blacc as a business is already causing a stir, and not just for starting sentences without a capital letter. Who are they? What do they do? Why now? What makes them tick? Will they put me out of business? Will they offer me a job?
I have the privilege of chairing this young company, so here’s why I got involved and what I think blacc has to offer both the market and our public realm. It’s early days, and we wish to be judged on our collective actions rather my words, but let’s get this conversation started.
One of my favourite quotes about the nature of change is from Margaret Mead, the American post-war cultural anthropologist: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” In my view, this applies as much to the world of commerce as to social or political change, and these fields of human activity are of course closely inter-connected anyway. It is true that just a few people can effect enormous change for the benefit of the many. Here at blacc, that’s what we’re all about.
The intellectual and professional engine room of blacc is four hugely talented and experienced individuals. Together, they have created a new vehicle for tackling commercial challenges through the leadership of ideas. Initially, our two main areas of activity are bespoke construction management (creating new buildings, homes and public spaces) and project leadership (including the staging of international events, which is now a booming global business). The timing is auspicious, both because new technologies have reached a level of sophistication to disrupt our sector, and because of the deep discontent with tired, traditional industry practices.
Certainly, the collapse of Carillion intensified the need to see our sector shaken up. As a business, blacc was well underway before this shady giant’s demise, but it hammered home the failings of the status quo. blacc aspires to be the antithesis of Carillion. Carillion went bust by doing bad and proved itself unsustainable in every sense of the word. Sure, our team intend to be highly successful commercially yet we share a commitment to do well by doing good.
I’ve been fortunate to enjoy a very varied career across the business, government and charity sectors and to have had over a decade of senior non-executive experience. More pertinently, I’ve been involved in new ventures before, including the one that is my day job now (the multi-award winning, Manchester-based education charity, The Tutor Trust). I have an extremely low boredom threshold and am always on the lookout for further stimulating and worthwhile projects to get stuck into. In essence, three things attracted me to chair this company:
First, the spirit of collaboration, trust and innovation among the four founders of blacc and their shared commitment to transcend and transform the industry status quo. For individuals with such a depth and breadth of experience there is a remarkable freshness of vision and purpose. It’s compelling and exciting. And they are also a fun bunch.
Second, the potential of digital and other technologies, in the right hands, to power new ways of serving clients and the wider public. Currently in our sector, technology is woefully underemployed. A combination of vested interests, oppressive inertia and sheer ignorance means that multiple opportunities to save time, money and the planet are missed. blacc will cut through the nonsense and show just how bloody brilliant a servant these technologies can be. If you get the leadership of ideas right, then the right technologies will follow.
Third, the founders have a set of values that ring true to me and that also seem to be much-needed in our sector, to rebuild public trust and to achieve sustainability. We’ll have more to say on this later this year, yet we’re all agreed that trying to do the right thing in business is an asset not a liability.
So, that’s why I’m loving being part of the blacc adventure. This is just the beginning and we’re keen to hear from others and to collaborate with others. This is a conversation that is just getting started. Join us, and keep your eyes peeled for further blogs about some of the projects we’re already leading.