Keynote speakers and presenters at Vision 2020

Vision2020 features inspirational presenters from international, regional and local perspectives.


John Thackara – How to make less, more

John Thackara

A green, restorative and steady-state economy is not a future vision – it already exists, at least in embryo. Social innovation is all around us in a million grassroots projects. Connected citizens, and new kinds of business, are taking practical steps to re-make our cities places, and tools. By innovating services for daily life that use far fewer resources, they help to rebuild natural and social assets. Many of these projects use new technologies in creative ways – but their positive energy derives most from the skills and imagination of the people involved. What is the opportunity here for Leicester?

John Thackara is a writer, speaker, and event producer. Described by Business Week as “one of the great voices on sustainability”, he is the author of In The Bubble: Designing In A Complex World (MIT Press) among thirteen books, and of a widely-read blog about design for resilience, As director of Doors of Perception, John organizes festivals and encounters around the world in which communities imagine sustainable futures – and take practical steps to realize them. John Thackara lives in France.

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Warren Buckley – Connecting the New Communities

Warren BuckleyWarren Buckley is the Managing Director, Customer Service, for BT Retail. He graduated in Politics from the University of Leicester. He has worked in the Telecoms Industry for the last 20 years across both mobile and fixed and during that time has led teams in many disciplines from revenue assurance, fraud, logistics, mergers and acquisitions, technical support, call centres, operations, product management and customer service. In his previous role as Director Strategy, Complaints and eServices, Customer Service, he was responsible for implementing and embedding the effective use of social media tools such as Twitter to help turn dissatisfied customers into advocates of BT. In his current role he is responsible for the delivery of all aspects of service for BT’s Consumer Customers across telephone, broadband and TV.


Fiona Bennie – Sustainable innovation through future scenarios

Fiona BennieForum for the Future

How can the UK’s creative industries apply their expertise and experience to the big sustainability challenges facing society? This session will share the findings from an exciting project which tackled this question, and facilitate a discussion around the sustainability implications for the CIs and some suggestions for how they can lead on sustainable innovation.

Fiona works on sustainable innovation and design strategy for product and service development, focusing on creative thinking and problem solving for future challenges. Most recently she led the i-team project, in collaboration with IDEO London, and co-authored Fashion Futures 2025, in collaboration with Levi Strauss & Co. She is currently leading the Sustainability ‘Beacons for Innovation’ project for the Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network, which looks ahead to 2030 to uncover the challenges and opportunities that sustainability issues pose to the industries.

Prior to joining Forum, Fiona has worked as a design strategist for Pearson Matthews innovation consultancy and the UK Design Council, and as a marketing manager/designer for L’Oreal in Italy. Fiona studied at the Milan Politecnico and has an MA in Strategic Design and a BA in Italian and Industrial Design. She also holds a PGCert in Sustainable Development from Imperial College.

Thilo Boeck – The Amplified Resilient Community

Thilo BoekCentre for Social Action, De Montfort University

The Amplified Resilient Community (ARC) aims to unlock community resilience as a way to navigate around global challenges and toward new solutions for wealth creation and life improvement. ARC is a framework which helps to reweave civic, economic and political life from the bottom up. The vision is for communities to develop capacities to become adaptive and flexible under the constraints and uncertainties of globalization.

Thilo Boeck is a senior research fellow based in the Centre for Social Action at De Montfort University. He worked in Youth and Community Development in Peru, Germany and the UK which has influenced his commitment to participative research and training.

He worked in several research projects exploring social capital and community cohesion. He was the social researcher on the Amplified Leicester project.

Bernd Carsten-Stahl – Ethical issues of emerging technologies

Bernd Carsten Stahl

Professor of Critical Research in Technology at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK.

Bernd’s presentation will outline which emerging information and communication technologies will be relevant by 2020. Building on the work of the European research project ETICA (Ethical Issues of Emerging ICT Applications), Bernd will describe some of these core technologies, discuss the expected consequences of the technologies and address the question of how they can be subject to democratic control.

Bernd Carsten Stahl is Professor of Critical Research in Technology in the at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK.

His interests cover philosophical issues arising from the intersections of business, technology, and information. This includes the ethics of computing and critical approaches to information systems.

Nicholas Ebbs – Placemaking

Placemaking is the art of arranging spaces to enrich the urban experience. Continuities and changes will impact that experience. Changes might include more sustainable ways of living and new social networks but greater polarisation. Expect more of the same from globalisation, information technologies and demographic change. Cities could become more gated and ghettoized or more compact, integrated and cohesive.

Nick is a director of Igloo Regeneration and CEO of Blueprint, a partnership between Igloo, the Homes and Communities Agency and East Midlands Development Agency.
Igloo are specialists in the development of sustainable places including Phoenix Square Leicester.
Nick was previously a Special Professor of Sustainable Development at Nottingham University and has a degree in Philosophy and Theology.

Michael Fern – The future of retail

This presentation offers an insight into how consumer trends and new technology will impact on the way we shop.

Michael joined Portland in 2005 and is currently Creative Head of The Environments team.

With a degree in interior and Industrial design he possesses a very unique understanding and awareness of delivering solutions that are both creative as well as informed by consumer insights and their relationships with products and brands.

He is currently working on a wide range of projects for global clients such as Diageo, and Inter Ikea Center Group, exploring new strategies for the future of their businesses.

Aidan Lane – The sky’s the limit

This presentation will enlighten you to the advantages of Green Roofs & Living walls and the benefits they add in terms of Biodiversity, water attenuation, and helping to combat climate change. An array of Green Roofs and Living Walls will also be presented from the sublime, the amazing, to what could be implemented in Leicester’s green future.

Aidan has studied and worked in horticulture all his adult life. He has worked as Foreman, an Estimator, and has worked with a number of leading companies in the industry. He started at Frosts Landscape Construction as an Assistant Landscape Manager, and in 1997 became Director Commercial Landscapes.

During his 18 years at Frosts he has spent several years researching and designing the green roof and the living wall business. Aidan has a great passion for the industry and has delivered many CDP presentations to Architects covering a number of subjects where he feels the industry needs to change in order to move forward.

Martin Rieser – The future of mobile media

Martin RieserProfessor of Digital Creativity, Institute of Creative TechnologiesFaculty of Art and Design, De Montfort University

This talk looks at the potential for business services in new developments in mobile and pervasive media, particularly in the cultural industries and communication. It looks at the ways in which our working lives and behaviours will be transformed and raises questions about the social use and adaptation of these technologies.

Professor Martin Rieser has always been fascinated by the possibility of creating fragmentary narrative structures and interactive stories using new technology. This has led him into his current explorations using mobile and locative technologies and large-scale interactive video experiences. Professor Rieser has worked in the field of interactive arts for many years. He is Joint research Professor between the Institute of Creative Technologies and the Faculty of Art and Design at De Montfort University. His art practice in internet art and interactive narrative installations has been seen around the world including Cannes; Holland, Paris; Vienna, Thessaloniki, London, Germany, Milan and Melbourne, Australia. He has published numerous essays and books on digital art including New Screen Media: Cinema/Art/Narrative (BFI/ZKM, 2002), and has recently edited The Mobile Audience, a book on locative technology and art due out this year from Rodopi.

Hugo Spowers – The future of personal transport

Hugo SpowersRiversimple is a revolutionary company committed to producing highly energy-efficient vehicles for personal transport. In 2012 the first pilot of Riversimple’s two-seat hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is going to take place in the city of Leicester. At Vision2020 Hugo Spowers will discuss his vision for the future of personal transport and explain the radical new business model that his company is adopting.

Hugo is the founder of Riversimple. An Oxford University trained engineer and entrepreneur, he made his name in motorsport in the 1980s. He left the racing industry due to concerns about its environmental impact and went on to study for his MBA at Cranfield. Here he investigated the feasibility of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and embraced the idea of Whole System Design, a concept that is integral to Rivesimple’s vehicle design and business model.

John Stobart – What will the future of the law firm look like?

John StobartCommoditisation and IT will shape and characterise 21st century legal services. Successful legal business may be a by-product of law in society, but it is not the purpose of law. And, just as numerous other industries and sectors are having to adapt to broader change, so too should lawyers. John Stobart will look at what the future holds for law firms.

John Stobart is a Partner in the Corporate team at Leicester law firm Harvey Ingram. During his career, he has worked in the City of London as the senior in-house lawyer for a FTSE 250 company. His specialist areas include corporate finance, acquisitions and joint ventures, university start ups and spin-outs and all related matters from licensing to agency agreements.

Satish Visavadia – The future of production and broadcast media


We are entering the ‘media economy’ which permeates our daily lives in many ways. The traditional boundaries of media industries have become meaningless. Today, almost every business, community and social activity is a form of media. An increasing proportion of our socail interactions and communications happen across media channels and networks. Every organisation, however big or small, is a media entity, engaged in creating and disseminating messages amongst its stakeholders and associates. The challenge will be to understand and apply approaches in a competitive global context as content proliferates, audience behaviour changes, advertising revenues are eroded, new technology becomes mainstream and competitors emerge. Whilst the media economy grows and develops globally, the next decade will provide all of us with a formidable challenge. The key questions will be to ask ourselves : what markets wiil we have, how can we integrate skills and talent, and how can we monetize the opportunities so that our institutions and economy benefits? This presentation will discuss these issues and reflect upon access, how amateur content creation is leveraged, the role of social networks, scale of production costs and potential of new media. It will also review the growing influence of the Indian film production base.

Satish is a successful businessman and educator with over 20 years of experience in media, teaching, training and leading business globally. He is an Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, member of Institute for Learning and an Associate Fellow with the Australian Management Institute. Satish qualified as an engineer and later achieved a master’s degree in education from the University of Warwick, also a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Northampton.

He is currently a Director at the Ice Academy leading and teaching on numerous academic programmes and also a Director of Ice Media Corporation, a leading media production facility house with local and global networks.

Also on the team:

Amplifiers: Brian Condon & Steve Lawson
Unconference Facilitators: Ian Davies, Ross Grant, Ishi Khan-Jackson, Bill Knopp, Joy Marsden, Kathy O’Driscoll, Simon Parker & Farhana Shaikh, coordinated by Ravinder Kaur

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