WEDNESDAY 5 OCT 2016 1:39 PM


Join Hassan Butt and Amy Sandys at the Communication Directors' Forum, the most prestigious and unique comms event on the calendar, by following our live blog. Click above to read our latest posts The live blog has now finished, but follow #CDF16 on Twitter for the latest info from this year's forum.

 Thank you to everyone who kept up with our live blog across the three days and nights of the Communication Directors Forum 2016. Employee engagement, Brexit, neuroscience, astronauts, digital leadership and storytelling are just some of the many topics discussed by a plethora of speakers and delegates alike, and a round-up article will shortly be available on the Communicate site. To keep up with the conversation as it still happens, follow @Communicatemag on Twitter, and check out the #CDF16 thread. 

As the #CDF16 begins its voyage back to Southampton, the final day is packed with exciting talks. Here's what we can expect:

  • PR Census 2016: A 'state of the nation' report on the world of PR by Francis Ingham

  • Dr Michael Foale tells us how we too can save the space station in his keynote, kicking off at 12:05

  • Chas Howes talks to us about how to manage external communications and investor relations this evening

  • For live coverage, join the discussion here, or tweet us @Communicatemag


As Foale concludes with a recount of his achievements, the burdens of his responsibilities gave him a sense of humility. His last visit to space after 2003 culminated the breadth of his ascension in the world of space technology. The Curzon theatre applauds.


Foale talks about his meetings with Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and others. 


An amazing vista sits below Foale as the footage continues to show his scaling of the space station, and eventually his landing back on earth.


Talking about complications, Foale tells of how the Russians innovated space missions, tying in politics, culture and how his understanding of foreign space technology helped him grow as a scientist.


Foale could only talk to his wife, Rhonda, for 5 minutes a week. He invented a program to gather messages quicker and help the astronauts communicate with earth.


As Foale floats around in his space gear, the footage shows that his scientific undertakings continued on the space station. Conducting experiments and tests, Foale's scientific intuition persisted throughout his space experiences.


Foale shows the crowd in the Curzon Theatre old footage of his first NASA takeoff, heading to the Mere space station, the footage shows the interiors of spacecrafts.


The cultural shock Foale experienced also told the story of internationalism, learning the difference between regulations, from metric systems to space shuttle systems.


Russians were the enemy, and as Foale remembers the integration that the international space station brought with it, he recalls another world within the depths of space, one of communication.


"That fantastic blue ball," Foale tells us about his first views of earth from the space station.


"Tragedy enlivens humans to do more," As Foale evokes the Christa McAullith accident, his NASA selection captured the essence of perseverance.


Applying to NASA, Foale worked at NASA for three years as a flight controller in Houston before sending off his forms. Rejected twice, his understandings of operations needed to be better.


Foale started scuba diving, there he learned how to handle minor emergencies. Desperate for a sunny location, Foale took his fellow Cambridge University students to Greece, where his first experience of a real operation took place, under the sea.


"You can't just be a dreamer, you have to be able to get there, to operate." Foale talks about operations and how crucial the learning process is.


We know they landed on the moon, but for Foale his journey started with a lot of rejections. "I didn't have the imagination, so focused on physics instead."


Beginning with his life history, the moon landing inspired Foale to chase his dream of flying. Asking the tech team to bring down the lights, the scene is set, "Come on, space is black!"


Dr Michael Foale, astronaut, scientist and inventor returns with his keynote speech, 'You too can save the space station'


Concluding, Van Leeuwen says, "We live in a vibrant world, and if we reinvent how we learn, we can understand the changes this world presents."


"Just because we're winning, it doesn't mean it's a good game." As transparency becomes a new goal, engaging in an emerging global culture of the correct kind of innovation is our brave new world.


Skills to future proof yourself from robotic replacement come in the form of empathy, curiosity, intuition, inspiration and collaboration.


Meaningful innovation needs to be thought out, robots that help us do the things we don't want to do leave the utopian landscape in the clutches of leaders, cognitive systems are in our control.


The quest for the 7-day weekend may arrive sooner than you think, advances in robotics are on the trajectory of full implementation. From robotic lawn mowers to robots that help you build IKEA furniture, will we embrace this technology?


Wonder materials such as graphene have been discovered to have amazing qualities, harder than diamonds yet flexible and dynamic, it can contribute to the innovation of new ideas like electric planes and, if implemented correctly into the human body, can work to hunt down cancer cells.


A renewable energy revolution: new technology such as French-based organisation ITER are in the process of building a small, miniature star right here on earth.


Shrinking the size of micro-processors, nano technology equates computer intelligence with human intelligence. With the super-human race on the rise, the ethics of humanity may need to change.


If you were born in the 1990s, there's a very high chance you'll live beyond 100 years, and as data gathering improves, Van Leeuwen talks about the changing landscape of information.


Immortality, harmony and happiness, these mega-quest are anchored in innovation, as the Zuckerburg's vow to alleviate disease, Van Leeuwen points towards a raising life expectancy and his grandad George, who was told he wouldn't live beyond 40, but lived to 98.


The quest to end disease is also indicative of how we manage innovation, the same goes with poverty, and as sugar becomes more dangerous than gunpowder, Van Leeuwen points toward the changing face of challenges that humanity faces.


Yet Van Leeuwen also asks, "Has innovation gone backwards?" Supersonic flight has ended, humans haven't walked on the moon in a while, yet our dependency on modern technology may hinder our outlook on 'great' innovations.


"The further back you look, the further forward you are able to see," as Van Leeuwen evokes the words of Winston Churchill, reaching back to the golden ages of innovation are often the strongest indicators of how our society is going to change.


Disruptive change, covered briefly by James Longstaff yesterday, is for Van Leeuwen, comparable to a kind of jet lag, or as he puts it, "It's really like having kids, suddenly you're life is different."


Kicking off day 3, futurist Dean Van Leeuwen from tomorrowtoday Global talks about 'The disruptive forces shaping the world right now, and how we should respond.'

Friday, 7 October







Finally, as Karian wraps up, engagement and performance is a two-way street, how we interpret that relationship is a marker for development. "With all this data, a common problem is to forget about the humans behind the data points, so to overcome that, you have to tell the story behind the data."


Should you shelter your employees from bad news? Karian says no, career and development questions have risen in the last nine years, openness and transparency are working levers in a well-oiled machine.


The morning paper effect holds true for data too, with headlines forming a crucial part of disseminating data, the psychology of data is highly important for Karian.


"The truth about honesty in business is that people lie." Karian adds that the quality of data is only as good as the question.


The heat map of team performance in the case study of Aviva indicates that of high performance workers, only one in five intend to leave in the future.


How long do you plan working at your organisation? Karian talks about talent-flying, "Do people really tell the truth in surveys? We've found that those who've said they're going to leave in a year, fifty percent are gone within 10 months."


Constructive criticism can mean not agreeing with someone, "If you feel that there's loads of red tape around you, that's a big driver in the output of work, you get disengaged and step back from the day to day."


Speak up culture has a correlation to safety incidents, an organisation like BP has programs about enforcement and regulations, with data, opportunities can arise to make the correct changes.


Getting down to brass tacks, numbers are important in taking specific engagement action, "Then you can know which factors draw upon a specific type of engagement."


Karian and Box's research has identified colleague population at the Co-Op, getting in touch with HR, K+B have found data they may not have discovered without an integrated view of data.


A simple question can get you a lot of data, for Karian, joining data is about integration. "When you use your clubcard, Tesco is able to track your shopping behaviours, our research is no different."


As Karian links behaviours and engagement, questions arise is-talk regarding Karian and Box's data techniques.


Crowdsourcing is an innovative technique to gain invaluable data, and measuring behaviours during change becomes a key indication for tracking achievements.


Data is key, as the Co-Op shake off the struggles of the last few years, customers shaped the new organisation strategy. "They went out and got the input from tens of thousands of employees and asked them, 'What do you feel about who we are'?


As the room listens keenly, Karian expresses the fundamentals, "There is a link between engagement and performance, but it's not as strong as behaviours, and what underpins both of those is what leaders do."


Overcoming challenges is a tough game, "It's theory light and practice heavy," according to Karian. With case studies from the Co-Op, things get under way.


After a 3 course lunch things are back under way at #CDF16, the next discussion focuses on 'Innovative use of engagement data to build high performance' presented by Ghassan Karian of Karian and Box.


Finally, Foale finished with the necessity for team dynamics. In his post-NASA career, teamwork has been something Foale cherishes, with the chance to speak more tomorrow, Foale ends with the theme of participation as central to selecting the select.


Convincing Russians of America's "big goal" was harder than it seemed, Foale trained astronauts with techniques such as camping trips to establish comradeship. Teaching self-care, followership and discipline, Foale's approach with international engagement was a success.


Communication is often taken care of at macro level, and with American patriotism so strong, Foale's communications challenge to bring together the U.S. and Russia was much more personal.


Foale asks the question with the topic of Brexit, "How do you manage your talent?"


Talking history, with the dismantling of the Soviet Union, a process of unity led to the construction of the international space station. From the NASA astronaut point of view, Foale talks about mingling with Russians, not knowing the language and having to train astronauts internationally.



Beginning the training sessions, Foale talks about an anecdote of volleyball and how the introduction of sports in the early stages of the process helps bring out characters.


Foale was the youngest in his group at the age of 30, talking about psychology safety, gaining a balance between 'leadership and followership'


Foale talks about the fear he had when having to make a decision on his own, "I was terrified, but it was a real test of my own innovation."



The room suspects that a team has to have the correct individuals, Foale agrees, "The worse thing is unpredictability. Here's where disciplined innovation comes in, we say, 'Houston, we have a problem,' they respond, but if it doesn't work, the team has to come up with the answer.


Are the attributes of an astronaut similar to those of a leader? Foale draws upon the career of his father, and even in his own journey, how he just wanted to be a pilot.


Foale opens up for questions early, "what should the criteria be for selecting an astronaut in your company?"


Foale was rejected twice from NASA campaigns, his final application was more humbled, "I was getting married, they asked me again, what will you do if not selected? This time I said, I might leave and start my own space company. For some reason after that, they selected me."


After a fatal NASA accident, Foale talks about how after Christa McAuliffe's accident there were more applicants for the NASA space program.


Now selecting NASA applicants, Foale talks about the political visibility of NASA; representation, equal opportunities and the overall trauma of the process, "They ask you at the end of the interview: what will you do if you are not selected to be a NASA astronaut? That was a very important question."


Foale talks about his first rejection from NASA, "There were 10 pages of applications, medical tests, an FBI check, there was a military element to the NASA process."


"There were things that Richard Branson just didn't understand, and he was putting a lot of money into this." Foale talks about the commercialisation of space travel, with both successful and unsuccessful applications.


Clad in his dark blue NASA overalls, Michael Foale, astronaut and scientist, talks about selecting the select - approaches and strategies to recruit and manage talent. This small session in the Uganda room is a taster for Foale's larger keynote tomorrow.

Finally, Longstaff asks the question, "How well does your management understand the themes we've discussed?"

Success is driven by culture, sharing knowledge within your organisation will help you create that culture. Longstaff and Vestra hold Lunch & Learn sessions, outside speakers, tech demos and conferences.

Aligning innovation with strategy is key, Longstaff proposed a core, adjacent and transformational model, managing innovation as an integrated whole.

Failing to understand a market is a crucial mistake, Longstaff tells about Segway's focus on consumers being the wrong direction as opposed to warehouses and the industrial landscape.

From creating value to capturing value, strategy is key. Definitions of strategy can be hard, but for Longstaff, "optimal configuration of resources is key."

Not all disruptive innovators succeed, overreacting to a perceived threat can be counterproductive, Longstaff asks, "where do you fit in?"

"Incumbents focus on existing clients" - and as strong competition comes through, Longstaff tells us about how to respond to the waves of innovation

Longstaff'a fears for the future of Vestra come from the disruptive trajectories of companies like Wealthfront, financial services have to rely on the digital, mobile landscape

Netflix is the real example of a disruptive innovator. Remember the days of postal DVD's? Longstaff talks about the journey from film buffs to blockbusting superiority

What about the ultra-innovative model? Although we think Uber and Tesla are 'disruptive', it's addressing markets already well served by incumbents


What is disruptive innovation? Definitely not the Adobe's of the software world, in fact, according to Longstaff, it starts small and "grows into a beast", think Uber, Netflix

Remember PC's? Longstaff takes us back to 2007 when the smartphone boom rendered the laptop secondary hardware in the digital world

First discussion of the day, James Longstaff from LGT Vestra LLP tells us about digital innovations in a disruptive world

After a slightly choppy night on the Aurora, Communicate magazine are all set up in the Sindhu lounge, here at #CDF16, stay tuned for live updates


6 October


Finally, a question from a member of Moorfield's Eye Hospital asks about key workers to the health sector. "You guys need to go out and make that argument, you need to say these are the kinds of people we're recruiting and this is where we need them from," Hannan says.


How about the recent party conference? The tone of the last three days has been insular from the Conservatives, states one keen questioner. Hannan talks about the motivations of leave voters, "No one voted leave because we didn't want doctors coming over. It was the under-skilled migration that worried them."


What about technology? Key sectors like software, intelligence and even education may suffer. Hannan thinks it'll be easier to flood such sectors with talent.


Disagreeing jitters sweep over the room. Questions regarding sub-Saharan Africa and Hannan's rallying of the Brexit cause stir a number of stern questions.


Do you think a Brexit voter could name MEPs? "There were good and bad arguments. The main driver was the democratic case," Hannan says. "A huge result in the exit polls indicated towards decisions being made in the United Kingdom."


On the Chinese front, Hannan believes we could have a successful set of arrangements regarding services. He says, "Eighty plus percent of our economy is services."


Hannan talks about the 48%, "If you voted against it, you were opposite all those things. They built a character of leave voters."


Why were we so shocked about the result? Hannan says, "It's human nature to see what you want. We struggle to understand disagreement in a situation like this. The top issue was sovereignty."


Hannan's insights come to an end, as the floor opens up for questions. The first subject is a second EU referendum.


Bets are on. Hannan says, "I'd be a pound to a euro. In years to come, we'll look back and be glad we made the decision."


Hannan appeals for long-term thinking, "We can be the Singapore to the EU's Malaysia."


Time to think about the good things from Brexit, Hannan says. Economic growth needs our involvement whether it's a hard or a soft Brexit.


Hannan on bad business models, "We will need lower, and flatter, and simpler taxes. We will need to streamline our benefits system if we want people working."


Here's something to chew on: in the last 20 years, Britain's corporate regulations have led to the number of new banks opening being minimal. Hannan talks about a pointless EU exit if these principles are maintained.


On free-trade deals, Hannan tells communicators that, "Free trade isn't just about buying new shirts, it's the ultimate alleviation to poverty."


Heads up Guernsey, the Channel Islands have tariff-free access to the single market, a model for Britain's future, according to Hannan.


With lapses in a nationwide dialogue, Hannan tackles the difficult discussion of the freedom of movement. He says, "Abut 70,000 EU nationals come here without work, to look for work."


Evoking the not-too-distant memory of the Scottish referendum, Hannan talks about communicating a message, "We have to acknowledge what the mandate actually was."


Black Wednesday, devaluations and the death throws of the pound sterling. Hannan elaborates on the lead-up to Britain's big decision.


We're under way with the first talk of the #CDF16. As post-Brexit blues loom, Hannan makes things clear, "It's become such a slogan that even my daughter this morning said, 'Daddy, breakfast means breakfast!'"


The room is filling up on board the Aurora. Fully equipped with a Curzon theatre, the stage awaits


Kicking things off at #CDF16, Daniel Hannan, Conservative MEP, begins the keynote address with 'Brexit: Uncharted Territory, where to now?'


5 October

Page will not update automatically.