John West

Psyche: Mind, Body & Spirit

The Psyche

The world is changing! Businesses have recognised this, and John West is no exception. They understand that uncontrollable, external changes as well as welcomed, internal transformations, will inevitably have significant impacts on their team.

As such, John West decided to change their annual conference too, in order to suit the needs of their team.

So, instead of committedly teaching and informing their people about business strategy, and changes to systems and processes, they decided to showcase and inform their team on personal, human- centric coping strategies instead.

For John West, this was a brave and commendable effort at proving to their team that nothing is more important than their people’s health and wellbeing. And in fact, only when a workforce feels happy, healthy and secure, does it perform at its best.

Designed with wellbeing, health, happiness and security in mind, this year’s conference was named Psyche: Mind, Body & Spirit.

Mind, Body & Spirit

Arriving into the main space, which doubled as a reception area, delegates were treated to a leisurely breakfast. On each side of the room was a white draped area, completely enclosed with a walkway thorough to the main space, saturated in darkness apart from the sophisticated and stylish gobos, lighting the areas they touched as they floated around the room.

Flanking the reception area, were two powerful images of nature, drenched with one of the bold colours chosen to bring a strong deign identity to the event.

The space was designed to create an overwhelming sense of simplicity. It was calm, yet powerful, evocative, yet serene.

Once the conference opened, delegates were led through to the main space where tiered seating bordered the main stage, set with simple and beautiful logo design as well as a large screen so that the strong Powerpoint design and imagery could come to life.

Main stage presentations were kept short giving delegates top-line information on how the business is expected to change. The messaging throughout was focused on how best to perceive change in an uncertain climate; communicating the opportunities that such a time presents as well as the possible challenges. Ultimately, how we frame the notion of change has a lot to do with how we deal with it.

This tied in very nicely with guest speaker Chris Kurtana, who was next on the agenda.

Chris, a scholar and author of Age of Discovery is a fascinating public-speaker who claims that Britain is in the midst of a second renaissance. He believes that there is no greater time to be alive as we only need to look to the past, to learn the answers to our future, having already lived through change and adapted accordingly. He believes that modern day challenges are nothing new, if only we could accept, reflect and regroup.

He shed tremendous light on certain perceptions of change and offered delegates a different and enlightened way of rethinking it not only in the business arena, but also in a more personal manner too.

After a healthy lunch, delegates were sent to their breakout sessions; one a twenty-minute session of Tai Chi, the other a twenty-minute tutorial, accompanied by tasting session, on super foods. This session explained quick and easy ways of introducing these nutritious food sources into your diet every day.

Each of the sessions offered a surprisingly refreshing insight into mindfulness, health and wellbeing educating on how easy it can actually be to look after oneself – tying in perfectly with the intended communication.

The final portion of the conference was reserved for a group activity, one that got people moving their body and using their brain: the Haka. And it was a sight to behold.

One hundred delegates, willingly working together to perform an ancient routine that is mindfully complex, physically demanding and spiritually symbolic, was a perfect way to finish off an event that intended to broach the topic of the psyche; the point where the conscious and the unconscious meet. And some might say, where our individuality is born.

The very same point where John West thinks that we have the opportunity to take control of change, before it takes control of us.