We live in extraordinary and uncomfortable times.
The tumultuous events of the past year are well documented and have been subject to so much commentary that we do not need to re-tread them here. But we do need to ask ourselves what happens next – what is to be done and how can we, together, be the change?
Three years ago, we created Jericho to help large organisations navigate the messy space between business, politics and civil society. We realised then that the world was in difficulty and that, without progressive thinking, new models and significant intervention, optimism and hope would be defeated by cynicism and despair.
We have not lost hope but we need to re-build it from a very dark place. A better society cannot allow intolerance and xenophobia, rancour and division to triumph. But nor can we escape the harsh fact that much of this is of our own making: our failure to tackle root issues related to globalisation, inequality and injustice – to listen to dissenting voices before their cry became a roar.
There is a new responsibility for business here, just as there is for politics.
Since the summer – and accelerated by events of the past months – many clients and friends have turned to us and asked us “what is to be done?”. This is the question we are asking friends and partners of Jericho to help answer.
In order to facilitate an open, positive and generative conversation, we are committing to transform Revolutionary Times, into a forum for new ideas and a new hope. This will bring focus to the wider Jericho community – and we would like to work with you to find better pathways forward.
We will create a new platform on-line and publish off-line also. Critically, we need to be much, much more than another Talking Shop. We need ideas but we also need action – in our workplaces, in our communities and in the organisations we lead. We have a collective responsibility, for sure, but each one of us needs to be an agent for change.
Jericho continues to work at the junction of business, politics, citizens and society. Our programmes with clients on Responsible Tax, Public Interest and the Future of Work is Human speak clearly, we think, about the kind of society we want to see and be. At the heart of our work is a belief that greater vulnerability builds greater trustworthiness and that embracing dissent is essential: none of us can learn if we do not listen. The echo chambers of the past half-century have in many ways brought us to the point we find ourselves at today. We live in a febrile and activist world – and that world needs positive activist leadership more so now than ever before: activism with common good at its core.
Entitled “What is to be done?” this volume of Revolutionary Times gathers 8 essays from clients, partners and friends. It will be the first of several and we hope our contributors will signpost better ways forward and include tangible, deliverable ideas for change. We will follow this up with meetings of the Jericho community, so we can gather thoughts and convene the debate. We are looking for actions, not words.
We cannot afford to simply be bystanders or commentators any longer. These are revolutionary times indeed and we need a revolution of our own. If you would like to get involved in future editions and/ or have a specific passion point you would like to champion, please let us know.
Robert is co-founder of Jericho Chambers, author of Trust Me, PR is Dead and a Visiting Professor at Cass Business School, University of London.