On The Edge is a podcast all about making unexpected connections. It features conversations with people who are living and working on the boundaries of organisations and places, and who see the world a little differently. Hosted by compulsive connector Roland Harwood from Liminal.
“The capacity of uncertainty to power change, you only really capture if at least you start, not because you know you can do it, but because you simply can’t bear the idea of not trying” Margaret Heffernan
In this conversation, I connected with Margaret Heffernan around the question of how uncertainty can power change.
Margaret is an entrepreneur, CEO, writer and keynote speaker. She is currently a Professor at the University of Bath School of Management in the UK. Heffernan is the former CEO of five businesses and is the writer of six books. Her third book, Willful Blindness was named one of the most important business books of the decade by the Financial Times. Her TED talks have been seen by over 12 million people. And her most recent book, Uncharted: How to map the future was published in 2020, which formed the basis of this conversation.
We talked about: Is certainty necessarily good and uncertainty always bad? When faced with complexity what should we do instead of optimising for efficiency? What could we build now to transcend a human lifespan? How do we form regenerative societies?
To find out more about Margaret please visit: http://www.mheffernan.com/
To find out more about Liminal please visit: http://www.weareliminal.co/
In this conversation, I connected with Jack Du Rose who is cofounder of Colony, a decentralised autonomous organisation (DOA) which provides a platform for building organisations for the internet.
Previously, he was a self-taught jewellery designer, including producing Damien Hirst’s diamond-encrusted skull, For The Love of God.
I first connected with Jack a few years ago when I was running a company called 100%Open and we shared a fascination for all things open-source and distributed ways of working and organising.
We talked about a wide range of topics including:
If and how you can build trust and best work with people on the internet.
What decentralised autonomous organisations are and how are they different
Whether there a better system than meritocracy if you want to do good work.
The future of work post-pandemic and the impact it has had on Colony.
What to make of the hype around cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens.
So I started out by asking him, what are organisations for the internet and how are they different? Enjoy!
“It’s a platform that allows people all over the world to build organisations together online without needing to know or trust each other. For communities or groups to raise funds and collectively manage towards some shared objective.” Jack Du Rose
#open #organisations #opensource #colony #decentralised #blockchain #ethereum #futureofwork #trust #DAO #crypto #cryptocurrency #NFTs #reputation #jewellery #hirst
In the latest episode of the On The Edge podcast I had a great conversation with Hege Barnes who finally answered the question - what’s the best thing since sliced bread?
Hege is Director at Innovation Norway, a government entity for building trade and industries of the future. She is based in New York and building the industries of the future between Norway, USA, Canada, and Brazil. She sits on the board of Nordic Innovation House-New York and the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce. Also she spearheaded the hugely successful global marketing campaign for Disney’s Frozen, doubling the awareness and visitor growth for Norway from the American market.
I connected with her recently and was interested to speak with her bilateral innovation and explore which is the greenest innovation nation?
We talked about what the US can learn from Norway in terms of innovation and vice versa. We also explore how to design the transition towards a net-zero future. Lastly, we explore the need for collaboration as a small and ambitious country in an increasingly connected world.
So I started out by asking her, how are the US and Norway different when it comes to innovation? Enjoy.
This podcast is brought to you by Liminal - the collective intelligence community. IT's produced with the support of all of our patrons, clients, and members so many thanks to all of you for your support. To find out more please visit https://www.weareliminal.co/
Lastly, please do like, rate, comment and/or subscribe to the podcast, and share it with others who might enjoy it as well.
Until next time, please keep on connecting people and ideas. If you do, you never know what might happen. Thank you.
In this conversation, I connected with Dhiraj Mukherjee who is co-founder of Shazam - the music recognition app that was founded during the end of the dot-com bubble in 2000 and they surfed multiple crises before finally being acquired 18 years later by Apple for a reported $400 million. He is now an active angel investor focused on Tech for Good, and with a particular interest in the climate emergency.
I first met and worked with Dhiraj 7 years ago and we reconnected recently when he posted an interesting blog post called Designing for Uncertainty about the importance of agility in finding opportunities for innovation when faced with a crisis, such as the current pandemic.
We talked about having random conversations (through being a dog owner), spotting when you are in the right place or knowing when you are in a dead end, and the importance of patience and the long view when it comes to innovation and navigating a crisis.
This podcast is a production by Liminal, the collective intelligence community. With particular thanks to our new patrons and members - Krystina Nyzell, Joshua Baker, Senan Largey, Will Rolph, Sam Roots. To find out more or to join the community please visit https://www.weareliminal.co/.
See below a few links, to find out more about Dhiraj and some of the things we talked about. Until next time, please keep on connecting people and ideas. Thanks and goodbye
In this conversation I spoke with Christian Busch who is author of bestselling book Serendipity Mindset, which is all about the art and science of creating good luck.
Christian is Director the Global Economy Program at New York University. Previously, he co-directed the LSE's Innovation Lab. He also has numerous other affiliations and accolades including with the World Economic Forum and the Royal Society of Arts.
I was introduced to Christian by long time Liminal collaborator Kim Van Nierkierk for which I’m very grateful. And we realised that we had quite a lot in common and I liked his thoughtful and well research approach to serendipity which was very illuminating. We talked about the serendipity mindset as creating smart luck, potentially being anything and everything you could be in the moment. We also got into more philosophical territory about what it’s like to stare death in the face, following a near fatal accident that Christian experienced when he was younger. And I thought about calling this episode Get Lucky but thought better of it.
Anyway here are a few links below to some of the things we discussed:
Please share this episode with others who might enjoy it as well and like and subscribe. And keep on connecting people and ideas. If you do, you never know what might happen.
In this episode I connected with Helen Tupper who is the co-founder and CEO of Amazing If, an award-winning career development company with a mission to make work better for everyone.
She is co-author of The Sunday Times No.1 Business Bestseller: The Squiggly Career and host of the UK’s no.1 careers podcast: Squiggly Careers. She also works as a Trustee for Working Families, a UK charity. Prior to Amazing If she held leadership roles for Microsoft, Virgin and BP.
I first met Helen 12 years ago and we’ve gone on to collaborate a number of times over the years and I’ve always really enjoyed her enthusiasm and energy, and it’s great to see how she has gone on to thrive in her own squiggly career.
To find out more about Helen and Squiggly Careers, please visit www.amazingif.com
To find out more about Liminal or to join our community, please visit www.weareliminal.co
In this episode I learned a lot from speaking with Benjamin de la Pena who has many years of experience in urban development, informal transportation, and agile cities.
He was the first-ever Chief of Strategy and Innovation for the Seattle Department of Transportation. He initiated the first-ever city-wide Public Life Study to measure vibrancy and to understand how people use the right-of-way as public space.
He chairs the Global Partnership for Informal Transportation; writes and curates a fortnightly newsletter called Makeshift Mobility, and, serves on several boards including the US Advisory Committee of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
I was introduced to Benjamin by Gina Lucarelli from the United Nations Development Programme whom I interviewed for episode 7 of this podcast last year, all about accelerating sustainable development, who told me about his unique work that sees the beauty and reality of informal transformation, and sure enough he was.
In this episode I had great conversation with Steve Xoh (pronounced Steve Zore - and also known as Steve Chapman) who is an artist, writer and speaker interested in creativity and the human condition. He has spoken around the world on the subject of human creativity and culture and has exhibited his artwork alongside the likes of Pablo Picasso and David Shrigley. He is visiting faculty member on a number of culture change Master’s programmes and he says he is at his best when he isn’t quite sure of what he is doing.
I first met Steve for the first time about a year ago at an event called Basecamp, in something called the Tent of Not Knowing which we discuss in this episode. Since then I’ve enjoyed following his work, including watching his very popular TEDx talk about confronting his inner critic. And we began our conversation taking about a podcast series he recently completed called Sound of Silence which is an exhibition of collected silence recorded face to face with 100 guests over a 2 year period.
I really enjoyed that and was struck by what he said about:
The intention of art being to create moments of doubt in the realities that we’ve come to believe
The moment we start to believe something as concrete, we loose the ability to wonder
I make, to work out what I’m making, once I’ve made it = learning by doing
I hope you enjoyed listening too and if you want to find out more about Steve then check out the links below:
Dracula Interview Image: https://www.instagram.com/p/CH4_3eGMSzF/
Podcast: www.soundofsilence.org.uk Gallery: www.spongleheim.com
TEDx Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnf-Ka3ZmOM
Steve's Profile Picture Credit: Steve Marshall.
This podcast was brought to you by Liminal - a collective intelligence community that seeks to solve hard problems that fall between the cracks of existing organisations, places and institutions. To find out more about Liminal or to join our community, please visit
Thanks for listening.
In this episode I had great conversation with Imran Khan who is Head of Public Engagement for the Wellcome Trust who is an independent global charitable foundation, the 4th largest charitable foundation in the world, that supports science to solve the urgent health challenges of mental health, global heating and infectious diseases.
Imran leads Wellcome’s efforts in helping the public trust, use, and inform health research. In previous roles he was Chief Executive of the British Science Association, and a science journalist and as a political researcher. His other roles include serving as a trustee of Nesta, the UK’s social innovation foundation.
I have learned a lot from worked with Wellcome and Imran and his team a few times over the last few years and have been impressed by the breath, depth and scope of the work they support. And it feels like that in the midst of the covid pandemic and with global heating top of almost everyone’s agenda, it feels like an important time to consider the role of science in our changing world.
In this episode I had a really insightful conversation with Deep Prahalad who is a author, speaker and activist about all things to do with Inclusive Innovation.
She is author of Predictable Magic which was one of Fast Companies best design books of the year, as well as being a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, strategy+business, Businessweek. She is on the Advisory Boards of the Global Peter Drucker Forum, ArogyaWorld and ModRoof, an innovative, sustainable roofing company in India and actively supports several global efforts in memory of her late father, Dr. CK Prahald, the famous Professor of Corporate Strategy at The University of Michigan and co-author of "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid".
Now based in San Diego, Deepa recently gave a really inspiring talk at the launch of a new programme that we at Liminal are currently facilitating called Scaling Out for Impact 2020 which consists of over 40 Pioneering Companies from 2 Innovative Countries - UK and SA - facing 3 Urgent Challenges over 6 Immersive Weeks to create 1 Global Community of businesses interesting in combining both social impact with commercial impact.
So I knew I wanted to find out more, so I started out by asking her what is inclusive innovation and why does it matter. Enjoy.
Thanks again for listening. Until next time, please keep on connecting people and ideas - if you do you never know what might happen.
In this episode I enjoyed reconnecting with Rohan Gunatillake who is a digital innovator and entrepreneur in the field of health, wellbeing and mindfulness.
He is creator of the best-selling app Buddhify, author of the book Modern Mindfulness, and host of the surprisingly good Meditative Story podcast. In addition he also works with the National Health Service in Scotland making digital technology for clinicians, care workers and citizens.
Based in Glasgow, Rohan and I first met over a decade ago at the UK Innovation Foundation Nesta, where we worked together on harnessing social media for social impact. And more than most people I know, he really strives to live in the present moment and focus on what is really happening right now. I really like the way he effortlessly switches between everything from parkour, to cooking, to digital technologies, to practical mindfulness, leading to deeper insights about life, the universe and everything, all in one conversation.
In particular I loved what he said about seeing a coil of rope instead of a snake, so that the impossible becomes possible. And I also really liked the bit towards the end about building thresholds, and that which connects us also divides us.
Anyway I hope you enjoyed it too and if you want to find out more about Rohan and some of the things we talked about then please visit:
To find out more about Liminal or to join our community, please visit https://www.weareliminal.co/
In this episode I really enjoyed speaking with Babusi Nyoni who is a self taught design-strategist and innovator.
He works in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and big data innovation with a particular focus on developing solutions for Sub-Saharan African communities.
He was born in Zimbabwe and grew up there before moving to South Africa and worked for a decade in the advertising, finance and technology industries, before relocating to the Netherlands a few years ago where he now specialises in developing meaningful innovation by translating technology from one domain to another.
So I started out by asking him how he came up with a new innovation that went from dance to diagnosis? Enjoy.
Patana AI App Store https://apps.apple.com/us/app/patana-ai/id1500814498
Patana AI Google Play Store https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.silahealth.patana&hl=en_US
In this episode I enjoyed a wide ranging conversation with Douglas Rushkoff, who is an author, academic and documentarian who studies human autonomy in a digital age, and said to be one of the “world’s ten most influential intellectuals” by MIT. He is also host of the Team Human podcast and author of the bestselling book Team Human, and many other books on media, technology, and culture.
In this conversation we talked about the need to make choices that build a future that bridges the inherently polarizing nature of our connected world. We also talked about more distributed ways of organising to be effective, and the fact that we are on the edge of nothing less than the end of civilisation right now and what we do about it.
So I started out by asking him. why, on the back of his Team Human book, there are only three words, namely Find The Others?
If you want to find out more about Douglas and some of the things we talked about then please visit https://rushkoff.com/
This podcast was brought to you by Liminal - a collective intelligence community to address complex and collaborative challenges of our connected world. To find out more or to join the community, please visit www.weareliminal.co.
#others #human #teamhuman #rushkoff #conspire #rapport #digital #collectiveintelligence #ontheedge #weareliminal
In this episode I was excited to speak with Rutger Bregman, author of the bestselling books Utopia for Realists and Humankind, and occasional provoker of billionaires at Davos. He’s been described as the Dutch wunderkind of new ideas, and writes regularly for the online journal The Correspondent.
We talked about how most people are pretty decent, but power corrupts. So what we assume about other people is what we get out of them, human nature is shaped by peer pressure, and what makes us cooperate can rip into tribalism. And we also explored how some of these ideas apply to the current crises we are living through today.
So I started out by asking him, why did you feel the need to write a book that reframe human nature through a more hopeful history? Enjoy.
#humans #humannature #humankind #ubi #utopia #hope #cooperation #history #trust #participation #systems #systemsthinking #ontheedge #weareliminal
In this episode we're pleased to welcome Gemma Milne who is a Science & Technology Journalist covering all things deep tech, including biotech, advanced computing, space, energy and innovation in academia, for titles such as Forbes, The Times, BBC, and Quartz. She is the author of a really interesting and well written book called 'Smoke & Mirrors: How Hype Obscures the Future and How to See Past It', which was published recently formed the basis of our conversation.
In a fascinating conversation about critical thinking we discuss how hype’s power is in it’s illusion. We talked about how and why to try to seeing past hype, to express nuance, and to see systems, to inspire action and to take responsibility for the world we want to live in.
#hype #hypecycle #gartner #future #prediction #criticalthinking #misinformation #disinformation #systems #systemsthinking #ontheedge #weareliminal
In this episode I enjoyed an unhurried conversation with Johnnie Moore, who is a visiting tutor at the Saïd Business School at Oxford University, a partner at CreativeFacilitation.com , an a cofounder of Unhurried.org.
I’ve known Johnnie for many years and he’s taught me pretty much everything I know about facilitation, and I have always been struck by how he has helped me, and the people and organisations he works with, to collaborate better together, through a very human approach.
Johnnie and I had a really interesting conversation recently about how and why we need to slow down, and to stop interrupting each other. We talked about his new book, called Unhurried at Work, and how the art of good conversation can result in a collective intelligence that exists between us, rather than in each of us. And inevitably our conversation then turned to the great pause that we are currently experiencing through the COVID19 crisis, and what we might learn from it.
So I started out by asking him, why are we all in such a hurry? Enjoy.
#unhurried #conversation #conversations #collaboration #facilitation #interrupting #collectiveintelligence #thegreatpause #covid2019 #weareliminal #ontheedge
In this episode we are pleased to welcome Samantha North, who is a freelance disinformation investigator, who helps organisations to track coordinated and inauthentic online behaviour. She is also doing a PhD at the moment in computational social science at the University of Bath, researching the drivers of political tribalism on social media.
She wrote a great blog post that she wrote a few weeks ago called “6 Things I’ve Learned from Tracking Coronavirus Disinformation” and we thought she would be interesting to talk to on this podcast, given that in a previous episode we spoke with Valdis Krebs about managing disinformation which in many ways more difficult than managing that the biological epidemic itself.
We had a really interesting conversation about the contemporary challenges of truth and trust, including what is the incentive or motivation for creating/sharing/spreading disinformation, and what are the main tactics for dealing with it?
Episode Notes and Links:
For weekly posts on disinfo, conspiracy theories and the infodemic: https://samanthanorth.com
Astroturfing of US anti-lockdown protests: https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/conservative-activist-family-behind-grassroots-anti-quarantine-facebook-events-n1188021
NHS fake Twitter accounts story: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/apr/21/no-evidence-of-nhs-government-covid-bot-networks-says-twitter
Minimal group paradigm study (the coin toss): Tajfel H, Billig M G, Bundy R P & Flament C. (1971) Social categorization and intergroup behaviour. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. 1:149-77
Original backfire effect study: Nyhan, B., & Reifler, J. (2010). When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political Misperceptions. Political Behavior, 32(2), 303–330.
The 'elusive' backfire effect study: Wood, T., & Porter, E. (2018). The elusive backfire effect: mass attitudes’ steadfast factual adherence. Political Behavior. https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/AGRX5U
First Draft News, The disinformation typology: https://medium.com/1st-draft/information-disorder-part-3-useful-graphics-2446c7dbb485
Explainer on bots, botnets and trolls:
In this episode we wanted to explicitly focus on the psychology of uncertainty. Therefore we are very pleased to welcome Noelle Dye. She is co-founder of the strategy and innovation unit at the legendary design firm Continuum, where she helped co-create, amongst many other products and services, the Swiffer for Proctor and Gamble which is now become a half-billion dollar brand in fifteen countries. And more recently as a leadership coach she asks startup founders and executives the tough questions that need to be asked. In other words she has spent her life guiding people through the fog of uncertainty, and so I wanted to talk to about the psychology of uncertainty given that we are all staring into the void of an unknown future right now in so many different ways. We talked about the typical emotional responses to uncertainty, and how they manifest themselves into action or inaction? We also discussed a variety of tactics for navigating uncertainty and turning it into something to be embraced. So I started out by asking her why do we even need certainty in the first place? https://www.linkedin.com/in/noelledye/ https://www.continuuminnovation.com/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiffer https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/03/can-three-words-turn-anxiety-into-success/474909/ #complexity #complicated #chaos #confused #cynefin #networks #systems #crisis #crises #change #innovation #transformation #change #coronavirus #covid2019 #weareliminal #ontheedge
In this episode we are delighted to speak with Dave Snowdon, who is founder and chief scientific officer of Cognitive Edge, and also creator of the Cynefin decision making framework, which he created when he worked for IBM. Cynefin is a Welsh word for habitat. If you are not familiar with the framework yet I would encourage you to search for it online or take a look at some of the links below, before or after listening to this podcast. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynefin_framework https://cognitive-edge.com/videos/cynefin-framework-introduction/ https://cognitive-edge.com/sensemaker/ https://cognitive-edge.com/blog/cynefin-st-davids-day-5-of-5/ It was a really fascinating conversation about how complexity relates to the current, former and future crises and how we can best navigate our way out of confusion using complexity science. This then led to a really interesting exploration about the need for innovation right now, to make the most of the opportunities that present themselves to redesign and reinvent our world for the better. Finally we talked about a range of methods and projects he’s currently doing including with the UN called Sense Maker, with an open invitation for anybody to get involved. This podcast was brought to you by Liminal - a collective intelligence community to address complex and collaborative challenges of our connected world. You can find out more about us at weareliminal.co Thanks again for listening. Until next time, keep on connecting people and ideas - if you do you never know what might happen. Thank you and goodbye. #complexity #complicated #chaos #confused #cynefin #networks #systems #crisis #crises #change #innovation #transformation #change #coronavirus #covid2019 #weareliminal #ontheedge
In this episode we are pleased to welcome back Valdis Krebs, who first appeared on episode 3, and is an renowned expert on social network analysis, and founder and chief scientist of the company OrgNet.
In the previous episode you can hear us discuss the many of the positive benefits of contagion in networks, such as through creating new knowledge and fostering innovation. However in this episode we really wanted to respond to current events and to talk about contagion in networks given that we are in the midst of the Corona virus has become a global pandemic.
We had a really interesting conversation about the differences between good and bad contagion, and the different responses required to deal with a biological epidemic as opposed to with an information epidemic. We also talked about how contagion can leap from one domain (e.g. healthcare) to others domains (e.g. oil or finance) which also appears to be happening tight now.
I started out by asking what is contagion in networks and how does it propagate? Enjoy.
#networks #contagion #virality #virus #coronavirus #covid2019 #epidemic #pandemic #disease #misinformation #weareliminal #ontheedge
In this episode we are pleased to welcome Joe Scarboro whose passions lie in building businesses, innovation, technology and mental health.
After starting out as an accountant, he forged a place in the London tech community, starting a few companies and working at the intersection of startups and large companies, which is the main topic of our discussion in this episode.
I first got to know Joe as one of the driving forces behind Silicon Drinkabout, a startup community that started around the so called Silicon Roundabout of Old Street in London, that then grew to 20 different countries, with hundreds of events that were attended by over 100,000 people.
A few years later he launched Touchpaper - a not-for-profit, on a mission to make it much easier for startups and corporates to work together, through their excellent free toolkit and services.
He is currently CFO at an AI company called AltViz as well advising various startups, and also working with Tech City UK, Code Club and the RaspberryPi Foundation.
We had a really interesting conversation a few months ago now, in a great recording studio in Hoxton called Coda2Coda, where we talked about corporates and startups collaborating, and in particular exploring whether open innovation is.
So I started out by asking how the Silicon Drinkabout startup community that he helped to build back in 2011? Enjoy.
#corporates #startups #collaboration #community #innovation #openinnivation #london #shoreditch #silicondrinkabout #weareliminal #ontheedge
In this first episode of 2020 we are very pleased to welcome Shelley Kuipers who is an activist in business, fashion, feminism and finance. In this episode we focussed upon three things that she is activating right now.
Firstly she is co-founder of The51 investment fund focussed on female investors and entrepreneurs.
Secondly she has co-created a sustainable clothing label called Harris Kuipers.
Lastly she is a founder and CEO of a technology company called IOVIA which builds people-powered, sustainable brand communities for the likes of Unilever and IKEA whom we discuss in this episode.
Shelley is based in Canada and we first met over 10 years ago, and since then we’ve worked together on many projects including helping to co-create LEGO Ideas - which is now described as the world’s most successful customer crowdsourcing communities. I’ve always found that she has a blend of humility and curiosity, coupled with ambition and resilience, which is as rare as it is powerful.
We had a really interesting and insightful conversation, where we talked about activism through building community, and in particular exploring whether business can be a force for good in the world.
#activism #activate #community #participation #sustainability #finance #feminism #fashion #brands #sustainablebrands #weareliminal #ontheedge
In this final episode of 2019 it feels appropriate to welcome Rob Poynton who has had a longstanding interest in improvisation and creativity. He is also the author of several books including most recently the bestselling Do Pause, all about the importance and necessity of pausing, which seems particularly relevant at this time of year and given some of the complexity and turbulence of recent months. Rob is originally from the UK but now lives off-grid in rural Spain as well as spending quite a lot of his time in the city of Oxford in the UK, which is where I met with him a few weeks ago, where he is also an Associate Fellow at the Said Business School. We had a really enjoyable and wide ranging conversation, where we talk about everything from the work of the complexity theorist David Snowdon and his Cynefin framework, to the election in the UK which had not happened yet when we met up. See below links to some of things we discuss in this episode:
In this episode we are really pleased to welcome Gina Lucarelli, who heads up the Accelerator Labs Network for the United Nations which launched recently in 60 countries around the world.
Gina is a native New Yorker and has lived and worked all around the world for the last 15 years working with and wrangling colleagues at United Nations to collaborate on sustainable development. She describes herself as an aspiring geek & believer in the comeback of citizen participation.
There was so much in there that I found fascinating and inspiring about accelerating sustainable development. From the UN’s role not being about taking humanity to heaven but to saving it from hell. To setting these global goals yet considering how do you keep your promise whilst following how things unfold over time? And from fighting complexity with complexity and operating on many planes, with multiple experiments simultaneously to throw a lot of things at the.
We also discuss the collective intelligence playbook which is a free to download guide for tackling complex social and global challenges by combining the best of human ingenuity with machine intelligence, at scale. And all of the links are included below:
I hope you enjoyed listening to this seventh episode of On The Edge. Please rate, comment and subscribe to this podcast, and also share it episode with others who you think might like it too, using the hashtag #ontheedge.
This podcast was brought to you by Liminal - a collective intelligence community to address the complex challenges of our connected world.
Thank you for listening.
In this episode we are delighted to welcome designer and uber-connector, Cassie Robinson, who is connected to so many interesting people, programmes and organisations, that it’s almost impossible to list them all.
Starting out her career as a fashion designer, Cassie is now the Head of Digital Grant Making at the National Lottery Community Fund in the UK, as well as the founder of the Point People network, and a fellow at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, to name but a few of her many affiliations. And until recently she was Strategic Design Director at the responsible technology think tank Dot Everyone, which she also mentions in this episode.
I’m struck by how many people I’ve met who know, or know of, Cassie and I’m fascinated by what drives her to do what she does, often working in emerging or exploratory fields to try to apply new ways to design transitions.
So when I met with her a few weeks ago I asked her about being a prolific connector of people and ideas, and what motivates her to do it and also practically how she manages it?
In this episode we welcome back James Burke for the second half of the conversation we had back in May in a busy cafe in West London. The first half of the conversation was first shared in episode 1 of the On The Edge podcast, and so if you haven’t already heard that episode, then we would really recommend that you listen to that first before listening to this next instalment.
The previous episode was largely about looking back into the history of science and technology and exploring how everything really is incredibly connected and what we do about that. In this episode we jump far into the future, into what James called the Age of Abundance which he argues is no more than a generation or two away. However before we get there he predicts what he calls “severe turbulence and chaos”, which some might argue we are already in.
The key technology that he talks about, to unlock this new age of abundance, he calls nano fabricators or motes - these are a tiny specks that can make anything. This may sounds like science fiction but he shares examples of where this technology already exists in labs around the world.
He goes on to share his thoughts on the implications of this new for education, democracy and beyond. Once again, like the first episode, it is a wide ranging and mind bending conversation but I think there is lots of food for thought and I hope it sparks some ideas and reactions as you listen to it.
James covers similar ground to what we discussed in this episode in a recent BBC programme called the end of scarcity:
In this episode we are delighted to welcome the entrepreneur and designer Tessy Britton. Two years ago she founded and is now CEO of the Participatory Cities Foundation, which is a 5 year research and development programme that has raised very significant funding to boost cohesion, health, equality, happiness, safety, sustainability and innovation, in cities through peer-to-peer citizen co-creation.
Their first big project is called Everyone Everyday, and is based in Barking and Dagenham in east London and is already having an amazing impact on the lives of the people in that part of the city.
Underneath her softly spoken and thoughtful words, lie really some bold and transformative ideas which I’m excited to share in this episode.
In this this third episode we welcome a pioneer of social network analysis, Valdis Krebs who is founder and chief scientist of the company OrgNet.
He has studied many different types of networks, from the 9/11 terrorist cells, to the innovation networks of Silicon Valley, both of which we discuss in this episode. He has shown that you are only as smart as the networks you are embedded in, and in a nutshell he describes the art of networks to be to connect on your similarities, and benefit from your differences!
In other words he has analysed and demonstrated the value of cognitive diversity and multiple perspectives, which we call the difference dividend.
This episode begins with the story behind his classic paper, Uncloaking Terrorist Networks, which was produced using only public information and newspaper clippings, and has been called "the most cited public analysis of the 9/11 terrorist networks”.
In this second episode we are very pleased to welcome Nora Bateson, a filmmaker, lecturer, writer, and interloper. She made an award winning film ‘An Ecology of Mind’ about her father Gregory Bateson - the groundbreaking anthropologist, philosopher and cyberneticist. She also wrote a great book called ‘Small Arcs of Larger Circles’, and she now runs what she calls Warm Data Labs all around the world which she mentions in this episode. Her work draws upon her own personal history including her grandfather William Bateson, who was a Professor of Biology at Cambridge University, who first proposed the term “genetics”, back in 1906.
To find out more about An Ecology of Mind see here: http://www.anecologyofmind.com/
To find out more about Small Arcs of Larger Circles see here: https://www.triarchypress.net/small-arcs.html
To find out more about Warm Data Labs see here: https://hackernoon.com/warm-data-9f0fcd2a828c
And to find out more about The International Bateson Institute please see here: https://batesoninstitute.org/
Lastly, to follow Nora on twitter, please do so here: https://twitter.com/NoraBateson
In this first episode we are very excited to welcome James Burke, who has been called “one of the most intriguing minds in the world". In the late 1970’s he created a 10 part documentary series called Connections, which tells many stories from the history of science and technology and shows how everything really is incredibly connected, which was the starting point for the first half of this really interesting and wide ranging conversation recorded in a cafe in London a few weeks ago. Part 2 of the same conversation will be shared as a follow up called The Age of Abundance in the next episode.
To see episode one (The Trigger Effect) of the Connections series discussed in this podcast please see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XetplHcM7aQ
And to find out more about James Burke's latest project the Knowledge Web please see here: https://k-web.org/