In focus: Individuals who make a difference

Who are the individuals making a difference in the worlds of business, travel, sustainability and music? How are they doing it and what impact will it have on the rest of us?

We assess the work of pioneering individuals who are disrupting industries and encouraging greater diversity through their actions. Throughout this series we will invite the brightest minds to tell their stories and look to understand how we can apply their lessons to our own lives.

Alternatively, check out the best from our previous In focus series…

Training staff at some of the world's most beautiful retreats

Sarah Dunning is the training and development manager at Virgin Limited Edition. Many of the staff that they employ at their properties are from the local areas so Sarah's job involves training them in the Virgin way of doing things and working with them to provide guests with the best experience possible. We caught up with her to find out more about her work...

Artists who make a difference: Bjork

In the mainstream world, Icelandic sensation Bjork is often called many things: quirky, kooky, bizarre. But over a flourishing career that has spanned three decades, the off-beat singer has proved on many occasions that it's certainly okay to be different...

What legacy are the world's most famous entrepreneurs leaving behind?

Lao Tzu, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King... Charismatic individuals that have left their footprints eternally on our earth and have inspired our lives with their wisdom, ideals and service to humanity.

Are entrepreneurs defined by their mentors?

The importance of having a mentor is often stressed to entrepreneurs who are just starting out, but what do mentors really teach you? Entrepreneur Nick Smoot shares what he's learnt from the people who shaped his life...

Six tactics to use when trying to disrupt an industry

Back in 2006, a time when few voucher websites were around, Mark Pearson launched MyVoucherCodes on a shoestring budget of £300 from his bedroom. Eight years later and the entrepreneur sold the business as part of a £55million acquisition...

How much energy do you need to be an entrepreneur?

It’s interesting to look back on your career and see the moments or people that made a difference. I do it a lot these days. We are in the early stages of an exciting growth plan at Saberr and I’m always looking for inspiration.

Five individuals who failed and recovered in style

Even the most successful people will tell you that achieving greatness doesn’t come easy. Fulfilling your ambitions comes through many years of hard work and, more often than not, involves a series of failures along the way...

The six types of people every successful
start-up needs to hire

When starting up, the people you have around you will have a huge impact on whether or not your business succeeds. So who are the people you should surround yourself by right from the start?

Ivan Massow: How to disrupt an entire industry

When it comes to individuals who make a difference, you’ll struggle to find many who have managed to disrupt an industry to the extent that current London Mayoral candidate Ivan Massow has been able to…

Artists who make a difference: M.I.A

Her name may be an acronym for missing in action, but the Tamil/English rapper M.I.A is certainly anything but. Under her roster of professions she can include: musician, visual artist, activist, photographer, model and fashion designer...

A history of female flight pioneers

Take a look at the pioneering women who made a difference to the worlds of aviation and space exploration. As well as a glance ahead to what the future holds for females who really fly...

Five ways to get heard when everyone else is shouting

You’re nobody if you don’t have lots of Twitter followers, and unless you share every detail of your life on Facebook you might as well not pollute this planet with your presence. Right? But when everyone else is shouting about their lives, how do you get heard above the clamour?

The Girl Effect Accelerator: Entrepreneurs empowering young women

Less than two per cent of all international aid goes to projects that directly impact girls, which has left a group of entrepreneurs looking to readdress the balance...

Meet the conscious consumption pioneers

Deciding what to buy is a choice we face every day and today, more than ever, these choices have moral weight. A new paradigm shift, ‘conscious consumption' is here to change the way we buy the things we 'need'. Now, powered by technology, a handful of pioneering brands and famous faces are changing the way we shop forever...

What habits do successful people have in common?

A 1989 book examined behaviours and mindsets that successful people employ to work in the most effective way. But the world has changed a little since 1989. So what are the seven habits that the world’s most successful people keep up today to ensure their continued success?

How were these four young people able to change the world?

Is there an age limit to being able to make a difference? Judging by the actions of these four individuals the answer is a resounding no, as despite their youth and possible lack of experience, they were able to have a real impact on generations of all ages...

How far can raw enthusiasm take an entrepreneur going it alone?

Amelia Rope’s passion for her product - luxury chocolate bars - at one stage saw her move house 15 times in as many months. But the entrepreneur’s infectious enthusiasm and determination to run her own business has paid off…

Is the impact of tech giants on individuals empowering or debilitating?

Are tech behemoths such as Google and Amazon more likely to spell the end for our career paths or offer us exciting, new ways of finding employment that are actually in tune with our genuine interests?

Africa rises: The people making the continent’s start-ups happen

Africa's development to date has been largely based on extractive industries and the agricultural sector, but future trajectories point out to an increasing economic momentum and an abundance of growth opportunities in consumer goods markets, banking, mobile technologies, e-commerce and construction.

Stay nimble: How can a David avoid turning into a Goliath?

Doubtless you recall the story of David and Goliath, a tale of a contest where a smaller, weaker opponent takes on a much bigger, stronger competitor...

Artists who make a difference: Kanye West

Musicians are united by one common goal: the making of good art. But once the art is made, other opportunities inevitably follow. Through this there are those special few who go the extra mile to make their position count...

How to master the art of being remarkable

It all begins with a purple cow. At least it did for marketer Seth Godin, when he started thinking about what it takes for individuals, along with their brands and products, to be 'remarkable'...

Women changing the business world

Around 100 years ago, at a time when women couldn’t vote and African Americans were legally discriminated against, Sarah Breedlove did the seemingly impossible and achieved the American dream; becoming the country's first female self-made millionaire.

How does personality affect success?

What makes someone successful? Is there a personality type that is more likely to be successful than others? What characteristics do successful people share? We caught up with Dr Hamira Riaz, a psychologist specialising in success, to find out the answers to these questions and more…

Are start-ups still snubbing diversity?

When it comes to diversity, the start-up scene has a case to answer for in the eyes of many. There are, however, a collection of individuals looking to provide a solution to the problem…

A one person guide to turning an industry on it's head

Remember those ads from the 1980s where the millionaire businessman, Victor Kiam, declared about the Remington shaver, “I liked it so much, I bought the company”? This is a story about a guy who wanted something so much he started a company…

What can speed eating teach us about our true potential?

What could you achieve in life if you were set free from the imaginary barriers that block your progress? The actions of one slight individual from Japan, with a penchant for hotdogs, shows us all what is really possible when you lose your mental baggage…

The teams behind the world's best entrepreneurs

The individuals who head up companies are often praised for each and every success that their organisation achieves. But should we look beyond the person at the top of the tree? Would the likes of Facebook and Dyson have worked with whatever level of support their visionary leaders received?

Richard Branson: What is beauty?

I’ve been fortunate to come across so many remarkable people in my life. Leaders, entrepreneurs, creative, collaborators and children – I’ve been inspired time and time again. But few people have stood out much as Talli Osborne. 

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