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Owners, Players, Spectators…

I found myself looking at an interesting stream on LinkedIn on our relationship with Google around learning that had generated over a thousand comments, a number that caught my attention.

I thought about the post as a football, and those commenting as variously owners, for whom the topic was important enough to want to define the game, or as players shape the game, or as spectators who cheer or shout from the sidelines.

It struck me how many are just trying to make a noise from the sidelines, and to be seen in the crowd, and how few are willing to commit to a position, and how many fewer still are trying to define the game. Is it one of the aspects of sociual media, that we can jeer or shout, without taking part?

I think the same holds true for many of the issues we are facing. There are a few “owners” who will assume responsibility for defining the game, from climate change to AI, who are prepared to lead, and deal with what comes their way, and risk public failure. Then we have the players who can actually make a difference on the ground. who are much in demand, and who sell their skills to different owners depending on where their reward lies, and how the team they play for is actually doing. Then we have the spectators who will cheer or jeer depending on the flow of the game, and their loyalty to the team.

Given the times we are in, and the decisions we have to make, who should we listen to? We need the spectators to turn up, otherwise the game has no followers. We need the owners to sponsor and support the game.

We need the players to enthuse and excite us, to be creative and inspire us. To commit and take risks, and to instil in us not just the shallow aspects of winning or losing, but a love of the game for itself and the sheer beauty of it.

There are always those in the stands who understand and can play the game, but either lack the confidence to get on the pitch, or who are diverted by other commitments.

We need to find ways to get the on the pitch. Right now, we have too many spectators, and not enough players. We need to up our games.

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