Image for post
Image for post

We are less pessimistic about our own lives than we are about larger units. We’re not very pessimistic about our village, we are not pessimistic about our town — but we are very pessimistic about our country, and even more pessimistic about the future of our planet. The bigger the unit you look at the more pessimistic people are about it.

- Matt Ridley

Sometimes, the best way to get traction behind an idea or initiative is to make it as local as possible.

Your own community is the best unit of change. For instance, solving homelessness across the UK…


Innovation isn’t about ideas. It’s about the right solution, for the right people, at the right time.

Image for post
Image for post

At the beginning of April 2020 the World Health Organisation made a public declaration of collaboration that attempted to unify hundreds of scientific communities around one single goal: to speed the availability of a vaccine against COVID-19.

The pandemic is far from being ‘solved’, and may indeed remain unsolvable. However, one particular part of the problem was addressed just eight months later with people getting the very first vaccines, a process that normally takes years.

So how come we’ve not solved , or even made decent inroads, into problems that have beset us for decades like the housing or social…


Meetings spread. And it seems that this pandemic has acted as a kind of super-spreader for even more meetings

Image for post
Image for post

Pre pandemic, commuting was the bane of many peoples lives. The housing crisis and a lack of spending on infrastructure has led to longer, more onerous, commutes for many workers. The number of people spending more than two hours travelling to and from work every day jumped by 72% over the past decade to more than 3 million. The number of people spending 3 hours or moreincreased by 75% — with women being disproportionately affected.

A 2006 study from Daniel Kahneman found that respondents ranked commuting as the least enjoyable activity of the day, with a large body of research…


Image for post
Image for post

In the long dark days of another lockdown it’s easy to become pessimistic. There’s a danger that we fall victim to recency bias, giving all our attention to the mounting death toll, economic damage, and mental health impact rather than the historical evidence that people have managed to survive far greater crises than Covid-19 and gone on, not just to survive, but to thrive.

A trip out with my 77 year old mother isn’t normally the best way to stimulate any positivity, but this week I took her to get her vaccine. During the journey through the snow, and suffering…


Image for post
Image for post

Generally , people prefer to talk in the language of ideas rather than problems.

Organisations don’t like admitting that they have lots of problems, but they sure are happy to tell you about all their brilliant ideas.

Ideas though, at least the good ones, have to be rooted in a problem. If your idea doesn’t solve a problem for someone, it’s useless.

Plenty of ideas fall down because:

  • Not enough people share the problem
  • The problem isn’t validated — it either doesn’t exist or hasn’t been defined well enough
  • Someone else has an idea that has solved the problem better…


This is the time for institutions, leaders, citizens to work together, laying the groundwork for a new era of trust.

Image for post
Image for post

For over 20 years, Edelman has attempted to track the progress, or decline, of trust across 28 countries.

After a year of disaster and economic turbulence — the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals an epidemic of misinformation and widespread mistrust of societal institutions and leaders around the world.

A lot of this is pretty bleak reading, as you might expect. No-one emerges particularly well, with the UK languishing in the relegation places of the league of distrust.


People tend not to break rules when they are emotionally invested in them

Image for post
Image for post

How do you rate yourself for complying with Covid restrictions? Are you saint or sinner? Or are you, like most of us I suspect, somewhere in between?

If you’ve noticed more traffic on the roads when you’ve been out walking or exercising, you could be forgiven for thinking that people aren’t taking this lockdown quite as seriously as the first one.

At first glance the statistics seem to bear that out. According to data provided by Citymapper, journeys during the first lockdown fell to less than 10% of pre-pandemic levels. This time round however, things are slightly different. …


An open mind is our greatest advantage because it costs us nothing and rewards us with plenty

Image for post
Image for post

A new year is usually the time where we leap off the sofa and out of the house, attempting to reset our lives and put straight all the things we failed to do the previous year.

2021 is different — as many of us will start the year spending even more time on the sofa and in the house.

Last year was a wake up call for me as I started the year with lots of resolutions and ideas for the next 12 months, and then found out that the world had an entirely different plan.

When bigger forces take…


Image for post
Image for post

Pandemics, it turns out, may not be so great for creativity, but they are kind to bloggers.

This was the best year in terms of readership of this site by some way, with nearly three times the visits of 2019.

I began the year (again) aiming for 52 posts, and managed 36 — which isn’t a bad haul given I had to have medical treatment for nearly 8 months. Social media and the digital world get a lot of stick — but it’s been a genuine lifeline for many this year. I don’t think I’d have made it through the…


Thwarting other people’s control is bad for us and society — as ultimately, it limits our own control.

Image for post
Image for post

Political language. . .is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind George Orwell

2020 on reflection, was a great year for hierarchy.

In the early stages of the pandemic the ability shown by organisations to mobilise emergency health care, communicate messages, shift people to remote work, was a testament to the power of decisive command systems.

Following that we saw a new era of community innovation begin, reminding us of the power of social connection. People began supporting and caring for one another locally, with community led groups…

Paul Taylor

Innovation Coach and Co-Founder of @BromfordLab. Follow for social innovation and customer experience.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store