“In this house, Vincent Van Gogh, for six intense, passionate months of his life, painted as though his life depended on it. He imagined this house as a catalyst for a shift of global significance, a reimagining of art and its possibilities. And although the personal cost to him was enormous, he achieved his dream, albeit posthumously. The painting he made of this house still speaks to the power of the human mind to will the seemingly impossible into reality. And to do so with love, colour, passion and beauty. And we need it now more than we ever have”.
Jonathan Schooler is a Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. According to Wikipedia, he “researches various topics that intersect aspects of both cognitive psychology and philosophy such as: Belief in free will, Meta-awareness, Mindfulness, Mind-Wandering, Memory, Creativity, and Emotion”. We chatted by Skype.
Philippe Van Parijs is a philosopher, social scientist, and co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network. He is co-author of the just-published book ‘Basic Income’, and is one of the leading proponents of the idea. We met in a noisy pizza restaurant in Exeter to discuss Basic Income, and in particular, I was interested to know whether he felt a Basic Income would free people up to be more imaginative.
I’m not sure if there is a World Record for the most talks given in one day, but if there is, I gave it a pretty good shot last week. I travelled (by train, as is my wont) to Switzerland to support several initiatives there, in and around Geneva. I love trips like this, where hopefully I leave behind some ideas and inspiration, but I also take a good share of that back with me too.
Richard Olivier is the Artistic Director and founder of a small leadership consultancy called Olivier Mythodrama. They use great stories, often by Shakespeare, but not always, as mythic case studies of great leadership themes and challenges, particularly the kind of behavioural and imaginative challenges that leaders have to try and create a better future.
One of the areas of 21st century life where the imagination thrives is in the craft beer movement. One of the leading, and most imaginative, craft breweries is Mikkeller. Mikkeller was founded in 2006 by Mikkel Borg Bjergsø. He creates the recipes, and oversees the development of new beers and recipes, as well as the growing number of new bars and restaurants that we have in the Mikkeller group now. We caught up via Skype.
Josh Golin is the Executive Director of the Campaign for Commerical Free Childhood, an advocacy organisation that works to protect children from the harmful effects of commercialism and promote creative play. He lives in Boston. We chatted via Skype.
Today I want to tell you about a change to my role, and to what I will be doing for the next 12 months. As we celebrate 10 years of Transition Network, I am fortunate to have been offered the opportunity to take a part-time sabbatical (3 days per week) in order to research and write a new book.
I’m at the London Toy Fair at the Kensington Olympia. It’s my first time at such a vast trade show, the biggest event in the annual calendar for those in the toy industry. I’ve travelled up to London on a day of freezing mist, and arrive into the Hall wrapped up in a thick coat and scarf. I soon warm up as I walk the endless rows of booths. My every step feels watched by suited and coiffured sales people waiting for me to pause by their stall so they can engage me in conversation. My initial thought is that most of what I’m seeing on show will end up in landfill within about 8 months from purchase.
Scott Barry Kaufman is Scientific Director at the Imagination Institute and a researcher in the Positive Psychology Centre of the University of Pennsylvania. He teaches their course on Positive Psychology for undergraduates. He is one of the leading thinkers on the topic of imagination. A few weeks ago I was fortunate to speak to him by Skype, the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump!