Welcome to Thinking Practice

When I decided that I had better ideas than to get another 'big job' on leaving Arts Council England, I knew I would need a name for my company other than 'Mark Robinson Associates' - both names being too common for Google to lead you to me easily. (So common I was once introduced to the tv producer one, once met another in the lunch queue at a Common Purpose national conference, and used to get emails for another in the next building. I'm not the football, rugby or cricket Mark Robinsons either. Or the American indie songwriter.) I looked on jealously as colleagues with more exotic names such as Norinne Betjemann bagged their own dotcoms. After a moment the attractions of coming up with something beginning with 'S' and being 'MRSA' wore off.

But actually it was a good thing, as working through what I could, would and wanted to do, how that would be useful and to whom, and how that was going to make me a living, also led me to a name: THINKING PRACTICE.

You can read about the business on the website here. We'll be offering classic consultancy services, facilitation and coaching, and developing a couple of 'services' later this year to increase understanding in the arts and cultural sector of policy, research and other trends, and to build the resilience of organisations. I hope it can be influential in how organisations approach their development. The targeting is based upon a simple logic: there is a need for the cultural sector to get smarter at thinking about how it operates, how that relates to the world of public policy and how that relates to broader societal and business trends and there is a gap in the market for services that combine the kind of intelligence to address this need with practical management, facilitation and coaching experience so that clients can get better at what they do, and thrive without support in the future. That logic is what I'll be testing over the next year, and I'll also explore that here, on this blog.

This blog will continue the model I created with Arts Counselling. Those of you who said I should carry on blogging, can count yourselves partly responsible, but in truth writing regularly in this way has also become part of how I work things out, part of my own thinking and practice. So it'll contain links to and short thoughts upon new research and policy initiatives, comment upon news and events, occasional longer pieces, the odd video, infrequent but fascinating trivia and the odd joke. The first few posts I intend to set out where I'm coming from and some of what the sector needs to be grappling with right now. (And I don't really mean the impending UK election - that's a crossroads perhaps but not the whole journey.) I'll also be adding links to some useful places as I get the chance. (I have my first contract so am not stuck for things to do other than this!)

I'll end this introduction here, and urge you to subscribe or visit regularly and to spread the word.