Member feedback

April’s second presentation was from acumen7 member Andrew Cobden, who was seeking feedback from the network on some potential next steps in his career. Andrew has worked in the property industry for over 25 years and is currently MD of Vastint UK. Andrew’s experience has afforded him exposure to a broad range of property sectors and for the past 10+ years he has overseen three large-scale mixed-use city centre projects. He is as comfortable in setting the vision for a place as he is with defining the needs of the buildings and spaces that populate it. Andrew leaves Vastint in June and is exploring a number of options. He shared a few ideas, with the members then offering feedback and alternative views.

Network support

acumen7 member Jes Newman was seeking feedback from the network on some potential next steps in his career. Jes listed his career passions as people development, customer service and ‘looking out for the world’. Now based in Cornwall, Jes shared the fascinating story of how he got where he is today, which drew some parallels with other members. Jes invited the members’ views when comparing their own context to his.


Associate Member introductions: Meg Reed & Danish Mishra

The second session at acumen7’s January meeting was an opportunity to find out more about the network’s two newly appointed Associate Members.

Meg Reed is the Client Development Manager – Construction at Wilson James. Meg is a specialist in logistics, operations, construction, development, and real estate project and portfolio management. She is passionate about sustainability, innovative logistics and challenging the status quo.

For more information on Wilson James, visit:

Danish Mishra is Head of Analytics & Senior Consultant at Complete. Having started out in rocket science, he now helps organisations build competitive advantage. Danish specialises in how knowledge – specifically tacit knowledge – flows through networks, whether they are human, social or computer networks, and its implications for organisations and complex systems.

For more information on Complete Coherence, visit:

A review of the Associate Member programme

acumen7’s first Associate Member, Dr Rosie Hughes, who is also an Associate Director at AECOM, reflected on the benefits she has gained from the network in terms of industry knowledge, and both horizontal and vertical learning, with the peer-to-peer learning being the most enriching aspect of the experience. Rosie also commented on the valuable support from her mentor, Richard Ogden, as well as network’s participatory approach and selfless support. acumen7’s Chair, Kim Vernau, echoed the thoughts of the members by saying that Rosie’s involvement has been a beneficial and insightful learning experience for the network as well. For more information on AECOM, visit: 

The challenges of project collaboration

Another interactive March session was facilitated by a newer acumen7 member, Warren Beardall, who revisited some old stalwart issues of project management and the ever-real challenges facing efforts of project collaboration. Issues of trust, behaviours and adequacy of visibility; propensity for dispute culture to endure; relative interpretations of success. All considered in the context of data driven decision-making, and whether critical control environments and contractual control had sufficient collaborative endeavour at their core. Construction, Public Private Partnerships and findings of Warren’s recent Master’s dissertation which posed these same questions formed the backdrop to a lively discussion. 

Follow Warren’s blog at:

Strategic alignment

At acumen7’s June virtual meeting, Maria Lambides of Alpha Phronesis explored the importance of alignment, and the value and impact it can have on an organisation. Maria revealed how misalignment between internal perceptions and customer results can lead to wasted resources, poor decision-making and under-achievement. It can be a case of too much data and not enough insights. 74% of businesses want to be data driven, but only 29% are successful at connecting analytics to action. The solution is to align the organisation around the customer understanding and the choices they make. Maria then showcased a study of a company, where Alpha Phronesis helped to define their competitive advantage, leading to a substantial increase in sales.

Maria also presented the results of a survey of current and potential acumen7 members to establish high importance factors and if there were any unmet needs. Two key strengths of the network emerged as its culture of trust, respect and willingness to support, and that it is a forum for agile thinking.

The second session of the meeting looked at how organisations can engender a strong company culture, now that many interactions are taking place over virtual platforms. The discussions acknowledged that with this set to be a key part of working life for the foreseeable future, it is important to look at the issue in relation to existing staff as well as new recruits, to ensure that everyone is aligned with the organisation’s culture.

For more information on Alpha Phronesis, visit: