Q&A: Which fresh perspectives have inspired you most recently?
Recently I launched a newsletter on LinkedIn, where I answer a question from my followers once a month. Thank you to everyone who has submitted such thoughtful, interesting questions so far and keep them coming!
We have had so many brilliant questions that I thought I would also answer a few more on my blog.
One that stood out to me was from Faye Hastings who asked:
Which fresh perspectives have surprised/inspired you most recently?
We have been very fortunate to enjoy some time together as a family recently. I love spending time with my grandchildren. They don’t see me as anything else other than their grand-dude and I find I can really relax and just be myself in their company. It’s truly wonderful seeing them grow into their own little personalities, working out what they’re good at and what they like and dislike.
We can all learn a lot from our children, and grandchildren. I love the way kids look at the world – full of awe, like everything is new and surprising. I remember when Holly and Sam went through their ‘but, why?’ phases, when as young kids they would question everything about everything.
I always try and channel this questioning perspective when we’re building a company. Why are we doing it like this? What are the benefits? Who are we helping? Are we doing things better for customers? Is it different to what else is on the market?
From Virgin Atlantic to Virgin Hotels to Virgin Voyages to Virgin Orbit to Virgin Money to Virgin Hyperloop – these are all Virgin companies we set up to shake up an industry and to do things differently to benefit our customers (I could have named any of our 40+ companies here!)
We also use this same way of thinking to drive innovation and progress in other areas. We have been investing in some brilliant projects over the years, from Agilyx, which has a recycling solution that could help solve the world’s plastic problem, to BMR Energy, a solar wind farm in the Caribbean.
I spend a lot of my time now working on challenging issues that could make a big difference to the planet and our grandchildren’s future on it. Alongside Virgin Unite, our not-for-profit entrepreneurial foundation, I work closely with partners to help set up and scale organisations that can have a positive impact.
We’ve helped set up the B Team to collectively create new norms of corporate leadership; The Elders to protect and promote human rights around the world; the 100% Human Network to put people alongside profit in business; Ocean Unite to work to protect the ocean; and the Carbon War Room (now merged with RMI) to speed up the adoption of new market-based solutions to climate change.
I always find myself refreshed and inspired after spending time with my family. It reminds me of why we do everything we do. We’re trying to change business for good.
I look forward to reading and answering more of your interesting question. Sign up to my LinkedIn newsletter to read the answer each month.