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Charles Leadbetter

Charles Leadbeater


Charles Leadbeater is a leading authority on innovation and creativity. He has advised companies, cities and governments around the world on innovation strategy. A prolific author, Charles published Innovation in Education: Lessons From Pioneers Around the World.

In Innovation in Education he discusses how traditional education systems often fail and provides examples of radical educational innovators who, starting in the margins rather than the mainstream, create new and effective ways of delivering education through networks and movements that offer not only “more” but “better” and “different”.

In Charles’s early career he spent ten years with the Financial Times where he was Labour Editor, Industrial Editor and Tokyo Bureau Chief before becoming the paper’s Features Editor. In 1994 he moved to the Independent as assistant editor in charge of features and became an independent author and advisor in 1996. As an associate editor of the Independent he helped Helen Fielding devise Bridget Jones’s Diary.

Charles has worked extensively as a senior adviser to the governments over the past decade. He advised the 10 Downing St Policy Unit, the Department for Trade and Industry and the European Commission on the rise of the knowledge driven economy and the Internet. He is an advisor to the Department for Education’s Innovation Unit on future strategies for learning and education. He is a co-founder of the public service design agency Participle.

As well as advising a wide range of organisations on innovation including the BBC, Vodafone, Microsoft, Ericsson, Channel Four Television and the Royal Shakespeare Company, Charles has been an ideas generator in his own right. He wrote the first British report on the rise of social entrepreneurship which has since become a global movement.

A past winner of the prestigious David Watt prize for journalism, Charles was profiled by the New York Times for generating one of the best ideas of the year, the rise of the activist amateur, outlined in his report The Pro-Am Revolution. Charles was ranked by Accenture, the management consultancy, as one of the top management thinkers in the world.

His book We-Think: The Power of Mass Creativity draws on his innovation experience to chart the rise of mass, participative approaches to innovation from science and open source software, to computer games and political campaigning. His earlier acclaimed books include Living on Thin Air: The New Economy, Up the Down Escalator: Why the Global Pessimists Are Wrong and In Search of Work, one of the first books to predict the rise of flexible and networked employment.

A visiting senior fellow at the British National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts, he is also a longstanding senior research associate with the influential think-tank Demos and a visiting fellow at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School.


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