What a brilliant two days at the Festival of Work in June. 

The four of us on our stand heard some fantastic, inspiring and thought-provoking speakers and spoke to hundreds of other attendees and exhibitors. 

What felt apparent here was the desire to connect with people, and discuss vital topics that impact us all, from Workplace Wellbeing to Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, AI and surprisingly, Dogs. I’ve never seen so many dogs at a work event–they patrolled for explosives, in a petting zone, and even accessories on an exhibitor’s stand. 

One attendee noted how the atmosphere felt different to other conferences, there was less of the ‘grab a pass and scan it’ vibe, the mad scramble for one another’s data, and more of the ‘what’s our common ground to start a conversation’ vibe. It’s infinitely preferable in my opinion. In a world where human connection and live interaction feel hard to achieve at times, it reminded me it is something we still crave.

I heard two quotes that have stayed with me – one from Matt Holt-Rogers ‘Don’t put a clean fish back in a dirty tank’. I liked this idea, of the need to change and challenge workplace culture. This also translates well to the training field – if one person learns but the others stay complacent – can it have an impact – are we just putting a clean fish back in a dirty tank?

And second from our client Paul DevoyOrganisations succeed or fail, one conversation at a time’ – what a powerful idea. There is no room for passivity. We must remain active in our dedication to excellent communication.

I’m sharing a couple of book recommendations I came across during our time at the Festival of Work – I’m yet to read them but they’re now on my list…

Books:

Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott

What Am I Missing by Emma Reed Turrell

Reclaiming Conversations by Sherry Turkle

And what about about the aforementioned drums? The festival was opened by a stunning collection of drummers – with the sound reverberating around the Excel.

Thank you to those brilliant musicians.