TWIN ORIGINS: PETER BRYANT
Updated: Oct 11, 2019
Peter Bryant is a co-founder and board member at TWIN Global, as well as the managing partner at Clareo. We connected with Peter recently to discuss the evolution of TWIN, TWIN Global 2018 keynote speaker John Hickenlooper, the role of trust in getting things done, and purpose in business.
Bryan Campen: So I really wanted to start by talking with you about the origins of TWIN and how you first became part of it all.
Peter Bryant: My story starts 16 years ago. I had just left the software industry to start my own strategy consulting firm. I started consulting initially for a mining company, Rio Tinto, and I was taking its CEO and his leadership team on an insight tour to learn from innovation in different industries. And we were meeting with Toby Redshaw, who was then CIO at Motorola. He said, "You’re doing an innovation tour? That's funny because we are just thinking about starting an innovation network out of the Kellogg School of Management [. You should meet the professor who’s leading that”. He connected me to Rob Wolcott, and Rob and I hit it off immediately. I said, "This really sounds fascinating”. So I became a co-founder and was there from the beginning. We became collaborators on TWIN [then KIN], I was involved in every Dialog and Expedition, and we became very close, personally and professionally, as a result of that.
BC: When you look at how TWIN has evolved, what is the story you tell, both to yourself and to others?
PB: OK, two parts, both the story and the evolution. With TWIN, we create an environment where we tackle very interesting subjects that bring people together from different countries, different walks of life, different industries, and really zone in on areas of common strategic interest. Business is the core constituency of TWIN and we explore how together we can make a difference. It's about creating new connections, new insights and new ideas. We create a certain magic that is hard to explain if you have not experienced it firsthand!
In terms of our evolution, I think of it as basically two seven-year cycles so far.
Our first seven years revolved around what we called Dialogs. That's where we convened groups of 30 to 40 business leaders, very focused around a theme germane to innovation. Those were hosted at Kellogg and at organizations like Herman Miller, IBM Research Labs and US Southern Command.
Our second seven-year cycle saw the rise of Global, Expeditions and Catalysts. Global became our annual big tent event, and that's when we really landed on the mission of enabling global prosperity through innovation.
The Catalyst grew out of that mission the huge value was that we were able to provide an independent, neutral platform to bring together, multiple stakeholder groups to tackle intractable problems that existed on either an industry or societal level and always looking at it through the lens of innovation rather than a specific agenda.
Now we're in our third seven-year cycle, where we’re moving from the campus to the city!
BC: So we just discussed Dialogs with Anna Catalano on our last post. Could you tell us more about Catalysts?
PB: Our first Catalyst was to tackle the intractable issues faced by the mining industry, in particular the social license to operate issues it faced, the path the industry was on was unsustainable. We kicked off the TWIN Catalyst in Brazil in 2013–bringing together leaders from many regions and many stakeholder groups. This resulted in the co-creation of the Development Partner Framework launched at the Ford Foundation in Dec 2015 and the eventual establishment in late 2017 of the non-profit, the Development Partner Institute. This would not have been possible without the courage and vision of my Co-Chair and good friend, Mark Cutifani, the Chief Executive of Anglo American. We have achieved a lot already and there’s more to be done. We are re-imagining an entire industry to improve the social, environmental and economic outcomes for all stakeholders but especially the communities in and around resource projects.
BC: What excites you the most about what you're directing for TWIN 2018?
PB: Well, I am excited about the entire program, we have so many wonderful sessions and contributors. What comes to mind as standouts for me is firstly the DPI pre-session on Tuesday, September 25th, on inclusion and diversity in the global resources industry as a catalyst for prosperity. We’ve got amazing people coming from Africa, The Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe. We will be talking about challenges and opportunities, and looking at it from the perspective of not only gender but also ethnicity and religion. Lack of inclusion diminishes prosperity!
I am particularly excited about speaker Chico Tillmon, who is the Executive Director of Youth Safety and Violence Prevention at the YMCA here in Chicago. His story is amazing. It’s a journey that started with a lack of opportunity, respect and hope to where he is today, giving hope to so many young people that have none. And while this session is at a global level, the power of telling a compelling local story is not only relevant but inspiring.
Chico Tillmon speaks at the YMCA Urban Warriors Graduation Ceremony
There are so many great panels on the Future of Work, Digital Transformation, The Doctor of the Future and Space.
I’m also really excited about the one I am moderating—Purpose and Profit, an Oxymoron?—with Todd Tillemans, President of Hershey, and Anne Black, President of Goldman Sachs Gives. It will be provocative, which is my nature! [laughter] We'll explore a company’s motivations behind purpose and profit, is it possible to have both, and if so, how do you it in an authentic way, especially when society has such low trust in large corporations?
BC: So you’re also at work on preparations with TWIN’s keynote speaker, and this starts with a speech and ends in a talk with you and him onstage. Tell us about that.
PB: We are very excited to have my good friend, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, with us on the main stage
BC: What can you tell us about his talk?
PB: I don’t want to give much away–suffice it to say the theme of John’s talk is Government at the Speed of Trust. What you will hear from John underpins a lot of who he is and how he approaches his work: inclusive, collaborative and a clear vision of government’s role in society. Given the current climate he will bring a powerful narrative that I have seen work firsthand and believe in strongly.
Governor John Hickenlooper speaks at TWIN Global 2012 [then KIN Global] on Government's Role in Supporting Prosperity
BC: In terms of trust—with your clients at Clareo, and work at DPI and leaders such as Governor Hickenlooper whom you're engaging with on a regular basis—what do you see as the biggest driver of the erosion of trust? What is it?
PB: Two things. First, I think a grave intolerance of different points of view. This is a global problem. And second, I think more and more people just aren't acting at all consistent with what they say they believe, if you like or agree with their values. There aren’t easy answers to how to resolve this crisis of trust. It is hard to build up, it needs to be earned each day by what you do and it is so easy to tear down and lose.
Peter Bryant: Anna Catalano led the effort to bring the voice of youth to TWIN. It has been amazing to hear from 15- and 16-year-olds at TWIN. I think those sessions at TWIN are enormously powerful. We find it all very interesting what we think, yet I'm consistently blown away how articulate and deep-thinking these kids are, they represent our future.
Elyse, my eldest daughter, was selected to speak last year and when I heard her talk I’m like, 'Wow, that is a powerful talk and then OMG I am watching my little girl become an amazing young woman right there in front of me'. It was a very emotional moment for me.
PB: Jake Harriman lives just south of me in California. He is ex-Special Forces, and he has done multiple tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and parts of Africa. From the horrors of war he has learned firsthand how extremists have taken advantage of those living in abject poverty with no hope, and how the failures of western programs and aid in alleviating that poverty. He has channeled his experiences into a new way to give these communities, in high conflict zones, the resilience, socially and economically, so that they no longer are seen as targets by extremists. This became the basis of the flourishing Nuru International – which he founded to tackle these problems and to be a voice for those that have none in the corridors of power. His is an inspiring story on so many levels.