So, IBM Summit at Start is about to end..well this event is about to end. This though is only the beginning of Start as an idea.

Later in October, IBM will feedback to the attendees and media the findings from the 9 days in London, most of which, but not all, you can watch on livestream.

IBM Start - Day 1
Image by Amplified2010 via Flickr

Why can’t you watch it all? Well, I think it reflects the position many companies find themselves in, and to their credit quite a few are a bit embarrassed about the position they are in. Many of them have ignored the sustainability agenda in search of short-term gains. Of course we wouldn’t be having these discussions if everyone was running perfectly sustainable businesses. IBM isn’t running one to the degree it would probably like..we can all improve.

Getting so many people from a wide variety of organisations and businesses talking in the first place is a great start. The conversation will open up. But as long as people report those that are open and honest about their failures, as well as their successes, people will be reluctant. Continuing with the M&S eco kettle incident, after the keynote all I heard from people was that it was the best talk we had at the event. Gillies was incredibly open, honest, truthful. He admitted that they had made a mistake. What people were saying afterwards was that they respect leaders and organisations that can be that honest.  So hats off to M&S, Gillies and booo to a bored journalist that wanted to make someone look like Ratner – it wasn’t one of those moments.

Don’t be too hard on them, at least not yet. But do put pressure on them to become more open, discuss these  things in public, share successes and more importantly, failures. Don’t expect them just to do it. Don’t let the survey monkeys make you answer the questions they want to give you. Ask them the questions you want answered and tell them what you respect in a business and it’s leader.

May be now smaller events around the country will start up and look at this from the point of view of small business, local community organisations and large organisations in the communities they serve. I know there is set to be community events based around the consumer side of Start UK.

It’s been an intense few days, with plenty of technical challenges but well supported by the team of experts that run these things. I’m going to miss the house, not so much the early mornings and train ride, although that has been a lot better than expected. Will not miss the broadband that can’t decide if it wants to work. Above all though, I’ll miss the bubble and squeak that we got some days for lunch. That was lovely.

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