Accenture ‘Changing Lives’ panel IWD 2016 – Q&A

2 Apr

Cat was also invited to take questions as part of the Accenture ‘Changing Lives’ panel for International Womens Day 2016. Read Cat’s Q&A below:

Andrew Bester spoke about the importance of leadership in affecting lasting change in his opening keynote. You spend a lot of time advising governments on system stewardship. Can you tell us more about this, and why you think this requires leadership where women can excel?

System stewardship is a way to describe the role of government acting as steward of the wider system – seeing itself as a part of the social network facilitating co-creation with businesses and communities, instead of a command and control approach to deliver public services and solutions. A leader as standing shoulder-to-shoulder with others – entering into dialogue and the process without knowing or pre-empting what the right answer is, facilitate, openness to contributions, seeking out different views, interest in hearing from peripheral voices, providing guidance where necessary.  I see a lot of women around me doing so very well.  And they create lasting change. Also you can create change as a leader by investing in new approaches and institutions. And some really interesting innovations out there – in the UK but also internationally – Welsh Commissioner for Future Generations, Finland’s Parliamentary Committee for the Future, Business community in circular economy. Not all the solution…but can really create some interesting shakeup.

You have recently completed a piece of research exploring the life of the first woman to live to the age of 200 – who may already have been born! Tell us a little a bit more about this?  

This was a fun piece of work, with Wikistrat where 50 international analysts came together to explore this issue of the bicentennial woman.  Three main thoughts emerged from the work:

  • Dual face of Janus – there is amazing potential for living longer – experienced, skilled, think communally, wellbeing.  However this could create the worst kind of short-term, self-centered individual decision-making – gated communities with scarcity.
  • Technological augmentation, quality of life, sustainability of the planet, conflict distributions and inequality, approach to health and medical care, economic productivity ratio are all major factors in futures,
  • As always the most interesting exercise is to think about being prepared… What’s going to make the difference is social response, governance and regulation – how do we respond and prepare for these new technologies.  How as a society do we provide access or think about who pays…  It’s important to have these conversations now!

You are famous for your commitment to helping organisations work with individuals and governments as good corporate citizens. What one message would you give our audience to take away, and what role can women and gender-mixed teams play here?  

Let’s engage with the Sustainable Development Goals framework – what is our vision for the UK and the world in 2030?  How can we together – in our businesses, communities and families contribute to making them happen?  Business is integral to making this happen = transform from business as usual trajectory to a world in which we can live sustainably within our planetary boundaries and eliminate poverty.  What can we do on gender empowerment, water, equality, good work, cities.  We need commitment and innovation.

Killer Q: “What do you think being greater together can achieve for your business?”

It can provide me with a great strapline – I may appropriate it since core to what we do. Your success is my success.  Let’s put zero-mind set to bed once and for all.  We live in a complex world where collaboration in design and implementation is everything.


Follow the link for more information and Cat’s transcript from the Accenture ‘Changing Lives’ Panel.

Comments are closed.