The New Ism
By The New Ism
Every week we talk to exciting social entrepreneurs to discover what they think a new, fairer economy should look like.
The New IsmJun 12, 2019
S4, E3: Juan Francisco Baron
Juan Francisco Baron is the Artistic Director of NODO, a digital cultural centre and a platform for exhibition, creation and connection for those who seek to democratise digital culture and make it more accessible.
Juan Francisco and Mel have a conversation unlike any we have had before on The New Ism podcast. They explore creativity and artistic thinking as a path to a new ism. Juan Francisco describes how artistic thinking is how we create new worlds, and will therefore be integral to a new ism: we just need to allow people to tap into this side of their brain so they can imagine a bold new future. He also emphasises the importance of connecting and collaborating to create this new world - of finding people with the same passions and concerns, and using those commonalities as a foundation to work together to build a better future.
S4, E2: Louis de Jaeger
In the second episode of season 4 of The New Ism podcast, we talk to another remarkable young changemaker. Louis de Jaeger is an eco-entrepreneur who is passionate about sustainable business. He has immersed himself in natural agriculture, landscaping and renewable construction and transportation, with an ultimate goal of inspiring as many people as possible to act now to save the planet. He is involved in several sustainability projects and organisations, including Food Forest Institute, Commensalist and The Biggest Tree Plant. His passion and motivation are infecitous, and Mel and Alex both left the conversation with new levels of zeal and determination!
Louis and Mel talked about issues including the crucial importance of connecting with nature and how imperfect action now is so much better than perfect action in the future.
We'd love to hear your thoughts!
S4, E1: Katerina Chantzi, Melanie Marcel, Keren-Or Rosner
The New Ism podcast is back after a hiatus, and we’re delighted to be launching the new season with a remarkable panel of young social entrepreneurs. Young people must have a key role in The New Ism - not only because they will be at the front and centre of the fight against climate change, but also because they bring wisdom, fresh perspectives and exciting ideas to the conversation. And none more so than Katerina Chantzi, Melanie Marcel and Keren-Or Rosner, who we speak to today.
Katerina Chantzi is a Project Manager at Cleantech Estonia, raising awareness about climate change, climate action and leadership, and innovation. She works with young people who want to create a sustainable future and also works as an educator for social entrepreneurship and sustainable development.
Melanie Marcel is the founder of SoScience, a social enterprise which specialises in responsible research and innovation. Working with voices from across society, it aims to change the scientific system and what is produced in laboratories in order to have a positive impact on the planet.
Keren-Or Rosner is the founder of Ray of Impact, which connects businesses to nature and human nature by shifting capital into doing good and using financial methodologies to understand how activities impact on the world. She explores how we can use data to avoid doing harm and maximise growth and profit, whilst minimising environmental and societal risk.
Mel and Alex were blown away by all three of them, and we're excited for our listeners to learn from them too.
Boomer vs Millennial - who will save the planet? Earth Day 2021
We’re back after a break with a new, slightly different episode of the podcast. This time, Mel and Alex interviewed each another as part of a series of talks organised by the Impact Trust and thecollab.world to celebrate Earth Day 2021. Coming from different generations, we discussed the responsibility of each generation in the climate crisis and, more importantly, how we can work together to create solutions that work.
We’ll be back properly in the coming months with a brand new format and lots of exciting guests, so stay tuned and we hope to see you there!
S3, E5: Tamzin Ractliffe | Impact Trust
Our guest this week is Tamzin Ractliffe, a serial social entrepreneur who has worked across the public, private and civil society sectors to drive greater impact in the application of capitals to social and sustainable development. She is the director of the Impact Trust, an organisation committed to promoting the skills that contribute to global citizenship, sustainability intelligence and leadership action. Her latest initiative is Routes to Resilience, which equips young people and professionals to become the sustainable, resilient leaders of the future.
At the heart of Mel and Tamzin’s conversation is whether we can harness what we have learned during the current coronavirus pandemic to build a better future for all. They discuss the link between the Covid-19 and climate crises, the skills we need to navigate this new future and how the way business reacts to the crisis will have a major impact on how we progress as society. Both Tamzin and Mel have thought a lot about the long-term impact of the pandemic and the opportunities and risks, so this is a really interesting listen.
Recorded in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, so please excuse any wifi- or tech-related challenges!
S3, E4: Sharath Jeevan | STiR Education | Intrinsic Labs
This week’s guest is Sharath Jeevan, the founder of STiR Education and of Intrinsic Labs, and a world expert on how to reignite intrinsic motivation in our lives. STiR Education supports education systems to rekindle the inner drive of teachers and officials, so that they can role-model the foundations of lifelong learning in children - the ‘fertile soil’ of motivation, as Sharath himself refers to it. Their work currently reaches 6 million children and 200,000 teachers across India and Uganda. Sharath has gone on to establish Intrinsic Labs, which helps individuals, organisations and societies to solve their deepest motivation challenges. If our motivation is unleashed, we can all lead more meaningful and fulfilled lives.
This conversation is a fascinating look at intrinsic motivation, and how it lies at the heart of creating more effective systems but also happier and healthier lives. Sharath and Mel talk about how it can improve not only education, but also how we nurture talent, the quality of leadership and the relationship between politicians and the electorate. Sharath is a visionary with the positivity and vision it will take to build a New Ism - we hope you enjoy this chat as much as we did.
Recorded in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, so please excuse any wifi- or tech-related challenges!
S3, E3: Ken Banks | Yoti
This week’s guest is Ken Banks, the Head of Social Purpose at Yoti, a start-up which develops innovative digital identity solutions. He is also an award-winning social entrepreneur and a mobile technology and global development expert. Ken is best known for developing Frontline SMS, a mobile messaging platform used today by non-profits in over 190 countries around the world. Ken has written two books on social innovation, and is an in-demand speaker, thought leader and mentor.
Mel and Ken’s conversation is wide-ranging and free-flowing, and you can sense how much these two accomplished social entrepreneurs enjoy discussing their ideas and opinions with each other. They covered many topics, including moral leadership, the responsible use of technology, purpose and the role of business in creating better societies, and Ken’s own journey to becoming a highly respected social entrepreneur. His realistic optimism imbues the entire conversation and will leave listeners with renewed hope for a better future.
Recorded in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, so please excuse any wifi- or tech-related challenges!
S3, E2: Jeroo Billimoria | Catalyst 2030
This week we’re talking to Jeroo Billimoria, a hugely successful serial social entrepreneur who has had a profound impact on the lives of millions of children across the world through her organisations that include Child Finance International, Aflatoun International, Childline India and Child Helpline International. She is currently at the heart of Catalyst 2030, a collaboration between social entrepreneurs, governments and other organisations seeking to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs by transforming social innovation ecosystems.
Old friends Jeroo and Mel’s conversation centres around the power of collaboration to drive deeper and faster change - the principle on which Catalyst 2030 is based. They also discuss the importance of admitting failure and of the seemingly counterintuitive notion of closing down an organisation when it has achieved success. This is a great opportunity to listen to two leading social entrepreneurs discuss how to drive lasting change.
S3, E1: Sue Riddlestone, Bioregional
Kicking off season three is Sue Riddlestone, the co-founder and Chief Executive of Bioregional, which champions a better, more sustainable way of living by working with partners to create more sustainable places to live and work. They famously created BedZED, an iconic ecovillage which inspires zero-carbon living across the world. They are also behind One Planet Living, a vision and framework for a world where everyone can live happily within the Earth’s resources. Sue was integral to the development of the SDGs in 2010, and helped to make the London 2012 Olympics the greenest games ever.
Sue and Mel’s brilliant and thoughtful discussion centres on how we can live with the means of the planet, one of the most important issues we face. One Planet Living could form the basis of a New Ism! They cover rethinking urban development, localisation, working with companies to make them truly sustainable, veganism, how the coronavirus pandemic has shown us a way forward, and so much more.
The New Ism is back with a bang!
S2, E10: Philip Jennings
Our guest this week is Philip Jennings. Philip recently retired as the General Secretary of UNI Global Union, which represents 20 million workers from over 150 countries worldwide. Their mission is threefold: to build power for working people in service sectors across the world through the growth of unions and the expansion of collective bargaining; to improve working and living conditions for workers; and to support decent jobs for all alongside sustainable economic growth.
Philip and Mel talk about what work will look like in The New Ism, trust and tax, the implications of artificial intelligence and much more.
This episode was recorded at the Homeless World Cup so you will be able to hear some cheering in the background! We also had a few technical issues so we have re-recorded a couple of questions and added some clarifying points. The quality of the content is as high as ever, and Philip has some truly fascinating insights to share.
S2, E9: Bjørn Ihler
Our guest this week is Bjørn Ihler, a Norwegian peace activist who survived the Utøya mass shooting in Norway in 2011. He now works to promote harmony and counter extremism and hatred through a variety of means including writing, talks and filmmaking and theatre productions on related topics. He is a young leader in the Extremely Together movement which mobilises political will to overcome threats to peace, development and human rights.
Bjørn and Mel’s conversation spans creating healthier communities, positive populism, whether we should replicate the Scandinavian model, Bjørn’s thoughts on basing society on the universal declaration of human life, and why he chose to pursue peace rather than retribution in the wake of the Utøya attack. Bjørn is insightful, thoughtful and utterly remarkable - the world needs more leaders like him.
S2, E8: Adam Purvis
Adam spent eight years building a global movement of entrepreneurs who are proving that we can use business to make the world a better place. He has now joined Dark Matter Laboratories where they explore how to create a new system, researching and developing new institutional support frameworks for collaborative system change, and building portfolios of experiments to understand what a better future looks like.
Adam and Mel talk about the exciting and important work that Dark Matter Laboratories is doing, but also about a wide range of topics: harnessing the full ingenuity and capacity of humans (and not treating them as 'bad robots) and the urgency with which we need to do that, experimenting with different political systems to see how we can improve what we have already, and understanding how we are all part of one single system.
S2, E7: Florian Rutsch
Florian Rutsch is a systems change expert at Ashoka UK, which identifies and supports a network of leading social entrepreneurs who are driving systems change, and aims to empower everyone to be a changemaker. Florian’s work focuses on the ecosystem for social entrepreneurs – in particular on funding for their systems changing work.
Florian and Mel cover a lot of ground in their conversation: from reimaging capital to the global vs. local debate and universal basic income to democracy and leadership, Florian has a well thought-through vision for The New Ism that is fascinating to hear.
S2, E6: Professor Johanna Mair
Johanna is a Professor of Organisation, Strategy and Leadership at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, and the Hewlett Foundation Visiting Scholar at the Stanford Centre on Philanthropy and Civil Society. She is the academic editor of the Stanford Social Innovation Review and has co-authored or co-edited numerous books, book chapters and articles in scholarly publications. Johanna’s research lies at the intersection of organisations, institutions and social change, and her objective is to contribute to a better understanding of the drivers and barriers of social and economic development.
Johanna and Mel’s conversation is incredibly wide-ranging, covering topics from the relationship between innovation, scaling and impact; how to address complex issues from a systems perspective; the role of educators in a new economic system; the future of leadership; and the importance of focusing on local realities and identities, to name just a few! Johanna’s experience and expertise makes this an incredibly insightful discussion.
S2, E5: Safia Minney
Safia Minney is best known as the founder of pioneering ethical fashion brand People Tree, where every product, as well as being stylish, is made to the highest ethical and environmental standards from start to finish. Safia is a trailblazer in ethical business and a leading influencer in sustainability, fair trade and fighting modern slavery. She has written nine books and is currently working on leadership for sustainability and climate action.
Safia and Mel talk about ethical, sustainable fashion, of course, but the conversation moves on to how we need to transform trade, and how we must value the resources and people that make our clothes and other products. Safia has strong views on what needs to be done to tackle the climate emergency, and on the power of the individual and the responsibility of the media. Finally, she and Mel discuss how we can nurture and upskill a new generation of socially conscious leaders who will be able to transform their organisations and their industries for the better.
S2, E4: Harish Hande
Harish Hande is a leading Indian social entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Selco, which creates an ecosystem to eradicate poverty using sustainable energy as a catalyst. They design, develop and deploy customised sustainable energy solutions that improve the quality of life and socio-economic development for some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people. Selco’s interventions have had a positive impact for over one million people across India.
Harish and Mel discuss how we can harness sustainable energy innovations to combat poverty and democratise health, education, entrepreneurship and many other sectors. Harish believes that sustainability shouldn’t be siloed - it should be the norm and woven through all sectors and activity. There are two main threats to the world right now - climate change and poverty - and the solutions to both are intrinsically linked.
S2, E3: Patrick Holden
Patrick Holden is the founding director of the Sustainable Food Trust, which works internationally to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable food systems. A pioneer of the organic food movement, Patrick plays an instrumental part in the creation of policies, frameworks and measurements that are helping to build a more sustainable agriculture system across the world. His work is underpinned by his practical experience in agriculture on his 100-hectare farm, which is the longest established organic dairy farm in Wales.
Patrick and Mel have a fascinating and uplifting conversation about the many ways in which we can change agriculture so that it has a positive, not negative effect on the wellbeing of the planet and life on it. They cover creating a sustainable agriculture policy for the whole world based on a deep understanding of how ecosystems work, as well as how we as a species can live in harmony with the planet and with one another. For those despairing at the state of the planet, Patrick offers hope and a practical way forward.
S2 E2: Fredrik Galtung
Fredrik Galtung has dedicated his career to redefining anti-corruption work, from top-down finger pointing to bottom-up promotion of integrity at a community level. He was the Founder President of Integrity Action which helps communities monitor and fix projects affecting millions of people. His new organisation, TrueFootprint, helps companies increase the return on investment of their sustainability projects by working with beneficiaries to collect data and take ownership of solutions to improve their lives.
He and Mel have a fascinating and deeply important conversation about corruption and integrity, and how empowering people to assess and improve the services they benefit from is the key to tackling corruption. For Fredrik, the key to a new, fairer economic system is measurement and metrics: if we measure, we can understand, improve and drive innovation.
S2 E1: Lily Lapenna
Lily Lapenna is the founder and co-chair of MyBnk, which empowers young people to become financially literate and take charge of their futures by bringing money to life. Together with young people, they create innovative, high-impact and high-energy workshops on topics such as saving, budgeting, public finance, social enterprise and start-up entrepreneurship. Having established MyBnk in the UK and been instrumental in getting financial education into the UK curriculum, Lily now lives in the US where she lectures on social entrepreneurship and exploring the intersection between technology and social impact.
As well as discussing MyBnk's incredible work, Lily and Mel address many of the cornerstones to a new, fairer economic system. What is the role of retail and investment banks? How can we reset investor expectations so that they take all bottom lines - people, planet, profit - into consideration? How do we ensure that social impact is the main focus for technological innovation, and how can we use technological advances to disrupt unfair business models?
25: Tim Hanstad
Tim starts on an optimistic note: even though it often doesn’t feel like it, statistics show that in fact life has got better for many people across the world. Violence and the number of people living in poverty have decreased, while healthcare and literacy rates have both increased. On this basis, Tim feels that we should focus on fixing the current system, rather than replacing it with a new ism. He and Mel talk about the intersecting roles of business, government, charity and the individual in society, learning from other countries and why giving the world’s poorest people land rights can transform their lives.
24: Kristine Pearson
The empowerment of women and local communities with representative, diverse leadership were important themes in Kristine and Mel’s discussion, and Kristine believes passionately that these are crucial in a future economic system that works for all. She also talked about hospitality and trust and how a lack of these, teamed with the rise in technology, has perhaps contributed to unhappiness in the western world. This is a wide-ranging conversation which Kristine illustrates with vivid anecdotes and insights from her fascinating career.
23: Pam Warhurst | Incredible Edible
Pam talks to Mel about the importance of a thriving local economy and how people are ‘magnificent’ and immensely adaptable, if given the opportunity to tap into their inherent entrepreneurial spirit. She is a great believer in the power of small actions to create not just change but a different kind of prosperity which is more in harmony with the planet. She also discusses the ways in which innovative, thoughtful and open-minded local government can be an important force for good, even in a time when budgets are decreasing.
22: Honey Thaljieh
A passionate advocate for women’s rights in the Middle East and across the world, it is no surprise that Honey believes that women must have equality and leadership roles in a new, more inclusive economic system - not just because they represent 50% of any country’s population, but because they bring important skills and perspectives to the table. She also talks about how we must tackle governments, hold them to account and protest peacefully to bring about change - and how that means that everyone must be educated in order to understand their rights and fight for them. This is a brilliant episode with a remarkable woman who is already working towards a better world.
21: Martyn Evans | Carnegie Trust
Martyn talks to Mel about the importance of high quality jobs, how a new economic system needs to integrate ‘soft values’ - such as love, kindness, trust - and therefore how we need to learn to measure these values. Martyn goes onto discuss the power of philanthropy, and how he thinks governments can earn the trust of voters. We particularly love Martyn’s key piece of advice - talk to unusual friends. Find out what he means in the episode.
20: Paul Rice | Fair Trade USA
Paul and Mel talk about the concept of ‘impact sourcing’, how we no longer have to choose between profit and responsibility, the tension between an increasingly globalised world and the fact that buying local resonates with so many as a good thing, how businesses are starting to move in the right direction and why Paul’s teenaged daughter gives him reason to be hopeful for the future of the planet!
19: Kyle Zimmer
Kyle and Mel of course discuss the importance of a high quality education for all in a new economic system, but their discussion expands far beyond that as well. They cover the importance of exposure to not only your country’s own stories and traditions, but those of other nations and cultures as well; whether the First Book model can be applied across other industries and sectors; and the importance of the non-profit and for-profit sectors working hand-in-hand to create a better system that leaves no one behind.
18: Rick Aubry
In his conversation with Mel, Rick talks about why he thinks that reforming tax is one of the ways we can shape a fairer economic system, his thoughts on the tax versus philanthropy debate, how 'ok' for hundreds of millions is preferable to 'perfect' for tens of thousands - and much more.
17: Andreas Heinecke
Andreas and Mel talk about Andreas' work, the critical importance of social and emotional education and the role of social entrepreneurs in a more inclusive and empathetic future.
16: Dr. Martín Burt
Martín and Mel's conversation centres around how to not just reduce, but eliminate poverty globally by harnessing the power of technology, and the importance of ensuring that everyone is given the dignity of choice and a voice.
15: Reflections and an announcement
14: Dr. Mairi Mackay
Mairi and Mel talk about creating the structure of a new ism based on social innovation - how to nurture a collaborative economy, changing the very definitions of ‘economics’ and ‘success’, and shifting more focus onto social and creative capital - not just financial capital.
13: Chris Underhill
Chris talks with Mel about putting quality of life for all at the heart of a new ism, the need for intelligent design to combat loneliness and improve the lives of those living in cities, rethinking the definition of currency, and much more.
12: Laurence Demarco
In their conversation, Laurence and Mel talk cover a lot of ground: local empowerment, a mutual economy that serves everyone, a maximum wage, the ideal country size and how older people have a valuable contribution to make to a new economic system.
11: Baroness Mary Goudie
Could we create a fairer economic system by having more women in positions of power? How do we stop the exploitation and trafficking of people around the world? What can we learn from religion for a New Ism? Should micro-finance replace the banking sector? Mel and Mary discuss these questions and more.
10: Professor Liz Grant
Liz's expertise lies in health and she talks eloquently about how health - our greatest asset - should be put right at the centre of an economic system: if you put physical, emotional, spiritual and social health first, everything else - the health of the planet, community cohesion and productivity, to name just a few - will follow. She and Mel also examine the role of compassion in society and how, if we focus on nurturing compassion at a local level, the ripple effects will be felt globally.
Liz is truly positive about the outlook for the future of planet and people, and listening to this episode will leave you feeling hopeful and invigorated.