It was very exciting to see the new list of 50 Radicals published by NESTA and the Observer on Sunday as I think that radical thinking can create important social change. The published list is of course brilliant – full of incredibly clever people, original thinkers and a real inspiration to everyone in the sector. Congratulations to everyone that made the list!
I am also very appreciate of the list on a conceptual level as it gives people doing important work a platform that challenge in some part superficial celebrity culture and also served to highlight the growth and importance of this sort of work. So overall the idea is great, the people listed are great, the projects are great. What’s also great is that, as Yvonne Roberts has said, it’s a starting point and way to begin a new conversation about this topic.
It occurred to me that not all radical people are strongly in the public eye (perhaps they never will be), nor do all racial efforts have a strong supporting project that can be evaluated in this light … and unfortunately even those in the public eye can often have their most radical efforts unnoticed or forgotten - we have very short memories - particularly in remembering the context that new things started in. I have often noticed that you have to get to know someone personally to fully appreciate their thinking and work.
This list is of people I know ...living the UK only .... I hope that it will encourage other people to talk about the radical thinkers that they know personally so that can collectively build on the very good platform for this discussion that the Observer and NESTA have kindly started.
My definition of radical
Radical thinking has to challenge the status quo of an organisation, society or common wisdom in some substantial, imaginative or collaborative way. Radical thinking often starts small, and isn’t always recognisable immediately.
A radical person, or group of people, has to be bold enough to challenge the current situation with confidence about of an idea or vision,without any certainty of the outcome. Its generall an intellectually high risk endevour.
And of course collaboration is very radical - if you try it you will know what I mean ....
This isn’t an exhaustive list – so please forgive me if you aren’t mentioned here. If you aren’t listed, and you think you should be, the most likely thing is that we haven’t seen each other for a while, or I don’t know about your radical actions. Let me know ...
Richard Gerver and Co - for radical imagination at Grangeton. Richard transformed his Primary School in Long Eaton into a working virtual town – Grangeton – with working businesses, councils, a mayor, a radio station etc. The curriculum was changed to work in 4 streams culture, enterprise, communications and wellbeing.
Anthony Seldon, Ian Morris and Co - For radical boldness at Wellington College. When Anthony announced in 2007 that he was introducing happiness classes at Wellington College, it was pretty radical.
Michael Coughlin and Co - for radical collaboration at Reading Council. Consistently finding ways to promote a new collaborative conversation with local citizens.
Carrie Bishop and Dominic Campbell and Co - for radical innovation at FutureGov. Designing imaginative digital tools in some of the tightest systems spaces in local government e.g. Patchwork .. and for creating remarkably effective collaborative thinking events to tackle difficult problems.
Matthew Taylor and all of the RSA - for radical persistence. Transforming the RSA into a lively exciting membership institution in the face of natural difficulties inherent in changing organisational culture.
Cassie Robinson- for Our Intimate Lives
Anab Jain and Co - for Superflux
Tim Smit and Co - for The Big Lunch
Deborah Szebeko – for Think Public
Melanie Bryan - for work with women and enterprise
Louise Macdonald – for Young Scot
Lesley James and Co – for RSA Opening Minds curriculum
Lloyd Davis – for Tuttle Club and for being the first ever Artist in Residence!
Mike Chitty – for Elsie
Heather Ring – for Union Street Orchard
Kristina Glushkova and Karen Martin – for Makerhood
Anthony McCann - for Hedgeschool21
Sarah Drummond and Lauren Currie and Co - for My Police
Jocelyn Cunningham, Sam McLean and Co - RSA Citizen Power Peterborough
Lucie Akerman and Co – for The Motorcycle Showroom
Julian Dobson – for Living with Rats
Stephen Frankel, Harry Wild, Shayne House and Co – For Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network
Scilla Elworthy – For Peace Direct
Anne-Marie Culhane – for Grow Sheffield
Ty Goddard and Co - for The Education Foundation
Karl James and Co – for The Dialogue Project
Anthony Zacharzewski - for Demoncracy Society
Daniel Snell and Co – for Arrival Education
Tracey Todhunter and Co – For Low Carbon Communities
Henry Playfoot - Stealth Education
Jonathan Rowson and Co – for RSA Social Brain Project
Caspar Lampkin – for work at Aberdeen University
Richard Tyrie – for Good People
Clare White – for her work in Burslem
Amisha Ghadiali – for Think Act Vote
Nick Booth, John Popham and Co – for Social Media Surgeries
Dougald Hine - for The University Project
Casper ter Kuile – for UK Youth Climate Coalition
David Gauntlett – for Making is Connecting
David Barrie and Co – for Middlesbrough Urban Farming and The People’s Supermarket
Paul Smyth, Andy Merritt, Sam Henderson, Kristen Cheng, Laura Billings, Lucinda Gosling, Courtney Erwin, Laura Ellison, Lindsay Noble and Co – for FARM:shop
Ivo Gormley, Mark Herbert and Co – for The Good Gym
Nick Gardner and Co - Project Dirt
Tracy Currer and Meriel Lenfestey – for Ecomodo
Russell Collins - for Community Lover's Guide to Jewish Community
Roland Harwood and Co – for 100% Open
David Robinson and Co – for Community Links
Keith Kahn-Harris - For Conversations and Dinners
Dan McQuillan, Paul Miller, Anna Maybank and Co - for Social Innovation Camp
Lambeth Council - for the Co-operative Council
Vinay Gupta – for Hexayurt Project and the 500 of them that popped up at Burning Man last year....
Noel Hatch – for We Do What We See
Simon Berry - for Colalife
Alice Osborne - for The Nan Project
David Wilcox – for creating the practice of Social Reporting
Trudy Thompson – for Bricks and Bread
Eileen Conn – for Community Engagement and the Social Eco-system Dance
Sophie Howarth – for School of Life
Jane Mason and Co – for Virtuous Bread
How many do you know? And what do you think makes for 'radical'?
(Image from Stichting NAC - Rotterdam)