“We are in the dying throes of a consumer era of democracy where choosing between the options that someone else has designed is the primary form of political engagement.” ~ Jon Alexander




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About this interview:

How do we shift from our society from consumerism to citizenship?

In this episode Amisha sits down in Impact Hub Islington, with Jon Alexander of the New Citizenship Project, a social innovation lab designed to promote the role of the citizen and encourage better participation in society.

Jon speaks about the work underway in pockets of society to catalyse the shift from identifying as consumers to identifying as citizens – becoming independent agents of our own destiny rather than merely choosing between the options presented by someone else. He examines the post war shift from seeing ourselves as subjects to seeing ourselves as consumers, looking for indicators of how such shifts come about.

Together he and Amisha speak about how consumerism has played out in the political arena. Jon explains why the Brexit referendum was a classic example of consumer democracy. They dig into the ways in which brands, governments and the language we use perpetuate the story of ourselves as consumers and what our basic nature really is.

Jon shares his insights on how we can contribute to the shift towards a society of citizens and invite people into greater participation. He speaks about the challenge of designing for trust, what is possible when we realise our true agency and how he is hacking the consumer confidence index.

“We have far more agency in the world than just our consumption choices and we need more opportunities to express that agency. So how can you create opportunities for people to express agency? What would you do if you radically trusted people and believed that people you are interacting with can contribute to what you want to do in the world?” ~ Jon Alexander

A former advertising exec, Jon Alexander has been described as one of the most thoughtful and challenging critics of consumerism in the world today. He’s spoken on the subject on platforms from TEDx to BBC Radio 4, and co-founded UK-based innovation consultancy the New Citizenship Project as a vehicle to bring the skills of the creative industries to bear on inspiring people to claim their agency in society as Citizens instead of just selling stuff to people as Consumers. Part thinktank, part consultancy, still in its early years, NCP has worked with organisations ranging from The Guardian to Coop Group, and soon (he hopes) the European Central Bank. Jon lives in London, has gathered three Masters degrees, and represented Great Britain in two different sports.


To find out more about Jon, visit www.newcitizenship.org.uk

To connect or work with Amisha, visit www.amisha.co.uk  


Links from this episode:

Citizen Shift

New Power (book) by Jeremy Heimans & Henry Timms

Smarter State (book) by Beth Simone Noveck


Better Reykjavik

The Correspondent

Follow The Frog Campaign

The Mistfit Economy (book) by Alexa Clay

Harvard University’s Justice with Michael Sandel

Impact Hub Islington

Alchemy & Activism Event – Sept 2nd

Amisha’s Presence Mentoring Programme

Our Patronathon – September 11th


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