We are often asked about the objectives for the House of Beautiful Business, and there are many. But the most important one is simple: to gather.

For most of our species’ history, we’ve been hunters and gatherers. These days we mostly just gather: our thoughts, Instagram photos and memories, art, data, insights, ideas, ourselves—and others: in business meetings, retreats, dinners, birthday parties, weddings, or rallies. We are often not aware of the hidden secrets and deeper structures of these gatherings or how we touch the lives of others through them.

As analytical tasks are increasingly performed by AI, business leaders are discovering they must become the gatherers-in-chief, finding meaning in information and designing experiences that inspire their employees, customers, and society at large. If the future workplace resembles a conference, then it’d better be one you would attend a second time.

Priya Parker, author of the new book, The Art of Gathering, (and, as we are thrilled to announce, a speaker and resident at this year’s House), argues that gatherings are one of the most underestimated leadership tools. We spend hours and hours on the PowerPoint presentation and only later realize our strategic plan was not embraced because we failed to welcome everybody with a handshake at the launch event.

Knowing how to gather requires two skills: to be able to discern what really matters, and to bring it to life so that others can see it, too. Clearly, if we became better at gathering, business—and life—would be more beautiful.

The pieces featured in this letter on gathering are online as part of our revamped Journal of Beautiful Business, which shall serve as our own main gathering point for articles, interviews, and essays going forward. 2017 House resident Nina Kruschwitz, who worked with Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, and other MIT luminaries, has joined our team as editor-in-chief, and we also welcome Sarah Souli as contributing editor, a freelance journalist currently based in Athens, after several years in Tunis. 

 

Have fun gathering!

Your House of Beautiful Business team


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Excerpt Chapter: Decide Why You Are Gathering
Priya Parker’s new book, The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters, is a welcome addition to the toolbox of anyone who convenes, hosts—or attends—gatherings of every stripe. These two brief excerpts from the first chapter address why it’s critical to have a purpose for your gathering—and offer some strategies to help you figure out what that purpose might be. Read more

Q&A with Priya Parker
As the founder of Thrive Labs, Priya has helped hundreds of people, from community activists to CEOs and heads of state, create gatherings that are both memorable and transformative. She recently took time out from her busy book launch schedule to answer some of the questions we posed to her by email. Read more

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Gathering Data, Giving Identities  
According to the World Bank, there are more than one billion people in the world without any sort of identification. Over half of them are under the age of 18. Moldovian entrepreneur Mariana Dahan launched the World Identity Network (WIN) which uses blockchain technology to provide self-sovereign identity to the invisible. Read more

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AI Superpowers and the Future of Work
Kai-Fu Lee is the founder and CEO of Sinovation Ventures, a Chinese technology investment firm, and the author of the upcoming book, AI Superpowers. He was named one ofTime’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2013. Before founding Sinovation, he was president of Google China. Lee sat down with Martin Reeves, director of the BCG Henderson Institute, to talk about the impact of AI on companies, industries, and nations. Read more


P.S. Here are some impressions from our own team gathering last week in Lisbon as we prepare for the House in November. We are incredibly excited about what’s in store – more to share soon! 

Photo credits: Riverhead, Mackenzie Stroh, 493 Images, Business Wire, Mary Ann Elies, Joao Noguiera