Inequality is something we still see in our world every day. Collaboration and Open Innovation are key to breaking it down.

October 22nd 2019

My colleague Niki previously wrote about how, at AxiaOrigin, our purpose is to build a more prosperous and resilient world and how we are looking to maximise our impact on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This week, she interviewed me to understand what the SDGs mean to me.

Firstly – tell me what your favourite SDG is!

10. Reduced inequalities

And of all 17 SDGs, at a high level why is this one so important to you?

I actually find the first question really hard to answer, all the SDGs are important for building a more prosperous and resilient world and my view of the ‘most important’ tends to fluctuate between SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities and SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

SDG 10 because ultimately I believe that everyone should be given the same opportunities and shouldn’t be discriminated against. However, I feel this is very closely tied with SDG 16, which acts a really important enabler – systems and institutions need to be orientated in the right way to enable equality, particularly in a world where we have seen institutions weakened and seeing inequalities around the world increasing despite purveying sentiment that inequality is bad.

And how do you feel that you can impact on the delivery of this goal – at an international, national or local level?

This is such a great question and probably reveals that there is so much more that I can do and that I haven’t done.

In both of the areas above, I’m definitely still going through a personal journey to understand them at a deeper level. Events int

ernationally and nationally, as well as on a personal level, has meant that I have thought about this relatively recently and I’ve started to think more about what I can do.

Part of this is raising awareness in my own little way – having discussions when they are difficult rather than avoiding them –

such as confronting racism where I have personally seen or experienced it. I really think that this is something that everyone has a role and ability to do on all sides – having sensible and open-minded conversations and making micro-interventions.

Having been in situations where it’s easy to become angry, I am trying to be more measured in my responses and I feel there’s a better chance of ‘educating’ without being patronising when you have a conversation with someone.

I guess I’m reaching the stage of “conscious incompetence”. As much as that is an uncomfortable realisation, I know that it’s a stage I have to go through the ensure that my impact on these topics are larger than what they are now.

Through starting AxiaOrigin with my amazing and inspirational co-founders I am learning more every day.

Building a more prosperous and resilient world and having an impact on the UN SDGs is why we created AxiaOrigin, so as we are putting our energy into succeeding, we are focused on ensuring we have a positive impact – I’m really proud to be part of that.

And what are you hoping to do about it first?

I’m still educating myself but I’m looking to attend more events on these topics to understand what is working and what and why it isn’t working.


Have you given any thought to the challenges that you might face along the way? Tell me a little about your thoughts if you have – along with how you might overcome them.

The challenge is going to be feeling that we can have an effect at scale – I think there are two ways to look at this and to tackle it:

  1. We’re not thinking big enough, so think bigger.
  2. Progress is still progress and we just need to organise and align enough people to be pulling in the right direction.

This is where collaboration is so important, we need to look for new ways to come together to solve these problems and be united in these goals – this is where the SDGs become such a useful framework as we can use them to focus all our efforts.

We have to use Open Innovation and the power of the crowd to solve these massive problems that impact everyone on the planet.

We need to bring multiple and varied stakeholders to work towards a common goal so that the impact of each of the actors is amplified. This is why whenever we’re working with clients, we think about how we can bring people together, using our contacts and networks – being generous with our connections to enable collaboration between people that may not have worked together otherwise.

And finally, any words of advice for anyone reading this that feels inspired by what they’ve heard you say?

I would encourage everyone to ask yourself this set of questions. Having this self-reflection has given me inspiration and the realisation that I need to do more.

And if you’re comfortable, please share it, whether that be with us directly or through social media/LinkedIn – let’s work together to help each other make a bigger impact.


Tim Ip | Co-founder