I am not massively comfortable with it being November. There’s a large list of things that I need to get done before the end of the year, and I am starting to realise that they might not all happen…

Board focus: done

One thing that is done is our final board meeting of the year. As always, they are very supportive experiences for me, but it still does feel like a relief to get them done. Each of our audiences (potential and existing customers, beneficiaries, colleagues, board members) have different levels of knowledge about us, and different decisions they have to make about us, which means I provide a different narrative for each to support their context. The data is the same, but how we tell it changes. Having one less context to think about for a while is a relief!

Team focus: next

The next one on the list is our team away day. I’ve been talking to different colleagues this week who are going to run sessions across our two-day away-day next Thursday and Friday. In the last few years, we have had unashamedly fun-only away-days, with no attempt to do any work. This last year has been one of change and tough targets for the team, and so we really want to spend some time talking about how we work. There’s lots of great work and ideas across the organisation that I want to open up to different

Centre for Youth Impact conference

I’ve been a long term supporter of the Centre for Youth Impact and Bethia McNeil’s work there. I think their annual conferences are particularly good (and I say that as somebody who doesn’t enjoy conferences a lot of the time). I was delighted to be asked to chair a conversation about systems change at the conference this year, and despite getting my timings wrong (I rushed everybody off the stage earlier than I needed to) I enjoyed listening to Joanne Rich from the National Lottery Communities Fund, Fiona Talbott from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and Elizabeth Balgobin who is the interim CEO at London Plus talk about their experiences.

The session and the conference as a whole left me wanting more and feeling a bit frustrated. I think that is a sign that, as ever, the Centre is pushing into debates – in a sensitive way – that are where we need to be. The Centre is not taking itself, its work, or its audience for granted. It’s frustrating because it’s not neat and obvious, and I want to know more.


I met an old Renaisi team member for lunch in Shoreditch this week and afterwards walked past our old head office. We left that office after the landlord doubled the rent two years ago, and we move to a brighter and more appropriately priced space in Hackney Central. I must admit to a flicker of an unattractive feeling as I saw that it was still empty after all this time.

Reading, listening and watching

I am an avid, Talking Politics listener, and this week on the podcast David Runciman interviews new Nobel prize in economics winner, Esther Duflo. I’ve been aware of her work, particularly the founding of the Poverty Action Lab, since doing my Behavioural Science Masters, and was delighted to hear her talk at the start of this interview about the importance of place in economics rather than just people.

Given our team away day, I probably won’t be doing a week notes next week.