Mark Beaumont is best known for cycling around the world. Twice. 130 countries visited by pumping away on two pedals.

None of that matters, unless it makes a purposeful difference on the world around him.

Our family. Our community. Our work.

Those are the three things Mark believes matter most to all of us. For children, it’s maybe just the first two. Creating positive memories in these three areas, though, is what matters most. Because creating memories in those areas makes you who you are.

It also feels good. How do you create a sense of purpose in the world…

On Friday night, I found myself gawping at the sky along with hundreds of others across Edinburgh. The snow moon entranced us in a way that’s hard for an iPhone photo to capture.

I remember those nights of travel, waiting in Dubai, Doha or Istanbul. Having come off one long flight I’d have to wait a few hours before the next, morning flight would attempt to trick me into believing it really was breakfast time. In the waiting between hauls, the hour before sunrise in the middle of the earth is particularly dark — literally, mentally, physically.

“It’s always darkest just before dawn” was a thought first penned by the English theologian Thomas Fuller, in his 1650 religious travelogue A Pisgah-Sight Of Palestine And The Confines Thereof. …

NoTosh is helping to create one of the most remarkable learning community on the planet. It’s remarkable because it’s a school just as much for parents as it is for their children.

In almost every school, ‘belonging’ features as a desired outcome. The pandemic threw learning online, but it also created opportunity and challenge in equal measure. In 500 sources gathered in preparation for the Live Curious festival, there is an almost even split between those who found online learning offered a greater opportunity to get to know parents and families, and those who felt it disconnected teacher and student.

Belonging and ‘connectedness’ have been such common desired outcomes in the years we’ve undertaken strategy work, but there have been remarkably few levers that we can trust to generate it.

Until our…

Although I’m yet to treat myself to a pair of the best jeans in the world, Hiut Denim’s mantra and core values live with me every day: Do One Thing Well. They make exceedingly good jeans, but through their newsletter and blog they also share all the stuff that goes into making exceedingly good jeans: the creative process, the design work, the thinking.

Do One Thing Well. It’s Enough. By Hiut Denim:

Teachers in 2020 were able to do one thing well. That’s the resounding opportunity popping out of 500 data points gathered in preparation for the Live Curious festival. Just for starters:

“The pandemic has allowed everyone to…

Timetables were abandoned in 2020. Did it suit most people down to the ground?

Morning electricity surges moved forward a couple of hours in 2020, as we all learned how to lie-in again, much like we did as teenagers on vacation. Kettles and toasters were being switched on later in the morning, as we established new routines that maximised on sleep, rather than on making the 06:38 commuter train on time. …

The biggest regret of this crisis might be that we don’t use it to change what we do in schools

One of my favourite poems is probably one of the saddest. And yet, at every daily briefing, when I hear of the hundreds who have died today in my country alone from this bloody virus, I know that there are families reading those words in silence, to themselves:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’. …

This won’t shock you: you don’t always make the right decisions, writes Chantelle Love, as part of NoTosh’s #theProvocation newsletter.

In fact, very often, we don’t make successful decisions. No matter how thought through you think your ideas might be, in general, humans are overconfident, emotional and irrational.

One study of doctors showed that, even though they were entirely confident of a particular diagnosis, they were, in fact, wrong about 40% of the time. In another survey, 87% decided they would be the most likely to get into Heaven when compared to Michael Jordan and Mother Teresa.

And yet, we expect that the decisions we make will be the right ones.

Expecting to make correct decisions all of the time…

Senior leaders around the world are exhausted. Their leadership muscle is straining under the weight of the additional management jobs they’ve taken on, while also trying to run a school. One key to lessening that load is to make more use of the talent in middle and aspiring leaders.

Middle Leadership has been a poorly used team in most schools and companies, for decades. It’s sometimes seen as a thankless stepping stone to senior leadership, a necessary administrative function to keep a small team organised, and conduit for senior leadership’s missives. In more advanced organisations, middle leaders are lynchpins in researching, developing and implementing changes in learning and teaching.

But in the past year, the shortcomings of the role are coming to light. Forbes Coaching Council research outlines thirteen observations taken from hundreds of interviews with organisational leaders, revealing the most common ways we neglect middle leadership:

  1. They’re…

Working outside your comfort zone in an industry you don’t know means you read as much as you can. As a teacher by trade, I’ve grown a library that stretches way outside my comfort zone bubble of education research and practice.

For over a decade, our firm NoTosh has been appealing to people in the education industry because we spend a chunk of our time working outside education in engineering, fashion, media, or consumer products. These are some of my top reads from over the years , that are not necessarily from the popular ‘life improvement’ shelf or New York Times’ bestsellers list that we all read (or pretend we read). So if you can grab a copy of some of these, whether you’re a teacher or not, you’ll sharpen your curiosity saw.

Managing Creative People, Gordon Torr

This isn’t a big seller, and it’s not…

Last Friday I came through the door, in a rush from a walk that had taken longer than expected, autumnal leaves now giving meaning to the expression ‘breakneck speed’. As has become the rhythm of 2020, I ran upstairs to the office, just in time for a Zoom. But unlike any Zoom I’ve ever had, I had no idea who I was going to meet.

Kris is my creative friend from Antwerp. He been part of the team behind some of the most incredible ad campaigns — ones you’ve seen and shared on social media:

He had asked earlier in the week if I’d be up for a new idea: he’d arrange a Friday afternoon Zoom with someone I didn’t know, and wouldn’t know until I clicked “Join Meeting”. And the someone wouldn’t know who I was, either.

So as I walked in the hour beforehand, I started to get genuinely nervous. What on earth was I doing. “It’ll be great” I texted him…

Ewan McIntosh

I help people find their place in a team to achieve something bigger than they are.

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