FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
About the Guild
What is the Grey Swan Guild?
We are a global network of over 300 thought leaders with a common desire to "make sense of this new world". We came together in response to the first shocks felt during the COVID-19 pandemic, to discuss the impact of the crisis and the road ahead for people, business and society.
How did the Grey Swan Guild come about?
In response to the first shocks we felt in the early days of the pandemic, a group of colleagues exchanged messages and posted our learnings online. Then, grassroots word of mouth spread on how we were organizing a global hive of thinkers attempting to collaboratively make sense of this new world.
In the first ten weeks, the Grey Swan Guild met, organized, collected 60 written points of view and conducted research around what was happening in our lives, workplaces and marketplaces from the effects of COVID-19. From this, our venture was born.
When was the Grey Swan Guild created?
- March 13, 2020 – our first conversations were borne out of the pandemic
- March 26, 2020 – We held our first General Assembly meeting
- April 24, 2020 – A group of committed and like-minded people starts takes shape
- May 11, 2020 – We are named the “Grey Swan Guild”
- May 25, 2020 – We collect 60+ POVs from our members
- June 8, 2020 – We launch our first publication, Emergent Global Perspectives in the Wake of a Pandemic which can be downloaded here.
- June 29, 2020 – Our next wave starts
- August 03, 2020 - We launch our second publication with a focus on Leadership, Emergent Leadership Perspectives in the Wake of a Pandemic which can be downloaded here.
What is the Grey Swan Guild plannng to achieve?
We formed the Grey Swan Guild to be a global early warning system of emerging societal shifts combined with multi-faceted response team to make sense of the change and provide practical guidance on what to do next. In sharing the perspectives of our members we hope to stimulate wider conversations and move the dial on our ultimate goal—to make sense of the current pandemic, and more importantly, future ‘Grey Swans’. Read more about the Grey Swan Guild.
Who is the Grey Swan Guild's audience?
Business leaders, policy makers, change agents and educators facing new challenges in a changed, uncertain world and seeking insights and diverse points of view to provide ideas and guidance.
Who are the Grey Swan Guild members?
- A Collaborative Community of Sensemakers
- A Global action-based thinktank
- Crafters of Emergent perspectives, content and productions
- An advisory organization for positive change
- An open forum for future challenges
- An expert bench of future-savvy talent
What is the Grey Swan Guild’s mission?
The Grey Swan Guild makes sense of particular societal, cultural, economic, marketplace and workplace challenges for business leaders, policy makers, educators and curious others. Read more about the Grey Swan Guild.
What is the Grey Swan Guild’s purpose?
Our aim is to surface, inspire, and invite additional evidence-based observations, perspectives, contributions and opportunities from those who are committed to affect and influence positive change. Read more about the Grey Swan Guild.
What are the Grey Swan Guild's core values?
- Collaborative - committed to the collective good
- Purposeful - evidence-based, policy, humanity
- Curious - critical, rational, optimistic, aware
- Aspirational - can-do spirit, non-ordinary/innovative
Read more about the Grey Swan Guild.
Why are you called the “Grey Swan Guild”?
A “grey swan” is a term used to describe a potentially very significant event that is considered unlikely to happen but still possible. As there is a slight chance the event will occur, it should be anticipated, particularly as it could shake up civilization, the world economy, culture, marketplaces, workplaces and life.
A “guild” is an organization of persons with related interests, goals etc. especially one formed for mutual aid or protection. Read more about the Grey Swan Guild.
What makes the Grey Swan Guild different from other “think tanks” or similar organisations?
- We are structured as an open collective of leaders without any political or commercial affiliation
- We are a collaborative hive of thinkers – we start, contribute and produce together
- We attempt to get ahead of the future, not just report what is happening now
- We focus on positive change to help business, policy and humanity
Do you have a political or commercial agenda?
No, we are not political in nature. canvassing and involving many different viewpoints. However one of our distinctive reasons for being is to have a positive effect on business, policy and humanity. We do accept sponsorship and partnerships but we do not target one industry or type of company and we are clear about the separation of these relationships and editorial.
Are you global?
We currently have members from around the world and are actively seeking to expand our membership to include representation from every country.
Are you diverse and inclusive?
Absolutely. The more diverse and inclusive we can be the better!
What is research, sensemaking and intelligence?
We have defined research as primary research, sensemaking as secondary research and intelligence as the product, outcomes, foresights and insights created by combining the two.
What problems does the Grey Swan Guild aim to solve?
- A worldwide pandemic occurred with deep & far-reaching impacts across all facets of life 🡪 There was no playbook or navigation guide to follow for the world, its leaders and/or change agents
- Leaders, strategists and people were thinking narrowly and short term 🡪 Collaborations and diverse groups always produce better answers for the future
- The future is riddled with big challenges that are volatile, uncertain, chaotic and ambiguous but foreseeable - Grey Swans are everywhere 🡪 The same experience of making sense of this pandemic could be applied to other new challenges too
What does the Grey Swan Guild produce?
- Quarterly “living” publications and productions that mix emergent perspectives, sensemaking the world “out there” and providing new lenses on the future
- Ongoing multimedia content and solutions to extend, curate and syndicate the conversation into new platforms and arenas
Which social media channels is the Grey Swan Guild active on?
We are active on a number of social channels and encourage our members and fans to visit and follow us in order to access, share and comment on our latest insights.
What kind of content and information do you share with audiences?
We asked our membership what they want to receive and we are accommodating their requests:
- Opportunities to Participate - 68%
- Top Sensemaking Content - 68%
- Key Decisions Made - 59%
- General Assembly Video/Decks - 55%
- New Insights/Research - 55%
- Member Projects - 45%
- Upcoming Events - 36%
- Recent Episodes - 27%
- Collaborative Forums - 27%
- Visuals/Infographics - 27%
- Good News - 23%
- New Members - 14%
How can I learn more about the Grey Swan Guild?
Every Wednesday @ 10:00 ET/14:00 GMT, Grey Swan Guild board members will host a small online session to deliver a short presentation and answer all your questions about the Guild. New and prospective members are encouraged to attend one of these sessions to meet other members in an intimate setting and learn more about becoming a member. Attend an upcoming Onboarding Session.
Is there a cost to be a member?
There is no cost to be a member. We are interested in growing our membership to increase the diversity, breadth and depth of the conversations and ideas that the Guild was formed to generate. Register now to become a member.
How often does the Grey Swan Guild meet?
The full Guild convenes every two weeks at a General Assembly held by video conference. These meeting are typically held on Tuesdays in different time zones to accommodate our global audience. Please visit our online Events Calendar to mark our upcoming meetings in your calendar.
What events does the Grey Swan Guild host?
We hold regular webcasts to showcase and discuss the results of research that is conducted by our members on topics such as: the future of society, culture, the economy, work and the marketplace, post pandemic; or the types and implications of future Grey Swans. Visit our Get Involved page or Events Calendar to see and register for upcoming events.
Is there a member internet or bulletin board where everything important about the guild exists?
Can I contribute an article or POV to the website or future publication?
We'd love to include your insights on our website. Send us your 500-word, evidence-based point-of-view (POV) related to the ongoing global pandemic. What are the impacts? What are the possibilities?
How can I become a member of the Grey Swan Guild?
We thought you'd never ask! Please visit our new member page to tell us a little about yourself and how you would like to be involved.
Can anyone become a member of the Grey Swan Guild?
Yes! Anyone with an interest in making sense of this new world is welcome to join. We actively engage a wide range of perspectives and rich diversity of backgrounds and individuals to bring a spectrum of evidence-based ideas.
New members may be: Leaders, policy makers, consultants, strategists, data analysts, authors, futurists, executives, economists, scientists, sociologists, technologists, creatives, designers, new media developers, researchers, students and others.
Coming from: Diverse sectors including government, education, media, marketing, professional services, health care, finance, retail, technology, not-for-profits, communications, transportation and others.
Register now to become a member.
Can I contribute to the Grey Swan Guild’s research?
Yes! Please take 10 minutes to complete our "Making Sense of a Pandemic" global sensemaking survey.
What roles are available for Grey Swan Guild members?
We are actively recruiting: Leaders, Catalysts, Organisers, Creatives, Sensemakers, Board Members, Researchers, Editors, Marketers, Sponsors/Partners, Members and Contributors. There is a role for everyone!
What is a catalyst?
They create, host and organize the marketing, media, inbound content, PR and sponsorship functions of the guild.
Where can I access the Grey Swan Guild’s research and publications?
Our latest research and publications can be accessed on our website on the Publications page.
What is the time commitment for members?
The time commitment depends on what role(s) you want to take on. Approximate commitments for active members are: Leaders – 10hrs/wk, Board Members - 2hrs/wk, Group Organisers – 5 hrs/wk, Group Members 3hrs/wk, Editorial Board members – 1 hr/wk, Catalysts – 2 hrs/wk, Contributors – 1 submission per quarter.
Grey Swan Guild Members can be as active or passive as they want, and participate in our various events and initiatives where interested or relevant.
What are the benefits of becoming a Grey Swan Guild member?
- Communal benefits: “Feels great being part of something interesting that isn’t my company.”
- Learning: “Every time I join a session, I feel like I am among some of the smartest, interesting people in my life.”
- Networking: “Where else would I get a chance to associate with a global community of such diverse professionals.”
- Startup attitude: “This is not just a think group, you can feel this energy to want to do things, to ship product.”
- The work: “Brilliant. What you have created and produced here is what the world needs.”
- Collaboration: “I wanted to say I really enjoy working with X and Y, they have amazing depth.”
- New Way for a New World: “Today’s world challenges now require a different way of tackling them. GSG is an exciting new model.”
- Extrinsic Benefit: “So happy I joined GSG. When we’re ready I want to badge my network of friends and colleagues with my membership.”
Many communities have rituals and traditions, do you have any?
It's still early so they are taking shape. But we start our meetings with good news and end our meeting with the Vulcan "live long and prosper" salute. Food metaphors are also quite popular. Join us and find out.