Corporate Eye

Battle of Ideas: A Philosopher’s Holiday

If, like me, you’re feeling a tad jaded, what with the clocks going back and having to dig your winter coat out again, perhaps a workout for your brain would be just the thing.

Ready for the Battle of Ideas 2011?

Sponsored by SABMiller, Shell, PWC and the Royal College of Art (together with many other partners and supporters), this is a two-day festival of public debate organised by the Institute of Ideas in London – this weekend, 20-30 October.

75 different debates are scheduled with 350 speakers covering a wide range of topics, and while they’re naturally not all directly related to corporate communications, they all look intriguing.

Those that seem immediately relevant (my grouping, not theirs!) include:


  • Is big business ruining food?
  • Profiting responsibly

Discussions of profit, ethics and sustainability, asking whether CSR is more than smoke and mirrors, and whether it can help restore trust in business.


  • What is innovation good for?
  • Idea factories: manufacturing and making in the 21st century.

Two different sessions, with different angles, exploring innovation, design and production in a creative economy.

Activism and Whistle-blowing

  • Loyalty in an age of whistle-blowing and Wikileaks
  • Rise of the clicktivists

Is whistle-blowing bravery or betrayal? Is the internet enhancing debate, or making it more superficial? Interesting questions about protest…


  • Interns or slave labour?
  • Warning: women at work

Two hot topics this year… glass ceilings and the Davies Review, anyone? And should you be taking on interns at all?

The web

  • Online communities: cyber-village or antisocial network?
  • Is technology making us smarter or dumber?

Two sessions – among others – asking how the internet is changing our behaviour both on- and off-line.


The Battle of Ideas website has a few font issues, but the way that each debate has a page with related pre-reading and details of the speakers, and that the various debates are linked and cross-linked in strands and across themes is very nicely done. It would be good to see related debates linked at this detailed level too.

You can buy tickets via the Battle of Ideas website; some of these are ‘satellite events’ with a different payment arrangement – and some are free to attend.

Just the thing for those of us who love ideas and discussion…

The following two tabs change content below.