Be kind: your business depends on it – Faith Popcorn, Jon Foster-Pedley

Covid-enforced rules of engagement have given us all rare glimpses into other people’s lives that otherwise would have been unlikely. This week I was fortunate to spend a pleasurable hour on Zoom in the company of characterful world-leading futurist Faith Popcorn and the highly personable Dean Jon Foster-Pedley, director of the Henley Business School Africa.

The conversation focused on happiness and kindness, which Popcorn – whose strategies have underpinned many game-changing innovations for businesses over four decades – has identified as an essential attribute for brands to project. The alternative: customers will turn to those who show they genuinely care about the world and others, said the expert who has been described as the Nostradamus of marketing.

Popcorn, with a trendy scarlet-red short hair cut, was at a desk with a Picasso-style sketch produced by a friend on the wall behind her, in New York. We connected with Foster-Pedley, who was under a thatch roof at his home office, in Johannesburg.

In keeping with the theme, we were very kind to each other. We got to say hello to Foster-Pedley’s domestic worker, who made a cameo appearance. Popcorn revealed that she is working on a rap with SA rocker Karen Zoid – this, because Zoid has ‘kindly’ offered to teach her to write a song.

The Popcorn Report author and trends forecaster said she’d be happy to chat to BizNews again; next time the topic may not be so kind, but it is sure to be engaging. We might pick up more on SA-born tech pioneer Elon Musk, whose vision of the future has the world making plans for humans to go to Mars, among his many other inventions.

For a bit of fun and a reminder of the importance of kindness, listen to the conversation with Popcorn and Foster-Pedley here.

PS: Not being kind enough is McKinsey. Transnet rejected its offer of R650m for state capture. It says McKinsey owes SA taxpayers well over R1bn. Transnet’s response has a feeling of déjà vu, with SA business leaders baying for blood in 2018. Listen to this report by BizNews founder Alec Hogg: McKinsey mea culpa for corruption bombs, like it did in 2018. SA leaders roast CEO. LISTEN!

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