On 14 to 15 June, leaders and thinkers from across business, politics, the arts and sciences met in London for The Performance Theatre 2012. The purpose of the meeting was to debate ways of creating a new and better kind of growth, which delivers value to both business and society over not just quarters but generations. Our theme was ‘New voices, new growth’. View full list of speakers Watch highlights video

Language of London

The starting point for the theatre was that the solution to interconnected global problems, such as resource scarcity, poverty and social instability, is not to reject growth but to rethink it. George Orwell, one of the many writers associated with London, tells us that new thinking demands new language – a new shared direction calls for a new shared vocabulary and grammar. In this spirit the London programme challenged guests to think of words that can move us closer to a future based on sustainable prosperity, using music, poetry and literature to lend inspiration to the exercise.

In London one of the most prominent words was ‘vanguard’, meaning the ‘leaders of any political or intellectual movement’. Speaker after speaker called for a vanguard of leaders to step up and steer the world through the next growth transition. Another memorable phrase was ‘austere growth’, coined by Dr Victor Gao.

Continuing our tradition of meeting in seats of government, from the Doge’s Palace in Venice to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, we opened The Performance Theatre London in the Houses of Parliament. We then moved to the London Film Museum, Unilever House, Lancaster House and the Saatchi Gallery. The Performance Theatre is grateful to Paul Polman of Unilever and Henrik Madsen of DNV for hosting the dinners.

Who was there?

An outstanding line-up of speakers guided us through the debate. To name a few: Ajay Banga of MasterCard, Paul Polman of Unilever, Andrew Liveris of The Dow Chemical Company, Steven Fries of the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change, Hans Vestberg of Ericsson, N Chandrasekaran of Tata Consultancy Services, and Adam Posen of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

The social media and information technology session led by Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP was a highlight for many. Speakers included Thomas Gensemer of Blue State Digital and Tony Wang of Twitter.

Inspired Leadership Award goes to Dow’s Andrew Liveris

A highlight of every theatre is the Inspire Leadership Award, which honours visionary leaders who combine outstanding business performance with values and behaviours that strengthen the human and natural environments in which their organisations operate.

This year’s winner was Andrew Liveris, CEO of The Dow Chemical Company. Mr Liveris was chosen in recognition of his success in transforming a major global company, repositioning it as an innovation-centric, science-based provider of sustainable solutions.