97. Activism’s role in innovative policy creation with Ksenia Ashrafullina

In this episode, André was talking to Ksenia Ashrafullina. Ksenia is an activist, the Founder of Invisible City non-profit organization. Invisible City is a cultural app that turns smartphones into an up-to-date cultural agenda. Ksenia is helping emerging artists to perform more and get paid fairly. She is a co-founder of the civic movement Lisboa Possível for inclusive mobility in Lisbon. And she calls herself a “self-employed diplomat” for the virtual embassy of the wonderful Russia of the future in Portugal.

Main topics covered:

🚀 Activism projects creation in Portugal;

🚲 Lisboa Possível and mobility improvement in Lisbon;

😥 What difficulties do activists face?

❗️ What is the activism role in city policy?

Time notes:

Introduction of the guest [1:20]

It’s really action that cures us from frustration.

Activism is doing a bunch of random crap that nobody else wants to do.

How did Ksenia start her path in activism [5:00]

Ksenia moved to Europe from Russia — what was the reason for that? [6:40]

Visiting London in 90s literally felt like being catapulted into totally different planet.

My mother would agree to all kind of random things that I was up to.

How did Ksenia learn Spanish (Ksenia speaks about her mad obsession with southern countries) [9:30]

They didn’t even have a printer to print my VISA.

Self-employed diplomat for Russia — what is this title about? [13:30]

How did Ksenia learn 9 languages [16:30]

What TV hosts are expecting Ksenia to stand for [18:00]

Is there a democratic deficit in Portuguese society? [19:40]

Invisible City NPO development [24:00]

“Art is a symptom, that life is not enough.” — Ferreira Gullar

Organization of events for solidarity [26:15]

What’s the connection of Invisible City and Lisboa Possível [29:20]

Work towards mobility improvement in Lisbon [31:00]

It gives a lot of hope that things might change.

Bike lane in Almirante Reis [32:00]

This is a big achievement — making a politician take his words back.

How to start on being an activist? An activist guide with all the information [37:00]

Ksenia is organising an event about petition writing[41:20]

Problem of the bike lanes in Baixa downtown [43:30]

You need to adapt yourself to the product that you are building.

Ksenia’s event pitch — feel free to join at A Mata and register ⬇️ [47:05]

Engaging youth in activism [50:00]

What is Ksenia the most passionate about in her job [51:00]

I love it when people manage to get things done.

Going by bike is not the sign of being poor. It is a sign of a person who cares.

Besides work and activism, what are Ksenia’s hobbies [53:20]

Once I fell in love with flamenco, there is no way back.

Which technology would Ksenia learn if she had to choose one? [55:10]

What kind of innovation tech-people could create to make activist’s life easier? [57:00]
* NFT’s for social impact
* How to safely transfer personal data without seeing it.

What words of advice would Ksenia give her younger self [59:00]

Whatever path you take is the right path.

I wanted to be useful in diplomacy. That was my childhood’s dream.

Book recommendations [1:00:30]

Ksenia recommends:

📕 Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoğlu

📕 Raised From the Ground by José Saramago

📕 Letters From a Stoic by Seneca

📕 The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins


This podcast was hosted by André Marquet, with research done by Evelina Bogdiun and sound edited by Miguel Sousa.

The Productized Podcast is a series of interviews with product innovators, successful makers, and entrepreneurs. We hope to inspire the listeners of this show to be courageous and productize!

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