S1. E23. Martin Allen Morales

Martin Allen Morales is the CEO at the Institute of Imagination. The Institute designs and delivers award-winning creative learning programmes, products, and platforms across the arts, sciences and digital technologies for children aged 5 to 11 years old.

As Martin touches on in the podcast, he has had an extraordinarily varied career. He started music, then senior roles in Apple and Disney. He started a chain of restaurants, Ceviche, which were grounded in his Peruvian heritage. His mother came from a culturally rich but poor indigenous community in the Andes, while his dad was working class British.

Key theme: imagination (including being open-minded and curious) is vital to thrive in our complex world, where there is so much information overload and so many economic pressures. Combined with the right support, it can help people grow out of challenges and nurture new futures.

The Institute of Imagination is currently working on a three year plan to reach half a million children to be prepared for the future in the next three years by 2025.

Apologies for one loud cough!



Institute of Imagination

Big Issue Invest

Global’s Make Some Noise – “Improving lives through small charities”. Global is an entertainment and media group that includes radio stations like Heart and LBC, and more besides.

Buena Vista Social Club.

Five Rhythms Danceis a dynamic movement practice—a practice of being in your body—that ignites creativity, connection, and community.

Article explaining hypothesis that music came before language, and might be the necessary evolutionary step to get to language here.

David Epstein – Range: why generalists triumph in a specialized world.


0:50 – Q1 What are you doing now? And how did you get there?
12:20 – BONUS QUESTION: Does the variety in your early life (indigenous heritage, time in Peru, time in working class England) equip you to be more imaginative than your peers, who grew up in Leicester only?
14:14 – BONUS QUESTION: Are there practices or habits which you have to keep your imagination active?
19:45 – Q2. What is the future you are trying to create, and why?
24:50 – Q3. What are your priorities for the next few years, and why?
29:38 – Q4. If someone was inspired to follow those priorities, what should they do next?
31:45 – Q5. If your younger self was starting their career now, what advice would you give them?
34:04 – Q6. Who would you nominate to answer these questions, because you admire their approach?
35:26 – Q7. Is there anything else important you feel you have to say?


-In a world of complexity, information overload and increasing automation, imagination is a super-power.

-“So a child between five and 11, where are they currently? Where is their, their well being currently? How do they deal with what’s going on in today’s world, with with, with this attack on it on the senses with information overload, it’s that so we, we, we provide a space for that through our programmes through our work, we provide tools, we provide resources for that. But then there’s also as I mentioned, sort of, you know, how about the future, this aspiration piece this move into, from creating a space for imagination that then nurtures creativity that then nurtures problem solving, critical thinking, then nurtures new ideas and ideation and designing and then nurtures you know, the new solutions for the future.”

-“You know, you need to sink or swim. Pain does that to you. Trauma does that. Challenges do that. And, you know, you just need wonderful people around you to hold you sometimes, or, or faith or, or an environment that can nurture that or space. And I was lucky, even though through hardship, I did have that space, I did have that support. But I also had curiosity. And that’s one of the aspects of imagination. So I allowed myself the time to digest what was going on, to learn about myself, to learn about the world, but be curious about solutions, about what could be done to grow my aspirations.”

-“We are currently working on a three year plan to, to reach half a million children to be prepared for the future in the next three years by 2025.”

-“imagination, and creativity is in every single industry in every single job and every single moment of life”


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