Dreamers and Innovators: a conversation with my Dad

Richard Branson runs to hug his grandson, Artie, after flying to space with Virgi Galactic
Freddie Andrewes
Holly Branson
Holly Branson's writing
Published on 22 September 2021

Throughout my Dreamers and Innovators series, I’ve met some incredibly dedicated, intelligent and forward-thinking people. I’ve sat down with individuals at Virgin Orbit, Virgin Hyperloop, BMR Energy and Agilyx (two of Virgin’s unbranded investments) to discuss how to really foster innovation and build a better future.

Since I was little, our family dinner-table discussions have often turned to the latest innovations, research and entrepreneurial solutions that tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. It’s why we invest in companies like BMR Energy (who are driving renewable energy in the Caribbean) and Agilyx (who use advanced recycling technology to tackle plastic pollution), and it’s one of our biggest shared passions.

To wrap up the series, I wanted to turn one of these family discussions into a short interview with Dad, as to me he will always be the ultimate innovator and dreamer! We covered a lotof ground and discussed everything from the economic benefits of renewable energy, the case for small satellites, the concept of planetary boundaries, chemical recycling, and the net-zero potential of hyperloop transportation.

Dreamers and Innovators: a conversation between Holly and Richard Branson

I believe Dad’s greatest strengths lie in his ability to delegate, to believe in people, to encourage and empower them, and to bring great minds together. It is what has worked for him in business, and he instils the same approach in philanthropy. Dad taught me that bringing the right people together and backing innovative entrepreneurs can create the biggest impact. This is the ethos that drives Virgin Unite and it has enabled the foundation to tackle many different issues using an entrepreneurial approach. One of the Virgin Unite collaborations Dad mentioned in the interview referred to the work we are doing with Johan Rockström around his planetary boundaries concept. The framework has identified nine processes that regulate the stability and resilience of the Earth’s life supporting systems, and nine corresponding boundaries that we cannot cross without jeopardising the health of our planet. It’s an important concept, and a great example of what can happen when brilliant minds come together.

Richard Branson with crowd
One Acre Fund

Thank you to the wonderful dreamers and innovators all over the world who are thinking outside the box, driving new solutions and building a healthier future for humanity and the planet. And thank you to Dad for teaching me about the power of collaboration and the endless potential of purpose-driven entrepreneurs.