INSPIRATION

A smorgasbord of the people and thoughts recently providing some ongoing inspiration in my work. Whether or not I agree with all the thoughts offered, they all provide a different angle on how I approach things.

 
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Jeffrey Sachs

The Prince of Sustainable Development, former Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University where he holds the highest ranking title of University Professor - he is one of the world's leading experts on economic development and fighting poverty. Respect to him for being hugely outspoken against public figures and demanding change.

John Elkington

The Godfather of Sustainability, creator of the "Triple Bottom Line" and all round visionary and nice guy. Too many books written to mention, and regular articles for Harvard Business Review. Check out Volans, SustainAbilty, and his podcast with The Sustainability Agenda

 

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Naval Ravikant

Founder of AngelList, and one of the finest thinkers from the technology world consistently covers a range of topics: reading, habits, meaning of life, happiness. The way he views life is unique and his aphorisms on Twitter are hugely thought provoking. On his appearance on the Farnham Street podcast he discusses an interesting opposing view around halfway through around a shift from macro to micro attempts for change. No clear acknowledgement of shared value and sustainable or regenerative thinking, but nonetheless, thought provoking to draw in for thoughts around human nature and the future of the world.

David Bowie

Having absorbed the excellent "David Bowie Is" exhibition on its stop in Barcelona, four key elements came to the forefront for me: his ability to imagine way beyond existing paradigms, his continuous evolution, drawing from a hugely diverse range of influences, and his open minded approach to collaboration.

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Mariana Mazzucato

Along with Kate Raworth, rethinking economics and testing assumptions many of us have about the role of the state in innovation. Founder/Director of Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose at UCL.

Enjoyed the recent takedown of a particularly obnoxious and ill-prepared individual on BBC Politics live and the “Mazzaucato Report” on Mission-Oriented Research & Innovation in the European Union

 
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Derek Sivers

Founded CD Baby, became a circus clown to counteract being introverted. The best example of an optimistic contrarian I have found. He also writes excellent book reviews that he publishes on his website, which is excellent for discovering new books, and not having to read them if you just want a overview (the magic is in fact on his his take on them via his notes).

 
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Kate Raworth

Driving a wholly necessary complete rethink of economics through her breakthrough book “Doughnut Economics”. I don’t agree with all of it (as with anything), but some brilliant concepts in there, and Ms Raworth employs a range of really powerful communication forms to get the message across to a range of audiences. One of those on an ongoing global mission to educate and inspire.

 
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Christopher Nolan

Interweaving multiple concepts about the human mind, emotions, life, the future of the world into one wicked art piece.

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Ben Horowitz / Marc Andreessen aka a16z

Take some of the best thinking in Silicon Valley, apply it to growing enterprises tackling the grand sustainability / regeneration challenge. Banks and banks of content at their website that could probably take you years to sift through.

 

Marcus Aurelius

Leading Stoic thinker, a few particularly pertinent quote from the Roman Emperor:

"The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it."

"Meditate often on the interconnectedness and mutual interdependence of all things in the universe"

"Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things which exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the contexture of the web."

 

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Roald Dahl

I requested a collection of Roald Dahl books for my 30th birthday, as a reminder of my childhood and stay youthful in thought, as I like to think Roald did. Dark stories, ostensibly for children, that can still be enjoyed by any adult. A good reminder of staying youthful and open in thought into your later years.

 

Salvador Dali / Joan Miró

Two Catalan artists who pushed the limits and bent reality. In a similar way to channeling David Bowie - asking: how can you see a different angle on things, how can you think in completely different terms to the existing paradigm or reality?

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Max Roser

Max and his colleagues at Our World in Data use research and interactive data visualizations to understand the world’s largest problems. Based at the University of Oxford, Bill Gates is big fan and leading startup accelerator Y Combinator recently had them on their program, as one of the first academic non-profits to be selected. So vital to understanding the world we live in.

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12 Angry Men

Pretty much one scene throughout the entire  film, a brilliant exercise in the unbundling of all the inherent biases we all hold. A good reminder as we look to redesign a more distributive global system. Brilliance from back in 1957.

 

Hans Rosling

From Roser to Rosling, another gentleman who did (RIP) a brilliant job at helping the masses understand the world better. His amazing TED talk (s), his book Factfulness and his organisation Gapminder.. Thankfully his family continue his important mission.

 
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NOTE: I am very aware the vast majority of these people are white males. The question I am asking myself is, is this because of my bias as a white male, or is it reflective of society that these are the people that are pushed more into the (or my) limelight (it’s probably a bit of both).

So I’m actively working on this, starting with media initiatives such as the New Generation of Black Climate Leaders and Mothers of Invention. I’d love any more direction or ideas.