Opportunity knocks for Olaide at Monocle’s Quality of Life Conference
Mein name ist Olaide. My GCSE German came into its own recently as I joined globally renowned magazine, the Monocle, at its Quality of Life Conference (QoL) in Munich, as an invited attendee and guest speaker.
Hosted over three days, by Monocle editors, at the Allianz HQ in Munich and attended by nearly 200 delegates from around the world, I am literally still smiling as I write this! I was privileged to join and listen to fast paced, intense ideas, provocations and views from leading experts, creatives, entrepreneurs and thought leaders from the public, private and third sector.
As I reviewed my notebook full of scribbles, I wanted to flag up some of the points that really made me stop in my tracks:
Mayor of Dallas, Eric Johnson discussing how to go against the grain to address major societal issues. His challenge was addressing crime, working with police, the community and third sector.
CEO of Lufthansa, Carsten Spohr challenging us all to rethink leadership, not just as a destination but as a process of learning.
Tina Fordham, alongside representatives from Munich Security Conference and Swiss Department of Defence, urging businesses to be better prepared for geopolitical crises. The analogy of the rhino in the distance and our fear of accepting that issues can happen struck me.
Tosin Oshinowo, an architect based in Lagos Nigeria and her focus of understanding her customers and being responsive to their needs. Her work to support the communities displaced by Boko Haram is admirable and there are so many learnings from this.
Ann Aerts from Novartis asking us to pay more attention to our hearts and the importance that our interaction in cities can impact on our cardiovascular health.
Myself and Andreas Christian von der Heide and Carlos Moreno sharing our ideas on how business can be a force for good; in particular not ‘staying in your lane’ and instead focusing on what matters to people.
The discussions flowed into dinner at Gallerie Thomas and then drinks and dancing at Club Bayerischer Hof. Stories and experiences were shared and despite being from all parts of the world, there was a shared energy around doing more to make our towns, cities and neighbourhoods better places for the people who live there.
Despite the early start on Day 3, I jumped at the opportunity to tour the Munich Olympic Park with architect and resident Eva Maria Lang from Knerer Und Land architects. What a treat that was. As someone who has first-hand experience of the 2012 Games, as part of my work on the Athletes Village, it was fantastic to see Munich 50 years on. I could immediately see what London borrowed from Munich – the commitment to substantial green public space, the integration of community from day one and the variety of housing styles to suit a range of diverse households.
The second part of Day 3 was spent over lunch at the magnificent Englischen Garten, where we ate, debated and mostly guessed where QoL 2024 would be held – apparently it might be in Tokyo 😊
As a newbie to QoL, I learnt loads, I was suitably challenged and picked up numerous ideas. Since being back in London, I have connected with attendees from Berlin, New York, Singapore, Spain, and the list goes on.
Munich and Monocle left wonderful memories and I’d like to give a big thumbs up to the team. I can safely say that I have already committed to being at the next QoL, wherever (!) it happens to take place.