Blank Canvas.

I’ve decided to take the next step, into the unknown. As of today I have officially moved on from 100%Open, the company I co-founded almost 9 years ago.

In that time I’ve been the day to day managing director, networker in chief, lead business developer, enthusiastic workshop facilitator, primary blogger and tweeter, frequent eater of biscuits, occasional instigator of group hugs, and intermittent tidy-uperer of cups and general detritus around the Studio.

We’ve been really lucky to work with the likes of LEGO to harness ideas from their employees, with UBS to source disruptive technologies from startup companies, and with Ford to capture new insights and innovations in and around cities.

We’ve also had the opportunity to work with national and local governments from all around the world including Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Oman, United Arab Emirates, United States and of course the United Kingdom, to shape their innovation policies and to deliver new programmes.

And we’ve been privileged to work with charities from Oxfam, to Red Cross, to Crisis to find new ways to fundraise, to collaborate, and to end migrant homelessness.

Without question 100%Open has been by far the best thing I have ever done professionally. I will miss the team, our clients and the challenge of building a company, a brand, and the tools to underpin open innovation at scale.

In many ways our successes have far outstripped my imagination, because it has been, an extreme and effective collaboration combining many different people and ideas, at every step along the way. And even our frequent failures have all been amazing lessons from which I will take a great deal, and without which 100%Open would not be what it is today.

So I’ve now decided to take this next step as I’ve felt for some time that I have achieved pretty much everything I can at 100%Open and I need to move on to create something new again.

I’ve always preferred to leave a party whilst it’s in full swing rather than be one of the last people propping up the bar at the end of the evening. That way you can remember the party at it’s high point. And that’s how I feel about 100%Open too. I know the team will go on to do great things and I’m excited to hear and see what directions they take.

I will still be doing a little bit of freelance work still with 100%Open for a while to provide some continuity across various projects and opportunities. And I will be looking selectively for the right opportunities to engage with people, organisations and projects to apply my skills and experience in the right way in due course.

I’m also looking forward to taking some time to read more, to write more, to attend more events, to meet with more interesting people, and to formulate my ideas and develop the right partnerships that enable me to focus my attention upon the next big challenges which lie in wait.

Lastly I am also really looking forward to reconnecting much more with my friends and family who I have not spent as much time with as I’d like, and who are all growing and developing and I want to play a bigger part in their lives than I have been able to in the last decade.

“Life is a circle. The end of one journey is the beginning of the next.” Joseph M. Marshall III

I am simultaneously very excited and a bit scared of what might happen next. Whatever it is I know I need to keep on learning and challenging myself and others. I want to find new opportunities that are even more interesting, networked, open and authentic. I’ve spent a long time thinking about making this move and I am really looking forward to working with a blank canvas again and imagining what might happen next.

I’d like to thank every single person who I’ve worked with, lived with, and connected with in the past 9 years. I won’t name them all here because the list is very long indeed. But needless to say you’ve all moulded and shaped me in so many different ways for which I am eternally grateful. And hopefully I’ve been able to make difference to you too in some shape or form as well.

So if anybody wants to meet up in the coming weeks for a walk and talk, an unhurried skype chat, a museum visit, or a bite to eat, then I am and remain 100%Open to that. We are all one conversation away from literally everything and anything and I for one can’t wait to get started…

Image Credit: Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash

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