“I think visually. Images then words.”

— Rachel Botsman: Author and Oxford University’s first Trust Fellow

If you walked into my studio, you’d see Post-it notes everywhere.

Multicoloured squares of ideas. You’d see a lot of sketches too. Because when I put pen to paper, the first thing I do is draw. I think visually. Images, then words. (Pictionary, then Scrabble.)

My creative tinkering started at a young age. I used to turn my bedroom into ‘Rachel’s Gallery’ and put on art shows for my parents. They loved it until one day the gallery transformed into a ship; I’d painted bright blue waves straight onto the carpet!

During my Fine Art degree at Oxford University I learned that I could tinker with ‘things’ but also with concepts and systems. I became fascinated by ideas, beliefs and behaviours that had real consequences for our lives.

The Big Idea that runs throughout my work is Trust. It began as a significant theme in my first book and naturally evolved into the subject and focus of my second.

Truthfully, the writing process often feels like an intellectual marathon that I am continually training for. But I’m driven to explore the profound changes taking place in our society and to explain them as simply and visually as possible.

Over the last decade, I’ve been sharing insights on trust (and distrust) in lots of different ways. I’ll never forget walking onto TED’s red circle for the first time: nerve-wracking, for sure, but also a wonderful experience to connect directly with an audience. Today, whether I speak to boardrooms of ten or auditoriums of thousands, I still get that same buzz of excitement.

I’ve lived and worked on four different continents and I’m privileged to now teach curious minds in the beautiful city in which I once studied.

It’s often during quieter moments that my new ideas start to take form. A long walk in the Oxford countryside. Time spent in the art studio. A family dinner and games with my inquisitive kids. Pictionary, then Scrabble.