The Idea

My aim in CITIZENS is to open up a new way of understanding ourselves and the intensely challenging time in which we live. I want to equip us to see and step into the possibility in this moment, not just the threat. I truly believe we can find a way for all of us to thrive – and seeing one another as the Citizens we are is the starting point.

​Today, we are living deep inside the Consumer Story, a foundational story of humans as inherently self-interested and competitive. This story has shaped not just individual behaviour but organisational design, economic theory, the role of government, morality — all of culture and society. But this is not as inevitable and inescapable as it feels, for stories do change. Indeed, the Consumer Story has been in place for less than a century. Before this, we lived inside the Subject Story — as in “subjects of the king” — which lasted centuries, casting the majority of us as infant-like and dependent, with just a superior few capable of deciding and leading.

And now? Now the Consumer Story is failing. The Subject Story is resurgent. But at the same time, a new story — the Citizen Story — is taking shape across the world, and in every aspect of society. In the Citizen Story, we see ourselves as the creative, capable, caring creatures we are. We realise that all of us are smarter than any of us. We get involved.

I’m Jon…

I spent the first decade of my career working in the advertising industry, selling some of the world’s biggest brands, and even winning a few awards along the way. Then I realised I was caught up in a story I didn’t believe in: the Consumer Story.

In 2014, I co-founded the New Citizenship Project with Irenie Ekkeshis, a former adland colleague. Our mission was to figure out how to use our skills not just to sell stuff to Consumers, but to involve people in the decisions that affect their lives as Citizens.

NCP have partnered with organisations and institutions including the Co-op, The Body Shop, National Trust, BBC, European Central Bank and many more.

Then in 2020, with Britain in lockdown, I saw the ideas we were working with come alive in front of my eyes. As Citizens, we were getting involved, helping one another through unprecedented challenges. A whole new society became possible in that time. But our leaders couldn’t see it, because they were blinded by the Consumer Story.

That’s why I wrote CITIZENS: so that we can see what is possible.

Working with Ariane Conrad, a best-selling writer who has built a career turning big ideas into books that change the world, I’ve drawn on all my experience with NCP, studied the best of what’s going on all over the world, and interrogated three Masters degrees-worth of knowledge to pull this together. I truly believe that we humans are collaborative, creative, caring Citizens by nature – and if we give ourselves and each other the chance, we can fix this.

You can follow Jon at




To purchase the book visit here.

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