Andrew Zolli works at the intersection of global innovation, foresight, social change and resilience. A central thrust of Andrew’s work has been how to harness the power of emerging tools, technologies, and new approaches for lasting beneficial change.
Andrew oversees Global Impact Initiatives at Planet, a breakthrough space and AI organization which has deployed the largest constellation of Earth-observing satellites in history. These satellites image our whole planet every day in high resolution, and my team makes sure this data is used to its highest and best purposes to monitor the world’s ecosystems, improve humanitarian action and disaster response, transform sustainable development, and advance scientific discovery and artistic expression.
He also spends much of his time advancing a global dialogue on resilience – how to help people and systems persist, recover and thrive amid disruption. For several years, he has travelled from the coral reefs of Palau to the back streets of Palestine, exploring the dynamics of resilience in many contexts. The results are encapsulated in his book ‘Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back’, published by Simon and Schuster in the U.S., and in many other languages and territories around the world. Since the book’s publication, the resilience work has focused on bringing together coalitions of interested practitioners and leaders from many related fields, developing new, interlocking strategies for personal, urban, community, climate, and organizational resilience.
From 2003-2014, he was the primary creative and curatorial force behind PopTech, a renowned innovation and social change network. The organization brings together a community of innovators from many different fields — artists, scientists, technologists, social change agents, entrepreneurs, and unconventional ‘weirdos’ — to share ideas and to work on new approaches to some of the world’s toughest problems, in areas like financial innovation and inclusion, data science and community resilience, mobile health, climate adaptation, urban resilience and violence cessation.
In addition to the above, he serves as a Fellow of the National Geographic Society and he advises, and speaks regularly to a wide array of leading companies, governmental organization, NGOs, start-ups and cultural and civil society groups. These include the senior leadership teams at companies including GE, PWC, Nike and Facebook.
He also serves as an advisor to OneConcern, an organization using AI to transform disaster response, CureViolence, which is using revolutionary approaches, grounded in public-health, to arrest the spread of violence, and the McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology at the University of Pennsylvania, which advances ecological design in the places most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
From 2015-2017, he served as the Chair and Interim President of the Garrison Institute. The Institute is a not-for-profit, non-sectarian organization committed to harnessing the power of contemplative wisdom and practices — from many traditions, and in many contemporary contexts — to build a more compassionate and resilient future for all.
His work and ideas have been covered in the media, he has been recognized in places like Vanity Fair’s “Next Establishment” to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of “Innovators to Watch“