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After a Covid hiatus, DNAYF is back! In Episode 12 of Do Not Adjust Your Focus, the podcast from strategic and creative advisory firm Blurred, Blurred CEO Nik Govier talks to PR icon and spokeswoman on women's issues Lynne Franks OBE. Lynne founded a public relations consultancy in the early 1970s and is an advocate, communications strategist, writer and spokeswoman on women's issues, sustainability[2] and consumer lifestyles.Throughout Lynne’s long and successful career, she has influenced awareness of many societal shifts and trends both in the UK and internationally.She positioned the UK as a world fashion leader by initiating London Fashion Week and the British Fashion Awards.Her wide breadth of influence in the business world includes developing McDonald’s UK women’s leadership network; working with Tesco on engaging their women’s customers through media partnerships; launching high fashion home shopping with NEXT and motivating the public towards responsible consumerism when advocating John Elkington’s trailblazing Green Consumer Week.Lynne also initiated a wide diversity of awareness campaigns for social causes including the creation of Fashion Cares, taken over by Mac Cosmetics to become the world’s biggest fundraiser for HIV/Aids; working with Amnesty International on global awareness of human rights through music and collaborating with Bob Geldof and Harvey Goldsmith on the production of Fashion Aid at the Albert Hall.She was a major UK advocate on the global situation regarding sexual violence to women and girls, working with her friend Eve Ensler to bring attention to women being used as weapons of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.She chaired Viva, the UK’s first women’s radio station after selling her eponymous PR agency in the early 90’s and put on What Women Want, the major festival at the South Bank in ’95, stimulating dialogue on the situation of women in the UK and beyond.Lynne then attended the UN’s 4th largest women’s conference, held in summer ’95 in Beijing, where she worked as a radio journalist sending home the voices and issues of women worldwide.While living in California, she founded and ran the new marketing agency GlobalFusion, representing many consumer brands and retailers across the US from her offices in LA and San Francisco.Her books and workshops, including The SEED Handbook, published worldwide in 2000,  pioneered a more feminine approach to business, combined with personal empowerment, inspiring thousands of women to join a movement of sustainable economic independence. Since establishing the SEED (Sustainable Enterprise and Empowerment Dynamics) women’s empowerment platform and body of learning materials, she has championed women’s leadership from post-war Bosnia, to rural South African villages and for women in prisons to women in the corporate boardroom.Lynne continues her journey, consulting, writing and speaking on societal shifts, women’s empowerment and a more sustainable, peaceful world for all.You can listen to this and previous episodes here, and subscribe on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. 
CHRISTMAS SPECIAL BONUS EPISODELeadership under fire: a decorated officer’s take on leading from the front, decision-making under pressure and the importance of autonomy and resourcefulness Justin Featherstone is a former Major in The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment who was awarded the Military Cross for his actions in Iraq. Today, Justin is a leadership consultant who is a Fellow at the University of Exeter Business school as well as a part-time member of the faculty.  He is also is an annual lecturer at the University of Llubljana, Slovenia and an expedition leader who has led more than thirty overseas expeditions to the mountains, rivers and rainforests of the world. During the peak of Covid-19 earlier this year, Stuart spoke to Justin about leadership in a crisis. They discuss the invisible enemies of ‘cabin fever’, isolation from family,  and depression, as well as what creativity means in the military: genuine problem-solving, as opposed to just ideas.Justin also gives his opinion on the lazy comparisons between Covid-19 and "The Blitz".
In Episode 10 of Do Not Adjust Your Focus, the podcast from strategic and creative advisory firm Blurred, Stuart talks to BBC journalist Dhruti Shah. Dhruti is one of the tiny number of people to have been awarded both the prestigious Ochberg fellowship for journalists working to report on traumatic events, and the Rotary International Peace Fellowship for her work exploring peace and conflict resolution. Stuart and Dhruti discuss journalism as a profession today - from mental health and the difficult art of listening, to the quest for balance and the double-edged sword of social media.Dhruti also  tells us about her brilliant, informative and entertaining new book, "Bear Markets and Beyond: A bestiary of business terms", which explores how and why the language of animals is so prevalent in modern day business discourse.You can listen to this and previous episodes here, and subscribe on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. 
HOW DO WE PRESERVE BRITAIN AS A TOLERANT PLACE?In Episode 9 of Do Not Adjust Your Focus, the podcast from strategic and creative advisory firm Blurred, Stuart talks to business woman and campaigner Gina Miller, who twice initiated legal challenges against the government standing up for Parliamentary democracy… And won.Her first victory came in September 2017, when the Supreme Court ruled in favour of giving MPs a say over triggering Article 50 - the legal mechanism taking the UK out of the EU.Her second victory came in September 2019, when the Supreme Court ruled that Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful.Consequently known as one of the most prominent names and faces of Remain and somewhat of a figurehead of the pro-EU camp, Gina and Stuart discussed some of today’s major battles: Europe, ESG, ethics and education, highlighting why we must preserve Britain as a tolerant place, now more than ever.You can listen to this and previous episodes here, and subscribe on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. 
In Episode 8 of Do Not Adjust Your Focus, recorded under lockdown, Stuart talks to Dr Jen Denyer, ex England international squash player, now turned executive leadership coach on the MBA at Cranfield and Oxford business schools.They discuss the Covid-19 crisis, business leadership and resilience in challenging situations, and what lessons from sports are the right ones for executives to learn right now.
WHAT DOES BREXIT MEAN FOR BRITISH BUSINESS?In Episode 7 of Do Not Adjust Your Focus , the podcast from strategic and creative advisory firm Blurred, Stuart talks to Nick Baird, currently Group Corporate Affairs Director at Centrica and previously CEO of UK Trade & Investment.Nick's career began, however, in politics. He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1983, and became UK Representation to the EU in Brussels in 1989. In 2002 he was appointed Head of the European Union Department, before being seconded the following year to direct immigration policy within the Home Office. Subsequently, he was Ambassador to Turkey.He and Stuart discuss what Brexit means for UK business: what challenges lie ahead, where may firms find opportunities, and how should a small exporter seek competitive advantage, compared to a UK multinational?  They talk about Nick's time working with the EU and whether the seeds for the Leave vote were in fact sowed years earlier than many think.They discuss Turkey as a potential economic powerhouse and Istanbul as a uniquely-positioned tech hub. You can listen to this and previous episodes here, and subscribe on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.  
In Episode 6 of Do Not Adjust Your Focus, Stuart talks to Chris Godfrey, named by Time last year as one of the 25 Most Influential People on the Internet.   Chris is the man behind the most liked Instagram post of all time.  His ‘record-breaking egg’ was talked about around the world when during a Superbowl ad it ‘cracked’ under the pressure of all the attention, shining a spotlight on mental health.He has now founded a new creative agency called Happy Yolk, and he and Stuart discuss creativity as a force for good in business and the world.
THE STORY BEHIND PLAN A AND WHAT COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM ITIn Episode 5 of Do Not Adjust Your Focus, the podcast from strategic and creative advisory firm Blurred, Stuart talks to Mike Barry, previously Director of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer, where he developed, led and implemented Plan A, the company's famous eco and ethical programme.  Mike believes a new business cycle is emerging one that has the potential to create a more balanced society and supporting economy.He and Stuart discuss this, as well as the lessons that other organisations can learn from the Plan A story.You can listen to this and previous episodes here, and subscribe on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.  00:09 Introduction01:12 How did “Plan A” come about and what excited you about it?02:38 You had a solid starting point and a visionary leader. But what challenges did you encounter when designing and implementing Plan A? 04:14 You can’t begin to implement something of this scale without a solid business case. You need to make clear projections based on concrete data – where did you begin? 05:38 You devoted 4000 working days to Plan A – do you feel you successfully embedded a culture that will endure beyond both leadership and personnel change?07:15 How much do businesses acknowledge that reality? The fact it’s so much more prominent on the agenda.09:20 How doable do you think it is when you hear the zero-carbon target timeframes proposed by Governments?11:38 There is a theme emerging – everyone who really knows their stuff in the space is a tech optimist. Tech is part of the solution – what have you learnt from this in terms of Plan A?13:45 There is a big tension between fear and hope – people were immediately afraid of scientifically produced food, for example. So how do you win back over public opinion?15:55 We have a new government – how confident do you feel about the UK’s ability and appetite to lead in this space given the broader political context?17:28 Do you think the government is equipped to be nimble enough to capitalize on the opportunities available?20:24 What could get in the way of that happening?21:20 Who is best placed to bring those different audiences along the journey? Will it be companies, policy makers, or both?22:53 Will there be a degree of protectionism around industries and ways of working, especially in a post Brexit period?24:37 Which companies are getting it right?26:42 Veganism has been astonishing with its shift over the last 12 months – it’s now mainstream, and people are proud to try it. 27:43 Which industries are lagging behind?29:20 Circular Economy – how do we achieve that? What’s in the way of us reaching that holy grail?30:28 COP25 – on a scale of 1-10 how do you feel coming out of the back of that? Positive or otherwise?31:40 Should politicians be afraid of Greta and the next generation… Or inspired?33:22 We’re still using 20th century politics to solve 21st century crisis – do we need more collaboration?34:43 I have a desire to see the next 10 years used well and make Britain synonymous of leadership in this space. A big part of that will come down to national Government and how much decision making is devolved to cities. Do you agree?36:59 It’s a new decade – what’s your new year’s resolution going to be in to 2020?
In Episode 4 of Do Not Adjust Your Focus, the podcast from business reputation consultancy Blurred, Stuart talks to Matt Peacock, previously Group Director of Corporate Affairs at Vodafone, leading the company’s corporate social transformation strategy across 30 countries, becoming in the process one of the world's most sought-after experts on corporate transparency and purpose. Matt is one of business’s leading experts on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles and operations, including a specialist passion for digital human rights. He is also a former BBC News Correspondent, working on its flagship World At One programme. Matt and Stuart discussed the role of mobile technology in the world and whether it is a force for good or not, given the current concerns over the impact of social media on democratic process.But the core focus of the conversation was around corporate transparency and purpose. In the podcast, Matt talks about his worldview on corporate social purpose and how it needs to start with a rigorous risk assessment, grounding it in firm ESG principles. He explains how he and his team inculcated a culture of social purpose across the business, arguing strongly that for any such strategy to be effective it must be grounded in hard business metrics, not a moral argument.Finally, Matt and Stuart discuss the state of our journalism and politics today and whether, if we care about understanding the world’s biggest problems and dissecting the pertinent issues, we should be worried…You can listen to the full podcast here and subscribe on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. And below is a handy time-guide for topics and questions covered.
Blurred co-founder Stuart meets Lord Jim Knight of Weymouth to talk the blurring lines between education, technology, politics and business.Education NOT for education's sakeStuart talks to Lord Jim Knight of Weymouth. Previously Minister of State for schools in the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown Government, in April 2014 Jim stepped down from the Labour front bench in the House of Lords to take up a full-time role as Chief Education Officer at digital education company Tes Global.They cast their minds forward to 2050, where, in a classroom, a history student is studying the period 2016-2019... and imagine what is being said about the time we live in right now.They discuss the idea of a National Education Service, whether our schools are fit for the current and coming world, and the huge and important difference between the idea of "a school" and the idea of "schooling".Also explored are Greta Thunbergs’s school strikes, the effect of social media on both children and teachers and - inevitably - the political crisis in which we currently find ourselves.You can listen to the full podcast here and subscribe on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. And below is a handy time-guide for topics and questions covered.Topics and time codes:00:06 Introduction00:46 What is the role of education today? Do we need to re-imagine what education is for a new world? 07:43 It’s estimated that a child born today will have a 50% chance of living to the age of 105. How will education change within their adult lifetime? 10:36 What are your thoughts on a National Education Service? 17:34 What’s your view on what Swedish activist Greta Thunberg is achieving at the moment? 20:42 Technology is the great disruptive force blurring the lines between all industries and ways of working – how do you feel about it in a school setting? 22:38 What about social media – we can’t doubt its toxic effect, so where do we draw the line? 24:37 Lots has been written about mental health and its effect on the younger generation, but not much attention is paid to teachers suffering from this. What can be done to improve this? 28:03 How does Tes help? 30:42 What’s your view on older first-time teachers? 33:00 How do you feel about the current state of politics? 38.17 Imagine it's 2050, in a classroom where a history student is being taught about what happened in 2016-2019: What kind of Britain are they living in, and what are the teachers telling them about what happened? 42:47 One of your other passions is the regeneration of seaside towns - why does this matter to you and to Britain in the context of our changing country? 
Stuart Lambert, founding partner at Blurred meets Josh Luber, Co-Founder of StockX, the world's first “stock market of things”. StockX is an online marketplace, initially focused on sneakers, which connects buyers and sellers using the same method as the world's stock markets. Launched in 2016, StockX is now a unicorn, valued at more than $1 billion, providing a disruptive model for the future of retail, being labelled by Quartz a "stock market for physical things that could change how capitalism works." Josh's TED talk has been watched more than 2 million times. He is a self-confessed data geek, an entrepreneur who has created a billion dollar company, and someone who is passionate about reinventing the way we shop and invest.This episode was recorded earlier in 2019.
“If you don’t have a sustainability plan, you don’t have a plan.” The world is facing a climate crisis. For any business, sustainability is critical, but embedding it in a company’s operational structure and culture is easier said than done. Former EVP for Sustainable Business and Communications at Unilever Sue Garrard knows this better than most. Acknowledging both the importance and struggle of marrying your company’s moral and business purpose is vital, but how do you realistically measure the tangible effect of your sustainability plan on the world around us?Now pursuing a portfolio career focused on helping businesses drive change and commit to the bigger picture, Sue also tutors for the University of Cambridge’s Sustainability Leadership Institute (CISL) and, luckily for us, offers her extensive knowledge and expertise to those who are committed to bettering the planet. Stuart Lambert, founding partner at Blurred, sat down with Sue to chat about the need for businesses to stop seeing sustainability as a problem, and instead be part of the solution. In this episode of DNAYF from Blurred we explore the very basics on sustainability, and the imperative first steps all leadership teams should be taking to ensure their business’ sustainability plan doesn’t go bust.00.07 Introduction 01:08 The climate crisis – What’s the 411? 03:37 Do you get frustrated at the phrase “saving the planet”? 05:52 Is creating “the fear” helpful? 08:03 Markets are going to control the agenda – but is policy keeping up with the markets? 10:08 Can democracy ever allow law makers to make those kinds of sweeping decisions? 12:18 What can we learn from China’s decarbonisation scheme? 14:50 China and the US will make their bets as a state as to what to invest in - will this also be influenced by the movement from markets? 17:30 If markets are driving change, individual and global businesses need to respond - Can global business turn the tide in the current climate crisis? 19:54 Can the pursuit of profit be compatible with protecting the planet? ? 21:40 What is the biggest challenge for companies?23:06 How successful do you feel you were in growing the business @Unilever whilst decoupling its footprint? 30:00 Are there any other companies (other than Unilever) that are well on that path?32:48 Markets, policy makers and individuals - Can we all talk to each other and not past each other?34:09 How do we all get on the same page?37:46 Are you optimistic?41:23 If you are a CEO, CFO, COO wanting to take positive action recognising the role your business can play in it, what’s the practical first step?
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