As we enter a new year, it’s time to look back at our recent videos for Project Breakthrough. Whether it’s the ex-American football player-turned-food saviour, the ex-Panamanian prisoner demanding transparency or the ex-travel writer fighting toxics, these nine FutureHeroes all have one major thing in common. They are all ex-ponential leaders.

And they’re all disrupting entire industries – from food to transport to space travel. We asked them what the future of business looks like. Because these guys know ‘Best’.


9. Best ‘Good Egg’: Josh Tetrick

► From "dumb jock" to food saviour: video below

From “dumb jock” to food saviour

“Wake up and realise we shouldn’t throw our lives into soul-sucking jobs. You can drain from the world or make things a bit better.” We couldn’t agree more with the vegan mayo CEO. We asked Josh Tetrick, former American football player and Founder of Hampton Creek, which came first – his idea to scramble the future of food or his egg-free egg.

► Caution: food porn.


8. Best Indiana Jones: Rick Ridgeway

Yes, we Photoshopped (badly) a legend onto a mountain

Yes, we Photoshopped (badly) a legend onto a mountain

Panamanian prisoner. Power broker. Himalayan avalanche survivor. And Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Patagonia. We broke the ice with legendary mountaineer and conservationist Rick Ridgeway. Also an environmentalist, writer and filmmaker, Ridgeway once hauled a rickshaw across a Tibetan plateau, one of the world’s remotest places – just to prove a point to the Chinese government.

► He implores you: “Don’t buy this jacket.”


7. Best Kodak Diss: Marcus Shingles

We won't be winning any prizes for subtle Photoshopping

Thinking cap well and truly on

As the ‘Moonshot CEO’ of XPRIZE, Marcus Shingles has a trifecta for disruption: “If you’re not failing enough it means you haven’t reached those edges.” He designs epic public competitions that include space exploration and water scarcity. We asked the exponential thinker to explain what he means when he says: “Uber yourself before you get Kodak-ed!”

► Just don’t mention photographic paper.


6. Best Oversharer: Rachel Botsman

"I literally think we are on Day One."

“I literally think we are on Day One.”

After Uber and Airbnb, what’s next for the sharing economy? And what even is the sharing economy? Rachel Botsman wants us to “ignore the next shiny metal toy that appears”. The leading authority on collaborative consumption breaks down being wired to share and the real breakthrough innovation – the smartphone.

► Trust her, this changes everything.


5. Best Optimist: Peter Diamandis

Be bold: click on our interview with Diamandis

Be bold: click on our interview with Diamandis

The super-optimistic Peter Diamandis has hope in abundance. As Executive Chairman of both Singularity University and XPRIZE, he has dedicated his life to addressing humanity’s grand challenges. We chat about the tsunami of change – from the solar revolution to the deceptive impact of blockchain.

► There’s a reason his nickname is “Pete in Space”.


4. Best Green Star: Francesco Starace

"Energy alone is nothing"

“Energy alone is nothing”

Francesco Starace is the CEO of Enel Group, the leading player in global renewables. His vision is to own and manage a digitised grid which connects decentralised green energy sources: “You can implement a sustainable way of becoming a utility of the future with some hard choices and a little bit of pain! It’s not rocket science, just be determined and do it.”

► He’s the Star-ace of green power.


3. Best Finger Click: Robin Chase

Cut to the Chase

Cut to the Chase

Robin Chase is Co-Founder and former CEO of Zipcar, the largest car sharing company in the world: “Uber and Lyft could never have happened if Zipcar hadn’t shown how you can use technology, that people are interested in car sharing, the transportation sector is sexy to innovate on and there’s this great stuff happening. This is exactly what the internet is made for.”

► Watch Robin invite us to hop on her bike.


2. Best Healthcare Warrior: Gary Cohen


Gary Cohen is a real mensch

Today health care practitioners worldwide take the Hippocratic Oath to “First, do no harm”. In the ultimate irony, hospitals and health care centres are one of the biggest polluters on the planet. We chatted to Gary Cohen, President of Health Care Without Harm, about the industry’s moral barometer, fighting toxics and building a global movement.

► Gary is all heart – and science.


1.Best 80-year Startup: Patrick Thomas


No Doubting Thomas

“Aim to make the world a brighter place.” Patrick Thomas does. Covestro products are everywhere in modern life – from our cars, smartphones and mattresses to refrigeration and thermal insulation… to Solar Impulse‘s lightweight cockpit. We met the CEO of the world-leading manufacturer of high-tech polymer materials in a café to discuss a smarter use of materials:

“Having flown around the world in a solar airplane, what’s important next is what we take from that. The long term benefit is the thousands of high school students who I’ve talked to about that project. They can see that what they thought was impossible is possible.”

► How did we fly around the world with no fuel? Because of innovation in science.

This year resolve to do something useful. As Robin Chase put it: “No one is off the hook. We all have something important to be doing. I’m challenging you.” Coming in January –  Juan Enriquez and IndieBio’s Ryan Bethencourt.

All videos were produced by Atlas of the Future for Project Breakthrough (United Nations Global Compact/ Volans). Check out our other videos here.