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Albert Einstein’s said; “The more I learn, the more I realise how much I don’t know.” After CogX Festival in LA, the Sync Summit in Ithra, and London Tech Week, I know what he meant.

I’m a fan of admitting to not knowing things, and of having mixed feelings. On good days, that feels nuanced and exciting. It can also feel confusing and overwhelming. On those days, I am comforted by the idea that we live in complex times, and that perhaps you are facing similar conundrums too.

So here are some riddles I’ve been pondering. Few are “either/or questions”, and most do not have “right”, if any, answers.

1) VISIBILITY; We’re told that Artificial Intelligence is, and will become, invisible. The hidden ingredient, powering the way. Under the surface, behind the scenes. On the other hand, in consumer tools we’re saying that it must be seen and summoned – knowingly “activated”. In customer service, we demand that robots must not pose as humans. In media, that so-called deepfakes must be watermarked. So much for “invisibility”.

2) IDENTITY; We despair of the toxic waste spewed by incognito trolls, yet we know that without the cloak of anonymity, millions would be unable to speak up. We demand authenticity whilst remembering Oscar Wilde’s words that “man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth”. We fear masks, yet know that they unleash our wildest creativity.

3) YOUNG PEOPLE AND TECHNOLOGY; We want to keep children away from technology for their own mental wellbeing, yet we know that to thrive in the new world of work, they must embrace it. We cheer when phone screens are banned from class, but welcome the computer screen. Even though, as adults, we use the two interchangeably.

4) PROXIMITY TO THE BASICS; We’re told that whatever can be automated, will be. But we remember, through our own work experiences, that it was through the most mundane of tasks that we first sniffed the basic ingredients of our trades. In the soil and dirt of a profession, our senses were honed, yet we’re lured towards a hermetically sealed control room.

5) CREATIVITY; We’re comforted by the idea that, in a world of AI, humans alone can be creative. But remembering Steve Jobs reflection that, “creativity is just connecting things”, our hunch tells us that it exactly in the nature of AI, and indeed the Web, to connect things and be creative. It’s in their bones, just as it is in ours.

6) KNOWLEDGE; In a world where we can “Google” anything, knowing certain facts seems pointless. Until we remember that knowledge fuels conversation – that our mental cupboard of facts contains the ingredients for our most creative breakthroughs.

In the wake of several world-class events, I emerge with more questions than answers, more curious than ever and (with my formal education several decades behind me), a growing hunger to go back to school.


Superpowering the Future

Superpowering the Future

Entrepreneur Ben Lamm has a mammoth task ahead. The CEO of Colossal Biosciences is in the business of de-extinction – on a mission to bring the woolly mammoth back to life. Yes, this is someone who takes their big, hairy, audacious goals literally. By harnessing the genome-editing power of CRISPR, his company hopes to see the first mammoth calves entering the world in 2028. That’s a sequel 4,000 years in the making!

Lamm’s gamble was just one of the incredible stories I heard this week in Los Angeles for CogX Festival, where 180 speakers inspired almost 2,000 guests at the Fairmont Century Plaza. With the question, “How do we seize the AI opportunity”, scores of founders, scientists and changemakers including Wendy GonzalezLauren Wright, MSN, AGNP-BCPeter H. DiamandisBillie Quinlan and Bill Gross lined up to share their versions of the future.

In fact, Colossal is on a bigger mission to, in its words, “reawaken the lost wilds of Earth”. The United Nations calculates that one million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction. Although comparisons with Jurassic Park are tempting, when you consider that more than 40% of amphibians and more than a third of reef mammals are threatened, their work has more in common with Sir David Attenborough than his late brother, Sir Richard.

Sir David (alongside Morgan Freeman) tops the list offered by Mati Staniszewski, co-founder of Eleven Labs of the voices he would most like to work with. The firm creates natural AI voices instantly in any language and is busy spreading the word to video creators, developers, and businesses. I interviewed Mati just after he had been speaking to rapper, producer and entrepreneur No surprise that a judge for The Voice was more than keen to collaborate with this leading British tech company.

Creative forces were top of mind when meeting the legendary executive producer of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Hulk – the Founding Chairman of Marvel Studios, David Maisel (pictured???? ). For my opening question, I channelled this superhero theme, asking him “Who, or what, is the enemy of creativity?” The low-key, self-effacing founder who oversaw the sale of Marvel Studios to The Walt Disney Company for $4 billion smiled, paused, and framed his answer with just one word; “Timidity”.

Of course the obvious punchline is that not all superheroes wear capes. But my main reflection from CogX Festival LA was this;

Not all changemakers are obvious.

Yes, the bombastic, rambunctious leader is entertaining. But more than often it is the thoughtful, introverted, quieter soul who is the most interesting.

If I could bring anything back to life, it would be the idea that we must not overly conflate communication skills with talent.

We are surrounded by Peter Parkers and Diana Princes. If we only recognise them when they fly, we will miss the chance to support their true superpowers.





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.