exclusives | September 17, 2015

Lavin Weekly #7: Ibbitson, Atwood, Ali, Kaufman, Meyer

1. Understanding the Canadian Leadership Debate with John Ibbitson

Last night, Thomas Mulcair, Justin Trudeau, and Stephen Harper squared off in The Globe and Mail’s leadership debate. As the federal election rolls on, and Canadians decide who’ll lead the country come October, they turn to expert political analysts like John Ibbitson to help them make sense of an often murky, complex arena. In his post-debate wrap up and summation of the evening’s winner, and today’s written coverage of the event, Ibbitson weighs in with his usual big-picture understanding of Canadian politics. As the author of Stephen Harper: A Biography, and as senior Globe politics writer, Ibbitson’s the expert we turn to; his take on last night’s showdown is sure to shape how countless voters perceive the race to 24 Sussex Drive.

2. Margaret Atwood Explores the Double-Edged Nature of Technology

In “We are double-plus unfree” in The Guardian, Margaret Atwood writes a timely piece on personal freedom, modern “citizen control methods,” and our prison systems, wherein we find black men and First Nations people “disproportionately represented” in the US and Canada, respectively (on the same subject, have you read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration”?). At once a historical tour of “freedom and unfreedom” in the west and a sober perspective on how technology has both constrained and furthered personal liberties, the article is quintessential Atwood: a darkly dry look at the intersection between modern democratic rights and our brave new digital landscapes. In kind with other Lavin speakers—Jer Thorp, Christopher Sogohian—Atwood sounds the call to “recapture some of the territory we’ve ceded … [and] recapture the notion of privacy” in the era of big data and digital leaks.

3. Wajahat Ali Stands with Ahmed Mohamed

This past Monday, Texas high school student Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing a home-made clock to school. You’ve likely heard this through the #IStandWithAhmed campaign—many notable public figures (including Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg) have voiced their support for the budding engineer. Author and Al-Jazeera journalist Wajahat Ali has also been vocal in his encouragement of Mohamed and condemnation of the near-hysterical police response to an innocuous act. In a recent Bayan Claremont discussion series video, Ali attributes Mohamed’s arrest to endemic Islamaphobia. “It’s exhausting being a Muslim,” he says. “It seems that my Islam—whatever that is—and Muslim identity is always investigated, always interrogated. I’m always under the microscope. I’m always indicted and convicted by nameless judge, jury, and executioner that always holds my loyalty in suspect. I’m always seen as the other.” With his usual passion and clarity, Ali defends the boy’s right to be treated equally and fairly. “This should not have happened. Instead we want to celebrate and encourage his innovation. We want him to keep building. And his clock radio should be validated and celebrated, and he should not be interrogated and arrested.”

4. Exploring the Messy Minds of Creative People with Scott Barry Kaufman

Earlier this week, we posted a First Look at Scott Barry Kaufman’s upcoming book, Wired to Create. On the Scientific American blog, Kaufman shares “eight ways of describing creative people that take into account their paradoxical nature and process.” As he’s touched on before, Kaufman and his co-author Carolyn Gregoire identify creative types as possessing remarkably “messy” minds. Here he uses adjectival phrases like “Mindful Daydreamers,” “Imaginatively Gritty,” “Openly Sensitive,” and “Playfully Serious” to account for the often contradictory nature of the creative personality. Full of excellent advice for tapping into our own creative natures, Kaufman’s talks leave audiences inspired and refreshed.

5. Read Erin Meyer to Avoid a Cross-Cultural Communication Breakdown 

Writing for the October 2015 issue of Harvard Business Review, Erin Meyer—author of The Culture Map, and in-demand speaker on cross-cultural communication—investigates “the process of cultural disintegration” and how “traditional solutions can backfire” in organizations large and small. In “When Culture Doesn’t Translate,” Meyer identifies five principles to prevent such a costly and damaging situation from arising—important advice for all leaders and ambassadors, or anyone with a stake in a company’s vision, communications, or HR policies. “Getting culture right should never be an afterthought,” Meyer warns. “Companies that don’t plan for how individual employees and the organization as a whole will adapt to the realities of a global marketplace will sooner or later find themselves stumbling because of unnoticed cultural potholes. And by the time they regain their balance, their economic opportunity may have passed.”

To hire John Ibbitson, Margaret Atwood, Wajahat Ali, Scott Barry Kaufman, or Erin Meyer as the keynote speaker of your next event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau

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exclusives | September 16, 2015