Listed in the Financial Times Creative Business Top 50 and named as one of London’s 1000 most influential people by the London Evening Standard, James Bidwell is an expert on positive and transformational change in business, speaking regularly on navigating disruption and the role of innovation in helping to solve the climate crisis and achieving cultural shift. In an interview with Aritco, James shares this passion for positive change and sustainability.
James Bidwell on spotting trends In life at home
A talk with the world’s largest source of global innovations and its Chair and “theatrical agitator”
Expert on transformational change in business
The trend report Future of the Home
When Aritco decided to create its Future of the Home report, it needed up-to-the-minute information on trends in everything from air quality solutions to better ways of working from home. The report endeavoured to tackle challenging and prevalent questions, such as: How will people stay safe – and sane – as a global pandemic makes homes a hub for work, exercise and education as well as leisure? How will design and technology drive innovation to create clean, safe and sustainable spaces?
To shed light on these issues, Aritco joined forces with James Bidwell, who is the owner and Chair of Springwise, the world’s largest source of global innovations. Powered by a trusted community of global Springspotters in over 190 countries around the world, Springwise finds, curates and analyses the hottest innovations that matter from around the globe. By identifying developments as they happen, wherever they happen, Springwise is the antidote to trend reports that are already out of date the minute they are published.
Picture: James Bidwell
The latest real innovations
“Our network of Springspotters gives us a unique advantage in bringing you the latest real innovations from real innovators from every country in the world, in real-time,” James says. “Our purpose is to keep you and your team up to date and to inspire you as you create a better future.”
This is no mean feat. As James makes the point, “I think that the pace of change is so great that the way to stay ahead is to see what innovators are doing around the world and look across geographies and across industries. Springwise gives us that energy and newness every day.”
On his partnership with Aritco, James applauded the company’s “forward-thinking” approach towards sustainability and new ways of living, describing their multifaceted agenda as a “really, really good marriage for the project and beyond.”
James describes how the Springwise team worked with the design of the report to make it as accessible and inviting as possible: “Design was critical for us, as it is for Aritco, so we made it very visual and not too complicated so we could bring the ideas to life in a way that people can understand.”
Picture: Aritco Talk with James Bidwell by link from London.
The report features real products that are on the market or very soon shall be. These products, according to James, incorporate the latest in digital technologies.
“To me, it was important to present the information in bite-sized pieces but in an intelligent way,” James says. “We wanted to tell the story about what the future of the home could look like, but through the lens of what’s actually out there, which we can see on Springwise. So it’s not just conceptual. These things are happening.”
James notes that many of the products and approaches have emerged at a faster pace due to the pandemic, which has made many futuristic ideas suddenly very practical today. “Somewhere in the world, there is someone who’s invented the shelf that sanitizes objects. Whether that becomes mainstream or not is another matter.”
A cultural shift on climate
He says the pandemic has also given people time to reflect, which has brought the larger issue of sustainability into greater focus. As a father himself, James emphasizes that the climate crisis and the need for a cultural shift feature high on his personal agenda, as well as his professional one.
“The accelerated pace of change is really the driver for what we do at Springwise and what I do with my other business, Re_Set, a next generation strategy consultancy which ensures our clients thrive in a disrupted world.”
Re_Set works exclusively with businesses and companies who want to make a positive global impact and embed sustainability into their core business strategies. “We believe, quite rightly, I think, that they’re going to be the winners in the future,” he says.
Business should be a force for good
Beyond the Aritco partnership, James also mentions how proud he is that both Springwise and Re_Set have been accredited as a “B Corps.” Both received certification from B-Lab, a U.S. organization whose focus is on businesses as a force for good. The process to become a B Corp is rigorous, and requires companies to change their articles of association so that legally they meet the highest environmental, social and governance standards to balance profit and purpose.
James highly recommends that other companies, like Aritco, who value social equality and sustainability, consider acquiring B Corp status. “It’s just a different way of running a business, it’s much more holistic, and ideally, it has more positive impact. One of the great things for us is that it’s a magnet for talent, so we have the best people queuing to join us. I think it’s a really strong competitive advantage.”