Where do Brilliant New Ideas Come From?

This is a talk I gave for the Being Human Festival in 2018 at the Maths Institute of Oxford University. Thanks to The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities for hosting, and recording, the event. I've left in my powerpoint prompts so you can download by clicking here and follow the slides should you wish … Continue reading Where do Brilliant New Ideas Come From?

Creativity and Freediving: Training for Mind Sports

This week I began serious training for the creative thinking and speed reading events at the Mind Sports Olympiad. I thought it would be interesting to give an insight into what it takes to prepare for these unusual events. But most of all, I thought that giving an insight into them might widen awareness of … Continue reading Creativity and Freediving: Training for Mind Sports

2019: Jump Down the Creative Rabbit Hole

What I have had the privilege of spending a large part of 2018 running creativity sessions with everyone from software designers in London to children visiting after hours exhibitions at Oxford’s museums. And the result is always the same. I see people get excited. If I have a wish for 2019, it’s simply for more … Continue reading 2019: Jump Down the Creative Rabbit Hole

Creativity and Hope

I wonder if how a person sees creativity has some kind, however imperfect, of inverse relation to the degree of despair they feel as they encounter the world around them. The mid 1990s were about half way through my creative life so far. Creativity was something I enjoyed immensely, and I was beginning to think … Continue reading Creativity and Hope

Free Soloing the Future

Free Soloing the Future: How creativity could save the world (and why it probably won’t) Pdf of talk can be downloaded here Slides can be downloaded here https://youtu.be/7gdMu1-QLZA Transcript of talk (as delivered) at Taylor Institution Main Hall, Oxford University, 23 October 2018 to celebrate the launch of Mycelium. With thanks to The Oxford Research … Continue reading Free Soloing the Future

The Search for My Pale Blue Dot

Starting up Without Breaking Down - Part 3 (Come to the launch in Oxford - event details as per the photo here) I was a young child in the 1970s, and in 1980, when I was 8, my life, like many others was changed forever by a television programme, Cosmos. At the time I would … Continue reading The Search for My Pale Blue Dot

Cosmology, Collidors, and Creatively Playing the Fool

I was delighted to be asked to talk about creativity at this year's Hawkesbury Upton Literary Festival with two of my heroes. Orna Ross's brilliance and kindness and inspiration have meant so much over the years to me personally as well as the wider literary world. Joanna Penn is a creative and motivational inspiration to … Continue reading Cosmology, Collidors, and Creatively Playing the Fool

Lessons in Creativity 1: Little Puffy Clouds

I’ve spent a lot of time here talking about the way creativity is, for want of a better term, about mashing things up and seeing what you get. But what I haven’t done yet is talk about how to develop the skill of the interesting collision. Skill, maybe, is the wrong word, because that takes … Continue reading Lessons in Creativity 1: Little Puffy Clouds

Why We Are Wrong About Creativity

Creativity. Whether we are a massive organisation looking to break new ground or an individual wanting out of a rut, it is the one thing everyone wants more of. Yet of course it is the great unquantifiable. Anyone my age with any kind of artistic leaning will probably remember the inner – or, quite possibly, … Continue reading Why We Are Wrong About Creativity

Changing Conversations

It is always a fine line to tread when one has a very strong agenda for change, between the political and the supra-political. Especially so when the issue in question lacks the fluidity that allows many of the most useful debates to have their natural rhythm. But as today is “Brexit Day”, it is both … Continue reading Changing Conversations