S1. E29. Zahra Davidson

Zahra Davidson is Chief Executive and Design Director of Huddlecraft, a Community Interest Company that uses the the practice of combining people to unearth and multiply potential (Zahra’s Linkedin, Twitter and Medium). Huddlecraft asks: ‘What if everyone could multiply their potential by the power of their peers?’

We talked about how collective learning is so necessary for global transformations, but how to contribute at the necessary scale while keeping the important relational, often local, character of individual peer learning groups.

Also, the challenges of being a CEO of a start-up which is trying to be different, trying to be organised in a way that mimics living systems and nature.



I think Huddlecraft’s About Us page is a Masterclass in formulating and communicating an organisation’s strategy (it covers: landscape, north star, puzzle focused on, alchemy that gives hope (ie methods), ecosystem, outcomes, compass to guide decisions).

Ummah — “Arabic word that means ‘community’, …it is commonly used to mean the collective community of Islamic people.”

More on microclimates in Huddlecraft.

Example Huddles:
Sheffield Pioneers: place-based leadership.
Father Figures: exploring 21st century fatherhood.
Makers’ Marathon peer group.

Frederick Laloux’s Reinventing Organisations.

Margaret Hannah interview: episode 7.

Zahra’s blog on creating a surge of peer-to-peer movements.

Negative capability: to pursue a vision of artistic beauty even when it leads to intellectual confusion and uncertainty.

Upcoming Huddles to join.

Huddlecraft 101


0:45 – Q1 What are you doing now? And how did you get there?
6:40 – BONUS QUESTION: What does Huddlecraft mean by microclimate, and what makes for a good microclimate?
11:48 – BONUS QUESTION: Can you give us some examples of some of the inquiries people have taken off some of the peer learning that has happened within Huddlecraft so far?
17:30 – BONUS QUESTION: is it fair to say that HUddlecraft has taken for a very distributed approach which mimics living systems and nature?
20:45 – BONUS QUESTION: How do you get right combining intimacy with scale?
22:28 – Q2. What is the future you are trying to create, and why?
29:30 – Q3. What are your priorities for the next few years, and why?
31:26 – Q4. If someone was inspired to follow those priorities, what should they do next?
31:26 – Q5. If your younger self was starting their career now, what advice would you give them?
33:21 – Q6. Who would you nominate to answer these questions, because you admire their approach?
34:45 – Q7. Is there anything else important you feel you have to say?


-“Initially peer to peer learning with a means to an end, it was like: how can I do that without a lot of resources?…In practice, when I started piloting some of these ideas, I became really fascinated in the unique potential of peer to peer learning and what that meant. And I’ve followed that thread ever since.”

-“I think the motivation initially came from missing a sort of a spark that I had fell in, in art school, and within those environments, which was a sort of dynamic cohort of people who were all acting in quite a self directed manner, but also collaborative at the same time.”

-‘The powerful times that we’re in and this idea of how important the next decade, and then all of the collective learning, which people need to do together if we’re to kind of move through some of these challenges. And I just think that peer to peer learning has so much to offer that collective learning curve, but how can that potential actually be brought to that challenge, when the way that it’s most powerful is in these small and intimate, relational, often local settings? How can it be brought to scale without ruining it?’

-“The official answer [on what future are you trying to create] is: regenerative civilization on a healthy planet.”

-My version: “the future you’re trying to create is one where there is ever increasing capacity through peer learning to respond to this powerful times in the direction of a regenerative society within planetary boundaries.”

-My version: “the theme in everything you said really is maintaining the curiosity and openness and then try new stuff as well. So this is how to combine having that not as a burden, but instead as a joy.”


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