Case Study

Current members share their personal experiences and explain how being a part of the Brain Exchange has benefitted them and their businesses.

If you would like to appear in a case study, please let us know after the next the event you attend.

Hilary Lindsay

Vice President of Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and Researcher for the Open University

We spoke to Hilary in July 2014, after she spent a Brain Exchange event in the hot seat.

1. What was the nature of the problem you brought to the Brain Exchange?

From my own academic research I had developed a new model of learning and could see ways it could benefit the beneficiaries of a charity where I was a trustee.

My issue was around how to take the idea forward without in any way compromising my position as a trustee.

2. How useful did you find the experience of being in the hot seat? Why?

The process made me clarify in my own mind what I thought the problem was – and then, by explaining it to others, I realised there were external perceptions around what I was proposing that I had not considered. So the process was useful in that it made me think about the problem from another angle.

3. In what way did being in the hot seat help you to resolve or address your issue?

It made me realise that as well as ensuring I was technically correct in the way I took the idea forward, I also needed to consider how any course of action might be perceived by others.

4. What happened after your hot seat experience?  Have you implemented any of the ideas that came from being in the hot seat?  What has changed for the better as a result?

I reworded my draft proposal to make it completely impersonal and more detached. I made it clear there was no way I would benefit financially from the use of the model that was being proposed to the charity. The proposal was discussed by the board without any involvement by me in any decision-making process.

The idea was approved and is now being developed. The decision-making process that led to this can be easily and clearly described to anyone who might conceivably have an interest in it.

5. Based on your experience in the hot seat what would you consider to be the added value of the Brain Exchange compared to (say) coaching or consulting your peers or getting your Board’s/CEOs advice?

My issue concerned my interaction with my fellow trustees so it was not appropriate to involve them in my thinking as I did not want to colour or compromise their thinking or their independence in any way.

The number of people present at the Brain Exchange meant I received a wide range of comments from many different perspectives, which helped me see the issue with fresh eyes. I cannot see in what other way that rich diversity of input could have been provided.

6. Anything else to add?

As I said on the forum the next day:

I was in the hot seat last night. I recommend it!! An amazingly helpful experience that gave me an outside perspective on some tricky but exciting issues. Thank you Jeanette and everyone else there.