100 episodes

The Possibility Club podcast explores the future of business, culture and education. Richard Freeman talks to the people at the coalface of change.

The Possibility Club always possible

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 14 Ratings

The Possibility Club podcast explores the future of business, culture and education. Richard Freeman talks to the people at the coalface of change.

    CHRISTMAS BREAK

    CHRISTMAS BREAK

    Hello
     
    This is a quick note from The Possibility Club podcast team to wish you a very merry Christmas, or holiday season, whatever you celebrate.
     
    If you've missed any of our 5 Big Questions interviews over the past 12 months, then you can find all 41 guests by searching The Possibility Club on your favourite podcast platform - or by visiting alwayspossible.co.uk/podcast
     
    I've had a lot of food for thought speaking to my guests about measuring impact, preparing for the future, skills and the future workforce, creativity and collaboration. A lot of common threads about looking beyond numbers in order to find the real stories of what is happening in the 21st century, and a sense that whatever industry people are making change in - that we must always be thinking bigger than what we sell, or what's on our job description. The 2020s demand added value, with continual improvement and a transparency about values and methodologies building stringer and more resilient communities - whether that's commercial, social or cultural.
     
    My chat with Deborah Meaden was the last for 2022, and for this series.
     
    We'll be back in the Spring, with a whole new set of questions focused more deeply on the idea of added value. What do you do, and then what do you want to be famous for? If your organisation, business or project stopped tomorrow - what is it that people would really miss?
     
     
    I'll be talking to leaders from across business and public life to go in depth about what added value they are creating beyond what is expected - for the world and people around them - with some very exciting guests lined up already.
     
    Until then - please do tell your friends about, and write a review if you can - this really does help people to find us. And have a wonderful festive break and start to 2023.
     
    Richard
    + Chris, Uschi and Molly
     
     
     
     

    • 2 min
    5 Big Questions: DEBORAH MEADEN

    5 Big Questions: DEBORAH MEADEN

    What is entrepreneurialism in 2022?
    How do we know who to trust in business?
    Why is the personality of a business important?
     
    In this week's 5 Big Questions interview we talk to serial entreprenuer and star of BBC's Dragon's Den DEBORAH MEADEN.
     
    Known for:
    Investor - Dragon's Den (BBC) Host - The Big Green Money Show podcast Ambassador - The Marine Conservation Society Member of the Council of Ambassadors - World Wildlife Fund Former Director - Weststar Holidays Twitter — @DeborahMeaden

    Instagram — @DeborahMeaden

     
    The Big 5 Questions:
    How do you measure the impact of what you do? How should people/businesses be preparing for the future? How do we build the workforce we need for that future? How do you use creativity to solve problems? How do you collaborate?  
    Key quotes:
    "I’m not hard but I’m tough. It’s different.”

    “Yes I have wealth, and I’m not affected in the same way as the huge swathe of people in this country but it doesn’t mean I can’t care about other people and in fact that makes my life better — if you’re connected to your society, if you care about your society and think actually I want to help, it makes your life more worthwhile as well. Even on a purely selfish basis I don’t get people who don’t connect with society and don’t care about it.”

    “I want to be the same person in business that I am outside of business and it worries me, we’re all becoming much more aware of people who are one thing in one scenario and then there’s something somewhere else — and actually I don’t trust those people.”

    “I’m not a character, I am me, in that situation. What you’ve got to think about Dragon’s Den is, some of those pitches last three hours, and they’re boiled down to the essence of that pitch. Quite rightly what the editors do is say okay, the lesson in that is this, and that’s what we’re going to hone in on.”

    “Your business is a personality, and it’s become even more so now, people see businesses as a personality. Think of your business as a respected friend.”

    “Just remember what it is that your customers love about you, and get rid of all the other stuff. Now that takes headspace. But the power of either having a mentor who can pull you out of that, or having the discipline yourself to say, I have to remember what matters.”

    "If you can’t take the time out to think about your business into the future, then there’s a big problem in your business.”

    “We are all creative in some way. Some of us have a wide spectrum of creativity but I think it’s what makes us human. We yearn it. It’s in our DNA.”


    “One of the fundamental attributes of a successful entrepreneur is having a good nose for things. You’ve got to be able to read when you’re not being well received as well as when you are being well received.”
    “Well, The Apprentice is not so much a business programme anymore, but I’d like to think that Dragon’s Den, well it is, it’s fundamentally still a business programme.”


     
    Useful links:
    BBC Dragons Den Deborah’s profile on the Dragons Den site BBC The Apprentice The Big Green Money Show (via BBC Radio 5 Live)
     
     
    This episode was recorded in November 2022
    Interviewer: Richard Freeman for always possible
    Editor: CJ Thorpe-Tracey for Lo Fi Arts

    • 31 min
    5 Big Questions: DR MONA MOURSHED

    5 Big Questions: DR MONA MOURSHED

    What does employability mean in 2022?
    What are the best environments for people to thrive at work?
    How and why is the education system broken all over the world?
     
    In this week's 5 Big Questions interview we talk to founding global CEO of Generation DR MONA MOURSHED.
     
    Known for:
    Founding Global CEO - Generation Fortune Magazine’s ’40 under 40 Board Member - Last Mile Health Board Member - New America  Board Member - Teach for All Member - US Council on Foreign Relations Former Govenor - International Baccalaureate Organization Former Head of Global Education Practice - McKinsey  
    The Big 5 Questions:
    How do you measure the impact of what you do? How should people/businesses be preparing for the future? How do we build the workforce we need for that future? How do you use creativity to solve problems? How do you collaborate?  
    Key quotes:
    “The tragic reality is that the global workforce system, or education-to-employment system is broken in many different ways. The system is broken for adult learners of all ages.”
    “Generation is a global non-profit to support adult learners to achieve economic mobility through a career.”
    “When they enter our programme, 90% of our learners are unemployed and half of those are long-term unemployed. Three months later we’re able to get to an outcome of 80% employed.”
    “Unfortunately age is often not included, or not considered to be a part of ‘diversity’. But the reality is we live in an inter-generational workforce, so we need to hire — and have environments — that take that into account.”
    “Frankly there’s a lot of shit that happens in five years! Here’s what I will say: the ability to do two things is critical when you’re in environmental flux. One is, you have to think about where the jobs are and therefore what education and training is required for those jobs. Jobs first, and then education and training required for them. Second is, how are you able to rapidly support an individual to achieve learning mastery of either a new set of skills, or to be able to transition to a new career?”
    “There are absolutely critical care roles that require technical skills, behavioural skills, and a very resilient mindset and the reality is that in most parts of the world these jobs are not paid at a level commensurate with the effort and expertise required to do them. This is an endemic problem that becomes even more challenging with an ageing population. This is a very thorny issue that I have yet to see a country actually crack.”
     
    Useful links:
    Mona Mourshed founding CEO profile at Generation Generation Mona on LinkedIn Mona’s profile at World Economic Forum  
    This episode was recorded in October 2022
    Interviewer: Richard Freeman for always possible
    Editor: CJ Thorpe-Tracey for Lo Fi Arts

    • 34 min
    5 Big Questions: TIM HEALEY

    5 Big Questions: TIM HEALEY

    Can a purpose-led business also be commercial?
    How do you use the Pqualizer?
    And what is the ‘mullet economy’?
     
    In this week's 5 Big Questions interview we talk to writer, broadcaster and musician TIM HEALEY.
     
    Known for:
    Founder - Shoot 4 The Moon Co-author - Better Business On Purpose Founder / Former Owner - Kooks DJ & Music Producer - Bennun & Healey Former Director - Surfer Rosa Records  
    The Big 5 Questions:
    How do you measure the impact of what you do? How should people/businesses be preparing for the future? How do we build the workforce we need for that future? How do you use creativity to solve problems? How do you collaborate?  
    Key quotes:
    “My flat became our headquarters for the best part of a year, as we met as often as we could, typically on Wednesday mornings, and discussed all manner of topics. After doing that for about nine months, we were like, well okay, what are we going to do next?”
    “We did have different writing styles, that was a learning as part of the process, and we did recruit an editor to help us pull it together. Essentially we just carved up the content, and said right, it’s going three ways, that’s yours, that’s yours and that’s yours. And off we went” 
    “Strickler called it the ‘mullet economy’, business up front and a party in the back. That’s why people are getting paid no more than twenty years ago but the shareholders are taking out more and more. It’s why the film industry has become a series of prequels and sequels and reboots. It’s also why every city in the world has shopping malls with homogenous brands in every single one.”
    “The Pqualizer is a way of visualising how you — or anyone in your business — feels about how your business is doing, across seven key areas: purpose, positioning, products, people, planet, profit and platforms.”
    “We’ve gone through an unusual period of business where we’ve become obsessed with technology, technology platforms, unicorn businesses, mega investment in concepts that perhaps aren’t even turning a profit, and we’re really starting to see that now. I’m feeling a really big tidal change.”
    "I’ve worked with a number of founders who’ve been hugely successful in technology and in my experience they’re scared of the word ‘strategy’. Even using the word in some meetings gets people’s backs up. I’ve been told by colleagues to use words like ‘goals’ because just the word ‘strategy’ seems to stress people who don’t like applying it.”
    “Setting really clear objectives, in terms of strategy, informs everything else you do. And of course, these objectives should be smart.”
    “The world isn’t in a completely downward negative spiral, there are fantastic things going on all around us and we can build on them. Which is one of the major reasons why we think businesses should be more ethical. I think you’d be forgiven as a business owner to go, oh it’s just too late, what’s the point? Whereas we’re saying no, it’s never too late, we have all the possibility of making the world a better place, and every tiny bit helps.”
    “I have a threshold for poor behaviour at work, and I don’t mean people that I’m directing not delivering, I mean typically people above, that disgrace themselves. I just can’t work with them, which sounds terrible, but that is something that I’ve kept I guess from my world of being hugely independent, doing music.”
     
    Useful links:
    Shoot 4 The Moon Tim Healey, Nikki Gattenby, Neil Witten — Better Business On Purpose (from The Hive) (from Amazon) Tim Healey — ‘Why I decided to write a book’ Nikki Gattenby — Superengaged Patagonia Clothing Yancey Strickler — This Could Be Our Future (Amazon link) Tony’s Chocolonely social impact report The Pqualizer — free downloads page Bill Hicks ‘got ourselves a reader’ bit (via YouTube) Mark Ritson’s mini MBA in Marketing ‘strategos’ (from the Greek

    • 36 min
    5 Big Questions: WAI FOONG NG

    5 Big Questions: WAI FOONG NG

    What sort of tech start-up would be founded by a network of charities?
    How do you measure impact, when your core business is to enable impact?
    How can dating app technology evolve for global good?
     
    In this week's 5 Big Questions interview we talk to social entrepreneur and tech start-up CEO WAI FOONG NG.
     
    Known for:
    CEO - Matchable Top 100 Asian Stars in UK Tech 2022 Computer Weekly Women In Tech Rising Star 2021 Co-Founder - Suits & Startups Former Director (Real Estate & Private Equity M&A) - PwC UK  
    The Big 5 Questions:
    How do you measure the impact of what you do? How should people/businesses be preparing for the future? How do we build the workforce we need for that future? How do you use creativity to solve problems? How do you collaborate?  
    Key quotes:
    “My sales team will be very happy to hear that you compared Matchable to a dating app because that’s what I get told to say on sales pitches!”
    “Matchable was an idea that came from an incubator called The Good Lab, which was a collaboration between the innovation teams at eight of the UK’s largest charities. They didn’t want to build it themselves, they have other things to do, so they put an ad out for a founder.”
    “We only want to onboard projects and organisations onto our platform that are high impact and/or innovative. So, for example, instead of going out and painting a fence, someone could be working with a social enterprise helping to re-skill cocoa farmers and using blockchain to make sure they’re fairly remunerated.”
    “At Matchable we are constantly with the ‘crazy feet paddling under the surface’ analogy, that’s definitely us. And we also say ‘every day is a school day’, because we try loads of things and we’re a very open team. Being willing to learn every day is very important, I think.”
    “Companies are understanding more and more that this needs to be part of their fabric. And their employees are asking for it.”
    “Gen Z thrive when you give them ownership of something and they can run with it, because they feel empowered to put into practice a lot of their ideas, etc. And the thing that doesn’t work well with them is just telling them what to do.”
    “People only work at their best if they believe in the company, if they believe in what they are doing.”
    “There is so much that companies and employees get from volunteering that is intangible but can be life-changing as an experience.”
     
    Useful links:
    Wai Foong NG on LinkedIn Matchable The Good Lab Report (2019) B Corp B Corp certification Ella's Kitchen Mark Cuddigan (Ella’s Kitchen) '5 Big Questions’ episode  
    This episode was recorded in November 2022
    Interviewer: Richard Freeman for always possible
    Editor: CJ Thorpe-Tracey for Lo Fi Arts

    • 33 min
    5 Big Questions: DAVID RICHARDS MBE

    5 Big Questions: DAVID RICHARDS MBE

    How does Sheffield compare with Silicon Valley?
    What if we reimagined degrees for the 21st century?
    How do you feel about driving a computer with wheels?
     
    In this week's 5 Big Questions interview we talk to British Silicon Valley entrepreneur and technology executive DAVID RICHARDS MBE.
     
    Known for:
    Chairman, President & CEO - WANDisco Trustee - The David & Jane Richards Family Foundation Founder - EyUp Co-Founder - LaptopsForKids Non-Executive Director - TechNation Former Vice President - Netmanage, Inc Former Chairman & CEO - Librados, Inc Former CEO - Insevo  
    The Big 5 Questions:
    How do you measure the impact of what you do? How should people/businesses be preparing for the future? How do we build the workforce we need for that future? How do you use creativity to solve problems? How do you collaborate?  
    Key quotes:
    “He’s probably a genius. As a summer intern at IBM they filed three patents based on his work, as an intern. That doesn’t happen every day.”
    “We have probably the only usable implementation of Paxos in the world.”
    "What we’d actually built a product using massive scale data and actually everybody said how come your revenues aren’t through the roof? And it was because the data sets weren’t there yet. Then along came 5G.”
    “I was at a conference where Jaguar LandRover said that their passion and focus was their products and customers, but their monetisation was data.”
    “The competition is going to be the power of your algorithms and the data sets that you have, which is why Tesla have been so successful. Our technology now is being used to move these colossal data sets, some as large as an exabyte, growing at fifty percent per year. So our technology turns out to be very important with the advent of 5G and we’re sat in a very good place right now.”
    “The beautiful thing with our business is we’re licensing intellectual property, we’re not selling services or shipping goods. When it hits, scaling a business like ours isn’t actually complicated. It’s like that old Mousetrap game, you build it, and then you watch the ball go around. Structurally our operating margins, even on ten times current sales and revenue, the incremental cost increase would be small.”
    “Social impact is critical for this business. We will not do deals with social media companies and gambling companies because they can’t be trusted.”
    “My personal viewpoint is that the regulation on the gambling industry in the UK is just an absolute travesty. Why do we let these guys get away with it? And now when they’re using data science techniques they can figure out the level at which they can maximise their revenue from an individual. In the same way, the tricks that Facebook have played on us in the past are not good for society.”
    "We sourced 15,000 laptops in less than six months and that had a huge positive impact on the business because the local economy and people in our locale can trust us.”
    “We have to find a way as a nation to provide free, safe and secure Internet for those who need it the most. It’s not just giving them free Internet, it’s empowering the community. But the most critical thing then is that you measure the impact — independently — and publish the research. Then you can go to government and say ‘you should nationalise OpenReach because the socio-economic impact is going to be this.’ You can solve digital poverty very quickly if you adopt this strategy.”
    “I’m just appalled at the UK’s education system, I have to be honest. It was designed by Victorians and the class system was very important. I think it’s indicative of a huge weakness in our economy and society.”
    “The dirty little secret we have in this country, is we can’t hire fresh graduates and put them straight into our company. We have a shortage of hundreds of thousands of software engineers in the UK. But the good news is the solution is incredibly simple.

    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

MegFenn ,

One of my fave shows

Been listening to The Possibility Club podcast for over a year, it’s one of my go to listens for inspo, knowledge and learning. Always interesting, always wonderful guests, always thought provoking. Loved the Lemn Sissay, Dr Charlotte Rae, Krisi Smith and Michael Rosen episodes. Completely recommend!

YouknowLCS ,

⭐️

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mo15mo80 ,

Interview with Fiona

The interview with Fiona was brilliant. Wish her well with her Build A Girl project. Sounds simple and awesome and soooo needed for young girls. Fiona is incredibly articulate and needs her voice heard more. Thanks Richard.

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