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Head In The Clouds, Feet On The Ground – who are the occupiers of the future?

Future -

What characteristics distinguish today’s most successful and fastest-growing businesses, with so much progress being hastened by recent global events? I was pleased to have the opportunity to join a panel recently and have a lively discussion on just this question.

During the panel discussion, which was part of the annual BCO Conference, Jamie Clyde from Bruntwood SciTech, Brad Blundell from Anthesis Group, Adam Hawksbee from Onward and I had the opportunity to share our thoughts and speak about the crucial characteristics that are driving the fastest growing businesses in the UK and across the world.

At the heart of this discussion were the topics of purpose and sustainability.

There was some debate about how important sustainability and purpose will be for businesses under looming economic instability. As a leader in a purpose-led business, I have a clear view of the often unaccounted-for value that investing in purpose can have.

Agent Academy was born out of the commitment to purpose that our sister agency, Agent, had almost a decade ago. Our journey began when Agent’s CEO, Paul Corcoran, recognised the importance of the industry stepping up by supporting and guiding future talent to start their careers in the creative and digital industry.

Without Paul’s leadership and desire to make good work we would not have had the chance to go on and create the impact that we have. Paul led as a citizen as well as a CEO and the impact has been huge.  Agent Academy is responsible for changing the lives of hundreds of people who once were locked out of the industry and are now enjoying incredible careers. Many of our alumni are now in senior positions and we know that their experience with us means that they are ‘paying it forward’ and leading with purpose in their current roles. That’s one of the things about social return on investment, it doesn’t disappear into shareholders’ bank accounts, it is the gift that multiplies.

Our alumni tell us, time and again, that they wouldn’t be where they are today without the opportunity that Agent Academy gave them. Imagine that! We have brought into this industry over 300 ambitious, talented, diverse young people who are now creating value for their employers, their communities and the local economy, the knock-on effect is incalculable.

My conclusion is that businesses that focus on thriving in the future, not just surviving in the present, will find a way to do both. I am convinced that those who can balance the books while continuing to invest in people, place and the planet are ‘the occupiers of the future.’