Looking back on this year at MAKE, above all we’re grateful for to all of our friends, families, colleagues and partners for staying resilient and supporting us through. We’re thank-full for the projects that allowed us to engage our community and make space for inspiration. Among them, The Reinvention Podcast, (TRIP) hosted and lovingly produced by Cat Hayes and Angela Bode, takes a close look at the things that are broken in the world and explores ways to fix them through a series of conversations, stories and adventures with brave people who are doing things differently.
The podcast has given us insight into the systemic complexity that our guests tackle in their chosen fields, and the inspiringly human tools they use to create positive disturbances. In this article, we want to share what we’ve learnt from this year’s TRIP guests, and challenges they have posed for us all to take action. We’ve also published a micro-cast where Cat and Ange reflect on the year and the conversations so far, find it here:
Our podcast is a series of adventure stories. We start out by asking “what is broken today” and “how did we get here”? We then move on to unpack the reinvention that is taking place, how it occurred and what it is enabling. Finally, we dive into wild and speculative futures to find the locus of change.
Our first 6 guests joined us from 3 countries, have founded 8 companies, and have given over 20 big stage talks between them. 4 of them grow their own veggies AND bake their own bread.
Above all, we learnt three things from our guests.
We start each episode by talking to our guests about something thats broken, and with each broken piece, we found a complex, dynamic system full of flaws. We’re trained to think linearly and break things down into manageable components. Leyla Acaroglu showed us how our waste management system has created artificial definitions of success that ultimately contribute to more waste.
“Our attempt as a society to solve the environmental and social problem of waste through this concept of recycling has enabled us to create a plethora of more waste.”
- Leyla Acaroglu
Thinking about change as a linear process from A (problem) to B (solution) only helps us to maintain a status quo, and creates the kind of short term thinking and reductiveness that causes systems to break down. We expect every one and every thing to behave in the way that we define, but the truth is that we are living in a dynamic system, and we must take into account the fact that we can’t actually manage or control our own influence. What you can control, Keisha Siriboe tells us, is your sphere of influence - you can choose what you take in and what you do with it.
Our guests all spoke of how we can all feel so stuck and powerless in the throes of societal systems that are so deeply flawed. We embody the ostrich effect, a well observed cognitive bias that causes us to do nothing in the face of a difficult decision. This was most clearly felt in our conversation about dying and ageing well with Lauren Anseline. With her, we found that we choose to wait until the end of life to confront the question of dying well, and how thinking about it earlier can actually be pivotal in helping us to live well.
“Accepting the reality of what ageing could be and what it means to die could really change what it means to care—our ethics of care—caring for yourself, those around us, and for our communities and the planet”
- Lauren Anseline
We lose agency when we delay action, and we become overwhelmed by the sum of all the present challenges. Instead we can take Tammy Bryant’s advice of starting small and taking on a developers mindset, as she has done in creating spaces for women in tech to address the gender bias in the industry. She also suggests finding ways to do it for fun. Take the pressure off, find others who can join you and take joy in the change you are making.
As our guest Ben Redford said - only you yourself can bring your ideas to life. It’s up to you to take the first step and share it with others, show them a sketch and talk about it.
This year has seen a shift in values for a lot of us. Immediate threats to our safety and security have reminded some of us of just how immediate they are, prompting us to reflect on what matters. This internal work is the true locus for change; when we make trade-offs and live in accordance with these values, we can watch a system change around us and have a disproportionately positive effect.
Ben Redford discussed how valuing creativity and making the objects around us with love and attention can connect us as people, allow us to express culture, and remind us of the material value and labour in production - all of this from a hand-carved spoon!
The story creates the system but we create the story. Or as Lauren said: “Reinvention starts with your own actions.”
If you haven’t listened to the podcast already, you can find the latest episode here:
Check out the micro-cast where Cat and Ange reflect on the conversations so far, find it here:
If you are or you know a change maker who we should talk to us next, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
At the end of each episode, Cat and Ange set a micro-challenge to begin living the change explored in each episode - have a go and use #thereinventionpodcast to share you results! Here’s our hosts trying out their micro challenges: