Our podcast is a convergence of ideas and how to action them. Each month, Mel and Alex talk to a social innovator, someone who is already striving for a better, more inclusive world, about their ideas and plans to create a brighter future. In the next episode, we talk to a panel of young people about those ideas. 

The new iteration of our podcast launches in 2021, but until then you can listen to our archive of fascinating conversations with world-leading social entrepreneurs and innovators. All available on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or wherever you normally get your podcasts – or click the links below.

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Bonus episode: Boomer vs millennial – who will save the planet?

MAThis special episode was part of a series of talks organised by the Impact Trust and theCollab.World to celebrate Earth Day. In it, our co-founders Mel (a baby boomer) and Alex (a millennial) discussed the roles of the generations in creating climate change – and preventing it. This was our first podcast with a live audience – the first of many… Watch this space!

“We’ve got the message now – unless we change our behaviour, there are going to be problems. But what are we going to do about it? As individuals, as societies, as governments. That’s where we all – young and old people – need to focus our attention and energy.”

Listen to the episode here.



S3, E5: Tamzin Ractliffe | Impact Trust | Routes to Resilience

The New Ism_Tamzin Ractliffe

Tamzin Ractliffe is 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.

‘It is about a resilience mindset – it’s more relational, more agile, more respectful of diversity, more adaptable. It has the agility that can weather change.’

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the Impact Trust website here.


S3, E4: Sharath Jeevan | STiR Education | Intrinsic Labs

The New Ism_Sharath Jeevan

Sharath is a social entrepreneur and a world expert on how to reignite intrinsic motivation in our lives. He founded STiR Education, which 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. Their work currently reaches 6 million children and 200,000 teachers in India and Uganda. Sharath has gone on to establish Intrinsic Labs, which helps individuals, organisations and societies to solve their deepest motivation challenges. 

‘We need to look at how we find a more authentic way of living… that really taps into our inner drive, our intrinsic motivation, that allows us to be more effective and more fulfilled in what we do.’

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the STiR Education website here.

Discover more about Intrinsic Labs here.

S3, E3: Ken Banks | Yoti | Kiwanja | Frontline SMS

The New Ism_Ken Banks

Ken is 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 FrontlineSMS, a mobile messaging platform used today by non-profits in over 190 countries around the world. He has written two books on social innovation, and is an in-demand speaker, thought leader and mentor. 

I am more convinced than ever that probably the only way we are going to solve some of our key problems is through business.”

Listen to the episode here.

Discover more about social purpose at Yoti here.


S3, E2: Jeroo Billimoria | Catalyst 2030 | One Family Foundation | Childline International

The New Ism_Jeroo Billimoria

Jeroo Billimoria, a hugely successful serial social entrepreneur who has improved the lives of millions of children across the world through her organisations that include Child and Youth 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. 

If we collaborate within the social entrepreneurial sector and across sectors, change will happen faster.”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the Catalyst 2030 website here.


S3, E1: Sue Riddlestone | Bioregional

Sue Riddlestone Bioregional_The New Ism

Sue Riddlestone is the Chief Executive and Co-founder of Bioregional, which champions a better way to live by working with partners to create more sustainable places to live and work. They famously created BedZED, an iconic ecovillage in South London 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 make the London 2012 Olympics the ‘greenest games ever’.

“We can have good lives by having a more circular economy, by going zero carbon, by treating each other fairly and equitably, and focusing more on our locality, our bioregion.”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the Bioregional site here


S2, E10: Philip Jennings | UNI Global Union

Philip Jennings Uniglobal

Philip Jennings 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.

“We don’t talk about peace enough… peace through respecting the climate, peace through respecting human rights… I think through that, all developments become possible.”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the UNI Global Union website here.


S2, E9: Bjørn Ihler | Extremely Together

Bjorn Ihler

Bjørn Ihler is 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, film-making and theatre productions on related topics. He is a young leader in the Extremely Together movement (a Kofi Annan Foundation initiative), which mobilises political will to overcome threats to peace, development and human rights. 

“As humanity we are always trying to create better communities for ourselves and for future generations – I think there is something really human and admirable about wanting to do that.”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the Extremely Together website here.



S2, E8: Adam Purvis | Dark Matter Laboratories

Adam Purvis

Adam Purvis 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.

“If you celebrate what great looks like and really help that great to be greater, and you hold it up, then the rest will follow.”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the Dark Matter Laboratories website here, and their blog here.



S2, E7: Florian Rutsch | Ashoka UK

IMG_0510-2 copy

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.

“It’s a really exciting moment in history to be part of this global challenge and opportunity that humanity has never faced in the same way”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the Ashoka UK website here.



S2, E6: Professor Johanna Mair | Stanford Centre on Philanthropy and Civil Society | Hertie School of Governance

Johanna Mair

Johanna Mair 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.

“We owe it to the next generation to be optimistic, but also to do everything to share our knowledge and learnings with them.”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit Johanna’s website here.


S2, E5: Safia Minney | People Tree

Safia-Minney-by-Odi Caspi-133

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.

“We need policy that will start to create a level playing field so that the fantastic ideas of social entrepreneurs truly have a chance to mainstream.”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit Safia’s website here.


S2, E4: Harish Hande | Selco

The New Ism_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.
“Why can’t the concept of climate change be a de facto thought process in whatever we do?…The word ‘sustainability’ should disappear.”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the Selco website here.


S2, E3: Patrick Holden | Sustainable Food Trust

The New Ism_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.

“The individual is the key to change… we are the powerful ones but we must step into the space of our power, which can only happen if we’re well informed about what’s wrong with the present food system.”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the Sustainable Food Trust website here.


S2, E2: Fredrik Galtung | TrueFootprint | Integrity Action

FG booksFredrik 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.

“Transformation in business, supply chains and sustainability will come from a bottom-up approach… It means transferring trust and power to the people at the bottom of your supply chain, so they become owners of positive outcomes”

Listen to the episode here.

Read TrueFootprint’s latest business purpose scorecards here.


S2, E1: Lily Lapenna | MyBnk

Lily 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, Lily now lives in the US where she lectures in social entrepreneurship and is exploring the intersection between social impact and technology. 

There has to be a reset in terms of expectation on the investor side which takes into account all the bottom lines that matter today – and I think the one that matters most is the sustainability of the planet, because there will be no other bottom line unless we invest in that one.”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the MyBnk website here.



25: Tim Hanstad | The Chandler Foundation

The New Ism - Tim HanstadTim is the CEO of the Chandler Foundation, which invests in champions who are building  healthy communities, vibrant marketplaces and stronger nations for a more inclusive prosperity. He previously co-founded Landesa, which works 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.

“People are innovative. Systems need to be built such that there is resilience and flexibility so that when there is need for change they are able to change. I think capitalism needs to change, but I wouldn’t be looking for an entirely new system, because I think there is a lot of good that has come out of it.” 

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the Chandler Foundation website here.


24: Kristine Pearson | Lifeline Energy

The New Ism_Kristine Pearson

Kristine is the CEO of Lifeline Energy, a social enterprise that designs, manufactures and distributes sustainable solar and wind-up radios and other media players to vulnerable populations who would otherwise not have access to important information and news. Their work in this field means that they are also involved in women’s empowerment, health, education, agriculture, peace building, financial inclusion, the environment and emergency response.

“[Global] leadership… is at a low. But local leadership, as I see it, is emerging and getting stronger and really powerful in ways it never has been before, so there’s a much greater bottom-up leadership than there is top-down.”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the Lifeline Energy website here.



23. Pam Warhurst | Incredible Edible


Pam Warhurst is the founder of Incredible Ediblean organisation which uses food to empower people to build stronger and more resilient communities. With the motto ‘if you eat, you’re in’, the concept starts with ‘propaganda gardens’ where people plant edible plants in 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 future.

“…So why don’t we just see if we can do more modest things and, through that, maybe, point a finger to a new sort of prosperity?”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the Incredible Edible website here.


22. Honey Thaljieh | Palestinian women’s national football team | FIFA

The New Ism_Honey Thaljieh

Honey Thaljieh 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.

“When you empower women, you empower the whole of society”

Listen to the episode here.



21. Martyn Evans | The Carnegie Trust

The New Ism_Martyn Evans

Martyn Evans is the Chief Executive of the Carnegie Trust, which was established in 1913 by Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie to improve the wellbeing of the people of the UK and Ireland. The Trust delivers on this mission in many ways, including investing in libraries, public space, further education, social work, children’s rights and rural development. To coincide with World Kindness Day in November, they released the first ever quantitative survey on kindness in communities and public services.

“..That’s where the shift is coming from. [We need to] retain the clear, hard, contractual relationships which we built into the welfare state, but also to have the human relationships – and a combination of those two would really make the 21st century – The New Ism – far more interesting, far more reflective of our genuine relationships with each other”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the Carnegie Trust website here.


20. Paul Rice | Fair Trade USA

The New Ism - Paul Rice

Paul Rice is the founder and CEO of Fair Trade USA, the largest certifier and provider of fair trade products in North America. Fair Trade is a global movement of producers, organisations and consumers that put people and planet first. It was was founded on the basis that people want to do the right thing for their families, for fellow global citizens and for the planet – and ensures that the right choices are the easy ones.

“The economy and society of the future must be rooted in values and in ‘shared value’. Companies are not just for creating economic value or wealth for their owners – they need to create shared value, in a financial, social and environmental way for society as a whole. They need to take into account stakeholder needs, not just shareholder needs.”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the Fair Trade USA website here.


19. Kyle Zimmer | First Book

The New Ism - Kyle Zimmer

Kyle Zimmer is the founder of First Book, an American social enterprise which promotes equal education by ensuring that children from low-income families have access to the books and resources they need. First Book works closely with its 400,000-strong member network and the publishing industry through a sustainable, market-driven model which makes books accessible and affordable.

“Our best catapult move now is to start locking arms on some of these issues and start figuring out cross-sector plays that will have the kinds of impacts we need.”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the First Book website here.


18. Rick Aubry | Rubicon Programs | New Foundry Ventures

The New Ism - Rick Aubry

Rick Aubry is a leading American social innovator, who has fought tirelessly against inequality in the US. He established Rubicon Programs to support homeless people and people with mental health issues in finding work and somewhere to live; his latest venture, New Foundry Ventures helps social enterprises tackling poverty and inequality to scale. Rick is also training the next generation of social entrepreneurs through his work as a professor of social entrepreneurship.

“Ok for millions of people is better than perfect for tens of thousands”

Listen to Rick’s episode here.

Visit the Rubicon Programs website here.


17. Andreas Heinecke | Dialogue Social Enterprise

The New Ism_Andreas Heinecke

Andreas Heinecke is a German social entrepreneur and globally respected leader in the creation of concepts and exhibitions that overcome stereotypes and break down communications barriers. He is the founder of Dialogue Social Enterprise, which seeks to bridge social divides through human experiences and facilitate the inclusion of marginalised groups.

“We should all have classes in social learning… It’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.”

Listen to Andreas’ episode here.

Visit the Dialogue Social Enterprise site here.



16. Dr. Martín Burt | Fundación Paraguaya | Poverty Stoplight


The New Ism_Martin Burt

Martín Burt is the founder and CEO of Fundación Paraguaya, an NGO which promotes
entrepreneurship and self-reliance to eliminate poverty. Among many other roles and achievements in the social enterprise and political arenas, he has developed the Poverty Stoplight, a poverty measurement tool and coaching methodology that empowers families to self-diagnose their unique needs and develop plans to lift themselves out of poverty.

“Today, because of technology, we can move deeper than community development into family unit development. So if there are one million families, you can have one million family plans, developed by each family”.

Listen to Martín’s episode here.

Visit the Fundación Paraguaya website here and the Poverty Stoplight website here


15. Recap

Episode 15 is slightly different to our normal format. Before we move onto the next stage of our podcasts, we have taken the opportunity to reflect on and discuss what we’ve learned from our conversations so far – and to announce what is coming next. It’s short and sharp, but we hope you enjoy it! You can find it here.


14. Dr. Mairi Mackay | British Council

The New Ism_Mairi Mackay

Mairi Mackay is the Director of Social and Creative Economies at the British Council, seeking to develop more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies through innovative, cross-sectoral approaches. The DICE (Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies) programme fosters inclusive growth and progress on the SDGs and is designed to empower women and girls, foster youth employment, address inequality and support people with disabilities and other marginalised groups.

“It’s the economics of empowerment: how do you empower people to really build their idea of what a sustainable economy looks like – for their families, for their community – whatever scale that might be. It’s not all about money. People can do extraordinary things without money – with support, with recognition. Resource is necessary – it’s part of the picture but it’s not the only part of the picture, and for me that’s part of the storyline of the new economy.”

Listen to Mairi’s episode here.

Find out more about DICE here.

13. Chris Underhill | Basic Needs | citiesRISE

The New Ism_Chris Underhill

Chris Underhill is a serial social entrepreneur and has, since 2000, focused on mental health care delivery in the global north and south. His organisation Basic Needs enables people with mental illness to access the treatment they need, while his latest venture, citiesRISE, works towards ensuring that the needs of those with mental illness living in the world’s ever-growing cities are met.

“If people can understand design as not just a nice-to-have but, as populations rise, an essential-to-have, then I think we are working towards one of the precepts of a better quality of life in highly populated areas.”

Listen to Chris’ episode here.

Find out more about Chris’ work: Basic Needs, citiesRISE, and his mentoring website.


12. Laurence Demarco | Senscot

The New Ism_Laurence Demarco

Laurence Demarco is the co-founder and trustee of Senscot, an organisation which supports and connects social enterprises in Scotland so that they can drive change in their communities. He has dedicated his career to community development, empowering local communities to take control of the decision-making that affects them. He and Mel met when working on a housing estate in Edinburgh in the early 80s.

“This fantasy that people are only motivated by personal gain – that’s just rubbish. That’s what’s so radical about the social enterprise concept: it’s built on the understanding that there are people, motivated by the desire to serve the public good, just as vehement as people who are motivated by greed.”

Listen to Laurence’s episode here.

Visit the Senscot website here.


11. Baroness Mary Goudie | Women’s rights | Gender diversity

The New Ism_Mary Goudie

Baroness Mary Goudie is a global advocate for the rights of women, working with organisations across the world to tackle gender inequality, poverty and conflict. She is a founding member of the 30% Club, which aims to bring more women on to corporate boards across the world.

“[When women have senior roles], that’s when dynamics change, the whole way the company operates changes, the bottom line does better… That’s where the chemistry changes.”

Listen to Mary’s episode here.

Visit Mary’s website here.


10. Professor Liz Grant | The University of Edinburgh

The New Ism_Professor Liz Grant

Professor Liz Grant is the Director of the Global Health Academy and Assistant Principal for Global Health at the University of Edinburgh. Her many areas of research include palliative care and integrated and person-centred care, and she has worked across the world to transform attitudes to healthcare.

“We need to care for the small so that it can ripple out.”

Listen to Liz’s episode here.

Visit the Global Health Academy website here.


9: David Greig | Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

The New Ism_David Greig_photo credit_Aly Wright

David Greig is a renowned Scottish playwright and the Artistic Director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. He is an advocate for the benefits of placing a greater emphasis on the arts and culture in society.

“To have a meaningful democracy you must have art and culture completely open and accessible and at the centre of what we do, otherwise how do we put ourselves in the shoes of others?”

Listen to the episode here.

Visit the Royal Lyceum Theatre website here.

Photo credit: Aly Wright


8: Pip Wheaton | Ashoka UK

The New Ism_Pip WheatonPip Wheaton is the Director of Ashoka UK, which identifies and supports the UK’s leading, systems-changing social entrepreneurs. She is a social entrepreneur herself, having founded South African youth development organisation Enke.

“There is something about a social entrepreneur… There’s an embeddedness, a rootedness in a community and a deep understanding of the problem they’re trying to tackle that allows them to create systemic change – and that’s a form of leadership.”

Listen to Pip’s episode here.

Visit the Ashoka UK website here.



7: Dr Andrew Murray | Doctor | Author | Runner

The New Ism_Andrew Murray

Doctor Andrew Murray is qualified in Sport and Exercise Medicine and General Practice. He currently works as an author, speaker and researcher, advocating for a healthier and more active life for all, and is a well known extreme runner.

“One of the best things you can do for people is to build links and strengthen communities, and give them the opportunity to be involved and engaged”

Listen to Andrew’s episode here.

Visit Andrews’s website here.



6: Professor Pamela Gillies | Glasgow Caledonian University

Pamela Gillies_The New Ism

Professor Pamela Gillies is the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University, which is deeply committed to abiding by its motto, ‘for the common good’, in everything it does.

To be powerful, the disruptors need to come together.”

Listen to Pamela’s episode here.

Find out about Glasgow Caledonian University’s commitment to the common good here.




5: Faisel Rahman | Fair Finance

Faisel Rahman is the founder and managing director of  Fair Finance, which offersFaisel Rahman_The New Ism a range of high quality, affordable financial products and services for those the banks have left behind.  Since its establishment in 2005, Fair Finance has helped over 55,000 people to secure fair, affordable loans and change their lives.

“There is this slightly rebellious thing inside everyone that wants to do the right thing.”

Listen to Faisel’s episode here.

Visit the Fair Finance website here.



4: John Elkington | Volans

John Elkington_The New IsmJohn Elkington is a world authority on corporate responsibility and sustainable development and, at heart, an environmentalist.  He created the concept of the triple bottom line – people, planet, profit.

“There’s a rising generation of potential CEOs and C-suite people in business – these people think differently, they’re wired differently, they’re not automatically going to do the right thing but they’re much more predisposed to understanding what right might be and to move in that direction. We have to identify them early and support them.”

Listen to John’s episode here.

Visit the Volans website here.



3: Michael Sani | Bite the Ballot

Michael Sani_The New Ism

Michael’s vision is to create a new generation of activists with the skills and confidence to engage politically and drive the change they want to see.

“I love the idea of  truly looking at where things are done well and can be replicated – and if we can learn to lose our egos  then we definitely  stand a chance… We need to be local with a global view… We can encourage and involve people locally but there needs to be a set of principles that we follow globally.”

You can listen to Michael’s episode here.

Visit the Bite the Ballot website here.


2: Katherine Trebeck | The Wellbeing Economy Alliance

Katherine Trebeck_The New Ism

Katherine is the research lead at The Wellbeing Economy Alliance, which seeks to bring about a shared wellbeing on a healthy planet by transforming our world view, society and the economy.

“I have cause for hope that there are a lot of people deep within the financial system who also recognise that business as usual can’t carry on… because they care about the future for their kids and their grandkids..”

You can listen to Katherine’s episode here.

Visit the Wellbeing Economy Alliance website here.




1: Mel Young | The New Ism | The Homeless World Cup

Mel Young_The New Ism

The New Ism founder Mel kicks us off by talking to co-founder Alex Matthews about why he set up The New Ism, and his vision for a new, more inclusive economy.

“I don’t know the answer to these questions. I want to create a debate, to capture voices and concepts that we can bring together.”

Listen to Mel’s episode here.