The complexity of the 21st century demands a new approach. The age of industrial, top-down, command and control systems is over. Time to accelerate business unusual. Time to Swarm.

Why


We are living in a time of massive change, where uncertainty and adaptability is the new normal.

Where almost everything needs to be re-imagined and remade to be fit for purpose in a networked, rapidly decentralising, resource constrained, energy hungry planet of 7 billion plus.

Climate change, biodiversity collapse, nature disconnection, food security, poverty, inequality, education, disease, pollution, health, clean energy and community resilience are the big issues of our time.

In this context business as usual is fast becoming both impossible and irrelevant.

Many of these issues have been created through a disconnected approach to development and most attempts to find solutions continue to take place in silos, where specialisation and ‘separateness’ remain as core ideas.

Yet, these problems are far too complex for any one organisation to solve.

As all life is connected, Swarm bring collaboration, collective intelligence, human creativity and a whole system perspective to finding solutions.

We believe a more beautiful world is possible.

More human, open, fair, creative, generous, participative and life giving supported by a life sustaining planet.

But to get there needs fundamentally different ideas, approaches and critically businesses.

Swarm exists to help accelerate those responding and adapting to these challenges and opportunities.

Because in the near future we believe the most loved brands will be built by the real problems they fix not the novelty they create.

Business unusual.

What


At the heart of Swarm is a way of working, an open, accelerated, creative co-design process, a set of practices, of doing and being, a strong set of values which guide us and a growing network of inspired people who Swarm with us.

We apply it to a range of offerings – innovation, mobilisation, venturing and learning. Sometimes serving other organisations, sometimes on our things. We use life-centered design to create participation products, build fixer brands, develop capacity in teams and support courageous leaders. All to accelerate Business Unusual, in pursuit of a more beautiful world.

We work with start-ups, businesses, brands, NGO’s, public sector, activists, investors and funders. Together we prototype, hatch and grow beautiful solutions which serve both humanity and the planet.

 

 

Who


Tom Farrand

Co-Founder - Explorer

I'm part-scientist, part-creative and part-instigator. An explorer at heart. Born in Nairobi, I spent a good chunk of my early childhood in a Land Rover tracking wildlife, climbing trees and avoiding snakes. With a masters in biochemistry, I stumbled into an R&D job at P&G. That lead to a 13 year career in brand marketing and business innovation across branding and management consultancies before I changed tack to seek more purposeful work. For the last 6 years, I've been experimenting with collaborations that point human energy towards tough systemic challenges. I get a huge kick out of helping large, diverse groups harness their collective potential and make things happen. Often found tracking owls and deer with my family. Or on boards. Preferably on snow or water but sometimes with leadership teams. And I go running a lot, in the hills. When I grow up, I really want to be a game-park ranger.

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Dan Burgess

Co-Founder - Creative Catalyst

Bricoleur/Designer/Sherpa - Over 20 years I’ve worked as a DJ, musician, social entrepreneur, brand consultant, designer, copywriter, strategist, creative activist and outdoor educator.  I think, create and do, work with head, heart and hands. I've developed award winning creative sustainability campaigns for global brand Nokia, had a record in the charts, built one of the UK’s first web radio stations, launched a pioneering sustainable brand innovation unit in a global agency, led the creative development of a movement to get kids back into nature, co-produced an award winning feature length documentary film and co-founded creative generosity network Good for Nothing, backed by NESTA, now present in 9 countries. I have an MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility, and a partner in the Bio Leadership Project. At Swarm, I’m interested in using open, life-centered, design processes to co-create new stories of purpose and possibility, build fixer brands, participation products, mobilise diverse networks for change and support courageous leaders to accelerate business unusual in pursuit of a more beautiful world. Always learning from nature and often found in the woods and the waves, baking sourdough, growing vegetables, hanging with my family and surfing.

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Stephen King

Co-Founder - Architect

Attracted by challenges, problems to solve, things to get right. I am always excited to see things work, make progress, get to launch, have an impact. Enjoy seeing people at their best, working towards solutions, creating a structure for everyone to play. After leaving engineering school in Canada, where I grew up, I found myself working in consumer finance. Learned a ton about marketing, analytics, business models and people in a big company. About 4 years ago I woke up, inspired by meeting people like Tom and Dan, gaining a wider horizon through an MBA at LBS and Columbia business schools, and grounded by having my first child. My life is now an experiment in another way of living. Work and life are inseparable, my energy and flow come from both, my recharging points are my partner and our two kids, the occasional jaunt in the woods and spending time creatively with things like photography and cooking.

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Emily Oliver

Associate

I get a buzz out of bringing people together to improve our critical systems. My previous work has ranged from setting up peoplefund.it (now called Crowdfunder - the UK's first ethical crowd funding platform) and establishing the arts service in the 2012 Borough of Newham, to work with Cancer Research UK, Purpose and British Gas. I'm currently completing a masters in Sustainable Leadership and recently qualified as a meditation teacher with Stanford Uni. When I'm not working with our Swarm, you'll find me bee keeping, managing FoodCycle Wandsworth and going wild with TRIBE Tooting.

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Steve Hamm

Associate Swarmer - Strategy & Venturing

I'm (another) Steve and (another) Canadian living in London – with my wife Laura. Since arriving in England, I've done a lot of things -  working in social enterprise, financial services consultancy, international development and venture capital. The great thing about Swarm for me, is that I get to combine all of these experiences and skills into a coherent, mission-purposed whole. I like to think about challenges from the top but am also happy diving into the guts of a problem, exploring and shaping business models and financing activities and working with teams to put them in place. I hold degrees in history and international relations and an MBA and when I'm not Swarming I like to write about that and other stuff, make some art and cook really good food.

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Matt Weatherall

Associate Swarmer – Creative Strategist

I love working on purposeful projects. I do research, strategy, facilitation, and ideas. I've worked in the creative industry for five years: three at a digital agency called Dare; one consulting for purposeful organisations; and one at Swarm. I have a degree in maths because  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

When I'm not swarming, I meet strangers and work on side projects like #CatsnotAds.

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Andres Roberts

Associate Swarmer

I'm a guide, facilitator and advisor dedicated to new kinds of progress, fit for a positive future for all. My work combines renewed ideas about leadership and change, reconnection to Nature, and the wisdom of diverse cultures to help a deeper kind of change happen for people and organisations. I'm also founding parter of the Bio-Leadership Project and Way of Nature UK, two ventures dedicated to helping people and society change by working in partnership with Nature.

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Al Kennedy

Associate Swarmer - Social Business Designer

Having spent 20+ years creating and delivering brand communications for global corporate clients; I am now on a journey to refocus my life and work in developing and co-creating solutions fit for the 21st Century. To utilise design for social good. After being introduced to the methodologies of Biomimicry on the innovative ‘One Planet’ MBA programme in 2012 - I have been developing ways to apply design with natural innovation to solve some of the human challenges we face. I am intrigued by the symbiosis of digital networks, biomimicry and sustainable innovation. Collaborating with Swarm I look to draw on the principles of nature and the parallels between our networked world, natural and organisational systems. Lets “quieten our human cleverness”, build from the bottom up, self-assemble, optimise rather than maximize, use free energy, cross-pollinate, embrace diversity, adapt and evolve. Design for Life.

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Ceinwen Giles

Associate Swarmer - Health Innovator & Patient Leader

As Swarm’s third Canadian, I believe in the power of communities to change things for the better. I've lived in Vietnam, Thailand and the UK, and have worked all over Africa and Asia for organisations like the UN, DFID, Christian Aid and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Given less than favourable odds after being diagnosed with cancer in my mid-30s, I became interested in applying participatory principles to issues of empowerment and involvement in the health sector. My identity was once stolen by a Thai woman who used it obtain money and gifts from wealthy men in the Middle East. I'm a founding Trustee of Shine Cancer Support, a tiny charity that does amazing work with adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s with cancer. I'm also a Trustee of the Point of Care Foundation and sit on the General Advisory Council of the King’s Fund.

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George MacCallum

Associate Swarmer-Film

I'm Swarm's go-to-guy for film. I specialise in covering events through the eyes of the participants, capturing the atmosphere, and creating positive films, which aim to make some noise around people doing good things. I started making videos with camcorders and have since worked with charities and social enterprises around the world. I make short documentaries for BBC Inside Out and freelance elsewhere. I'm currently working on a solar energy film in USA, elephant poaching in Zambia, the rise and fall of Sweden's greatest festival - as well as ongoing projects with Swarm. I've a lot to live up to though - my dad was Uncle Bulgaria from the Wombles and my mum was a popstar from the 70s...

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Chris Packe

Associate Swarmer - Creative Misfit & Wild Guide

I used to be an investment banker, advising consumer companies on mergers and acquisitions for 15 years.  Now I am doing my best to navigate away from concepts like business, careers and consuming, in an attempt to experience that which exists in their absence.  Sometimes my affinity with uncertainty and creative chaos is useful for other people and their projects, sometimes it really isn’t.  Collaborating with Swarm, somehow it always seems to fit very well…  My outbursts range from rap and rhyme to cartoons, whittling, bushcraft and storytelling.  I seek everyday nature magic, I stand for the more primal emotions and values, which I experience myself in solitude and then bring home to share with fellow children of all ages, from 3 to 63, through these wonky media.  I write about my discoveries in my Freedom Blog (www.chrispacke.com).

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