The Belonging Summit

We are delighted this morning to welcome over 70 delegates to our first Belonging Summit, in the 18th century library of the Royal Society of Chemistry – to address 21st century business challenges of culture, belonging and performance.

Belonging – and not belonging – is shaping our age.

It’s easy to see from recent headlines, the impact of culture on business. The impact of belonging, the connection between tribes – and the conflicts – has a huge impact on our productivity. Every day belonging affects business performance and productivity in ways that organisations can’t articulate, or diagnose, or really address.

It’s easy to see why belonging matters

It’s deeply programmed in us and affects our behaviour – even if we’re conscious of it.

Belonging defines our identity as individuals, as communities, as organisations, as nations.

It gives us as sense of security in a group, it shapes our allegiance and loyalty in return.

By belonging to a group we share our effort and resources to get further, faster.

Belonging gives us meaning in our lives and work.

And the currency of belonging is commitment: this is how it can make or break organisations.

That’s why… But HOW…?

How does belonging work? What makes it tick?

Why are we (humans) built like this?

How can organisations make sure belonging is helping not harming their business?

And why we wanted to host this event today to explore in more depth and, like all the best Summits, to set the agenda of the big issues:

How can culture and belonging help or harm your business? 

What is culture?

There are many different interpretations of what ‘culture’ means. We’re examining them with the help of our great speakers.

There’s national culture and our different tribes… Birgitte Skade of Berenson will tell us how they’ve built a sense of belonging across national, regional, and business-line cultures

Culture is shared identity and ‘how we do things’… Jorina von Zimmerman of UCL is going to enlighten us on how we behave as a group and make decisions as a group

Culture means higher expression… and we’ll hear from Matthew Taylor, CEO of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce about what our standards of ‘good work’ express about us a nation

Culture is a reflection of history and what you stand for, a higher purpose… We’ll learn from David Watts of UK Youth how their culture has evolved over 100 years, and even helped them ‘restart’

And ‘a culture’ is also a living organism – an or environment in which to cultivate and thrive… we’ll hear from Lisa Bretag, how for Airbnb culture was like ‘baker’s yeast’ to help it grow (a lovely double-play on culture!)

We’ll also create an environment to cultivate ideas when we share a quick taster of our approach in a mini-workshop on belonging dilemmas.

That’s what we’re all about at Belonging Space – making sure belonging helps and doesn’t harm. This is how we crack open, and tackle, the tough belonging challenges that businesses face.

You can follow the conversation on Twitter at #BelongingSummit @BelongingSpace.

Drop a line to francis@belongingspace if you’d like to catch up with the issues raised by our speakers and delegates as we explore how belonging works.

We’re looking forward to an inspiring Belonging Summit.