Saturday, March 10, 2012

Last fall, the observer Nesta joined to find examples of British inspiration to improve the lives of individuals and communities across the country on one. Radical and creative this way we arrived at 50 visionary projects

Tell us who we missed

last November, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) has been associated with the


to call to find 50 new radicals in Britain. We wanted to find people who came up with creative responses to major issues of our time, working under the radar of the national media. We wanted to celebrate people who were really doing good rather than the reputation of being famous. And we wanted to find examples of inspiration at a difficult time.

We have been overwhelmed by the response. Several hundred nominations from around the country, most of them impressive and intriguing combination of great vision and practicality. We do not claim that there was no science to our selections. We try to reach an approximate equilibrium, business to science, the arts community, with one or two best known projects and others that are almost completely unknown. But we had to exclude many brilliant people and ideas, and judges do not always agree.

The biggest message is that we conducted a similar exercise could be done in each region and city. Britain is full of radicalism, and anyone who says that our society has evolved into fatalism and apathy should get out more.

It is not surprising, we found some common themes. Many of the candidates - The ruby ??in the rubble, transition towns and green house - attended the reuse and recycling. The extent to which we are losing things becomes even more of an affront on a budget - and were impressed by the number of good ideas for use of food that are lost, buildings or land. Another large group were making the most of digital technologies, smart phones and broadband - from entrepreneurs like Michael Acton Smith, social entrepreneurs (Iris Lapinski) and IT (Open Street Map). The candidates proposed creative responses to the return of mass unemployment - women like us rite of Labour. The long-term trends of population aging to promote imaginative responses, such as dementia and life shared adventure.

Hopefully this exercise will ask argument. If we are not told hundreds of people who should be on the list, we will be disappointed. If you do not trigger a debate about what it means to be radical, it would be a shame too. To me it means being ready to tackle the root causes of things, think and act really cool. Two centuries after the first word came into use, and at least 150 years, as some people began to call new radicals, the word does not always mean being innovative - many of the best ideas involve radical return and before as many projects to re-imagine Britain as a nation grounded and food production. However, it requires a willingness to challenge the general public.

Thomas Edison famously said genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration and my guess is that persistence is the most important factor in determining which of the 50 radicals more here in the next decade or two. Be radical guarantee that you will face enemies, interests and obstructive bitter failures. What makes the difference is that if you get - as a social activist, Michael Young used to say, the treatment of "no" as an issue

radicalism is as British as tea and cakes, as part of our constitution, as the monarchy and football. Ever their birthdays, their palaces or honors system. But it is a tradition that has born DS, and celebration, and I hope we have made a good start here.

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