Conference Session
Beyond Survival:  A Short C
ourse in Pioneering in Powerful Times
Presented by Graham Leicester


Abstract: Today’s times certainly call for innovators and entrepreneurs.  But innovation can succeed by just improving the past.  We also need pioneers. 

Where innovators and entrepreneurs are opportunistic, pioneers are visionary.  They are not waiting to be rescued.  They are aware of the larger, shifting context for their actions.  They are not afraid of big thoughts and wide ambition.  They have strong values that feed their capacity to persevere through good times and bad.  They provide inspiration to others.  They have mastered the art of introducing the new in the presence of the old.  They turn radical hope into reality. 

This seminar will provide a short course – including examples and an extended discussion - in pioneering.

Debbie Cook

Biography: Graham is Director of International Futures Forum (IFF) – an organisation originally established in 2001 with a generous grant from BP.  Its mission is to restore effectiveness in action in a world of boundless complexity, radical interconnectedness and rapid change.  IFF refers to this as a ‘conceptual emergency’.  Given the birth of the organisation in Scotland, the work has been framed from the start as ‘the search for a second enlightenment’. 

IFF takes on complex, messy, seemingly intractable challenges facing government, business and communities.   In these settings it generates practical hope and provokes wise initiative. 

Graham’s specialist expertise is in the fields of governance, innovation, education and the arts (he is a former professional cellist).  He previously ran Scotland's leading think tank, the Scottish Council Foundation, founded in 1997. From 1984-1995, he served as a diplomat in HM Diplomatic Service, specialising in China (he speaks Mandarin Chinese) and the EU (including as Private Secretary to the Minister for Europe).

Contact: Graham can be reached by e-mail at for additional information about this conference session.



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