The Future of Britain cannot be solved by a webform. In 2016 we need to collaborate online

 In Brexit, social business

I have been a subscriber to the Financial Times ever since I have been in London (over 10 years). I enjoy the quality of their writing, events and digital apps. Their writing and reporting is first rate.

I was surprised this morning to see on my FT app a call to help brainstorm a solution for the “Future of Britain” from their Editor Lionel Barber.

future-of-britain-ft
Upon clicking through to the special page, I was prompted with a webform. Yes in 2016, the problems of Britain will be solved by sending my idea to the FT Editor, Lionel Barber and the best ones will be printed.

ft-idea-form

Quoting the site:

We will publish one or two best reader contributions as op-eds in November, and the authors will be invited to take part as panellists, alongside FT commentators, in a live event in January.

Seriously?? In 2016 in the age of social media, collaboration and online jams, we’re essentially going back to the “Letter to the Editor” format where in 600 words we have to pitch an idea to the FT.

The ones that “win” will get to discuss them live onstage at an event, and we are restricted to answering just 4 questions.

facepalmWhat is needed to fix Britain and prepare us for the future is a fully digital solution – one where the entire 2M FT readers get to speak to each other  as well as the FT editorial team.  In 2016, we don’t use a suggestion box at a company to fix ideas, we use continuous feedback via data derived from an internal social network, or as the University of South Australia did in 2013 and again this year, ran an online “Jam” for 3 days to solicit and discuss ideas (disclaimer: IBM provided the Jam platform).

While I absolutely applaud the FT’s initiative, the execution is all wrong. We expect to be able to collaborate and communicate in our personal lives with each other via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. At work we use LinkedIn, or our own internal platforms, so to force us to just 600 words that only the FT will see is in my view very short-sighted.

As I heard from Tom Fletcher this morning at a business breakfast, we need to work with the Government in a digital and collaborative way.

Please Lionel, open this up a collaboration project like the UniSA Jam concept.

Britain’s problems cannot be solved in just 600 words.

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Based in London, Practical Futurist and former Global Managing Partner at IBM, Andrew Grill is a popular and sought-after presenter and commentator on issues around digital disruption, workplace of the future and new technologies such as blockchain. Andrew is a multiple TEDx and International Keynote Speaker.