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Charlie Leadbeater

Job Title: Leading authority on innovation and creativity

One of the things that I’ve always really valued about SIX is the openness to ideas

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Charlie Leadbeater, based in London and I’m an independent writer, advisor and I work a lot with organisations that have social or public purpose.

What drives you as an individual, what are you passionate about?

I suppose I’m passionate about trying to understand what’s going on, and how you can help to explain that so that people are more likely to be able to shape what’s going on for social good.

What was your first encounter with SIX?

It was at the SIX Summer School in San Sebastián, right at the start of the organisation’s life. I gave a talk about the importance of doing things with people so that they could do things by themselves, rather than for and to people.

What are some of the memorable connections that you have made through SIX?

Of course I’ve really enjoyed, the now sadly departed, Robin Murray’s involvement with SIX. Also Diogo Vasconcelos, who was involved right at the beginning. Both of whom were very important people.

I suppose the things that I’ve mainly taken from SIX are the places to which the idea and the need for social innovation has spread. And often people working in really quite difficult circumstances, like Nigeria, or Egypt, or Turkey.

How do you think SIX has influenced or changed the way that you think about your work?

One of the things that I’ve always really valued about SIX is the openness to ideas. And so, it’s always been great for me to come to SIX events, talk about ideas which are sort of slightly half formed and receive feedback on them.

What I’ve most learnt from SIX is from people that recognise that social innovation is really about social change, and that social change is really about movement building. And that you can’t take the politics out of social innovation.