So why the name Shapers, Makers, Builders and Breakers?

I was searching for a name for- and classification that would cover all the different characteristics of people and topics that I felt are relevant and necessary to discuss in my new podcast. I toyed with the idea to call the podcast “Shapers”, but it seemed very narrow in its scope, so I Googled it, and I came across an article by Sonja Sadovsky entitled “Shapers, Makers, Builders and Breakers.” It was perfect! Her article and description were in a religious context, but it was perfect as a podcast title! It gave me a simple classification that was broad enough to describe most (if not all) the individuals that significantly “move the needle” in our world.


  • The “Shapers”, are the visionaries. They are the true seekers and deep thinkers out there. Often they are philosophers or have a very philosophical take on life. They’re the dreamers amongst us. At their core, they are innovators, and essentially they live in the realm of ideas. Shapers usually have a deep-rooted need to share and transmit the future they see to an audience.They need to “get it out there”.In conversations, they are the people who light up when they can explore these new directions that they think up. Without them, we would have still been in the stone age. Much of our progress as a human race can be attributed to the shapers.
  • The “Makers” – are the ones who create things. Things that our senses can experience. Sight, sound, taste, emotion. There are a vast array of makers, that are artists, and artisans, performers, architects, and musicians. They are inspired by thoughts and ideas. Their gift is to translate abstraction into a physical or sensible thing of beauty. Makers are often idealised because the can express passion through the work of their hands, or voices, or whatever talent they may have. And this passion is sensed by ourselves as the ones who get to see, feel, taste, hear and see that. The world would be a very bland and grey place without them. And we owe a lot of our quality of life to makers.
Shapers, Makers, Builders and Breakers
  • Builders are strategists. They are organisers, and their gift is to create things larger than themselves. They see patterns that other people often don’t see. They usually take a few unrelated dots and connect them – into a new opportunity…They take the philosophies and products of the Shapers and the Makers and incorporate them into organisations and movements. Builders are the ones that create groups, and collaborative projects.Their “super-power” is that they dream about changing the world through their endeavours – and quite often they do! Many entrepreneurs are builders.
  • “Breakers, are the rebels and the “troublemakers”. They are outspoken and controversial. They disrupt the natural pattern of things. They question how we perceive that things “ought to be”. To say we do things “because that is how it has been done for generations”, will not be a satisfactory answer for a breaker. Breakers are the ones that test the status quo, usually without intention. They are alternative thinkers in their core beings – they are wired that way.They are happiest when creating awareness, through their words, deeds, or their activism. Most activists I would group under the breakers heading.

    They are a vital part of our society. They make sure we do not become complacent with how things are done. They drive our thinking forward, and more often than not, are only recognised for their contributions after they have passed on.

So these are the categories in which I will group my guests in this podcast over the first season. I have observed that people often have 2 of these traits present in their characters, usually a dominant and a secondary quality. Muhammad Yunus as an example is both a Builder (primary) and a Breaker (secondary – through his activist work to empower people in his native Bangladesh economically). Some may argue he is a primarily a “breaker”.

I hope that we will get insight into the characters of the Shapers, Makers, Builders, and Breakers in order to apply their wisdom to our own lives, our workplaces, our communities, and countries.

Rene Descartes once famously said; “The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.” My hope for this podcast is that it will be one step closer to the present through technology to “have conversations with the finest minds alive today.”