Jericho Conversations

Business Life After The Virus: A Return to Experts & Expertise?

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Expertise is Not a Precise Science

Thank you so much to all those who joined the Jericho Conversation on A Return to Experts and Expertise? – with Ben Page, CEO of IpsosMORI; former Government Tsar, Paul Morrell; Daily Mail Business Editor, Ruth Sunderland; and Counterpoint Director, Catherine Fieschi.

“Scientists and Doctors are the most
trusted experts in Britain and trust
in them has never been higher”

Ben Page

Ben on why we haven’t had enough of experts

“Trust in politicians has been low for decades. We have elected politicians because we want someone to give a good kicking… we don’t want to have to make some of the difficult decisions they have to make”

“The more you know about a subject, the more likely you are to admit uncertainty – and in a world where we like black and white answers, this leads to confusion. The problem is people’s unwillingness to accept risk.”

“Since medieval times, there’s always been a village idiot. We are in the infancy of social media technology, still. Even Mark Zuckerberg claims that somebody needs to regulate him. Fake news needs to be called out every time you see it…after Trump suggested people inject bleach, some actually did it.”

Ruth on reasonable expectations

“The longer you practice, the more humble you become about your own limitations…the pandemic has brought us down to size”

“Who is an ‘expert’ and on what? What are our reasonable expectations of them? Are the ‘experts’ real experts or are they just more vocal or public seeking? Are the real experts too busy working or too shy? Are experts really representative? There’s a notable lack of women”

“There will be a shift to the economists playing a much larger role in shaping the exit from the crisis. It will throw-up lots of questions about business ethics and behaviour. It will be extremely complicated as there is no single truth about science or business or the economy. We’re not even sure what success will look like – it’s undefined at the moment.”

“Do we trust experts, politicians and journalists
more during a crisis or have we
simply suspended disbelief?”

Catherine Fieschi

Paul on the experts’ role

“Science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul (Rabelais). But conscience without science is a con.

“Expertise on its own is not enough. Complex situations are not solved by the expertise of one person.”

“The right response from experts has to be how can I help and what can I do? How can I contribute – and not that I demand to be listened to.”

“Beware being led by slogans in a crisis. What was it before lockdown? Go to Cheltenham. Catch the Virus. Get over it”

Catherine on populism

“The experts that the populists really don’t like are those who have theoretical knowledge – those that haven’t ‘done a days work in their life’”

“Science is not that certain. We have been hoist by our own petard when it comes to understanding/ believing experts…the role of experts should be to help navigate our blindspots – from health crisis to economic crisis to social crisis. We are living through the calm before the next storm”

“Managing the exit of this crisis, I would argue, is the most delicate moment. Every European democracy is struggling with this”

If you would like to (re-)watch the webinar in full
you can do so here.


We hope that we can keep the conversation flowing, as we look, optimistically, to business life after the virus.

#JerichoConversations – Next Up

Join us for Jericho Conversations: The State of Trust, Friday 22 May 12.30 – 1.45pm (London).

Perhaps the biggest societal challenge of all will be explored by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster; Times columnist and Conservative peer, Danny FinkelsteinProfessor Veronica Hope-Hailey, University of Bath; and Amanda Mackenzie, Chief Executive, Business in the Community. We are privileged to be in their company.

For discussion: What are we learning from the COVID-19 crisis about the current and future state of trust? About the relationship between citizens and the state? Government and business? About the ethics and morality of leadership? And about our trust in one another and our communities?

There has been much hyperbole surrounding the language of leadership and trust. Is now the time for an honest re-set?

#JerichoConversations – Join In

This note is being shared with the wider Jericho community – 4,000+ business leaders, politicians & policymakers, academics and experts, activists and campaigners, media and commentators. Your participation and support is what makes it special.

Do get in touch if you have thoughts or ideas to share or would like to find out more about Jericho, what we do and how we can help.

Keep well. Stay safe. Take care.

Matthew, Robert, Becky, Becca, Roxi and Team Jericho
May 15 2020

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