It was the early nineties and I have now have no memory what I was doing but I definitely heard it on BBC Radio 4; the reason why gorillas have a large brain*. Not the kind of question I came across in my line of work at the time, but suddenly how relevant it seemed.
For a decade we had all been living in the post-Thatcher work environment, obsessed with success, value, and American management techniques that we were assured would help us squeeze the last drop of work out of ourselves, our colleagues and our week. It was all so damned purposeful, an imbalanced life that suited men more than women, tiringly competitive, upheld by what were to become the dreaded KPIs.
The reason why gorillas have a large brain suddenly exploded across my day and my consciousness. They don’t talk, they don’t take exams, they are pacifists and vegetarians – yet they require a large brain to operate? How could this be? And that was when I learned that we humans had indeed lost our way – and founded the Gorilla Club.
Fired up by the radio programme, I set up a Gorilla Moment with some close colleagues, all female as it happens – women got the concept so much quicker – and tested the idea. We quickly graduated to the Gorilla Lunch and the germ of the idea was suddenly there. It took over ten years for it to mature in that gorilla part of my brain of course, and this online blooklet tells the story of how I formalised this crazy idea into running a fascinating social experiment with willing members of my network over several years.
And it launched my career as a thought leader.
*This blooklet tells the tale and will reveal the answer to the question.