Renew Normal: The Podcast


The outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK has changed our economic, political and social landscape beyond recognition. But how should Britain build back from the crisis? Polly Mackenzie is joined by leaders, thinkers and campaigners in this new podcast to discuss how we can find opportunity from the adversity, and shape a better future.

Listen and subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Episode 17: Alice Bentinck MBE

Polly Mackenzie chats to Renew Normal Commissioner, Alice Bentinck MBE, who co-founded Entrepreneur First, an organisation which finds and nurtures start-up talent in the tech sector. They discuss the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on our online lives, and the implications it has for our economy and wellbeing.

Episode 16: Imran Ahmed

In this episode, Polly Mackenzie is joined by Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), to discuss misinformation online during Covid-19, and how it should be tackled in the future.

Episode 15: Harry Carr

Recent research from Demos has found deep new social divisions caused by the pandemic. In this special episode, Polly Mackenzie chats to Demos’ Director of Research and Innovation, Harry Carr, about the uphill battle we face.

Episode 14: Andrew Wear

Polly Mackenzie chats to Andrew Wear, Australian civil servant and author of ‘Solved!’, about whether change is really possible as we build back from Covid-19, and how it can be achieved.

Episode 13: Hetan Shah

Polly Mackenzie is joined by Chief Executive of the British Academy and Renew Normal Commissioner, Hetan Shah. They discuss the impact of the pandemic on universities, and whether the Covid-19 crisis provides an opportunity to alter the way the economy works.

Episode 12: Gavin Kelly

Polly Mackenzie chats with Chair of the Resolution Foundation and the Living Wage Commission, Gavin Kelly. They discuss the future of our public services, the nature of potential tax rises to come, and the impact that the pandemic has had on different people’s working lives.

Episode 11: Miatta Fahnbulleh

Polly Mackenzie talks with the chief executive of the New Economics Foundation, Miatta Fahnbulleh. They discuss the economic harm the lockdown is causing and how the pandemic can be an opportunity to restructure our economy for the better.

Episode 10: Andrea Sutcliffe CBE

Polly Mackenzie chats with the Chief Executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council and former Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care on the Care Quality Commission, Andrea Sutcliffe CBE. They discuss how the pandemic has affected those in the care industry, and how we can improve how carers are treated by society.

Episode 9: Anna Severwright

Polly Mackenzie talks to co-chair of the Coalition of Collaborative Care and Renew Normal Commissioner, Anna Severwright. They discuss the impact of the lockdown on people with disabilities, and how we can turn this into a moment to make a real difference to those living with long term health conditions and the care industry as a whole.

Episode 8: Professor Donna Hall CBE

Polly Mackenzie is joined by local government guru and Renew Normal Commissioner, Professor Donna Hall CBE. Donna is Chair of the New Local Government Network and former Chief Executive of Wigan Council.

They discuss the vital role local government have been playing during the Covid-19 pandemic, and what the future of local government should look like as we build back from the crisis.

Episode 7: Ndidi Okezie

Polly Mackenzie is joined by the Chief Executive Officer of UK Youth and Renew Normal Commissioner, Ndidi Okezie. They talk about the impact that Covid-19 has had on the lives of young people, and how we tackle the biggest challenges facing this generation – such as unemployment – going forward.

Episode 6: Nick Timothy CBE

Polly Mackenzie chats to former joint Chief of Staff to Theresa May, author and Renew Normal Commissioner, Nick Timothy. They discuss how the pandemic has affected loneliness, the future of taxation and digital infrastructure, and the role of community in how we build back from the Covid-19 crisis.

Episode 5: Vidhya Alakeson

What infrastructure do communities and our town centres need to thrive? What have we learnt about how communities respond in times of crisis? And how do we hold on to the community kindness in the long-term?

Polly Mackenzie chats to Renew Normal Commissioner and Chief Executive of Power to Change, Vidhya Alakeson, to discuss the lessons we’ve learnt from the Covid-19 crisis, and how we should move forward. Power to Change is an organisation supporting and developing community businesses in England.

Episode 4: Josh Hardie

Polly Mackenzie is joined by Renew Normal Commissioner and Deputy Director-General of the CBI, Josh Hardie. They discuss the many challenges businesses and employers have been facing since the Covid-19 outbreak, and what a positive future could look like for skills, infrastructure and the workforce.

Episode 3: Mike Clancy

What does the Covid-19 crisis mean for the future of our working lives? What have we learnt about our welfare system? What does a new deal for self-employed people look like when this is all over?

Polly Mackenzie chats to Mike Clancy, General Secretary of Prospect trade union and Renew Normal Commissioner, about the impact that the Covid-19 crisis could have on jobs and the future of the welfare state.

Episode 2: Baroness Morgan of Cotes

Polly Mackenzie chats to Renew Normal Commissioner and Conservative peer, Nicky Morgan, former Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and for Education. They discuss what the Covid-19 crisis has meant for community spirit and loneliness, and the impact it could have on the future of the education system and our cultural institutions.

Episode 1: Martha Lane Fox

What does the Covid-19 crisis mean for the future of the digital sector? What digital inequalities have been exposed? Is tech the solution to all of our newfound challenges? In this first episode, Polly Mackenzie is joined by businesswoman, digital guru, and crossbench peer, Martha Lane Fox, to discuss what the future of tech should look like after Covid-19, and how we should tackle the digital divide.

Martha Lane Fox co-founded Last Minute, and from 2009 to 2013 she was Digital Champion for the UK and helped to create the Government Digital Service. Martha is also currently Chancellor of the Open University.