Tedx feet.jpg



Robert Ashton is the founder of Swarm. A social entrepreneur, author and publisher, he is driven by a strong sense of social justice and, as a Quaker, strives to create a more equal and fair society.

He helps individuals, organisations and sometimes communities take control of their destiny by being more entrepreneurial. Robert is a popular conference speaker, usually walking on stage in his bare feet. He says it’s important to recognise vulnerability.

Robert has a reputation for challenging assumptions and delivering solutions to seemingly impossible conundrums. He’s not a professional fundraiser, yet secured £14m for a new school. He was instrumental in setting up Norfolk Community Foundation and relishes the challenges that others avoid.

He’s been described as a ‘disruptive innovator’, because he uses his unique ability to challenge the status quo, not for the sake of it, but because it enables him to reach the goal often only he can usually clearly see.

A dysfunctional upbringing, failure at school and an IQ of 155 make Robert the man he is today. People say he is ‘different’ as his willingness to confront injustice and inequality illustrates.

He has a habit of surprising us all in his quest to explore new things. He’s been known to throw a raw egg into his audience. He also stripped naked, painted himself blue and joined 3,000 others in a walk around Hull city centre one summer morning.


Yes our founder is different and also we think just a little brilliant.