NEWS1 March 2017

Insight experts seek to help businesses reconnect in a ‘post-trust’ world

News Trends UK

UK – Trust in companies and institutions is sinking – and a group of top insight professionals is determined to do something about it.

Andy dexter crop

The Culturise Collaboration is a new initiative aiming to help businesses and brands rebuild trust, authenticity and social relevance.

It has been conceived by Andy Dexter (pictured), the former Incepta and Illuminas CEO who went on to found Truth Consulting and now runs innovation agency Neon & Vine.

Dexter describes Culturise as "part think tank, part virtual agency... a collaboration between leading independent thinkers and practitioners from the world of modern insight and strategy". His founding collaborators include Grant McCracken, Mark Earls, Fiona Blades of Mesh Experience, Siamack Salari of EthOs, Ian Murray of House51, Stephen Cribbett of Dub and Tim Spencer of Cognitif.

Dexter warns that businesses and other institutions risk being "deculturised" – disconnected from society and culture. In a blog post announcing the launch he cites buzzphrases and themes that have come to sum up the mood of the last few years: "We’ve had enough of experts. The mainstream media is lying to us. You can’t rely on the government. You can’t trust big business. The metropolitan elite live in a bubble and look after their own vested interests... We are not all in it together."

Much has been said about the ‘post-truth’ world we live in, Dexter says, but "really it’s post-trust".

"It isn’t sustainable to be seen as insulated from the very people who make you money," Dexter writes. "Brands need to mean something to people. Businesses need to help people and society flourish – and they need to prove it, for the sake of their own future."

This means going beyond the usual CSR activity, says Dexter, which is often reduced to a box-ticking exercise because of a lack of rigorous measurement.

Culturise collaborator Fiona Blades said: "We know people are looking for meaning, but businesses need to align experience with purpose, or purpose becomes just empty words."

Culturise’s work will draw on evolutionary economics, which looks at how individuals and society influence economic behaviour; and normative ethics, which looks at ways of measuring ethical behaviour.

Initially targeting commercial clients, the collaborators will use new insight tools "to find, measure, and communicate authentic meaning". One of its activities will be to seek ways to measure the impact of commercial enterprises on the sum total of human happiness.