Can a Business Be Beautiful
The role of aesthetics in building a more human marketplace
If I had to pick one particular question that shaped and defined our recent HOST Gathering it would be this one:
What is beauty?
The question was first raised by Brian Zhand in his wonderful talk “Beauty will Save the World”.
Brian began by speaking about classical philosophy and it’s identification of the three ideal properties of being: The true, the good and the beautiful.
People of faith, he said, have, over the last 500 years, often done a great job of expounding the good (morality), have spilt unfathomable ink trying to convince the world of the truth (apologetics) - but have neglected to attend to the aesthetic.
The world, he argued, is ready for something new. In an age obsessed by economic utility, efficiency and productivity, what people are hungry for now are meaning, transcendence and the sublime.
In short, what the world needs now is more beauty.
The subsequent discussion included some very searching and at times heated conversation about the dangers of pursuing something as subjective as beauty. After all, how we can disentangle the notion of beauty from its captivity to the ideology of glossy magazines the fashion industry and the advertisers? In short what’s the difference between “the beautiful” and “the pretty” or the “the appealing”.
And then one of the panel asked a question that remained open and disputed throughout the rest of HOST. The question struck me as fundamental to the work of Business Connect:
“What does a beautiful business look like?”
This question is so core to our mission for two reasons:
Firstly, it cuts across the so-called sacred - secular divide. For people of faith the notion of the beautiful cannot be separated from our conceptions of the divine. And therefore, if we are going to discuss beauty in a business context we cannot do so without flouting the assumed separation of the spirtual and commercial spheres – and that’s great.
Secondly, the question forces us to think through not just the activity of our work but the meaning of our work – both the means and the end of our businesses. This is precisely the kind of reflection that we believe can lead us to a more humane vision for the marketplace.
In this month's CHOW we have assembled some of the individuals most qualified to discuss this question with integrity, insight and expertise.
Michelle McMahon leverages legal, finance and board experience to consult on philanthropic and social finance initiatives
David Warr runs Coopers Coffee which very directly helps to energise and fuel the work and passions of a very significant number of us in Jersey. Coopers is one of the oldest remaining locally owned Jersey companies and trades from three sites on Jersey.
Simon Nash is the founder of a start-up business called Insight. Its mission is to change the thinking of businesses about people and work. Formerly global HR Director of an international professional services firm.
Glenda Rivoallan is the Founder and CEO Soulgenic Ltd Soulgenic; a content media company that originates and distributes high value content assets in the health and fitness industry.
Each member of the panel will offer responses to the question “How do you know when something is beautiful?”
We will then engage in discussion around the potential for beauty in a business; what the component parts of a beautiful business might be, and how individuals may influence their business toward the beautiful. We will make space for contributions from the audience.
Join us for a good lunch and what should be a brilliant discussion with some of the most innovative and creative minds in the Jersey business community.
Please note that you must register to attend CHOW. If you do not register we cannot guarantee you a seat at the event. Please reserve your place here