It feels like the year is back in full swing now and that it is definitely no longer acceptable to say, Happy New Year to people.

A bench overlooking London

Keeping things moving

As well as having a couple of consultancy projects that I am heavily involved with, I also take on a project director role for some others. It’s nothing like what other senior team members do, and I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with it.

The project director/ advisory role means that you get to keep your hand in project work, find out about interesting studies and support colleagues to deal with challenges while retaining quality. It means I can get a lot out of our work, and keep learning about some of the issues our clients are working on, and help colleagues keep things moving. All of that is great. But the transaction cost of the time it takes to move your brain out of one project on citizen’s assemblies, into another on loneliness, into another on place-based social action is just enormous sometimes. It’s exciting, but tiring too.


I got more responses to one Tweet this week than I probably did in the whole of last year on Twitter. I tried to write about why I thought that was the case in a blog about work-life imbalances here.

Good chat

I met with three CEOs this week, Julie at Power2, Ben at Local Welcome and Paul at Volunteering Matters. In each instance, I felt like we got into something genuinely interesting about our work and what we’re trying to achieve. It’s nice to get into the really honest stuff quickly. I always feel excited about what will come from that.


We’re part of the #iWill learning hub, led by Dartington Service Design Lab. I really like working with Jenny from Dartington and the Centre for Youth Impact team on this long term programme. It was nice to catch up, talking about where the hub has got to, and make some interesting plans for the year ahead. It all felt positive.

Reading, listening and watching

I listened to Cory Booker’s interview with Ezra Klein on Klein’s podcast this week. It had been recorded before Booker dropped out of the race to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for US President, but I listened to it afterwards. It made me sad that he had dropped out. His moral leadership felt very powerful, but I agreed with Klein’s explanation of why he wasn’t cutting through. I think I would have voted for him, had he been running for a leadership position in this country. It is a kind of leadership that we don’t hear of much.

I was sent this rather remarkable post about a year of running a community ‘centre’ (that word doesn’t do it justice). I haven’t yet processed it all, and am going to come back to it. It makes me want to do more.

John Hitchin Renaisi CEO