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The New Ism

Author: The New Ism

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We have a big ambition: to create a new economic system with inclusivity at its heart. Some of the world’s most innovative and exciting minds are creating solutions to fix our broken society, but they are working in spite of the current system. We want a new economic system that empowers them and brings their efforts together so that they can change the world.
Every week we talk to exciting social entrepreneurs to discover what they think a new, fairer economy should look like.
40 Episodes
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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! 
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!
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!
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. Recorded in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, so please excuse any wifi- or tech-related challenges!
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!
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

S2, E9: Bjørn Ihler

2019-09-0937:45

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

S2, E8: Adam Purvis

2019-08-1439:33

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

S2, E7: Florian Rutsch

2019-07-1042:48

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. 
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

S2, E5: Safia Minney

2019-06-1239:09

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

S2, E4: Harish Hande

2019-05-3144:13

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

S2, E3: Patrick Holden

2019-05-2440:21

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

S2 E2: Fredrik Galtung

2019-05-1049:49

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

S2 E1: Lily Lapenna

2019-05-0346:31

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

25: Tim Hanstad

2018-12-1946:59

Our guest today is Tim Hanstad, the CEO of the Chandler Foundation, which invests in champions who are building healthy communities, vibrant marketplaces and strong nations for a more inclusive prosperity. He previously founded Landesa, which partners with governments, communities and other stakeholders to advance the land rights of the world’s poorest people, helping to alleviate poverty, reduce hunger and ease conflict. 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

24: Kristine Pearson

2018-12-0943:39

Our guest this week is Kristine Pearson, the CEO of Lifeline Energy. They design, manufacture and distribute sustainable solar and wind-up radios and other media players to vulnerable populations who would otherwise not have access to important information and news broadcast on radio. The nature of their work means that they are also involved in a wide variety of fields including women’s empowerment, healthcare, education, the environment and financial inclusion. 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.
Our guest today is Pam Warhurst, the founder of Incredible Edible, an organisation which uses food to empower people to build stronger and more resilient communities. The concept starts with ‘propaganda gardens’ where people plant edible plants in unused public spaces. The creation of these gardens is a small act which triggers a wide range of other effects: creating conversation between people who might otherwise not have crossed paths, changing the way people relate to each other and community institutions, stimulating the local economy, and ultimately empowering people and communities to live more sustainably and take charge of their own futures. 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

22: Honey Thaljieh

2018-11-2239:00

Our guest today is Honey Thaljieh who is, in her own words, a Palestinian Arab Christian woman from Bethlehem who has played football all her life. The co-founder and first-ever captain of the Palestinian women’s national football team, she has broken through countless social, political and even physical barriers to become a role model for women in the Middle East and beyond. She is a powerful ambassador for the ability of sport to drive peace and equality. 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.
Our guest today is Martyn Evans, the Chief Executive of the Carnegie Trust, which was founded in 1913 by Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie to improve the wellbeing of the people of the UK and Ireland. They deliver on this mission in many ways, including investing in public spaces, libraries, education, children’s rights, social work and rural development. This week, to coincide with World Kindness Day yesterday, they released the first ever quantitative survey on kindness in communities and public services. 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.
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