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The Red Blue Experience

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In partnership with Flourish Alliance

The Red Blue Exercise for activists and strategists. Conducted by Dr John Carlisle, Flourish Alliance.

Are you sick and tired of these win-lose TV shows, Big Brother, Survivor and now the awful, contrived Traitors? Is that the real world? Does watching these farces give us a distorted view of business and society? Are they a form of revenge porn tit-for-tat that is actually bad for you? Is there another way?

Yes. By applying the principles found in Red Blue.

The truth is that in the real-world things get done and conflicts sorted out, largely by negotiating agreements that work. But this requires a strategy for managing the interactions. I have used the Red Blue exercise both as a diagnostic tool and a strategy for managing positive outcomes.

Over 8,000 people across the world from Eastern Europe to the USA - businesses, civil servants, politicians, games developers and trade unions have applied the principles they learned in this two-hour exercise and benefited. The key is Win/Win or Walk Away. How to achieve this is the basis of the exercise. Cooperation works, but it’s hard work!


Born in Zambia, John Carlisle was a miner who, after graduating, joined the team that ran the national programme replacing white employees with black school leavers in the mines. He set up his own company in Sheffield, JCP, that trained negotiators in supply chains and building collaborative strategies for construction projects. These helped save the industry about £500 million a year.

He also worked with young leaders in Eastern Europe and Asia, and set up an AIDS Recuperation Trust on his farm in South Africa - Intliziyo. He was also a Visiting Professor at Sheffield Business School for eight years.

Part of our 2024 festival strand


How can we reimagine our citizenship and our democracy?