Our Knowledge

Innovation Gallery Interview: Tom Cheesewright

Innovation is demonstrated in a manner of different ways. It can be technological, it can be transformational. It can be driven by the work you undertake with people, the impact you have on a market or your ability to bring about real change through new ways of thinking. 

The Innovation Gallery is a series of interviews from within the Konductor network, talking to the innovative and inspirational individuals, asking questions with a difference.

Name: Tom Cheesewright

Current role: Applied Futurist 

Part one: the interview (the questions they didn’t want to answer)

What is the most challenging part of your job and why?

Learning new industries at speed. Walking into a room of 400+ people who have spent their career in that industry, and giving them confidence that I understand their world while simultaneously turning it upside down.

What has been your greatest professional failure and what did you learn?

Selling my agency in 2009. A year into the earn out I realised the due diligence on our purchaser had been insufficient and the business I’d created was going down in flames around me.

Worst piece of advice ever received and why?

Out with clients in Pall Mall and being told to “have one more tequila”.

What keeps you awake at night?

The only thing that ever keeps me awake is money. While life may be good now, things have in the past been pretty desperate. In 2015, three big clients cancelled in two weeks and I went six months without invoicing.

Most is the pointless job you have ever done?

I was once employed to pick pieces of broken glass out of cobblestones on a listed street outside a nightclub.

What constitutes success to you?

Time. Having enough time to do what I want to without worrying about whether I have enough money to do it. If I can take every afternoon off after working in the morning, and concentrate on my own things, that is good.

Most insightful piece of customer/client feedback you’ve ever received?

My most rapid improvement professionally came after being coached by Penny Haslam. She is forensic in her approach and had the most dramatic effect on my confidence and capability.

What would your nearest and dearest say frustrates them most about you?

Being too blasé. My wife can’t understand how I can go on TV without thinking about it too much, or finish a presentation in my head as I walk on stage. I may also be accused of having a selective memory…

Part two: Quick Fire

  1. Android or Apple? Android
  2. Words or numbers? Words
  3. Transformational or visionary? Transformational
  4. Red or blue? Red
  5. Lark or owl? lark
  6. Coffee or tea? Tea
  7. Sweet or savoury? Savoury
  8. Twitter or LinkedIn? Twitter
  9. Times or Guardian? Times (at the moment)
  10. Radio Four or Five Live? Radio Four



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