Breakfast Briefing: Thinking the Unthinkable

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Executive leadership faces new vulnerabilities. Many leaders privately concede them, but few are willing to talk publicly about them. ‘Unthinkable’ events since 2014 have revealed a new leadership fragility at the highest levels and the pace of change in 2018 shows that the uncertainties are greater than ever. Is this the ‘new normal?’

‘Thinking the Unthinkable’ is an investigation into why leaders have appeared more unable or unwilling than ever to anticipate the biggest issues of our time. Since 2014, these have included the new assertiveness of President Putin’s Russia, Facebook’s data catastrophe, the Me Too movement, the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, the impact of artificial intelligence on work and skills, populism, nationalism, Brexit and the election of President Trump.

In this briefing, Nik Gowing will discuss the causes of so many failures in policy and strategic forecasting. He will reveal the private fears from hundreds of candid one-to-one conversations and consider if leaders can thrive from change in this new era of acute disruption.

Nik Gowing was a main news presenter for the BBC’s international 24-hour news channel, BBC World News, from 1996 to 2014, and spent eighteen years at ITN where he was bureau chief in Rome and Warsaw, and Diplomatic Editor for Channel Four News. Nik has extensive reporting experience over three decades in diplomacy, defence and international security. He has been a member of the councils of Chatham House, the Overseas Development Institute, a board member of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, on the advisory council at Wilton Park and a Trustee of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Nik has Honorary Doctorates from Exeter University and Bristol University, recognising his distinguished career in international journalism, and is a Visiting Professor at Kings College London. He is the co-author, with Chris Langdon, of ‘Thinking the Unthinkable’ (John Catt Educational: 8 June 2018).

These briefings are open to Major Corporate Level Members and above.

Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
Tea, coffee and pastries will be available from 0800.

To attend this event, please e-mail Sabrina Downey, Director, Projects and Events:

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