Squaring The Circle?

by ROBERT PHILLIPS on May 16, 2011 • 9:28 am2 Comments
I am often asked how I can ‘justify’ my (senior) position within one of the world’s largest Public Relations firms, with my impassioned views on citizenship and society. I have long held the belief not only that it is a crass falsehood to see PR as a perpetrator of evil but also that the communications industry is uniquely positioned to help lead the transition towards a fairer, more equal, more open, more democratic – and, ultimately, more responsible world. The first version of Citizen Renaissance placed considerable emphasis on this and, if anything, the rapid acceleration and adoption of digital in the past three years since publication has made the centrality of communications more vital, if anything, not less.

The time has come for those who sneer and those who see conspiracies that do not exist to set aside their historic prejudices and relentless negativity. We need to embrace a more positive and optimistic worldview, if we are to crawl away from the current crises and to properly transition to an altogether happier and healthier state. The PR profession needs to find new ways of being, for sure – to genuinely advance shared interests – just as other industries and professions need to do likewise. I would like to think that a number of us are already showing the way and that we can become the change. We are all far from perfect – but, as the aphorism goes, every thousand mile journey must start with a single step.

My thoughts on this, from the Think 2011 conference in London on 12 May, can be found here.

The message is simple: PR can – and should – take its place at the vanguard of the peaceful revolution. Transition and Transformation will take us there.

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Citizen Renaissance was conceived by Jules Peck and Robert Phillips in the spring of 2008 – on the eve of the global economic crisis and before The Big Society had really seen the light of day. Originally published as a wiki, Citizen Renaissance explores the collision of the three seismic shifts of our time: the perfect storm surrounding Climate Change; the Wellbeing Imperative; and the axiomatic rise of Digital Democracy. At its heart lies a call for more citizen-centric thinking and behaviour and an end to the global imbalance of Wants & Needs. Citizen Renaissance continues today as a forum for thought; a platform for the exchange of ideas; and as a collaborative project that seeks to develop a Manifesto for Change.
Jules Peck was Director of David Cameron’s Quality of Life Policy Group, advising the Conservative Party on wellbeing and environment issues.
Robert Phillips is the CEO of Edelman EMEA. Although a committed workaholic and Manchester United fan, Robert is still determined to change the world in his spare time.
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