Meet Buxton based Fellow, Peter Kawalek, a Professor of Strategy & Information Systems at University of Manchester.

What social actions are you passionate about? 

There is a lot I could say here. I could talk about technology and my assessment that it will eventually make much social and economic policy redundant. It is both profoundly impressive and profoundly divisive. We could do with imagining its consequences much more deeply. Alongside this, however, I appreciate the culture around me. Recently I have been working with football fans – I like the power of ordinary narratives. I am studying Irish history. I am discovering and helping to celebrate Islamic Science. Life is too short and focus can be overrated.

What social action projects are you involved in and how could other fellows get involved?

Related to the interests that I support, I can develop something around Islamic Science. When you look at the world through Innovation Theory, you see multiple, possible futures. When you turn around and look at the past through the same theory, you see multiple, complementary contributions. We live in a lattice created by forebears of many cultures. I have been supporting social initiatives in this area for a number of years. I call it Appreciative History and it is designed to give confidence in the idea that we have all contributed. Similarly, the future will not be won but will be woven from each of us and the best, small contributions that we can make now. Related to this, is a major piece of work I am developing in relation to recursive strategy – the power to “reperceive” social situations and start afresh.

When did you become a fellow and who or what motivated you to join?

I am in my first year at RSA. I was previously involved with the Royal Commonwealth Society, which I still appreciate very much. However, I like the multiple agendas and fascinations of the RSA. The RSA seems to respond to a smart idea and to play a part in conjuring it into existence. I do not think that it is here to track or fret over policy.

If you woke up suddenly one morning and you could gain a new skill, what would it be?

My foreign language skills.

What RSA NW activities would you like to see happen?

I see Manchester and the North-West as a kind of Old Lady of Technology. We claim the invention of the industrial world, so let’s share our wisdom on its consequences. We can see it all around us: the great buildings, the dereliction, the wealth, the poverty, strife, struggle, communications, miscommunications. The old lady should share her best guidance with the rest of the world.

You can connect to Peter on LinkedIn

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  1. I met Peter when he explored the implications of social media for the leadership cohort of greater manchester local government some eight years ago. Shift happened. He has remained an original thinker connected to many of us since in the always on world that’s the channel of choice for a brave new world. A world thats still being formed from the debris of Manchester and it’s industrial past, a past that the present is firmly rooted in. The autonomy Manchester has been offered by government reflects its role reinventing the virtual industrial revolution peter has signposted. His role in challenging thinkers who are still earth bound mystics to shed sparking clogs and swop cobbles for the information highway is more crucial than ever. His world is a multilayered one that’s always rewarding to read about. Without him it could stay grim up north.

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