The Author

Zaid Hassan

Rob Blanchard Photo UNB

Zaid is a strategist, writer and facilitator.

He has worked on issues such as agriculture, climate change, education, energy, financial systems, malnutrition, public healthcare, security, sustainable development, and youth issues. 

Zaid is the co-founder of Reos Partners which he convened. He served as Managing Partner of the Oxford office from 2007-2014. Reos Partners is a social innovation consultancy that addresses complex, high-stakes challenges around the world. Reos helps teams of stakeholders work together on their toughest challenges.

Zaid was born in London. When he was 7 years old, his parents decided to pack up and move the family, including his twin sister and younger sister, to India. The original plan was to go for 2 years and get a little experience of the wider world. Instead they were gone 12 years, travelling the world, moving to Bombay, then to New Delhi and then finally to the oil-rich emirate of the Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. 

Zaid came back to the UK in 1992, where he studied physics at undergrad for a little while (spending most of his time in the lab messing around the with pre-web Internet). His familiarity with the Internet, IP protocols and rudimentary HTML skills sucked him out of the physics department into the .com boom, where he worked for a number of years, as a freelancer, then setting up his own production company Anthropic, working for a NASQAQ listed .com, and ending up as Chief Actualisation Officer for a non-profit tech start-up. 

These experiences led him to the State of the World Forum in San Francisco in 1997. He connected with hundreds of activists, social entrepreneurs, ambitious tech start-ups, world leaders, and young people all dedicated to tackling society’s most challenging problems. A year later, Zaid found himself working as part of a small global team for a peer-learning youth group called Pioneers of Change. During his two years at Pioneers he helped run learning programmes in countries as diverse as Brazil, India, Egypt, and Mexico focused on creating change. 

This marked the beginning of over a decade and a half of experimentation in catalysing systems change. 

Zaid regularly teaches courses on how to address complex challenges. He is a Visiting Professor at the California College of Arts (CCA) where he helps teach a social lab on a graduate level Masters programme. He has guest lectured at The University of Oxford, The University of Bergen, Norway, The New School in New York and many more institutions. Over 2009-10 he was an Associate Fellow of The Institute of Science, Innovation and Society, at the Said Business School. He is currently a Social Innovation Fellow at Babson College. 

Zaid is author of “The Social Labs Revolution: A New Approach to Solving Our Most Complex Challenges.” (Berrett-Koehler 2014). He is also an frequent essayist, blogger and pamphleteer.

He rides a single-speed (non-fixie) Genesis bike that is the colour of a sunset. He currently lives in Oxford with his wife and young son.

He tweets from @zaidhassan

Check out Zaid’s keynote at The Auckland Conversations (starts at 16:15) on How To Address Complex Challenges