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Nick Giles: Al Gore encourages the UK to be inconvenient and a very public apology from Google

This article first appeard in City A.M. on Friday 24th March 2017.

Bringing a touch of Capitol Hill to Piccadilly, Al Gore was in town this week to preview the sequel to his 2006 Oscar-winning climate-change documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”.

Introducing the new film to a packed crowd at Advertising Week Europe yesterday, the former vice president started by sharing his condolences: “All Americans stand in solidarity with the UK, especially in a moment like this – a time of tremendous challenges. “Establishing a commitment to the future is actually one of the essential prerequisites for getting forward momentum and I think that applies to a lot of the challenges we face.”

Gore made the case that climate change is directly impacting issues close to home including Brexit and anti-immigration sentiment: “Before the gates of hell opened in Syria, what happened? A climate-related extreme drought.”

However, it didn’t take long for his attentions to turn to the current US President – about whom he offered some reassurance: “I think there is still a realistic chance that President Trump will decide not to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement. That decision has not been made, but there is an active debate in his inner circle. I have some visibility to that debate, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I think there is still some chance he will not pull out of the Paris Agreement.”

A very public apology

Google has been dealing with the fall-out of the extremist video row all week. Matt Brittin, Google’s top man outside the US, issued a very public apology: “I want to start by saying sorry to the brands affected by this. I take the issue very seriously and I apologise in the instances where that may have happened.”

Under unprecedented scrutiny, Google has been quick to remedy the situation and has introduced new measures to identify and remove offensive content. The world is watching closely.

Remembering Kenny Market

Over to the Design Museum for an industry dinner with Wayne Hemingway, co-founder of iconic 80s fashion brand Red or Dead with his wife Gerardine. The enterprising pair launched at the now defunct Kensington “Kenny” Market, remembered for dressing hippies, punks, acid house ravers and everybody in between.

When they sold the business in 1999 they had 400 staff and 23 shops worldwide. “That was where we got started and built the business; London needs these spaces for creative firms to get going.” Hear, hear!

Entrepreneurs on a mission

Ronnie Scott’s has hosted the great and the good of the media world this week for a series of breakfast debates. David Pemsel, CEO of Guardian Media Group, kicked off the week alongside tech founders and investors debating the UK’s propensity to create new business ideas and back disruptive entrepreneurs.

Sitting alongside Founders Factory chief Brent Hoberman and Anna Jones, co-founder of AllBright, Saul Klein, a leading VC, had a rallying cry for the audience: “Great leadership is about clarity of purpose. Big or small, your organisation must be focused on your mission.”

Gina Miller ready to go back to court

Speaking to a business audience, Remain campaigner Gina Miller pledged to stand up to the government if it tried and bypass parliamentary sovereignty during the Brexit process.

Speaking in a debate titled ‘Is Westminster the New Brussels’, Miller vowed to fight the “power grab” of the executive and reiterated that “only parliament is sovereign”. “We have numerous acts that need to be passed, and if the government tried to bypass them, or bring in a resolution, I will take them back to court.” No U-turn there, then.

Innovation nation?

Off to the The Club at the Ivy next, where a packed room gathered yesterday to debate the future of innovation and Britain’s ability to create businesses with the ambition to go global.

Michael Hayman, my co-founder at Seven Hills, noted that the venue had trumped everyone with its innovative take on a “modern British” menu: Korean pork ribs, sea bass from Thailand and sausages from Yorkshire. Food for thought…

Christian May is away.

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Chapter 1 outlines the concept of mission and how the breakthrough brands of today have succeeded by building a mission that inspires belief, generates a following and instils a purpose beyond profit.