Hungry For Change: Exploring The Transformative Power Of Technology | Three Stories With Tessa Clarke of OLIO

Hungry For Change: Exploring The Transformative Power Of Technology | Three Stories With Tessa Clarke of OLIO


On the latest episode of The Alan Turing Podcast, James is joined by Tessa Clarke, Co-Founder & CEO of OLIO, an app designed to help tackle the enormous waste problem facing our world today.

Interview Highlights

“My parents are farmers, and through that upbringing, I developed a keen appreciation for the amount of work that goes into producing the foods that we eat every day but also an understanding of humanity’s role within the ecosystem.” 

“The lengths I had to go to to try and avoid food waste were crazy. And that’s where the lightbulb moment for OLIO came from.” 

“About 6 years ago, when I was moving from overseas back to the UK, the removal men advised me that I’d have to throw away any uneaten food. Given my upbringing and my pathological hatred for food waste, I was not prepared to do that. I tried giving it away and failed miserably. The lengths I had to go to to try and avoid food waste were crazy. And that’s where the lightbulb moment for OLIO came from.” 

“Whilst I enjoyed all of my roles before OLIO, I was a very long way away from being fulfilled. Daniel Pink speaks about how everyone needs to have a sense of autonomy, mastery and purpose to really be fulfilled. Before OLIO, I had mastery but lacked autonomy and purpose. Whilst the challenges are greater than before – the whole experience is just transformational… I apply that Daniel Pink framework in terms of how I think about building and growing OLIO, but also supporting everybody who works for us. It’s not just the more senior people who have autonomy; everyone in the company has just as much as I do – and ditto with the purpose. We recruit people not only to be mission-aligned but mission obsessed. And as for mastery, we have a real growth mindset, and we really encourage people to develop that mastery in whatever their area of expertise may be.”

“I apply that Daniel Pink framework in terms of how I think about building and growing OLIO, but also supporting everybody who works for us. It’s not just the more senior people who have autonomy; everyone in the company has just as much as I do.”

“One of (the benefits of remote-first working) is that autonomy. When people are working from home, you really need to lean into the unique benefits of remote working, which means giving people a high degree of autonomy over how they plan and schedule their lives. And the other massive benefit of remote working is around our ability to recruit diverse talent. The minute you remove that constraint of location, you open up this whole new pool of people. We are super proud of the incredibly diverse and also high-performing team that we have recruited because the other correlation with remote working is the type of people who do well have a tonne of initiative.” 

“My prediction is that we have a sustainability revolution heading our way that is going to make the digital revolution look like a walk in the park. I’ll back it up with a bit of data: on the 29th July was Earth Overshoot Day, which is the day in the year in which humanity has used all of the resources that earth can replenish in a year. So, every resource we are using after 29th July is net depletive to the planet. That is entirely unsustainable. Whether we like it or not, endless GDP growth cannot continue in a resource-constrained planet. We are going to have to fundamentally reinvent everything. It will see us creating a world that is much fairer, much more equitable, much more human and much more fun.” 

“My prediction is that we have a sustainability revolution heading our way that is going to make the digital revolution look like a walk in the park.”

“We have lots of stories that have started with a sandwich and ended in lifelong friendships. They come for that tool but stay for the community and the relationships that they build. Over 40% of our community have said they felt less lonely as a result of joining OLIO. We all know that having those strong relationships is what enables us to feel happiness and fulfilment as human beings, so it’s amazing that something as simple as OLIO can have so many profound and meaningful effects on people.”