amed 2020

Half a century ago, AMED (the Association for Management Education and Development) came into being in a very different world from today.  We have recently been inspired to reflect on our future by some positive feedback from members, and by Paul Gaugin’s 1897 triptych:

Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?

We see ourselves as:

  • an outpost of independence,
  • devoted to developing and supporting people and organisations,
  • a hub connecting academics, consultants and practitioners
  • a forum for experimentation, sharing, learning and encouragement,
  • a laboratory for innovative ways of communicating
  • a focal point for like-minded individuals and networks.

How can we realise these aspirations now …

  • … in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment?  
  • … facing unprecedented challenges?
  • … with so much at stake? 

Would you like to contribute your ideas and energy? 

  • …in our special Autumn/Winter 2017 Edition of e-O&P, and/or
  • … here in this discussion forum and/or
  • …in organising an initiative, and/or
  • …in some other way.

The following questions might help to stimulate your thinking, though of course you may well have others that you’d prefer to explore.

What’s your vision?

  1. Does AMED still have a relevant contribution to make?  If so: What should we continue to do?  What should we change?  What should we stop doing?
  2. How can we remain ‘an outpost of independence’?  What makes AMED different and relevant?
  3. What more could we be doing to create and sustain a space that is appropriately diverse and inclusive?  How might we foster greater inter-generational and inter-cultural reciprocity?
  4. Should AMED continue to act as an enabling publisher, online, through its journal e-O&P, through collaborations, or in any other way? 
  5. How can we fashion an appropriate multi-media balance and communicative relationship, e.g.  between digital, print-based and f2f connections?  (Currently, our publishing and editing roles are performed entirely by dedicated volunteers, coordinated by a small editorial board).
  6. What else can we do to assure AMED’s continued financial and organisational viability, whilst making our resources available and accessible as freely as possible? 
  7. With which networks and organisations should we be collaborating flexibly?  What can we learn from their stories?
  8. How can we harvest and make available to others the initiatives and expertise of our time-poor Members, Supporters and current and potential collaborators to contribute to their own and to other people’s development, and to further AMED’s aspirations? 
  9. Is there still a place for face-to-face gatherings around the country (and beyond)?
  10. etc

Click here for a few ways in which you might wish to contribute (you may have other suggestions)

We’re aiming to publish this special edition of e-O&P in November/December 2017.  If you think you might be interested in contributing in some way, please contact David or Bob AS SOON AS POSSIBLE with your first thoughts about the possible focus and format of your contribution.  We’ll be more than happy to explore possibilities with you before you commit any further and if you miss the deadline, please don't let that put you off.  

Subsequently, we shall, of course, provide you with more detailed guidelines and/or an outline publication schedule, if you decide to take your ideas further.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Bob and David

e-O&P Editorial Board

Bob MacKenzie Tel: 07855-458-691

David McAra Tel: 07917-689-344

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Hi, David

Since we first posted this invitation, I've been wondering what issues might be central to my own possible response. 

As I write, two interconnected strands seem to bubble up.  One is the importance of ensuring AMED's stance as 'an outpost of independence.'   The other is the chance to explore opportunities presented by another hopeful development which is on the immediate horizon.  This is the launch on 27 November of the UK Chapter of Humanistic Management (which I plan to attend).  I wonder if we can find a way of protecting our cherished independent role whilst at the same time continuing to work closely and flexibly with other likeminded networks?

What do others think?  Let's keep this conversation going.

Best wishes.  Bob

Hi David,

As you know I am deep into my eighteen month  'sabbatical' so apart from being rather out of touch I also feel a little like an outsider commenting upon another family. However, one or two thoughts came to me on reading your proposition and Bob's response. Thank you for the prompt.

I wonder if part of the attraction of AMED to me is that is in a sense a mechanism whereby very insightful and expert 'amateurs' gain from working and learning with each other. Why the term 'amateur' which these days has a rather pejorative connotation? In my thinking it is (or has been) an opposite of many other organisations in that AMED does not justify itself by trying to be 'professional' in terms of imposing disciplines, regulation, and  the so-called 'continuing professional development', whereby membership grades, certificates and other criteria are used to justify career progression and competence. Nor is it a network that directly offers commercial gain and the opportunity to overtly market oneself. There is a role for the other organisations that do provide these, and they certainly advance themselves as professional and serving 'professionals'; but in our increasingly bureaucratic world, but I would argue that AMED is, and could remain, different. 

What I have prized in the past has been the chance to listen to others; who usually offer very different experiences and skills and come from the most wonderful variety of backgrounds - i.e 'diverse' and different from me. .As a result whether face to face, in workshops, of on-line I have been able to feel some of the 'sense of wonder' so prevalent in the 18th and early 19th century when the line between 'science' and 'the arts' was not so hard drawn, nor between commerce and philosophy: poets were also chemists, astronomers studied human behaviour, and artists created computers and studied microscopic creatures, pondering the development and meaning of life on earth. These people (such as Joseph Banks, Caroline Herschel,  Humphry Davy, Mary Somerville, Charles Babbage and Mary Shelley to name but a few) were in a sense 'amateur' in that they did not conform to many of the dictates of those who tried to control society. Some were immigrants, many were female, some were ill-educated, and they came from a wide range of social classes. But they corresponded, they discussed, they challenged, and they were willing to listen and consider.

I have always prized AMED as a place in which something of this romantic tradition can be maintained; through discussion, seminars, workshops, conferences, on-line and face to face. Often in very small groups.  In the present global and UK environment I think 'managers' need such places even more: but the challenge may be to persuade them to regard their investment in time in AMED activity as a worthwhile process in a world that increasingly tries to define and justify everything only in terms of measurable transactions. 

best wishes


Here are my bullets about AMED 2020 captured after the closing discussion at last Friday's Horniman gathering. There were nine of us that sunny afternoon. We wandered alone, taking time in the special surroundings of the Horniman to write responses to Shelagh's 3 questions (What does it mean to be human? What is a life well-lived? What do we hold dear?), then gathered for tea and sharing.

My wanderings were punctuated with randomness (VUCA world): kids playing, mothers sharing cake, a distressed woman shouting at her toddler, a grandfather grateful for the special space ("Mr Horniman was a saint"). I was inspired to write a brief dialogue between the dodo I met and the Dutch sailor who first discovered this soon to be extinct bird back in 1500.

I noted the wise suggestion that in AMED we know we best pay attention to the quality of our real experience rather than fuel anxiety by worrying about the future. In a profound way, this summed up my happy afternoon.

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