Day. Here I reflect on how, at its best, public services take a long-term perspective. Slowly rising to obscure my view of Europe’s largest urban wetlands, the two blocks of flats opposite me have taken on an increasingly finished aspect recently. Balconies affixed, the cranes have been dismantled and, I […]

On transitions and loss (part I)

Covid-19 is precipitating change the likes of which we haven’t seen for generations and the extent to which we can only currently guess. Out of necessity, and against the odds, we have seen communities, the wider public sector and civil society step up and work together to respond to local needs, largely in the absence […]

On building culture

For reasons irrelevant to this post (and despite probably being detrimental to my general wellbeing) I follow the Arizona Cardinals NFL team, a historically bad franchise. Last season was founded on high hopes and a positive start but ultimately dashed by an all-too familiar slide to mediocrity. Pundits and commentators were critical of player leadership […]

On fault-lines and foundations

In the first lockdown the RSA coined the phrase ‘building bridges to the future’ to describe how learning, adaptation and innovation during the crisis might shape and prefigure a better future. Over the last ten months we have tested these ideas with a wide range of partners turning categories and propositions into concrete examples and […]

On the markers of distance travelled

There’s a phenomenon when you take a new journey whereby the journey out seems to take forever compared to the homeward leg. It seems to be true however you’re travelling, so long as the route home is the same as the route out. I remember as a kid being surprised how quickly we seemed to […]

On my programmes of work

Below are a selection of documents and decks I have written or prepared for various previous projects as an illustration of the areas of work I have been involved in. Improving educational attainment This programme set out to mobilise system-wide activity to improve the whole population outcomes for young people, which by every measure were […]

On my RSA publications

I share here copies of the various publications I’ve authored or co-authored at the RSA, from most recent first. They offer examples of the research programmes I have completed. A stitch in time Realising the value of futures and foresight (October 2020) Seizing the moment The Covid19 response of public services (November 2020) Using economic […]

On Local Government Review, 2007-10

I led the Norfolk district council’s policy and research to develop and underpin proposals for new local government structures as well as being part of the team arguing against the resultant Boundary Committee proposals including the judicial review process. I remember unearthing – and being grateful for – documents from previous such exercises in the […]

On riding the corona-coaster

Can you remember when the first lockdown was finally lifted? It’s easy to be so focused on the present and worried about the future that we forget about the times we have passed through, the distance travelled. This is, in part, why I published a framework in the summer to support people to track those […]