The Ripple Effect was the initial research phase of my PM Prize Project Adventure; a six month journey of discovery around New Zealand that began in October 2010.  The aim of the journey was to discover and draw together the threads of a new Kiwi vision and culture that cherishes the values and strengths of all our country’s communities and sectors. My inspiration was to help connect the potential in the science community with the needs, skills and inspiration in other sectors. 

Inspired by Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point I went in search of "rebellious optimists" with positive visions for the country and networks flourishing around them. By forming relationships with these key people my plan was to build a network through which to spread a social epidemic of science enthusiasm.

You can read more about the journey and it's inspiration in the following blog posts:
The Rebellious Optimists
Here are some of the inspiring people I met...

Young Change Makers:
Scientists and Engineers
Government Types
 Social Networking Gurus
  • Simon Young: social media consultant, writer, speaker and entrepreneur
Artists, Curators, Entrepreneurs, Economists, Social Innovators and other Inspiring Indefinables
And here are some of the inspiring conferences I attended:
Synthesis and Interpretation

After six months of absorbing, gathering and connecting I felt totally inspired but overwhelmed by the scope of the project. To make sense and connect all the ideas and people I'm using a research process inspired by the methods used at 2nd Road training and consulting firm.
  1. Listening through to all the interviews and making mind maps on a BIG pad of paper
  2. Reading through all notes and mind-maps making sticky notes of the key points
  3. Sorting the (hundreds of) sticky notes into envelopes of different overarching themes
  4. Covering one BIG blank wall in sticky notes to order and connect ideas and concepts
  5. Synthesising ideas into an orderly structure
  6. Writing blogs on the ideas that emerge
Research Themes

Here's a list of the themes that are emerging from this process:
  • How to Start a Movement
  • Innovation: What is it and how do we encourage it?
  • The Power of Stories
  • Collaboration
  • New Media Opportunities
  • Sustainability
  • Education
  • What is Science? - Science culture and social context
  • Connecting Generations
  • Bio-diversity and Land issues
  • Maori and Science
  • Science Communication
  • Social Networking
  • The Problem with Stereotypes
  • Cradle to Cradle design and Biomimicry
  • Social Enterprise
  • Kiwi Culture
  • Money and Finance
  • Art and Creativity
  • Personal and Spiritual Insights
  • Science as Activism
What Next?

The Ripple Effect has profoundly effected my life direction and purpose. Whatever I do from here will be  enriched and informed by the network of inspiring people and ideas I have developed.

Here are some of the channels through which ideas, insights and inspiration are flowing:

Blog Posts: Every now and then you may notice an idea materialising into pictures and words on my blog

NZSEED:  I'm currently working with a small team of enthusiasts to build a platform for collaboration between engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs and designers - watch this space...

The NanoAdventures of Elf and Loo: I'm producing this innovative podcast with Elf Eldridge, my physicist friend and collaborator. Several of the people I met on my journey will turn up as characters in the podcast.

Who knows what else.....  I'm open to suggestions...

Radio is a delicious medium.

There's something immediate and personal about it - the fact that you can slip a microphone in to a conversation (almost) without the person noticing means you can get a really honest unself-conscious response.

I love talking to people. When you hit on something they love they get a sparkle in their eyes that you can follow. The conversation comes alive and something interesting, real and often funny comes out. I'm always looking for ways to induce and capture these unself-conscious moments. 

I also love editing - mixing sounds, music and voices to create sound-scapes that take you to another world and evoke immersive atmospheres and emotion.

My background is in Physics and I think that audio is the perfect medium to explore and describe the bizarre and beautiful new worlds that science reveals - without the restrictions of the camera. I am totally inspired by my favourite radio show in the whole world,  RadioLab from NPR in the States, who are masters at this art.

Background in Radio and Podcasting

I fell in love with the medium of Radio during my Masters at Imperial College London. My lecturer was Gareth Mitchell, presenter of ‘Digital Planet’ on the BBC World Service sometimes referred to as ‘the most enthusiastic man on radio’. He taught us interview and editing skills and helped us produce and present a live science show on the university radio station - I had a comedy slot.

My first radio package on Music Therapy was short-listed for the Association of British Science Writers BBC New Voice Award in 2006.

After graduating I spent one month at the BBC researching and producing shows on swarming robots and insects, distant planets and archaeology for the Radio 4 show ‘Material World’. 

In London I worked for a specialist podcasting company YadaYada Productions writing and producing themed tourist trails of London. I also produced this show for BBC Oxford on the impressive local Art in Action festival.  

In my spare time I began exploring the medium. I rode across Scotland on a bicycle making a show about Celtic Christianity; I interviewed experts on the Ethics of Nano-technology (see here and here); I collaborated with an artist on a series of installations for the Shunt Lounge Gallery and sent home audio journey’s through London and Germany for family Christmas presents (I was broke).

I’ve also spent some time at Radio New Zealand producing and presenting shows for ‘Our Changing World’.