IABC UK Summer Drinks & AGM

Wednesday 27th June, 6-8pm at The Madano Partnership

We would like to invite you to join us for the IABC UK Chapter AGM, where we’ll give a rundown of the past year’s activities and share our plans for the year ahead. 

This is a great evening to meet up with fellow IABC members and friends – fingers crossed for fine weather so that we can enjoy the spectacular City views from Madano’s roof terrace.

We hope to see you there.

Please register here.

Building and running your own business

NHS, Lower Marsh, 13 March, 2018

IABC UK piloted a new approach to learning using an Ideas Exchange to explore issues about building and running your own business.  A wide ranging group including experienced business people, in-house professionals, interim consultants and students from the London College of Communication met to debate topics that concerned them including:

  • What are the key things to create, maintain and sustain a great professional reputation?
  • What approaches do people take to building and using networks that add value to the network and help develop business?
  • What should you charge for your services?
  • Is time the right basis for charging for your services?

The format meant everybody learned from each other in small and then a larger group.  David Gifford from Inscript Design helped capture some visual notes from the session.   Everybody thought the event had provided value, had been a good use of their time and had helped them understand more about how to build their business.  On key objectives for IABC:

  • 89% thought the Ideas Exchange helped people connect with other communicators
  • 78% thought the event had helped develop their skills

So, a good evening all round and a great set of visual notes to capture the discussion for those who were there, and a teaser for those who could not make it!  We will use the format of the Ideas Exchange again as it worked well.  Thanks to Tim Hart and the NHS for hosting!

Mike Pounsford

IABC UK President 2017 – 2018

IABC UK event on 25 April: Improvisational Storytelling, University of Leeds





After a successful event by Paul Z Jackson on Improvisation in Storytelling in February, for the benefit of members outside of London, we’re delighted that Paul will be running another session on this topic at the University of Leeds Business School on 25th April. More than 100 people attended our last IABC event in Leeds and we are expecting places to go quickly for this event too.


After a Q&A session with Paul, there will also be a chance to network with communication industry colleagues. Thank you to our friends at the University of Leeds for generously hosting and organising this event.


If you would like to come along, register here:


A year in summary


Tessa O’Neill’s speech at IABC UK Annual General Meeting of 30 June

As I acknowledged in my acceptance speech in June 2014, I knew this would be a year of transition and change. It almost felt like the best we might achieve in this term was to maintain an even keel until the real developments took place later this year.

But I was keen to push for innovation in our board to set some foundations for novel work that would, in line with our new brand offering, best represent IABC in the 21st century.

So our aim as a board was to create excitement around IABC, grow our network, encourage greater participation and demonstrate exceptional value of membership.


Our Board

The IABC board comprises expert communicators, with day jobs and most importantly with personal lives that should always take precedence over any volunteering activity.

So it’s often a challenge to give your all to something that can only be supported in your spare time – especially as there’s less and less of that nowadays!

But I have been hugely impressed this year by the dedication of all our board members and, particularly, by those who took their roles extremely seriously and delivered over and above what was expected. And special mention must go to Susan Walker, Dana Poole & Kira Scharwey for their exceptional work on events, digital marketing and membership respectively.

I’ve really enjoyed working with the team this year; it’s been a huge honour, and a steep and fulfilling learning curve. So I’d like to pause and ask all our board to stand up so we can give them a big round of applause.

Thank you! So on to our update…


Historically maintaining healthy membership has always been a challenge and increasingly so for all associations.

But, despite a slow start, overall membership has actually risen year-on-year by a not inconsiderable 70 percent. This is chiefly due to recent student sign-ups from Bournemouth University and London College of Communications (LCC).

And we are working with Bournemouth to maximise IABC’s engagement with student members (via a student representative and potential sub-committee of students who will promote IABC internally).

We also saw great success in increasing renewals during Member Month. Board members divided up the chapter’s list of lapsed members and personally contacted each of them. A bit of Nudge theory in practice!


The mentorship programme is becoming a USP for the chapter. It has been the main draw for greater student membership.

We currently have 12 mentors and as many mentees, with potentially 100 additional mentees joining the programme from LCC and Bournemouth over the next year.


We have introduced a time-limited “wave” approach to deal with the increased number of mentees. And we also hope to increase mentor numbers accordingly; offering web-based training to more experienced members.

We also signed up our first two regional mentors this year. A good way to engage established members outside the SouthEast who sometimes might feel like members-at-large.


While very much an exploratory year for Regional, it has not been without results.

We held our very first regional event – and webcast – with the South West Corporate Communicators (SWCC) in Bath in October 2014. It featured IABC’s very own Shel Holz as keynote and more than 20 people attended. Interest continues to grow.

Looking ahead, we are planning further events for 2015-16 in Bristol and Bournemouth.

We have also worked to engage members in Sheffield, South Wales, and Leeds over the coming months. So more opportunities to expand our organisation nationally.

We are in discussions with Leeds University about enrolling more than 50 students and promoting IABC to a further 200 students at the university, together with corporate members and communications professionals in the local area.

Read more

Overcome barriers to innovation with Disruptive Thinking

This is a summary of our recent event – Overcoming Barriers to Innovation, where we talked about disruptive thinking.

As communications professionals, we often see innovation as happening elsewhere – ideas and initiatives created by other teams or outsourced to agencies rather than bringing creativity into their everyday workplace. IABC UK members, friends and guests came together in Circus Communications’ gallery on Tuesday to change this and to disrupt our own thinking.


UK chapter president Tessa O’Neill opened the panel debate offering three messages communicators should keep in mind to overcome barriers to innovation:

  • the communications function is primed to innovate because it’s in a privileged situation of having oversight about so many internal and external stakeholders
  • innovation provides an opportunity for communications to take leadership
  • innovation allows communications to be creative

Moderated by Circus Communications’ Louise Barfield, the high-profile panel kicked off the debate.

The IABC’s own punk rocker and communications consultant Ezri Carlebach set the motto for the discussion by highlighting what innovation and punk rock have in common: they want to provoke a reaction – “punk did more to invigorate the UK economy than Margaret Thatcher and her deregulation policies”.

Dik Veenman, founder of The Right Conversation, reminded us that innovation exists in all organisations but that it is too often processed out in a rush to judgment.

Gorkan Ahmetoglu, business and consumer psychologist and Director of Digital Enterprise at Goldsmiths College, approached the topic from a psychology angle and shared his insight into the environment that influences innovation and creativity: “It is a problem for innovation when failed ideas are not rewarded or even punished. Leadership values that encourage creative thinking are needed“.

Cesar Lastra, innovation expert and international speaker, chimed in and emphasised the importance of creating a culture of belief and strategy that allows innovation to happen – “ innovation isn’t a job description, it’s a culture”.

Consequently, three themes emerged as the keys to innovation: People, Environment they are working in, and How we talk to each other within that environment.

Panelists and the audience bounced ideas off each other in an engaging debate discussing where innovation came from.
Great quotes of the day:

  • “100 years ago innovation was called art”
  • “before it was called innovation, it was called muse”

The speakers agreed that something is innovative only if it creates something new and adds value, and wondered whether the introduction of KPIs and other measurement killed innovation. Knowing your purpose and what you are good at was also deemed important to identify which kind of innovation will drive your business forward.

Cesar Lastra: “don’t act as if you have to be the next Apple

Time flew by and over a final glass of wine and some snacks everyone agreed that communicators are indeed in a prime position to drive innovation and should continue to work to overcome the barriers to innovation and creativity and place them at the heart of communications.

View pictures from the event on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/iabcuk/


A big Thank You goes to all speakers and the IABC UK team for organising this inspiring event.

Kristin Heume

Article written by Kristin Heume
LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/kristinheume/en
Twitter: @kheume



Check our Twitter feed during the event via #innochat @iabcuk



Our panel of speakers:

Cesar Lastra – Innovation expert and international speaker. Cesar Lastra is a London-based independent consultant who has been based in the US, Latin America and Europe in FMCG and agency roles, from where he has developed a unique expertise combining strategy, insights, marketing capability and ideation.

Dik Veenman – Founder of The Right Conversation and expert in dialogue and effective team conversations, including brainstorms. Dik has 20 years experience as a communication consultant, including MD of pioneering internal communication agency Smythe Dorward Lambert in the 1990’s. He is a qualified Executive Coach and has extensive experience of enabling conversations at all levels for a wide range of organisations in many different geographies. Dik has an MBA from London Business School and a degree in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College. In his spare time he mentors troubled teenagers.

Ezri Carlebach – Innovation consultant, writer and lecturer. Watch a story-telling workshop video conducted by Ezri.

Gorkan Ahmetoglu – Business and consumer psychologist and Director of Digital Enterprise at Goldsmiths College. Gorkan’s pioneering research on Entrepreneurship was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, and he is also active in the areas of leadership, behavioural economics, and consumer psychology. Despite his relatively short academic career, Gorkan has already published numerous research articles in scientific journals, and his first book, Personality 101, will be published later this year. Gorkan is an associate of Harvard’s Entrepreneurial Finance Lab.