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Studying epochs and industrial revolutions, and giving lectures on innovation to business people, I noticed some common traits that distinguished successful societies and states form unsuccessful ones. This observation fascinated me and inspired me to conduct a more detailed investigation. Further examination showed that in all historical periods the differences manifested themselves in four integrated elements: knowledge, systems for ‘embedding’ the knowledge into society, labour management, and money circulation.

The more I pondered, the more closely I studied the various remarkable historical facts and analysed the ideas of prominent scientists, the more question arose. How did we happen to come here, to our planet Earth, at all? At what point of our development are we now? In the process of gathering information, accumulating and analysing knowledge, and correlating scientific and historical facts with hypotheses and ideas put forward by philosophers of both antiquity and modernity, a unified logical system was gradually forming in my mind, which I have set out on the pages of Humanity’s Lucky Clover. On the basis of the system lies a model for assessing the success of development of this or that society based on analysis of the four above-mentioned elements: knowledge, society, business and wealth. I called it a Lucky Clover model.

Our Lucky Clover model is based on innovation cycles that rest on four elements that can be compared with the four leaves, because it is growing and evolving.

  • Science as a source of discoveries and inventions;
  • Society as the recipient and custodian of newly created goods; changing society determines the content and form of wealth at any given moment;
  • Business practices (entrepreneurs who set up ‘innovative charges’);
  • Wealth (capital, the material basis).

To have a successful innovation cycle, it is required that all four of its key elements – knowledge, society, business, and finance – successfully interact with each other and develop consistently. In other words, just as in nature, a plant can be considered health if the development of all of its leaves match each other agreeably. A healthy organism of this sort is a ‘lucky clover’.

However, any organism must fade after the flowering phase. This means that a new lucky clover must take root and emerge somewhere else.

The first leaf, knowledge, enables us to understand how the world works, and helps us to get new knowledge. Innovations are needed to ensure that new scientific knowledge is converted into production opportunities and brings commercial profit. With the arrival of profit, production grows, and as a consequence, so does people’s wellbeing. Innovation is closely associated with invention, with new ideas or methods, because it implies their practical application.

But knowledge alone is not enough, since it does not work on its own. To make proper use of it, high-quality human resources are needed, created in the presence of developed and well-functioning social institutions in society. Therefore, society is the second leaf of the lucky clover.

Human society is characterised by interaction between its individual members and group within social institutions. As it has been observed, there is a stable relationship between the density of settlements and the intensity of innovation-based growth. A greater population concentration expands the boundaries of the possible for brilliant minds that are able to generate remarkable ideas. The interaction between such minds increases the probability of useful discoveries being made and disseminated among the general public. It is exactly this that makes modern global market society valuable.

An invention is the creation or realization of an idea. Inventions are always plentiful, but not all of them come to be used in practice, and not all of them produce surplus product in the economy and provide added value. Some people must take this risk of implementing innovation. These people are entrepreneurs, people who form a special class, without whom the scheme does not work, and the clover does not blossom. Business is another leaf of the lucky clover.

The fourth leaf of the lucky clover is wealth or money, an element that brings into focus the interesting question about the measure to be used to evaluate the success of innovation. In modern economic theory, this measure is economic benefit, which performs the function of maximizing shareholder’s means, and also serves to achieve a satisfactory level of economic development (featuring sustainable annual growth, an acceptable level of unemployment, etc.) on the macroeconomic level. Different organisms have different survival strategies, but the main result must be continuation of life in a particular environment. If you want to survive, you will have to adapt. In the Lucky Clover model, money works as a kind of ‘amplifier’ by making it possible to obtain and combine resources to produce new knowledge and successfully take commercialized inventions to the next development cycle.

But not only the Lucky Clover model helps us to analyse the past, it gives us an opportunity to try to look ahead and think about what awaits us in the future, what our society will be like, what will surround us and make part of our everyday life, what will the next innovation cycle be about, and where mankind’s demographic development curve will go. It could be a link that gives us a hand to generalize our ideas about the past and take a look beyond the horizon.

Vadim Makhov has a PhD in Economics, and is a well-known entrepreneur and expert innovator. He has taken an active part in many innovative projects carried out by various Russian and foreign companies, and initiated the development of many new products. He founded the Bard Worldwide Investment Fund, which is concerned with the development of future technologies.

Strategy is a much-abused subject.

An online search of the word alone produces over 93 million references.

A similar search on a popular retail site shows that there are over 120,000 books written about it.

So, there is no shortage of opinion on the topic, but are they any help?

How many times have you bought an earnest book on strategy and not finished it because it was too long-winded?

A good strategy needs to be short, clear, and easy to understand.

Smart, and original if possible.

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Babies laugh on average 400 times a day. Once you get to over 35 this has dropped to 15 a day – and, a recent US Gallup poll showed, we laugh less on a weekday than a weekend. Is this because we are at work and so often work is not fun?   Is humour something that is no longer relevant in a politicised workplace? Or should leaders be thinking about the role of humour in their organisation culture and in their approach?

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How many people do you know who’ve done a comedy course and dream of ditching their current job to become a stand-up?  Comedy continues to be massively popular with audiences however the road to fame can be a hard one for comics.

Undoubtedly it’s a challenge for anyone but the very top acts to make a living. It’s great that someone like Bo Burnham can go from YouTube recordings to sell-out shows, but giving comedy away for free online isn’t sustainable for most comics.

So, where does the future of comedy lie? Will there be a dearth of diversity as only the ‘panel-show’-worthy survive? Or will breakthrough comedians catering to a wider range of tastes find their audience with the launch of new online comedy platforms?

 New Audiences

Firstly, we predict that niche online streaming services, such as NextUp Comedy, will draw in new audiences who wouldn’t previously have considered themselves ‘comedy fans’. The online space doesn’t have the same barriers to entry as traditional comedy clubs which have had a reputation as stomping grounds for stag dos and groups of raucous friends egging each other on to heckle.

Watching comedy online is more flexible – people can do it in their own time, wearing pants (if that’s their thing). They can also take the risk of watching someone new without the humiliation of walking out of the room. This way they can discover new favourites that they will pay to see in person.  As a result the ability to stream comedy will bring bigger and more wide ranging audiences into live comedy venues.  That must be good news for the career-changing comedian!

Making a Living

Online video also provides greater longevity of individual shows for comedians. Imagine writing a full hour of carefully crafted material only to have it disappear after a month in Edinburgh. With much easier access to great camera equipment, when their shows are captured and preserved, new comedians will have a better chance of building an audience of fans, creating a new revenue stream, and developing a long-term comedy career.

 Enhancing Creativity

With greater career chances for new comedians we will see a broader range of comedy. Giving airtime to a new ‘out there’ comedian in a club can be a risky move, and this caution has also been playing out on TV, where jokes that are considered potentially offensive or borderline are being edited out.

A favourite quote of mine is from the legendry comic George Carlin who said “’I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.” A lot of people yearn for comedy that pushes boundaries. We see it time and time again, with comedians like Bill Hicks and Frankie Boyle; pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable helps people laugh at the harsh realities of life.

By establishing online comedy as a major platform, viewers will have a choice over what comedy they watch and comedians (like you?) can be their true, unedited selves. Hopefully, this will contribute to a new golden age of comedy, where creativity and diversity are highly-valued.

 See you on the The Comedy Stage?

Live comedy will always have a special place in the nation’s heart and since comedians like Michael McIntyre are filling huge arenas, there’s no reason why comics won’t become the headline acts at big arts-focussed festivals like Glastonbury. Festivals such as Bestival and Latitude already have dedicated comedy tents and are attracting big name comedians.

The idea of a specialist comedy festival, in the same way we have music festivals (in fields with tents etc.), may not quite work. However, I think the dominance of comedy at mixed arts festivals like the Edinburgh Fringe will lead to more cities hosting comedy festivals where they can utilise clubs, pubs, libraries and other community spaces as venues.

We already see this happening in Brighton and at the Camden Fringe. They may currently be only 10% of the size of Edinburgh but they have the potential to grow significantly.  There are other places that could serve as great city-venues. How about Bristol?

 Making use of technological innovation

Technology will help comedians spread their material further, but it could also change the very nature of their acts. Using props, sound and lighting, comedians already transport viewers into different worlds, whether it’s a childhood flashback or a surreal post-apocalyptic sketch. As VR, AI and augmented reality become cheaper and more accessible, I can imagine comedians using these technologies to transport the audience even further into their weird and wonderful minds.

So, far from technology leading to a dearth of creative comedy, I am optimistic that technology will 1) help give more new comedians a chance to succeed by putting them in front of wider audiences and creating a revenue stream; and 2) help comedians further engage their audience, find new fans, mix things up a little. With this comics can find their niche and continue to serve an important purpose in culture and society. And with everything that’s been happening in the world recently, we need more of you to give this a go!



SARAH HENLEY is co-founder of NextUp, a worldwide subscription video-on-demand platform specialising in stand-up specials. NextUp, described as is ‘The Netflix of UK Stand-Up’ (engadget), showcases the full spectrum of the live comedy circuit from sketch, character and storytellers, to gag merchants, observationalists and surrealists. As well as familiar household names, there are also acclaimed rising stars and circuit legends for you to discover.


NextUp members have access to recording tickets and exclusive discounts whilst comedians are supported through a 50/50 revenue share model. If you’re a comedian interested in being on NextUp, please get in touch.







Identifying well-defined behavioural patterns in the work­place may not be easy.

At least not with those that have the biggest potential to improve wellbeing and performance.

For this rea­son, it’s important to look at the discrete, individual level of habits. By empowering people with a knowledge of how to either build new positive habits, or stop a more damaging one in its tracks, we may help build high-performing teams.

We believe habits to be a source of untapped potential for an organization.

As human beings we like habits. They represent the known, give us control, and help us save energy and deal with stress.

Although we may perceive certain behaviour as good or bad in others, it is not always so clear-cut for ourselves. When we create a habit the brain stops participating fully in the decision-making process, and doesn’t distinguish between good and bad habits.

So what are the tactics that help us take a step back, to first identify the good and bad behavioural patterns in our own lives and teams, and have a better chance of changing them?

We have developed the 7S model, comprised of seven behaviour ‘hacks’.

Inspired by Covey, the following elements are the seven hacks of highly effective habits. They are the result of a decade of executive teaching and research.

  1. Small

The typical approach to change is that of a significant effort towards achieving an ambitious goal. By definition, this significant effort is deployed now and again, which may or may not lead to success. Yet a much smaller (and therefore more sustainable) effort on a daily basis is likely to yield a greater benefit. Daily implementation is key.

Making it small also increases the chances of creating a new habit, since it gains ‘automaticity’ in less time. Researchers at University College London found the amount of time for behaviours of vary­ing complexity to become automatic ranged from 18 to 254 days. For example, creating the habit of drinking a glass of water took much less time than doing 50 sit-ups, with the authors finding a plateau to be reached, on average, after 66 days.

  1. Specific

Setting SMART (specific, measurable, agreed-upon, realistic, time-based) objectives helps to achieve professional targets and the same detail-oriented approach can help on a personal level.

Set a finish line. Rather than making an open commitment to always take the staircase, start with a commitment to always take the staircase for the remainder of the month. Achieving your objective will give you the motivation to keep going.

Given the daily approach, another key detail is when in the day you will commit to the change – try and fix the same time each day.

  1. Supported

Support your new action by placing it next to an existing one. Triggers give us a broader view of the behaviour and make it easier to implement, or displace, through considering the habit loop. A cue or signal exists before the habit, which then produces a reward. Rather than focusing on the behaviour itself, can you change the cue or reward?

Considering the habit loop in its entirety also shifts the focus from the ‘hard’ routine to the much easier cue. Once we enter into the process we’re committed to follow-through.

  1. Shared

Share your change with your family, with your friends, or with your boss. Sharing your change makes you accounta­ble. And we all need to be held accountable.

In the workplace, adding ‘bottom-up’ to the usual ‘top-down’ accountability has much potential. Leaders are often gauged on their credibility by matching their actions to their words. By sharing your own critical behaviours with your team you are creating a healthy pressure to follow through.

  1. Streak

Tracking the completion, or absence, of a certain behaviour over time creates a chain.

This logic is used in many apps today. For example, one may achieve special badges for maintaining a streak of daily practice such as meditation. If you have a bad day after 150 days of completing the same practice and the last thing on your mind is meditation, the simple fact of having completed 150 days will probably get you over the line to complete 151.

An extreme example comes from the former British Olympic marathon run­ner Ron Hill. In January of 2017, at age 78, he brought to an end 19,032 consecutive days of running at least one mile. Again, we may imagine that on many occasions during those 52-plus years he may not have wanted to run, with the power of the streak the only thing of relevance. While running sick and with chest pains on the final day of the streak he felt it unfair on his family to con­tinue, so decided to bring the streak to an end.

  1. Surroundings

In an increasingly digital world, the physical environment matters more than ever. It is a powerful determinant of our behaviour.

Consider, for example, your home environment and a com­mitment to completing morning yoga. One of the keys to building this into the daily routine would be to have the yoga mat in plain view. That way, rather than blearily fetching coffee as part of your daily stumble out of bed, unfurling that mat is a more natural part of the daily flow. It’s a similar, even simpler principle to that of laying out your workout clothes the night before an early-morning training session.

At work, simple changes could include a standing desk, new vend­ing machine content, or changes to the staircase in order to make it more inviting. We can all think about redesigning our surroundings to support behaviour change and nudge ourselves and our teams to implement the critical few behaviours that support an improved culture.

  1. Social

What we often perceive to be our own behaviours are due to the influence of our family, friends and colleagues. Thinking of our social environment will allow us greater insight to the habit-hacking process. Think of who you spend time with, both personally and professionally. Who are the people that will help you most in the formative stages of a new behaviour?

We may also think of our leadership activity and the design of teams. Research has shown the positive impact of placing a poor performer next to a high performer, with positive ‘spillovers’ created in terms of productivity, effectiveness and client satisfac­tion with the work. The research suggests pairing employees with opposite strengths, as well as separating toxic workers.

Are all 7Ss to be employed in every case? Probably not. That is part of the habit-hacking process: finding out which ones are most important for you to gain traction in behaviour change, either to create and sustain a new healthy habit, or stop a more negative one in its tracks.


About the authors

Steven P. MacGregor and Rory Simpson are the authors of Chief Wellbeing Officer.

 Steven is the founder of The Leadership Academy of Barcelona with recent clients including McKinsey, Salesforce and Santander. Rory is the Chief Learning Officer at Telefónica, and formerly Associate Dean of London Business School. He has delivered leadership seminars in over 25 countries from China to Iran and Chile.

Like listening, as opposed to speaking.

Like failure, as opposed to success.

Like unexpected, as opposed to as expected.

When events don’t go quite as we plan, our learning potential goes way up.

I often reflect on the many lessons about peak performance – not just in sport, but in all areas of work and life – that I’ve learnt as a direct result of the injuries I’ve sustained over the years, at the gym.

These thoughts have become particularly relevant in recent years: as I’ve gotten older or, perhaps, just more cocksure. So, for your benefit, let me share with you eight lessons for peak performance, as attested to by my aching joints!


Insufficient preparation

Elite athletes and professional sportspeople never enter into training or competition without thoroughly warming-up. So, why do I repeatedly think I don’t need to? Because I don’t understand its value – that is, until I get injured. Then I do. Or until I do warm-up and see the step-up in performance. I see its value then, too.

So, from here on, I don’t want ever to be underprepared. And to ensure that happens, I want to make preparation a fundamental part of my routine – not some hassle before I can start.

Build a ritual. We don’t want to make the task dependent on recalling why it’s important to warm-up. We want warming-up to be the process. It’s just what we do. And not only for the gym, but for any performance moment. A meeting. A presentation or pitch. A project kick-off. Have a ritual that you can lean on.

Lesson #1: Take your preparation seriously.


Lack of concentration for the duration

With a touch of slapstick about it, I can pull off a lift with a weight well-beyond my bodyweight without a problem. And then promptly hit my head on the bar or trip over a weight plate. Of course, I keep smiling, pretending it’s nothing and that I’m unaffected. But I am.

This isn’t so much a temporary lapse in concentration as it is allowing my concentration to switch off prematurely. Instead, I need to recognise I’m still in the performance moment and in the performance environment for the duration – and act accordingly.

An example of this performance error at work is the dead-time following an important meeting, pitch, presentation or interview, when the performance event is seemingly over – but we’re still in the company of our stakeholders. The accompanied walk to the lift, for example. We need to stay on our ‘A’ Game until we’ve left the building and are travelling home. Anything less is premature – and sub-performance in these moments will have a consequence.

Lesson #2: Stay in the performance zone until the very end.



I’ll let your imaginations run wild with the very many amusing ways ego-led thinking has lead me to injury at the gym. Suffice to say, I’m not making solid, objective, goal-focused decisions. And performance suffers as a result.

Ego plays a potentially destructive role in performance moments everywhere in life. But if we want an area to focus on for maximum performance-enhancing effect, take a look at the role ego plays in your decision-making.

There are two primary thinking traps when it comes to making decisions: blind spots and ego. Take your ego out of the equation by developing the habit of meta-cognition. That is: thinking about the thinking. How am I doing the thinking around this decision? How much of this is led by evidence? How much is rooted in fact? And how much of this is my ego talking? If I reduced my egotistical thinking by just 5%, what different decisions would I make? What’s my ego-based goal here: approval or control?

Lesson #3: Drop the ego.



It always raises in me an ironic smile that I can lift weights far heavier than my bodyweight without issue; and then in that same session, hurt myself when I move to the very light weights. The reason is complacency and a lack of respect for the task. I drop my good habits – and get injured as a result.

No matter what the performance requirement, I want to treat every event with maximum respect and deliver my best performance, as standard. For example, at work: whatever the monetary value of a deal or project, I want to deliver a wholly professional effort. In my business: I want to deliver outstanding personal service to all of my clients. In life: whatever the opportunity, I want to give it everything.

Lesson #4: Respect all performance events, big and small.


Not listening to my body

Last year, I damaged my left shoulder and it kept me away from my full routine for over six months. It was deeply frustrating. That injury stemmed from not listening to my body. I tweaked my shoulder at the very end of a session: a warning that, had I heeded it and stayed off my shoulder for a short while, might have saved me a lot of pain and heartache. But I didn’t. And then next session, combined with an absent warm-up ritual, launched straight into full lifts – and that was that.

Our bodies are continually communicating with us. Not enough food or water. Not enough sleep. Too much stress. Too many things to think about. Best (and worst) times of day. Intuition. Instinct. Gut reaction. But we often push those communications to one side in service of some outside-in ‘priority’. But we can’t give what we don’t have. And if we don’t have our health, we don’t have anything. Start listening to what your body is telling you.

Lesson #5: Listen to what your body is telling you.


Breaking my own rules

When it comes to exercise, I have rules and rituals that significantly contribute to my best performance. They range from the general to the specific, are personal to me and, having been developed with the input of many years of experience, serve me well. They are also very brain-friendly ways to recall the information. Simple mnemonics that are easy to hold in mind.

But, occasionally, something in the environment will prompt me to break a rule or skip a ritual. To lift more than I should. To go too fast, too quickly. To mess with my carefully planned sequence of training days. And injuries follow.

For any performance activity you do repeatedly, develop your own performance rules: a set of principles that facilitate a high-level of personal performance, as standard. And then stick to them! (Meaning: no ad hoc or ill-considered diversions off the plan.) Like an aeroplane’s pre-flight checklist, your rules and rituals can seem dull, unsophisticated and unnecessary, in and or themselves. But they are what setup peak performance.

Lesson #6: Stick religiously to your well-defined performance rules.


Getting through it

When I let the focus slip into powering through an exercise, I’m liable to get injured because I relegate other thoughts that contribute to personal performance (thinking, tempo, rhythm, form, etc.) behind just getting it done. And that’s fine for a low-level task; but not for a performance moment. Not when the stakes are high and the quality of the result really matters.

What’s the opposite of getting through it? Getting into it! When I get into my set, everything starts working together. And not only do I drastically minimise my chances of getting injured – I also get far bigger returns for my efforts. Slowing down and relaxing into the task at hand delivers higher returns, everywhere. Resist the busy person’s mantra of “no time to slow down” and try it. Watch how performance improves.

Lesson #7: Relax into your performance event.


Going it alone

I would rate myself as a well-above-average gym goer (if I do say so, myself!), in terms of knowledge, experience and results. But that status I’ve given myself can come with issues. In particular, I can forget the significant benefits of outside perspective, choosing instead to go it alone.

It’s only since introducing a physio that I’ve got the detailed feedback that showed me an issue I’ve been overlooking; new insights to understand how I’ve actually been exacerbating the problem; and new strategies to correct the root problem.

Professional sportspeople wouldn’t dream of not having a coach. Anyone in a high-performance role shouldn’t either. Get a coach or a mentor. Find someone who can promote awareness and responsibility in you. And find ways to introduce quality feedback to your performance.

Lesson #8: Work with a performance partner.


Bringing it all together

When I work with my physio and she has me doing really small, simple BUT incredibly challenging exercises that work tiny muscles and joints, I’m reminded: it’s all interconnected. It’s not just about the big muscle groups and the major lifts; but about all the little intricacies of the working machine that together achieve peak performance.

So, as you look to raise your base standard so every performance is excellent, find ways to incorporate ALL of these lessons into your approach and make them ALL part of your daily practice.


SOURCE: Dan Beverly

Dan BeverlyDan Beverly is a leadership and performance coach, helping high-achieving professional women embrace the pivotal career moments.