Fresh ideas | Free thinking 3

Nigel George, multipotentialist at the helm of Eccleston George, Imagination Refinery and Artecology – amongst others – talks about the ideas inspiring him, from ethics and social capital to the Internet of Things.


Fresh ideas | Free thinking 3

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What do you do?

I’m a creative practitioner, a maker of things and – dare I say – multipotentialist! I’m an advocate for positive socioeconomic change and I am active in creating projects that act as catalysts for a kind of economic growth that strives to be in tune with the world around us. 


Where do you do it?

All over the place but I’m based in beautiful Sandown Bay, Isle of Wight. The bay (two villages and three towns) is our current area of focus for innovative sustainable regeneration.

Who do you do it for?

I’m a freelancer, so in theory I do it for myself – but that’s not the whole picture really. My working life is centred at the intersection between the economy, environment and community… I do stuff there!

What has been your favourite project of the past year that you’ve been involved in?

That’s such I tough question because my daily work is so varied. I’m very passionate about our Imagination Refinery project but I’m super excited about the direction our Artecology work is going in too.

What is the most innovative, ethically-minded business that you’d love to collaborate with?

It’s funny because, if I happened to be in a room full of company reps and CEOs and asked them to put their hands up if they consider themselves ‘innovative ethically minded’, it would be the ones who don’t put their hands up that I’d gravitate towards. I’m sort of morbidly inspired by businesses that couldn’t care less about anything other than profits. Those sorts of business – and let’s face it, we’re talking about most of them – are where the job of work needs doing I think, and I do find that inspiring!

What ethical business leaders inspire you?


The Kelly brothers who created IDEO are interesting. Dale Vince seems to break the businessman mould beautifully. I’d like to meet him to find out what makes him tick. I get the feeling the most inspiring innovators are yet to come though. The generation behind me is going to produce the real innovative and ethically minded movers and shakers I think.

What are the five most interesting things that you have come across or read recently?

1) Gut by Guilia Enders

2) Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham

3) I recently rediscovered James Burke’s superb Connections TV series

4) RadioLab podcasts, they’re all brilliant

5) The film The Big Short

Oh and the so called ‘Internet of Things’… Oops that’s six!

What’s the book, books or author that most shaped your thinking for the work that you do?

He does write and I have indeed read some of his papers and essays but it was meeting Swedish professor Göran Dahlgren a few years ago that had a profound influence on my ideas. He somehow was able to help me understand better what I was already doing, if you know what I mean? Over the course of an evening meal at his home in Stockholm he gave me an insight into the nature of social capital and how the creation of it impacts positively on human health and wellbeing, economy and environment. It was a real lightbulb moment for me!

Image credits: Cover image – Beata Ratuszniak/ Unsplash; all Eccleston George images by Julian Winslow; Stockholm image Jason Briscoe/ Unsplash


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