Campaign to overcome compound stupidity


A new campaign, ‘Stupid Aid’ is being launched to tackle what is believed to be an increase in stupidity in the world because of the pressures of modern life – and also help raise funds for Barnardo’s.

The initiative is the brainchild of creativity@work’s Andy Green who has gathered support from regional groups of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations across the UK to host a special one week-long tour featuring 14 events between September 3rd and 7th at Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Nottingham, Cambridge, Norwich, London, Reading, Southampton, Bristol and Cardiff.

Andy is giving up his time free with all profits going to the children’s and young people’s charity, Barnardo’s. Tickets can be obtained by e mailing or visiting (site open Monday August 6th)

Green is hoping his background in teaching creativity skills, where he is the author of a number of books on the subject, will help anyone who has the feeling that the world is getting stupider.

The campaign is appealing for examples of stupid thinking of bureaucracy gone mad, or just plain daft decisions to get people thinking differently about what they can do to make their world a better place. It aims to make stupidity history by tackling the growth of what it calls ‘compound stupidity’ – where the world is evidently getting stupider with one stupid thing feeding even more stupidity.

Campaigners believe stupidity is not the result of low intelligence, but caused by inflexible thinking. Everyone is capable of stupid thinking. Most of us are guilty each day of what the campaign calls ‘1* stupidity’ - making wrong decisions based on inadequate information.

By improving flexible thinking skills campaign organisers are hoping it will empower each of us to make our world a better place and change attitudes to issues such as disadvantaged young people.

The public can submit their own examples to include in a new ‘Stupid Aid - stupid thinking survival kit’ as well as vote on the worst excuses given for stupid thinking at a special campaign blog site – ¹.[See Notes To Editors below for the 5 most common stupid excuses.]

Whether it is 2* stupid telephone customer care lines that make you angry or 3* stupid decisions by planning departments to allow houses to be built on flood plains, campaign organisers are wanting as many different examples to measure against a specially devised ‘compound stupidity scale - a five star rating guide – to measure different examples of stupid thinking.[The 5 star Stupid Thinking Guide is detailed in the Notes to Editors below]

The campaign is also supported by Junior Chamber International, and regional groups of the Chartered Institute of Public Relation and the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

In his 45 minute-long presentations Andy Green will provide people with 5½ essential survival skills in the 21st century by offering practical creative and flexible thinking tools to help overcome bureaucratic obstacles, intellectually outmanoeuvre those who say ‘No’, and spot more opportunities to achieve more with less.

The modern world is believed to be creating more stupidity as a result of:

  • Greater complexity around us
  • Faster pace of life, development and communications
  • Negative word-of-mouth travelling faster than positive, so urban myths are created around the risk of being sued, being politically incorrect or facing physical threat.
  • Lower cost of logical technology, such as call centre systems, speed cameras, and data software, making it easier to introduce inflexible systems
  • Inherently laziness of people’s thinking, preferring to opt for superficially attractive, easy, quick -fix solutions rather than addressing the real problems.

The ‘Stupid Aid – make stupidity history’ tour will be raising funds for Barnardo’s. Ticket prices are just £25 and are available from

Commenting on his plans Andy Green said: ”Stupid Aid has a serious message - we want people get in control of their world to fight back against stupidity wherever they come across it. We hope it will not be a losing battle. Stupidity is not about intelligence – it’s about the flexibility of your thinking. Everyone should be comfortable with their own stupidity – we all make mistakes every day based on inadequate information. We all however, should challenge ‘compound stupidity’ in the world around us.


¹ site planned to go live August 6th

The ‘Stupid Aid’ UK tour schedule:

MondayEdinburghApex International Hotel , 31-35 Grassmarket, Edinburgh7.30am/8am
NewcastleCulture Lab, Grand Assembly Rooms, King's Walk, Newcastle12.30pm/1pm
LeedsOld Broadcasting House, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds6pm/6.30pm
TuesdayManchesterThe Circle, Barton Arcade, Manchester7.30am/8am
LiverpoolRacquet Club, Chapel Street, Liverpool12.30pm/1pm
BirminghamRatcliff Room, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Centre, Berkley Street, Birmingham6pm/6.30pm
WednesdayNottinghamNottingham University Business School7.30am/8am
CambridgeDarwin room, Pitt Building, Cambridge University12.30pm/1pm
NorwichThe Council House, University of East Anglia6pm/6.30pm
ThursdayLondonABN AMRO 250, Bishopgate, London EC17.30am/8am
ReadingRoyal Berkshire Conference Centre, Madejski Stadium, Reading12.30pm/1pm
SouthamptonSolent University, East Park Terrace, Southampton6pm/6.30pm
FridayBristolCabot Room, The Hawthorns, Woodlands Road, Bristol7.30am/8am
CardiffMansion House, Richmond Road, Cardiff12.30pm/1pm

To get your tickets contact: or call 0845 450 3210

‘Compound stupidity scale’ - a 5 star scale for measuring stupid thinking

1 starStupid thinking which is a one-off mistake, based on inaccurate, unbalanced or insufficient information that is rectified when discovered.
2 starStupid thinking based on failing to recognise wider community or partnership interests.
3 starStupid thinking based on failing to recognise longer-term needs.
4 starRepeatedly making the same 1,2 or 3 star mistakes
5 starApplying 1, 2 or 3 star stupid thinking in new areas of activity - ‘compound stupidity’

The top six examples of stupid thinking and how to respond to them:

The UK public is being asked to vote for their least favourite excuse given for stupid thinking.

Stupid thinking examples How you can respond
‘This is the thin end of the wedge – it will set a precedent.’Precedent is only a legitimate issue in a court of law. Otherwise be pragmatic and flexible, judging every situation on its merits.
‘Sorry it’s our rules.’Rules are never set in stone. They were made by someone. Get them to adapt, be flexible, or change them.
‘The computer says ‘No’.’Some one, somewhere is in charge of the computer. Get hold of them and get them to do something about it.
‘It’s been approved by experts’Experts can get it wrong. ‘Experts’ once thought the world was flat. Are there other experts whose expertise is greater or more relevant?
‘There is no precedent for this.’Create a precedent. Do something new. Just because something has not evidently happened before, it doesn’t mean it should never happen. If we all think like this we will never have any progress.
‘It’s health and safety.’But is it intelligent health and safety?

About Andy Green

Andy Green is a world-leading expert on the subject of flexible thinking, creativity and opportunity spotting.

He is author of ‘Creativity in Public Relations’ the world’s first book on the subject, ‘Effective Personal Communications Skills’ and ‘A minute with Tony Blair’ after a chance encounter with the former Prime Minister. He is a partner with leading brand and public relations consultancy GREEN communications and specialist flexible thinking skills consultancy creativity@work, and is also the driving force behind the Wakefield Media Centre which is Britain’s only moo-ing building and home to a community of creative businesses.

He works with blue-chip organisations around the world to facilitate creativity and brainstorm sessions, and deliver training to enable his clients to achieve more with less.

Andy is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

About Barnardo’s

Barnardo's no longer runs orphanages. It supports 110,000 children and their families through 383 vital projects at home, school and the local community. Every project is different but each has the same goal: protecting, nurturing and providing opportunities for the most vulnerable children and young people over the long term, and enabling them to face the future with hope.

Whatever the issue; from family drug misuse to disability; from youth crime to mental health; from sexual abuse to domestic violence; Barnardo's is there to give the UK's most vulnerable children a better start in life. It provides counselling, emotional and practical support to help vulnerable children move forward with their lives.

Without Barnardo's, these children would continue suffering and be deprived of a chance of a normal childhood.  It also campaign to bring about lasting improvements to their lives.

Thomas John Barnardo was born in Dublin, Ireland and began his work with homeless and destitute children in the East End of London, England in 1866. His vision was that children deserved the best start in life and that vision lives on today through the work of the four different charities around the globe.

For more information about Barnardo’s please visit its website at www.Barnardo’