Building Bridges
Building Bridges
What We Need to Flourish in this Century

What We Need to Flourish in this Century

A conversation with Hilary Cottam about reinventing the welfare state, the pandemic & the future of work

For this new episode of the Building Bridges podcast, I’m so pleased to share the conversation I had with Hilary Cottam, an author and social entrepreneur whose ideas about reinventing the welfare state everybody should hear. Relationships should always come first, and we should design every social service around that. 

I met Hilary in London a little over two years ago. Before meeting her I had been very impressed by her TED talk “Social Services are broken. How we can fix them” (and so I was intimidated to meet her in person!).

Then I read her amazing book Radical Help: How we can remake the relationships between us and revolutionize the welfare state (2019) which influenced my own work enormously (I cited her book extensively in my own Du Labeur à l’ouvrage about the future of work).

Radical Help is about new ways of organising living and growing that have been developed with communities across Britain.

The British welfare state transformed our lives.  The model was emulated globally, setting the template for the ways we think about social change across the world.  But this once brilliant innovation can no longer help us face the challenges of today.

Radical Help argues that our 20th century system is beyond reform and suggests a new model for this century: ways of supporting the young and the old, those who are unwell and those who seek good work   At the heart of this new way of working is human connection.  When people feel supported by strong human relationships change happens.  And when we design new systems that make this sort of collaboration feel simple and easy people want to join in.

Radical Help shows how we can make change and how we can make a transition now towards a new system that can take care of everyone.

In this podcast we talk about the welfare state, healthcare, the future of work, the pandemic and its impact on workers, families (and women in particular). Covid-19 has made Hilary’s message even more urgent and topical. Now’s the time to innovate and give people what they need to flourish in this century.

I hope you enjoy listening to this podcast! Please share it with every social entrepreneur, politician and designer you know 🤗

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For access to the full transcript, there will a paid version of Building Bridges to which you’ll be able to subscribe soon. Stay tuned.

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  • Also Building Bridges is part of a network of Substack newsletters, which you may want to discover: there’s Nicolas Colin’s European Straitsthere’s my Laetitia@Work, and our French newsletter, Nouveau Départ.

(Credit: Franz Liszt, Angelus ! Prière Aux Anges Gardiens—extrait du disque Miroirs de Jonas Vitaud, NoMadMusic.)

Building Bridges
Building Bridges
A European forum featuring inspiring global thinkers