It starts with smell, it often does.

Blue gas fills the oven, sulphurous match struck; a reassuring whoosh of ignition follows. Roast chicken, apple pie and Vimto. Stewed loose leaf tea pouring through a metal strainer. Something else too, vaguely clinical.

Colours join in.

Creams and white, thick like condensed milk. Sea green, jade blue patterned sugar bowls. Indian Tree saucers edged by gold. A shock of pink from the wafer biscuits.

Light comes next. Cold, clean coastal light.

Harshly fresh from the Irish Sea. Mixing with burning street lamp sodium. All reflected by red glazed bricks, mirror like paint, opaque glass.

I can hear them now; long before I see them. Soft Lancashire sounds. Electric Essex chatter. After my long journey, I’ve arrived.

Nana and Grandad’s back kitchen.


Over Christmas Andrew and Simon reminisced about beach days and travels. Lubricated by just a little wine a spark was shared. We yearned to travel again, a road trip somewhere along the watery western edges of the UK.

Our dream started to grow.

Wouldn’t it be great to travel with friends we thought.

Wouldn’t it be great to share food, stories and music along the way. Wouldn’t it be great to reconnect with ourselves, each other and the landscape after all we’ve been through lately.

We started to imagine recreating the kind of experience the Do Lectures creates, in the…


What is Leaders in Conversation?

Leaders in Conversation is an online community exploring more human ways to work. Through a thriving Linkedin Group and the live online conversation series, hundreds of leaders around the world share their insights on how to harness our humanness in digitally dominant workplaces.

If we wish to be big hearted leaders who encourage human centred working; what do we do when faced with the messy, chaotic and uncomfortable side of humanness?

Our uncomfortable side is the theme for series 2.

We start with the cost of success and burn out, then in Episode 2 we…


The Encouragement Manifesto (Part 10)

Me, Dad and my younger brother on Nanna’s doorstep

When we ran a small business, there were some principles at the heart of it. A code of behaviour. It was owner-run; just the two of us. So the way we worked, who we were, was never written down as such. It was in our hearts. We are pretty sure it was clear to our customers who we were and what was important to us. We worked hard to be consistent, to celebrate others and to stay positive. Our business was built on the successes and strengths of others; kindness and generosity were keystones; we talked about value, not price and that allowed us to find our audience. We gathered up and shared inspiring stories and we sought to be a pebble in the pond, creating ripples. If we’d written this all down at the time, we’d have called it The Encouragement Manifesto. We recently decided to capture it in words. We asked some folk we trust, who live and work in the same way, to interpret the 10 principles in their own words.

Ripples Across My Pond

by Simon Cookson

Allow your story to be a stone.

Go on, throw it, see what happens.

Are you sure I can’t get you a drink love?’ She asks again, popping her head into the slightly shabby and overwhelming beige bedroom.

No thanks, I’m fine’, I reply.

This is a complete lie, of course; I’m not fine at all.

My reply is a brush off, designed to end the conversation before it begins. Dad lifts his heavy eyelids, then stares right at me. He knows I’m here but is he trying to tell me something?

He quickly glazes over again…


What it is

A gathering of big hearted leaders, exploring how conversations can help harness our humanness in the digitally dominant workplace.

Series of 6 online thought provoking, topic focused, conversations, that will explore the neuroscience of conversations and how to build effective connections in the online space.

Leaders from around the world will join us to explore the challenges, paradigms and tensions created when we bring our ‘human elements’ as leaders into the digital dominant workplace.

Who are the hosts

Leaders in Conversation is a transatlantic initiative, co-hosted by two leaders who know that people and relationships make all…


Change is everywhere. It feels like the pace is accelerating. No matter where I look it’s hard not to see it. I wonder what life in 5 years will be like, let alone in 50 years.

The world of work is experiencing this too. Shifts in markets, technology, politics and people’s expectations are all shaking old certainties. I feel that what worked for us over the past 100 years is not what we need in the new world of work.

For those of us that want to build successful businesses, create services that people want to use, and gather high…


Keith Yamashita, Do Lectures 2019. Photo by Jim Marsden

Change is everywhere. It feels like the pace is accelerating. No matter where I look it’s hard not to see it. I wonder what life in 5 years will be like, let alone in 50 years.

The world of work is experiencing this too. Shifts in markets, technology, politics and people’s expectations are all shaking old certainties. I feel that what worked for us over the past 100 years is not what we need in the new world of work.

For those of us that want to build successful businesses, create services that people want to use, and gather high…


Our ability to interact, cooperate and communicate are vital skills

Change is everywhere. It feels like the pace is accelerating. No matter where I look it’s hard not to see it. I wonder what life in 5 years will be like, let alone in 50 years. For the tech sector to thrive during this turmoil, policy makers should be considering core people skills, just as much as vital technical skills.

For those of us that want to build successful tech businesses, create services that people want to use, and gather high performing teams around them to achieve this; I firmly believe that we need to elevate trust and great communication…


Charles Darwin, responding to change is vital

It feels like the pace is accelerating. No matter where I look it’s hard not to see it. I wonder what life in 5 years will be like, let alone in 50 years.

The world of work is experiencing this too. Shifts in markets, technology, politics and people’s expectations are all shaking old certainties. I feel that what worked for us over the past 100 years is not what we need in the new world of work.

For those of us that want to build successful businesses, create services that people want to use, and gather high performing teams around…


Conventional wisdom says creative businesses should have full order books and a healthy sales pipeline stretching out for months.

Here I ask; is the price we pay trying to achieve a full pipeline too high?

Could we happier, more creative and more successful if we embraced the space and looked forward to the quiet times?

I’m sat in a Kiwi coffee shop in Manchester, all turmeric chai latte and exposed brickwork. My companion is a hugely talented creative director who runs a number of successful businesses, drawing upon all their years of experience to create awesome brand stories.

The conversation…

Simon Cookson

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