Author: Oli Barrett



I’m keen to connect Children and Young People’s health and mental wellbeing projects with the SUPPORTERS they need to thrive. If you can think of potential projects, supporters and (crucially) connectors worth knowing about, I’d be extremely grateful!

The problem we face is clear.

⚠️270,300 children and young people are still waiting for mental health support after being referred to Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services.

And whilst prevention is 100% better than cure, the fact remains that hundreds of families need help, right now.

My take is fairly straightforward;

1) PROJECTS. There are some excellent, already-established projects in the field of children and young people’s mental health which are in crucial need of support (from funding to advice, amplification to expertise).

2) SUPPORTERS. There is a raft of existing and potential supporters out there (from philanthropists to professionals, brands to sector-experts).

3) CONNECTORS. There is enormous goodwill from a potential group force of connectors, willing to help make the links between 1 and 2.

So the challenge is clear;

Connect Health and Mental wellbeing Projects with Support.


✨In short, we need to get MUCH better as asking those driving the PROJECTS that WORK about exactly what THEY need help with and WHO they need to meet. We then need to go to work in CONNECTING them (with help from a whole array of connectors) to the SUPPORTERS they need. ✨

It really can be as simple as that.

As we work on the HOW, please post here if you can think of;

Potential projects

Potential supporters

✨ Potential connectors

Thank you!

Climate Connectors

Climate Connectors

⚡The Climate Crisis is a crisis of disconnection.

We’ve become disconnected from the natural world, so we trash it.

Disconnected from each other, we don’t want to help strangers.

Disconnected from thinking about our own mortality, we don’t do things for our grandchildren.

Disconnected from facts and solutions, we lose all understanding, and hope.

This week at Innovation Zero, I saw plenty of hope, and understanding. I’ve never had much time for “optimism”, because optimists get dragged into pub bore conversations with “pessimists”.

Instead, I prefer positivity. And I saw a lot this week.

In 2008, I trudged the aisles of a vast trade expo in San Francisco. It was like the opening scene of a Tom Hanks film where the everyman dreams of escape. In a distant corner, sat a tiny “Tech for Good” area. It was like a petting zoo; all hay bales, cookies, and milk.

When Innovate UK called us after that first WebMission, to see if we’d like to do a “clean tech” version, I had to Google it. I thought it was something to do with washing machines.

Many years, and several spin cycles later, Tech for Good is on the main stage.

Nobody puts Clean Tech in a corner.

Indeed, #InnovationZero was teeming with investors, entrepreneurs and policy makers, learning from each other.

And yet climate change, and Clean Tech especially, now faces a crisis of connection.

If we are to scale these mountains, we’ll need experts. But we’ll also need fresh talents, ideas and networks.

Serial entrepreneurs who decide to make that tricky second album about the tricky world problem of climate.

Rockstar investors who move from funding the entertaining to backing the world-changing.

Politicians and business leaders who aren’t scared to say “I don’t understand. Teach me”.

?We need a Large Human Collider.

A massive effort to spark world-changing connections.

Serious effort to connect changemakers to the people they want and need to meet. Social Capital alongside Venture Capital.

Serious effort made not by “someone”, but by everyone.

Too often, these things are dismissed, like the fluff in a tumble-dryer. The oddly satisfying byproduct of something else.

A Large Human Collider should be seen as the motor itself.

“What does this look like?”, our questioner asks. Is it a place, a bus, a space?

Instead, I’d argue that we need a generation of Climate Social Capitalists, committed to making useful introductions to solve climate change.

Combine this with an array of techniques and platforms (I’ve always thought that the humble hashtag was underrated) making it easier than ever for innovators to share what they need, and the scene will be set.

?Every major corporation having a Climate Connector programme.

?Every funder with its own Connector Partners driven to make a difference.

?Every climate scaleup with a dedicated “WLTM” page on their website, and an accompanying “Help Us” box.

Climate Connectors unite.

?Our world needs you.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

As children, we looked up at the castle. A Union Jack fluttering in the breeze would make the tourists wonder if Her Majesty was at home. Not today, we would say with a smile. That was in Windsor, and when she came to Ascot, we would picnic in the park, hoping to catch sight of the person who, even then, was probably the best-known person in the world.

Best known and little known, keeping her counsel when everyone else was telling us what they thought. Mysterious and yet iconic, because unlike those Captains of England, Archbishops of Canterbury or Prime Ministers who change with the seasons and the years, there was only ever one Queen.   

Elizabeth was the person and The Queen was the role she played. She seemed as everlasting as the Tower of London or Stone Henge and, compared with those great landmarks, Her Majesty was only getting started. And then she was gone.

Popstars and public figures have their ups and downs. The Queen never put a foot wrong. No personal scandals, no public gaffes, no times when she let the side down. Millions of people wanted to meet her and, when they did, they gave the impression that she had brightened not just their day but also their life.

The Queen was more than liked – she was loved. It’s why she will be more than remembered, she will be hugely missed. Because whatever you think of the Monarchy, we had, in her, someone who commanded affection and respect around the world. Someone whose sense of duty and public service lasted right until the end. She was, to coin an age-old phrase, a living legend.  

The sadness that I feel is unusual for me. I’m not really a mourning person. But I do feel that we have lost someone who was truly good, and completely dedicated to this country.

Today, children are looking up at the castle. The flag is flying at half-mast. The Queen is not there. Not today.

On every banknote and stamp, we see reminders of her face. But we don’t need them. In our memories and in the stories we will tell, her smile and her warmth will never be forgotten. May she rest in peace.



Returning from Glasgow, during COP26 – UN Climate Change Conference, here are a few interconnected thoughts.

1) “The pandemic has taught us that national solutions to global problems do not work”. So said Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados in this fantastic speech;

2) We need to think harder about how we can support and influence countries bigger than ourselves. And we need to get better at differentiating between a regime, and its people or organisations. China, for example. Brazil. To exclude them from our collaborations would be unwise.

3) As impact measurement becomes the norm, we must remember that 99% of companies are not large. For too many, the perception is that measuring their emissions is complicated, costly or both. We must work harder to identify the smartest, most accessible solutions.

4) Politicians need to be careful not to over-spin their announcements. This week, the news that 450 firms controlling 40% of global financial assets have aligned themselves to limit global warming to 1.5C was greeted as good news. It is. More worrying was that this was described (by leaders who should know better) as a $130 trillion “investment”. It isn’t. This sort of thing undermines trust in big announcements.

5) If the problem is worth solving, the right people are having the conversation and the outcome is a firm commitment, then talking (or “blah blah blah”) can sometimes be the most powerful thing in the world.

6) We should be increasingly wary of round numbers, especially counted in decades. Too easy, I think, for an additional ten years of harm to be added at the stroke of a boardroom pen. Show me a team which commits to 2027 and I’ll know they’re deadly serious.

7) This week has focused on the politicians. But it is, as they say, “non state actors” (including businesses) who have an equally big role to play. We should demand and support the small and big changes they make. Not just on emissions but on how they design their products and services. How they reinvent their business models.

8) We’ll need the brightest minds in behaviour change to help think through the biggest challenge of all – what we humans deem to be “enough”. How can we make spending less, wasting less, or using less energy more desirable? How can “less” seem like “more”?

9) The “great resignation” and the abundance of innovation in universities offers a golden opportunity. Let’s connect disillusioned business people with the inventors of tomorrow.

10) There is an opportunity for certain big ideas to bridge the interconnected worlds of physical health and planetary health. One example is in fighting air pollution. Let cities compete to have the cleanest air in the world.

11) The climate crisis is the biggest imaginable symptom of a deeply human problem. Our lack of thoughtfulness, respect and, yes, love. For each other. If we can rekindle those things, urgently, we will be back on track.

Building Better Networks

Building Better Networks

I’m looking for someone to help me to help others to build better networks. Could that be you, or someone you know? Please keep reading…

My love in life is making useful connections. That love means that I’m lucky to be a shareholder in a whole range of companies and find myself hosting some of the world’s most interesting events. Beyond that, I’ve managed to meet and maintain relationships with the most amazing group of people across pretty much every sector and industry.

Time and again, I’ve been asked for my practical tips on how to build a better network, so finally, earlier this year, I distilled everything I’ve learned into a 12-part audio course. I also asked some of my role models (from a variety of hugely successful organisations) for their top tips, and the result, Build a Better Network is here.

The good news is that the course has been incredibly well received by those who have done it. I’ve partnered with a whole range of organisations, (including London Business School and The Times), and I’ve offered scholarships to a whole range of people and organisations (including individuals on the Government’s Kickstart programme).

The challenge, and the opportunity is that I have barely scratched the surface. I am seeking someone to help me to fulfil the potential of Build a Better Network, both in terms of sales (the course sells for £199) and scholarships (especially to those who have lost their jobs or haven’t yet joined the workforce).

The right individual will be naturally enthusiastic about the course itself (I’ll offer a free trial to anyone interested in applying). They will be completely at ease with online advertising (especially LinkedIn and Google). They will be creative enough to spot and forge affiliate opportunities.

The Build a Better Network manager will be able to fit this alongside their current activities. I am extremely open to being creative and entrepreneurial in terms of how this role is financially rewarded.

Here are just four of the testimonials that the course has received;

“I really cannot recommend the Build a Better Network course highly enough. It’s networking for this new world order. Worth every penny.” Sahar Hashemi OBE, entrepreneur, co-founder of Coffee Republic and Skinny Candy.

“Oli is a networker par excellence and in his course, he has distilled decades of experience in networking into a short, easy-to-follow and an actionable course. It is a must both for seasoned networkers looking to brush up their techniques or people starting to build their networks.” Neeta Patel CBE, CEO, the Centre for Entrepreneurs

“Oli Barrett is a very rare super connector. He brings people together from all walks of life and makes magic happen. His course is invaluable for anyone who wants to bring more joy, abundance and connection into their life.” Michael Acton Smith OBE, co-CEO & co-founder, Calm

“Oli’s course is a wonderful combination of insights, useful tips, and interesting anecdotes. It is a great resource. I only wish I had had something like it when I was starting out in life!” David Grayson CBE, Emeritus Professor at Cranfield School of Management, Chair of the Institute of Business Ethics

If you think you can get Build a Better Network into the hands of millions of people around the world, I’d love to hear from you. If you think this could suit you (and especially if you think we have passions and people in common), I look forward to receiving your note.