The pothole gardener, turning crappy into happy – TedxHackney

Steve Wheen @stevewheen – Holes of happiness – TedxHackney event April 14th

Tickets for this event were ‘sold out in two hours, with 300 people waiting after the initial sale. There were queues of people hoping to attend as late as the night before the event.’ The Hackney Citizen also interviewed Daniel Vais who curated the event. His enthusiasm for Hackney really shines through, which you can read here.

Steve Wheen was one of the speakers and is a freelance creative, so if you need his creative talents contact him here

He’s been deemed the ‘Banksy of guerilla gardening’. He’s behind a cool project ‘The pothole gardener’ where he plants flowers in some of the worse potholes, to help create happiness ‘turning crappy into happy’.

He recently teamed up with Time Out London to recreate a famous London landmark, the London Eye, replacing pods with pots. Worth checking out his video of his trip to Milan for Design week too.



Giving children happiness ‘DANCE’ – TedxHackney

Edward Monkton Greeting cardGiles Andreae – Giving our children happiness – TedxHackney event April 14th

Giles is behind the Edward Monkton distinctive greeting cards.

He also creates brilliant kids books, which are endearing fables under the name ‘World of Happy’.

They’ve won a Gold parenting award and I’m not surprised as they help teach kids really important values. I’ll be buying my niece and nephews some.

Giles’ talk was done in such a charming way, which comes through in all of his best-selling work. He’s obviously got something very right and I’ll be remembering his tips for happiness ‘DANCE’:

Dedication – keep learning, practice, commit to passions
Active – challenge yourself to try something new
Nurture – care and be kind
Celebrate – with rewards for what we put in
Enjoy – savour today’s moment, enjoy the present

What is the Good Gym?

Ivo Gormley @ivoivo – Exercise for Good TedxHackney event April 14th

Ivo got a spontaneous round of applause several times throughout his talk. Exciting stuff.

In his talk he referenced the history of the treadmill and the wastage in energy of people going to the gym. He felt surely all this energy could be put to better use and wanted to channel it into social good.

He founded Good Gym in 2009, after winning first prize at a Social Innovation Camp in 2008 for his idea. Good Gym connects people who want to get fit with missions, involving running to community projects like clearing up community gardens. Or it pairs runners with isolated less-mobile people ‘coaches’, so you run to their house, deliver them something they need (i.e. a paper) & have a chat. Brilliant idea and helps make everyone happy.

Good Gym t-shirtThe good gym aims to improve the lives of elderly people and Ivo wants to develop a new model for volunteering, by focusing on the positive experience of the volunteer. He seems to have a lot of support behind him. Organisers hope the Olympic Games will leave a more enduring legacy in East London and Ivo wants his enterprise to become the social norm for the young professionals moving into new housing around the Olympic Park. I’ll have to introduce him to my old client at Delancey.

If you want to get involved keep an eye out for what’s happening here. It’s worth looking at their website, as their business model is great, built on a lean process. They also have a very impressive advisory committee with different skill sets. Paulina Bozek is CEO and Co-Founder of Inensu and has been responsible for games for companies like Sony’s hit SingStar.

No doubt Good gym will be doing some exciting things and creating a social game through Inensu. Imagine if we got rewarded for real life kind actions and miles clocked and there was a league table for ‘goodness’….

Why generosity is good for you – TedxHackney

Dr David Hamilton @DrDRHamilton – Why generosity is good for you – TedxHackney event April 14th

David is one of the happiest people I’ve met, he radiates good energy. He had a tough slot to fill at the end of the day and left things on a high. I hope to meet him again and see another one of his talks.

He used to work for a pharmaceutical company developing drugs for cardiovascular disease. During this time he observed the power of the mind: how happiness impacts the brain and acts as a cardioprotective. So he left the pharmaceutical industry!

I asked David what makes him the happiest which is ‘helping people and also doing something that is meaningful to me, and they are both often the same thing.’

Kindness and compassionate behaviour ultimately protect us from disease (there are lots of studies which prove it) and as his aunt’s saying goes ‘If you live for the heart, it’s good for the heart.’ A motto David lives by, no wonder he’s so happy.


Happiness trigger – TedxHackney

Eri Tsutsumi @eritsutsumi – Happiness trigger – TedxHackney event April 14th


At the TedxHackney Happiness event on April 14th Eri explored what makes us happy, the happiness trigger, which is ultimately ourselves. She’s doing an MA at Central St Martins in Innovation Management, her aim is to find an evaluation method, for the effectiveness of experiential social design. Great stuff and reminds me of Candy Chang, whose work is pioneering in social design.

Eri did a heartfelt community project ‘We Are with You’ which I love, to send good vibes to Japan (in the wake of the 2011 earthquake in Tohoku), it helped to make a lot of people happy.

Eri has kindly shared what makes her happy here. 

Happiness Tedx Hackney

My lovely friend Hannah Turnbull (shout out!) asked if I wanted to go to a TEDx Hackney event, last Saturday 14th April. It was at Hackney Picture House and was about Happiness #happyhackney.

She knows me well and this was one of the best things I’ve done, as well as Viet Grill for lunch – I was pretty happy that day. Thank you Hannah.

It was so well curated with some amazing speakers and I’d definitely recommend checking them out. A few of my favourites will be posted over the week.

Happiness for me is:

My nieces & nephews, friends & family, eating pho soup,wearing trainers,volunteering, getting in the zone swimming, smiles.

What is happiness for you?