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Inspirational changemaker Andy Middleton talks summercamp, purpose and luck

Summercamp 2013 has been on gone now, and what a day it was! We’ll be back very soon with 2014’s plans. To be one of the first to grab tickets, sign up here:



Andy Middleton, Founder of the TYF Group helps organisations change their strategy and tactics to build innovation, resilience and engagement into everything they do. He has a unique approach to business that centres around the importance of connecting nature and surroundings with the way you start business, and we were delighted to have him join us at the Summercamp in 2013 to give us all an inspiring talk on ‘Start something with a purpose and you’ll find your own luck’.

andy-middleton2.preview-300x253Tell us a little about you and what you’re working on at the moment
I’m a social entrepreneur, activist and wave rider who lives and works from St.Davids, the UK’s smallest city, where I work with a team of a dozen adventurers, educators and consultants to run TYF. We’re just about to start delivery of a three year programme of applied innovation training that will reach every 16-18 year old in our county for 1.5 days a year. I’m also preparing for a programme that I’m running tomorrow for a group of intrapreneurs from Monmouthshire County Council who are doing amazing work on social change.
What or who inspired you to get where you are today?
Living and working in a beautiful place on the edge of the world has left an indelible foundation of why vibrant nature and community are more important than any material possession I can own. People-wise, I’ve been hugely inspired by Satish Kumar, Director of Schumacher College in Devon, where I’ve taught and studied over the years, and by dozens of the amazing people that I’ve met as speakers and participants at the Do Lectures since 2008.


What changes are you driving in the world?
My biggest change project right now is Slipstream Wales; our logo is a flight of wild geese. When these canny birds fly in formation, they save around 65% of their effort by flying intelligently in the same direction. I reckon that business and government could do the same on sustainability if it got its shit together. Through Slipstream Wales, I am helping government and business learn better from each other to dramatically accelerate change for good. Landmarc Services, M&S, PwC, Interserve & the National Trust are on board already. It’s an exciting, scary and potentially game changing project.

Tell us briefly what you spoke about at our conference in 2013

Nature’s been doing smart design for 3.8bn years whilst humans have been designing businesses to run like machines for a few hundred years. I spoke about ways that start ups can learn from nature ways of making better connections to people and place, put down deeper roots, and stay resilient in the face of change.

What one piece of advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs and change makers?

As soon as you choose to do something that you would do for nothing and makes a positive difference (and happen to get paid for) you will tap into a level of energy, enthusiasm, playfulness and courage that people who work for money will never be able to match.
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