Every hour is different, so we can’t predict the direction it will take as that is largely down to the participants. However, we do encourage the development of communication and thinking skills. Now we don’t highlight these features as we want people to focus on the conversation, so we admit this can be personal development by stealth. Below are some of the areas we work on – they don’t all happen in every session but we incorporate whenever possible and appropriate.

Media Perspectives

A knowledge of current affairs, recent developments and future predictions is perfect for connecting with strangers or acquaintances at a deeper level. However, a critical appreciation of the media can also provide valuable experiences that can be drawn on when considering human progress generally, or applied to specific personal and professional issues at work and home. Knowing how others have made decisions and discoveries, solved problems or openly experimented can be a potent inspiration.

Example content includes culture, science, economics, health, technology, family, politics, education, society, etc.

Creative Enquiry

There are lots of ways to generate good ideas. Many people and organisations only use a few, however, and therefore run the risk of missing opportunities by failing to think as creatively as they could. In this section of events, you will practise looking at situations with new eyes, employing a variety of strategies to see whether they might serve you well whenever you are required to find real-world solutions or opportunities and explain them to others.

Example content includes blending, analogy, counterfactuals, abundance, conjecture, artefacts, delay, problematising, interdisciplinarity, etc.

Philosophical Approaches

Taking a philosophical approach to existence in general and the individual situations it presents for us to deal with is about enjoying thinking more subtly, more deeply and more perceptively; it is about not being scared to ask ‘bigger’ questions. Many great thinkers have gone before us through life and left us with frameworks and schools of thought that we can use as we also go through our lives; the insights they have gleaned, often counterintuitive, can help shed light on our own circumstances. At an event, you will experience some of these perspectives and perceptions by discussing a range of scenarios that exemplify them and provide opportunities for increasingly thoughtful, eloquent responses.

Example content includes authority, integrity, sacrifice, libertarianism, dualism, insanity, scepticism, omniscience, fidelity, etc.

Ethical Debates

Almost every day we encounter the awkward and somewhat abstract ethical background of rights and wrongs, shoulds and shouldn’ts, and goods and bads underpinning specific surface issues and the uncomfortable choices they entail. By debating a range of classic motions, you will learn to handle controversial topics in a persuasive way, to appreciate others’ perspectives and to communicate sensitively in the face of what can be passionately held differences of opinion. The greater moral understandings that emerge from participating in such timeless debates can be applied to a wide variety of personal scenarios, while the ability to navigate them delicately can transform enemies into friends.

Example content includes moral leadership, talent & effort, freedoms, rights & duties, gamification, determinism, intellectual property, privacy & security, philanthropy, etc.

Critical Thinking

To think critically is by no means negative or dismissive. It is, in a broad sense, an attitude of mind that deliberately scratches the surface of things by exploring through questioning. Your host will pose questions on a topic to try to dissect it, undermine commonly held assumptions about it, ask you to justify your opinions and to provide you with the important opportunity to react in ways which may even surprise you.

Example starting points include: Is it the best method …? How might it benefit …? What is the most effective way …? What are the implications for …? How might it be applied to …? How might we prioritise …? What might happen if …? Can you propose an alternative …? What patterns exist in …? etc.