Dr John Collins is an innovation consultant, technologist and entrepreneur.
He works as the commercial director for SynbiCITE the UK’s National Centre for commercialising synthetic biology which is creating companies that do useful things and make useful stuff to heal us, feed us and fuel us.
But that’s far from all John does – he’s a genuine polymath who also runs his own innovation agency specialising in disruptive technologies, The Innovation Foundry, is a fellow at Cambridge Judge Business school and is co-founder of a startup called NeuroCreate which uses AI to enhance human cognition and augment work processes. In this episode we discuss:
- How to become a polymath and productively spread time across different projects
- The future of synthetic biology and the innovations emerging from the field
- John’s approach to tapping in to creativity both individually and in groups
We also get into John’s take on the misconceptions most people have around technological progress and why an excess linear thinking is causing so many problems in our world.
This conversation will be a mind-shifter for you – John is an outstanding multidisciplinary thinker and will inspire you to reconnect with your natural curiosity.
- Introducing John [00:39]
- What was school like for John? [02:32]
- How do circumstances and having freedom influence one’s curiosity and interests? [04:36]
- How does John see the connection among the different threads and fields he’s taken throughout his life? [08:14]
- Is there a trade-off between multidisciplinarity and focus? How does one find meaning in diversity? [11:09]
- What challenges does Innovation Foundry face in teaching innovators to commercialise their innovations? [14:26]
- What are some of the upcoming innovations in the world of synthetic biology? What is the future of synthetic biology with the way it’s currently going? [19:01]
- Where does synthetic biology stand with ethics? What is the current relationship between progress and regulation in synthetic biology? [23:36]
- How do you achieve a fruitful collaboration among innovators? [28:41]
- What is the role of the arts in human society and evolution? What does John enjoy about opera dance and the arts? [32:58]
- Where does John stand on the discussion of society prioritising left-brain dominant skills? [36:27]
- What has inspired John recently? [38:38]
- What did John change his mind about recently? [39:05]
- Closing remarks [40:26]