My hosts last week at the Asia Pacific Design Library in Brisbane (which, on reflection, is probably the finest new library I have been in) asked me a few questions before our xskool:

Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

A: When I’m on the road, which is nearly half the time, I get up between 5 and 6, make the custom porridge which I bring from home In vacuum-sealed sachets, and then prepare the talk or workshop that I promised myself I would prepare in advance, but never do. I spend probably an hour a day reading stuff and tweeting about it; (I don’t use tweetdeck so I tweet manually, trying to catch people in their right timezones). I then head out into the world – walking wherever possible – where, to my regret, no day is ever typical.

Q: What can attendees to the Think Outside lecture expect to hear?

A:    I’ll talk about what I call “leave things better tourism” and give plenty of examples – from Fair Trade walking to watershed regeneration projects. Nobody wants to be a ‘tourist’ any more; the word implies passively consuming experiences that have been conceived by someone I don’t know for whom profit margins are more important than the health of the place I am visiting.

Q: Where do you go to get design inspiration?

A:  Five metres in any direction usually does the trick; there’s always a person, a plant, or a place that makes me happier when I know they exist.

Q: What are your top 5 favourite design books?

John Gowdy, ed, Limited Wants Unlimited Means
Stephan Harding , Animate Earth: Science, Intuition, and Gaia.
Robert Neuwirth System D: The Stealth of Nations
David McKay, Sustainable energy – without the hot air
Robin Murray, Co-operation in the Age of Google
Carolyn Steele, Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives

Q: If you weren’t a designer, what would you do?

A: I’d be a forester