James Belchamber

Fire your rockstars

This week, the Free (Libre) and Open Source Software community are attempting to remove an activist (known for their repugnant and bigoted views) from the board of the Free Software Foundation, an important institution in the FLOSS community. The activist - Richard Stallman - founded the organisation and is widely considered to be the founder of the Free Software movement.

He is also something of a cult figure amongst many, who respect his achievements and follow his leadership in all walks of life - something of a problem with leaders that (in a most charitable reading) are thoughtless about who they harm when they speak.

Every community starts with one person - as such, it's tempting to think that these "rockstars" are an inevitable and innate risk. But what if we re-framed the role of a leader - not as a big personality that led from the front, becoming an embodiment of the community they created - but with an expectation that they create communities that quickly outgrow them, and build the processes and institutions that don't need them?

What if we expected all leaders to become quickly unnecessary, before some of them become embedded and toxic?

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Successful trends follow similar paths: first, they’re a competitive advantage for early-adopters—then they become native to everyone who stays in the game. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a forced shift to digital; companies and individuals are learning what digital transformation really means and what “making digital native” looks like. The same will happen to sustainability—in all its forms from environmental, to social, to financial. Sustainability must become native to all businesses and government policy globally—as a part of every decision—from the leadership team to the shop floor.

Sustainability services will be instrumental in making the changes we know we have to make.

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Rapid Technology and scientific advancement are changing our world and COVID 19 is accelerating them. But will everyone benefit from those advancements or will they reinforce or even increase social and economic inequality?

The fall out of these advancements disproportionately impact women, the young, those from Black, Asian and minority groups, disabled people and other marginalised groups.

Join Layla Moran and a diverse expert panel at this Liberal Democrat Women hosted event in collaboration with ALDES , LGBT+ Lib Dems, Young Liberals and LDCRE, exploring how green technology, AI and robotics and advancements in medical science can be part of building a society where nobody is enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

As a Spring Conference Fringe event, attendance is restricted to conference attendees - be sure to register for Conference!

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Nuclear energy has been alternately cast as a beacon of progress and a dangerous villain ever since it was proposed some 90 years ago. It now provides some 10% of the world's electricity needs (and 20% of the UK's) - but debate rages on whether (and how) to use it as part of our drive to meet net-zero carbon emissions.

Join ALDES, experts, and Lord Jonny Oates in revisiting the Lib Dem nuclear position: what numbers underpin “no-new-nuclear”? Does “no-new-nuclear” mean fossil fuels for longer? And given the government’s nuclear agenda, can we ensure they correctly-manage costs and timescales?

As a Spring Conference Fringe event, attendance is restricted to conference attendees - be sure to register for Conference!

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Mental health has been, for far to long, a taboo subject. These days, it’s much easier to talk about the subject, and it’s often in the news and public sphere (unfortunately, too often following a tragedy).

“These days”, politically, is about a decade. Because it’s in that time that Lib Dems in government finally bought Mental Health in from the cold, and now all parties see it as a political priority. Central to that cause, although not alone of course, was Norman Lamb.

Now Sir Norman, Chair of the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and the former Minister of state for Health and Care, will be heading up panel discussion at Spring conference, on Sunday, March 21, at 5.40pm.

The panel will feature more guests (to be announced) and led by Chair of the Liberal Democrat Health & Care Association, Lee Dargue, a long-time advocate of mental health himself. This event is being supported by the great team at ALDES, and you can read their report “Public Mental Health and COVID-19: a compassion based approach to recovery and resilience”.

As a Spring Conference Fringe event, attendance is restricted to conference attendees - be sure to register for Conference!

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