Al Gore, 45th vice-president of the US, laid down the challenge for the corporate venturing industry – what type of leadership will it show? Gore’s speech at our third annual symposium was off the record, but delegates afterwards said they wanted to meet his vision of creating a world their children would be proud of rather than one that left them questioning why it was handed on in worse shape. Gore spoke for more than an hour and received a standing ovation before signing his latest book, The Future, and mingling with delegates for another two hours. He fielded a series of questions and repartee from the listeners about how to improve US politics, the impact of shale gas, and carbon dioxide reaching 400 parts per million, as well as how to balance entrepreneurs’ desire to ask for forgiveness rather than permission for an action with the need to think about the ethics and long-term impact of their work. Introduced by Sharon Vosmek, chief executive of women-led entrepreneurs organisation Astia, Gore captured and provoked the minds of the crowd – whether they agreed with all his views or otherwise – and won the heart of at least one – a 10-year old girl. Mia, daughter of delegate Andrew Gaule, founder of Corven Network, had a year earlier written a school project on Gore’s previous book, An Inconvenient Truth. In a moving private 10-minute meeting before his speech, Gore signed her project and read and discussed the subject before hav- ing his photograph taken with Mia and her parents. The ability to connect across all walks of life, with all types of people and on all subjects marks out the truly gifted and empathetic politicians – Vosmek called him “my president” in her introduction – and such skills are often shown by the power brokers in other walks of life. The symposium’s tagline this year reflected the impor- tance of those with a high emotional quotient and leadership score with a “power brokers” label and followed a private dinner for the top 100 members of the Global Corporate Venturing Powerlist, held at the Royal Festival Hall’s Skylon restaurant on the banks of the Thames opposite the Palace of Westminster. A sign of the importance of the corporate venturing power brokers came from the many tales of extreme effort made by entrepreneurs to attend the symposium. Bright Capital’s RTT flew in from Russia via Morocco on a one-day pass after failing to…
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Jun 10, 2013 • James Mawson
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