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E62 – Phoebe Tickell on Systems change, Courage, and Apocalypse // Striving to be consistent in an inconsistent world

Phoebe Tickell - The Future Is Beautiful

“We all have something that we came to do. If more people were doing that soul work we would be in less of a mess. What dreams we had as children of what our lives would look like! When we ignore that, it is where the numbing begins – the giving up of wanting to participate.” ~ Phoebe Tickell



Listen to the conversation:


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About this interview:

How do we overcome paralysis in the face of complexity?


“We all have something that we came to do. If more people were doing that soul work we would be in less of a mess. What dreams we had as children of what our lives would look like! When we ignore that, it is where the numbing begins – the giving up of wanting to participate.” ~ Phoebe Tickell

In this episode Amisha meets complex systems designer, social entrepreneur and educator Phoebe Tickell. Phoebe’s work requires her to stay present to multiple different realities at once, walking the edge of many worlds and holding all the complexity within and between them. 

Phoebe speaks about the numbness that can set in when we are faced with challenges on a scale beyond what we can cope with, and how collectively contacting our feelings of rage and grief might help us reconnect and move towards action. She speaks about the misdirected pressure on individuals to hold the responsibility for planetary change alone, and why the focus must return urgently to changing the systems we exist within – systems that no longer serve the health of our world and the beings in it. 

Amisha and Phoebe discuss the origins of the myths and stories that we dwell in, the way that they shape our actions and reactions, and what happens when we step outside of them. They speak about the story of apocalypse that is embedded in our cultural narrative in the West and other choices for perceiving the challenges of our times. 

“How can we keep showing up and being courageous, staying present and alive, keeping those feedback loops open – and caring about each other. Please can we care for each other as we are on this journey because it’s the only way that we are going to move forward in a way that is not competitive.” ~ Phoebe Tickell



Phoebe Tickell is a scientist, educator and serial systems entrepreneur. Phoebe started life in genetic network engineering, and soon got fascinated by the potential of human networks and organisational patterns as an engine for change. The appetite for time-bound experiments, rapid learning, curiosity and rigour have remained with her since her academic career. She has co-founded two start-ups since the age of 22 offering consultancy, advisory and learning programmes on the topics of future of education and the future of food. Both combined a strong understanding of systems change and technology to provide holistic solutions for global problems.

Phoebe works with organisations in establishing innovation hubs and collaborative internal innovation ecosystems, developing future resilience, understanding of technology, and shifting to more decentralised, non-hierarchical and participatory cultures. She is an experienced facilitator and design thinker who can support groups in thinking together in innovative ways leading to collective intelligence. Phoebe holds a first class degree in Biological Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, and brings this understanding of biological networks and systems thinking into all of her work. 

To find out more about Phoebe, visit

To connect or work with Amisha, visit  


Urgent update: 

We talk about Palm Oil in this interview. The Amazon rainforest is currently on fire and it’s connected to the palm oil issue. 

Here is some information about palm oil from Rainforest Rescue and here is a list of actions you can take for the rainforest fires currently happening. 


Links from this episode:

Joanna Macy

Mind Valley

Nora Bateson 

Presence Collective 

Sally Kempton 

80000 Hours 

Phoebe Tickell

Edge Walkers Group (mentioned in the show – click to join) 

** Creating The Future – Our ebook gift featuring wisdom and inspiration from the first 44 episodes of the podcast **

The Future Is Beautiful Patron Video Circle

The Future Is Beautiful book (gift)  


Amisha’s Presence Mentoring Programme 

Join Presence Collective

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