A corporation is never just a formal legal or management structure. Each also depends on knowledge, commitment and distinctive ways of working...
A corporation is never just a formal legal or management structure. Each also depends on knowledge, commitment and distinctive ways of working. Each flourishes based on informal relationships among its employees and managers and with its customers and other stakeholders. In other words, corporations are creatures of culture as well as contract. Internally, strong culture is a resource – but sometimes a blocker of change. Externally, culture is part of the water in which corporations swim, but taking it for granted is risky. Corporations can contribute to the culture in which they work, enhancing its creativity and its attractiveness to their managers and employees. But they can also be blindsided by cultural change and challenged by the complexity of working in many different cultural contexts at once. Zamyn helps corporations understand culture and thus understand a crucial condition of their effectiveness.
Professor Craig Calhoun, director of Zamyn, & former director of London School of Economics
Braco Dimitrijevic, 'Resurrection of Alchemists' video 2 mins, 2006 Courtesy the artist and Handel Street Projects
Art does not take place in a sphere apart from social, political and economic realities… it is now more important than ever for us to demonstrate that art, politics and business all shape our shared global culture and to make the case that art has the power to change lives. Chris Dercon, former director – Tate Modern.
To thrive a corporation needs to provide the goods and services which a society needs or wants. For Adam Smith’s archetypal baker embedded in a...
To thrive a corporation needs to provide the goods and services which a society needs or wants. For Adam Smith’s archetypal baker embedded in a small community, this is relatively simple; for a global corporation interfacing with multiple cultures which both evolve and often overlap, the challenge is complex. By bringing together the corporate and cultural world Zamyn deepens the understanding of both, illuminating the flow and counter flow of influences involved in the process of globalisation. This can lead not just to greater mutual understanding, but to cooperation and positive impacts.
Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman of the  Global Compact Foundation & Zamyn.
John Lanchester explains How to Speak Money
Lanchester argues that everyone should know not only what a bond is but also how to spot an inverted yield curve. Economics is at the heart of almost everything yet most people can neither discuss it nor think about it, partly because the language of money keeps them out.
As a novelist, Lanchester's first subject was food; only later did he become obsessed with understanding money – the result being Whoops!, the best-written and most entertaining account of the financial crisis. What also qualifies him for the job of translator is that he likes the language. The son of a banker, he doesn’t find it heartless: he finds it bracing. Financial Times

Psychoanalysis has proved itself to be a unique method of questioning and cultural enquiry. By taking the unconscious and its effects seriously, and by recognising and exploring human passions and forms of enjoyment, it sheds new light on social and political stasis and change. Psychoanalytic perspectives can allow us to investigate the hidden logic of meanings, behaviours and ideologies, facilitating a deeper understanding of many of the processes and problems that characterise the world today. Darian Leader

Shirin Neshat, Production Still, Soliloquy, 1999
Copyright Shirin Neshat, Courtesy Gladstone Gallery, New York

If families, societies and our own psyches would prefer to control our speech; if there is something about free speaking which makes politicians, mothers and censors nervous, then psychoanalysis as a free space invented by Freud where anything, however trivial, suspect or mad can be said  is still essential. It is, after all, where silence is compelled that evil is done. The encouragement of free speaking as a form of dissent and of creativity is crucial in psychoanalysis, just as it is in literature and in life itself, where it is a vital component of human liberty and individuality. Hanif Kureishi

Literature works with the core of consciousness. It engages us at the imaginative level; it works with all that makes us human. Literature by its very nature questions the nature of reality. As reality is always the perception of reality, the power of literature to be a radical alternative is very significant. It implies that the world as we see it is not the only way it can be. In literature is revolution, modification, adaption, preservation, re-dreaming. Literature is the constant foe of tyranny, the constant hope for our best futures. It represents our magical capacity for transformation. Ben Okri

There is no doubt that growth has come at an enormous cost to our natural resources, which are rapidly being depleted. WWF estimate that parts of the world are already living off the equivalent of 1.5 planets. We are pushing at the limits of our ‘planetary boundaries’. As a result, the prospect of what scientists’ term an ‘abrupt and irreversible environmental change’ is now very real. We already see extreme weather patterns fast becoming the norm. According to the Environment Agency, the UK spent a fifth of last year in flood, and even longer in drought. The cost to individual companies can run into hundreds of millions a year. These challenges to the sustainability of our planet come before another two billion people enter the population – and many more aspire to higher standards of living.  And we face these issues at a time when people’s trust in governments and other institutions to address them is at an all-time low. According to the latest global survey, only 48% have trust in their governments. Many in particular doubt the ability of political leaders to internalise international challenges, like climate change, and to show the necessary leadership.  As a result, people are no longer asking, ‘who’s in charge?' Aided by the rapid escalation in social media, increasingly empowered citizens are taking matters into their own hands. Digital technology is allowing them to create large communities of interest, share information fast and drive to action. We already see whole regimes being brought down. Business has an opportunity to step up and fill the leadership void, but it will require moving from an old licence to operate approach to one based on a ‘licence to lead’. Companies that understand this and are willing to become part of the solution to today’s social and sustainability challenges will have a bright future. Those that don't will become dinosaurs – outdated, outmoded and out-of-business. That is the challenge.
Paul Polman, CEO - Unilever, for Zamyn

Mona Hatoum, Hot Spot III, 2009
Photo: Agostino Osio
Courtesy Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venezia