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Second day of MBA London Symposium celebrates creative industries at Tate Modern

Students and speakers take their places in London's Tate Modern.

by Mark Rigby (Senior Communications Officer)

The second day of the Cass MBA London Symposium was opened by its Faculty lead Dr Sionade Robinson, who welcomed participants and speakers to the magnificent Tate Modern on Bankside.

“Today, as we continue to explore our theme of New Directions, we hear from four thought and business leaders who all have one thing in common - they are, both directly and indirectly, linked to the creative industries,” Dr Robinson said.

“Last year was a record breaking year for the creative industries in the UK, which are undoubtedly a real success story, worth over £100 billion per year, employing over two million people and already growing at twice the rate of the economy as a whole.

“Yesterday we talked about how a city can distinguish itself by the talent of its citizens and to highlight the contribution of creativity to society and our economy here at the Tate Modern brings me great pleasure.”

Addressing the challenges of AI and the prospect of full autonomy

The first speaker of the day was Dr Harvey Lewis, honorary Visiting Professor at Cass Business School, Associate Partner at EY and permanent member of the Advisory Board for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence.

Dr Lewis has been a regular thought leader of the London Symposium, this year delivering a thought provoking session addressing the Symposium's theme of New Directions entitled ‘Avoiding the technology fallacy: Time for new thinking and new directions.'

Dr Lewis said he thought there was too much hype around the narrative of full autonomy in artificial intelligence and told the Symposium participants that they, as future business leaders, would face serious challenges to alter that trend.

“Humans are the only species that are able to pass on their genes through DNA and their knowledge through language,” Dr Lewis said.

“We need to account for the fact that the technology and the human can work far better together than either one may be able to independently ... We need to think about minds and machines, not minds or machines.”

Renaissance through brands and culture

The second speaker of the day was Rebecca Robins, Chief Learning and Culture Officer at Interbrand, who delivered her presentation ‘A new Renaissance: Brands, culture and excellence’.

Ms Robins began by addressing the Symposium participants as the “leaders of tomorrow, future brand and business leaders.”

She explained the evolution of brands since the 1950s and told participants that that evolution was now moving towards a “deeply human” era in which the Symposium participants would have an important role to play.

“We can look at our world in one of two ways - on the one hand we can look at the world that we know and think that it’s dark, broken and dystopian ... or we can look at the world and the technology we have in it and use that to fix that which is broken,” Ms Robins said.

“There is a relationship between brands and culture ... and we should never forget the power of words and wisdom to make a difference.

“Behaviours are active and they are something we can be accountable for and hold ourselves up to. I'ts vital to speak up, and be a guardian of both value and values.”

The importance of storytelling in business

Following the morning break the Symposium participants welcomed Sir William Sargent, CEO and Founder of Framestore, to the plinth.

During Sir William’s presentation, Storytelling - Same Direction, he told the Symposium participants that it was “always intimidating to be speaking to an audience comprised of people who would be looking after the future economy.”

Sir William said Framestore was now in its 34th year and had grown from four people in a room in Soho to a company employing more than 2,500 people in offices across the world.

“Every single thing we do in our lives is telling a story, so storytelling is at the core of every business,” Sir William said.

Sir William went on to explain the importance of relationships in the story of business and explained some of the approaches he has towards business..

“I always use the word partner, and always call my clients client-partners because I believe that’s important,” he said.

“Framestore is known for its characters but characters are important in business too. There will be 50 people just like you in your business but if you show your character you show how you’re not the same.

“Team building and being multidisciplinary is critical to business now."

Sir William concluded his presentation by telling the Symposium participants that innovation, creativity and curiosity are at the forefront of business leadership.

“You don’t know you’re not relevant until it’s too late ... all the businesses that have become irrelevant in the last 50 years didn’t become irrelevant overnight but they became that way because they didn’t move, they didn’t change,” Sir William said.

The psychology of great customer experiences

The final speaker of the day, Matt Watkinson, is an internationally renowned author, speaker and consultant on customer experience as well as the CEO of Methodical.

Mr Watkinson’s presentation, The 10 Principles Of Great Customer Service gave Symposium participants an insight into what makes a great customer experience.

"There are underlying psychological principles that underpin great customer experiences that anyone go can about using in their business immediately," Matt said.

"These will improve customer experiences in a much more efficient, effective and systematic way by actually designing experiences that play into the way our minds work."

About the Symposium

The Symposium will continue at The Royal Institution on Wednesday.

The Symposium is an elective element of the MBA course which brings together over 150 students from all Cass MBA cohorts, as well as MBA teams from partner schools in South Africa and Europe. Plenary lectures take place this week at three of the capital’s iconic cultural institutions; Tate Modern, the Royal Institution and the National Gallery.

The first Symposium was held in 2014 to celebrate Cass’s unique network inside the heart of one of the world’s best global cities.  The Symposium mixes thought leadership in plenary sessions with a ‘backstage pass’ to some of London’s most iconic locations, brands and organisations which drive the city’s prosperity.

It is now the flagship MBA elective, providing students with excellent networking opportunities and access to some of London’s most prominent and respected business figures.

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