IWF Spring Reception – Margaret Heffernan

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This year's Spring Reception featured our wonderful Janet Cooper OBE in conversation with the inimitable Margaret Heffernan – what a conversation it was. Touching on everything from practical and tangible uses and abuses of data, scenario planning and inclusion through to conceptual and contextual understandings of uncertainty, leadership and love.

Well, Margaret did not actually use the word love, but she spoke with passion about the need to embrace and encourage creativity, interdisciplinarity and open dialogue. She brought us to the edge of our seats when describing how we need to understand, accept and work with uncertainty, how data analytics are only as good as the dataset they are based on, and how we can all flourish again if we remember to be courageous, imaginative and collaborative.

Questions from participants and comments on the Zoom chat brought many examples to life, as assertions were made on the effectiveness of bold scenario planning that goes beyond the numbers and really explores seemingly crazy situations that test the resilience of our systems. Margaret encouraged us to understand the difference between uncertainty and risk, where risk is quantifiable, predictable and possibly mitigatable, while uncertainty is not. Only through recognising that uncertainty is here to stay can we start evolving with it, in ourselves, in our communities and in our wider systems, a topic explored in more detail in Margaret’s book published last year – Uncharted.

Margaret’s motto is “Let’s not play the game, let’s change it”, and this truly inspirational evening with Janet and Margaret simply confirmed to us that we at IWF are the leaders to instigate, push and move that change into being.

Sawsan Khuri

Margaret Heffernan
Margaret Heffernan
Janet Cooper OBE
Janet Cooper OBE