This was our spectacular lineup for TEDxGlasgow 2017 Lead or Follow. All talks are now online and you can watch them here.

  • Richard Browning

    Richard Browning is an ultra-marathon runner, an ex-Royal Marine reservist, ex-City Commodity Trader and a pioneering inventor.

    Richard is the Founder of human propulsion technology start-up Gravity. Launched in March 2017, Gravity has invented, built and patented an ‘iron man like’ flight system. The dream was to reimagine an entirely new authentic form of human flight leaning on an elegant collaboration of mind and body augmented by leading edge technology.

    Gravity has to date been experienced by over a billion people globally, with video views alone running at more than 60 million within 7 days of launch. Richard’s vision is to build Gravity into a world-class aeronautical engineering business, challenge perceived boundaries in human aviation, and inspire a generation to dare ask ‘what if…’.

    Richard was invited to showcase his iron-man like flying suit at TED 2017, after agreeing to speak at TEDxGlasgow 2017.

    Dare to defy gravity

    It’s a classic tale of innovation, with a rather unusual ending. A big vision. A dream. Eventually achieved through learning and striving, and never being put off by a seemingly constant influx of failure.

    Instead, Richard found awesome and diverse people to collaborate with. Fuelled by the power of joy and passion, combined with a willingness to get their hands dirty, they went on to break convention and do something unexpected, exciting and new.

    In his talk, Richard will showcase how through creativity and dogged commitment, he has defied gravity, with his iron-man like suit. With pioneering technology, he is leading the way to becoming a true ‘rocket man’.

    Dare to dream; dare to reinvent human flight.

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  • Jonah Jones

    Jonah Jones is a product designer who has had the privilege to design for two of the top five most used apps in the world today. He currently manages design teams across Facebook, and previously at Google.

    At Facebook, Jonah has led a number of diverse product design teams. From building tools to help nearly two billion people share on Facebook, through the launch of tools to connect the workplace, to creating solutions to help publishers to thrive, his unique design experience spans across the full spectrum of consumer and business domains.

    Prior to Facebook, Jonah worked at Google for 8 years in Mountain View, Sydney, and Zurich. He managed the design team for Google Maps, leading the biggest redesign in the company’s history.

    He has a passion for combining his love for design, technology, film, gaming, and travel to create innovative and delightful design solutions. This passion has led to Jonah being regularly asked to speak at events across the globe.

    Making the complex universal: How Google and Facebook design for unlimited uses

    The Google Maps navigation and cartography teams have an overwhelmingly complex task: to create a universal experience that helps people navigate their world, no matter where in the world they are. How do you create an experience that works for megacities in Japan and dirt roads in rural India?
    The Facebook sharing team also have an overwhelmingly complex task: to support the diverse needs of a quarter of the world’s population. How do you build tools that work just as well for a young woman in Japan as they do for an elderly man in India?
    Jonah Jones, lead designer of both products, explains what these problems had in common. The lessons from how the Google and Facebook teams went about solving them can apply to any design process, at any scale, and have far-reaching implications.
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  • Dr Liberty Vittert

    Dr Liberty Vittert is currently the Mitchell Lecturer at the University of Glasgow in the School of Mathematics and Statistics. She has significant experience in explaining issues concerning mathematics, statistics, polling and voting techniques, and the topic of “big data” to the media, public, and government.

    She is a regular contributor to STV and BBC Scotland, as well as having her own show on STV called Liberty’s Great American Cookbook. Her work also includes issues of involving and energising young people in STEM subjects.

    She is currently an Ambassador for the Royal Statistical Society.

    How to win the lottery and get away with murder

    Understanding when advertisers, news media, the government, and other professional disciplines are using numbers to their advantage is incredibly important in personal decision making. This understanding is essential to our future as numbers and big data become more and more prevalent in our society.

    Numbers are scary, but they don’t have to be. Statistics and probability are in absolutely everything we do, every day. From guessing whether one should take a raincoat that day (in Glasgow, you should simply always take a raincoat) to deciding if it is worth risking a speeding ticket, we use statistics every single day.

    Using astounding examples, this talk will demonstrate why statistics is becoming such an important study and how we can spot disparity. From murder and other criminal trials where prosecutors and defence attorneys alike, use statistics to their advantage, to winning the lottery, and deciding if you are going to get dementia from living near a busy road, you will learn how to spot “the lies, the damned lies, and the statistics”.

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  • Quentin Sommerville

    Quentin Sommerville is the BBC’s middle east correspondent, based in Beirut and covering, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

    Before that, he lived in the Kabul for three years as the Afghanistan correspondent. His first foreign reporting gig for the BBC was as Shanghai correspondent, before he headed north to Beijing.

    Born in Townhead, Glasgow, he later grew up in Stirling. He studied politics at the University of Edinburgh.

    Don’t mind the explosions

    War is complex, political. You have to feel it to understand it.

    Quentin Sommerville invites you to feel and understand how personal and intimate war truly is.

    War is about lives interrupted.

    As we get used to the images of horror being shown on the news we lose contact with the people caught at the very centre. Using images, Quentin will show what we are used to seeing: Battles, shooting, ISIS, conflict. This is about reporting the facts, real news not politics.

    But families and children are at the centre of war and Quentin will share stories and images to explain what it is like for a father standing with his son’s body bag at his feet, talking to the boy as if he were alive; “your mum is going to be so angry with you”. The man running around asking “do you have a shovel” as bombs drop around him because he won’t leave without burying his family.

    But, victims exist on both sides of war. The ‘bad’ people can be victims too.

    How do you go from being someone who happily breaks rocks in a quarry for a living, to the person who laughs his head off as he shoots 48 women and children dead as they wait in a queue at the bank?

    Imagine a sudden death in your family. If they died from a knife attack in Scotland or a bomb in Kabul it makes no difference. The violence in an Iraqi street is still happening on someone’s doorstep. It’s domestic.

    Quentin will encourage you, not to look away, but to engage, feel and understand. Why? Because it might just make the universe the bit of a better place if you do.

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  • Bob Keiller

    Well-known for his innovation and leadership, Bob Keiller was appointed Chairman of Scottish Enterprise in January 2016. Previously, he was the CEO of Wood Group, a British multinational oil and gas company with $7 billion (USD) sales, over 40,000 employees, and operations in more than 50 countries.

    Bob has a Masters of Engineering from Heriot-Watt University and is a chartered engineer. Awarded Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006 and 2008, he was also named Scottish Businessman of the Year in 2007 and Grampian Industrialist of the Year in 2008. In 2011, Bob was voted “Scottish Male Business Leader of the Year” at the Scottish Leadership awards.

    Alongside his non-executive role in Scottish Enterprise, Bob is providing mentoring and support for ambitious business leaders and social enterprises. As a result, he has a busy calendar of public speaking engagements, delivering pitches, presentations and talks and successfully securing many contracts and raising lots of business funding. An open book, he claims to have made nearly every mistake possible, ever adding more to the list, and often shares his learning in this area in the hope of inspiring new business leaders.

    Married with three children, Bob currently resides in Aberdeen.

    Doing Core Values

    The benefits of having a clear guiding purpose and running an organisation on sound principles has been well covered by many people before. Understanding your “why” is a compelling concept that is easy to grasp. Intellectually it is easy to recognise the potential benefits of operating within clearly defined core values. Practically, it isn’t as easy though.

    After the near-meltdown of global financial systems a few years ago many organisations recognised that they needed to start living by their values. Yet many continued to get fined and sanctioned for corrupt practices after this time.

    So, why is it so easy to understand the benefits of living and breathing a strong and principled set of core values, yet so difficult to make it actually happen?

    Because it’s much harder than people think. It takes unrelenting, obsessive, persistent leadership over many years and, even then, the minute you stop maintaining it, it decays like weeds reclaiming an unloved garden.

    But if you focus on the right things you can create a culture built on values that shapes the way that everyone behaves. In this talk, Bob shares some of the key learning points from his journey.

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  • Lee Craigie

    Lee Craigie is 38 years old and lives in the Highlands of Scotland. She competed for 10 years as an elite level mountain bike racer, representing GB in the World Championships and Scotland in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

    Lee is also a trained child and adolescent psychotherapist, who uses outdoor adventurous activities therapeutically to help socially excluded young people feel better about themselves.

    In 2015, tired of the way the media and cycling industry portrays athletic women, Lee co-founded The Adventure Syndicate; a collective of women who do extraordinary things by bike and who aim to inspire, encourage and enable more women and girls to challenge themselves on what they think they might be capable of. Through The Adventure Syndicate, Lee now writes, delivers talks, makes films, runs training courses and, most importantly, continues to undertake her own ultra endurance self-supported bike adventures in an effort to remain curious, engaged and humble.

    Too scared or just scared enough?

    During her time as an elite-level athlete, Lee learned to manage her pre-competition nerves but noticed how few other women compared to men chose to put themselves in that position. When she first began racing the anxiety Lee experienced pre-competition was almost overwhelming, but she slowly got used to managing it and realised that this anxiety was actually a performance enhancer.

    As women, putting ourselves out there in stressful conditions is not something many of us are naturally inclined to do. We prefer to not risk failure or exposure and are more inclined to sit back to let others strive and lead instead.

    But, as soon as the gun goes and the race is underway, the anxiety turns to motivation and afterwards, even if she lost, Lee found she never regretted having tried to win. Being scared (of failure, of the dark, of feeling cold, of looking stupid, of being assaulted) will stop you rising to challenges if you allow it to. But, with challenging experiences rarely ending in regret, why do people (especially women) continue to shy away from putting themselves out there?

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  • Jessie Pavelka

    Jessie Pavelka is an internationally recognised health and wellbeing expert, who hosts Sky TV’s “Obese: A Year to Save my Life” and “Fat: The Fight of my Life“. He has also been the fitness expert for ITV’s Good Morning Britain and in the US was a trainer on NBC’s “Biggest Loser“, hosted “Dietribe” on Lifetime TV and appeared on Oprah’s OWN network.

    He is currently the Ambassador for Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life and England Athletic’s Run Together Initiative. His UK company ‘Pavelka’ is the wellbeing partner for technology giants Cisco Systems, helping employees become more resilient and healthier in a fast moving, dynamic world.

    Texan born, Jessie has 15 years experience in working with people who want to make changes in their lives. Although he specialises in extreme weight loss his main aim is to assist people in regaining control and live the life they truly deserve.

    Inspiration in the great and the unremarkable

    Jessie’s work has allowed him to see the strength of the human body and more impressively the human spirit. Whilst being a part of people’s transformational life journeys, Jessie has seen inspiration in the great and the unremarkable.

    On a human level, vulnerability is the birthplace of inspiration and his work allows Jessie to see a person at their most vulnerable. He firmly believes that you can’t be inspired or become an inspiration without vulnerability.

    In his talk, Jessie invites you to find the subtle yet powerful moments of inspiration in the people and the world around us.

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  • Helen Sang

    Helen Sang received a degree in Natural Sciences and a PhD in Genetics from the University of Cambridge. She continued developing a research career with fellowships at Harvard and Edinburgh universities in molecular genetics and was then appointed as Principal Investigator at The Roslin Institute and now part of the Royal (Dick) School for Veterinary Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.

    Her personal research focus at The Roslin Institute has been the development and application of technologies for genetic modification of the chicken, as a research tool in basic biology, in biotechnology for protein therapeutics production and investigating the potential for developing disease resistance in production chickens. This has lead to a broader interest in the potential of genome editing technologies in agriculture, and involvement in public engagement to discuss these opportunities with policy makers, industry and the wider public.

    Why do we need GM chickens?

    Over 50 billion chickens are hatched globally every year and soon poultry meat will become the most popular meat consumed in the world. If we are to manage the predicted increase in consumption, due to the increase in population and increase in wealth, we need to consider using all the tools available to us to improve the genetics
    of chickens and other farmed animals.

    We have already used “traditional” genetics to improve productivity in poultry but managing the threat of infectious diseases is still a major problem. Can we use genome editing/genetic modification technologies in chickens to confer resistance to major diseases, for example, bird flu?

    We have made progress in this area. In fact, there are many projects in development using genome editing to confer resistance to major diseases in farm animals and crops, such as porcine respiratory disease in pigs and powdery mildew in wheat.

    The regulatory system is falling behind these technological advances and we are being told that people do not want to eat GM food. Is the potential for new technologies to improve food production, with a positive impact on productivity and health, going to be delayed or developed elsewhere? Do we need GM chickens? Helen will explore.

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  • David Eustace

    Leaving school at 16 with an Art O’level David worked in various jobs. At 18, he served on a Royal Navy Minesweeper, and at 21 became a prison officer at HM Prison Barlinnie. At 28, he returned, as a mature student, to full-time education at Edinburgh Napier University. He graduated 3 years later with a BA Distinction in Photographic Studies.

    At 32, David worked at GQ / Vogue and other London-based magazines. For 15 years he split his time between homes in Glasgow and New York City. He has travelled the globe and his work has been recognised both locally and internationally in terms of commissions and awards.

    In 2011, he received an Honorary Dr. of Arts for his contribution in his chosen field. In 2012, Panasonic based their global Lumix TV and print campaign around David’s work. His work is held in both private and public art collections and in 2015 he was the first photographic artist to have an exhibition in The Scottish Gallery’s 173-year history. In the same year, David became The Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, a post he will serve in for 5 years.

    What if?

    This talk aims to highlight and display evidence of the importance in taking a first, often doubtful and fearful, step. The possibility of rejection and negativity can cast doubt on hopes and to an extent shape the future.

    “What if?” will highlight and reference the unknown and its final related potential, importance, value and contribution to directly affect a time not imaginable in the future, in a world equally undreamt of and with a person who wasn’t even born at the initial time.

    It will also show how it can affect a wider unknown audience and how one little action today can shape events many years later. Illustrating this connection and association through two very different events, highlighting how journeys from the immediate to dreams are often not a direct line and the chaos in the middle is the really important stage, even though it can seem disordered.

    For it’s the place that houses the wildest dreams, the ones that today can’t even be imagined.

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  • Dr Jane Bentley

    Jane is a drummer, facilitator, consultant and trainer; specialising in music in communication, health and wellbeing settings.

    She believes that everyone can make music – piloting musical social innovation projects as diverse as a drumming group for people experiencing mental health difficulties; exploring musical communication skills with corporate trainers through the medium of paper; making music with prisoners and their children to encourage family bonding; sharing the delights of improvisation with orchestral musicians who want to play in hospitals; creating a spontaneous bicycle orchestra for the 2014 Commonwealth Games; investigating the potential for rhythm in aiding language learning, and articulating the potential of music in the lives of people with dementia.

    In 2011, she was awarded her PhD based on musical interaction, highlighting the effects and mechanisms of group music making in human wellbeing. She has since trained musicians, music therapists, educators, trainers, arts practitioners, occupational therapists, and nursing staff from Bathgate to Bangalore.

    In 2015, she was awarded a Winston Churchill travelling Fellowship, researching the role of music in the wellbeing of older adults in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore, and in 2016, was named a BBC music ‘Unsung Hero’ for her community work.

    The art of following

    As a musician, Jane discovered that the art of following is an essential practice if you’re going to be anything other than a solo performer. Even more so if you then take music to people and places that normally don’t get the opportunity, such as hospitals and prisons.

    This is a call to reclaim the idea of followership from the stereotype of being seen as a passive and sheep-like activity, and to re-engage with it as a skill that can be an engine of learning, collaboration, connection, and reaching for possibilities beyond our personal boundaries. We may even make some music together.

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  • Terry A’Hearn

    After holding leadership jobs in Australia, England and Northern Ireland, Terry A’Hearn moved to Scotland in April 2015 as Chief Executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

    Terry hails from Melbourne, Australia. As a leader, he tries to use Australian informality to build trust and belief amongst his teams. Terry believes all people can achieve great things if you can create a great workplace for them.

    Terry also believes that organisations achieve a lot more when they form powerful and unexpected partnerships. In Australia, Terry worked with Australia’s four major banks and two major insurance companies to help them treat the environment as a serious commercial issue. In Northern Ireland, he created Prosperity Agreements in which a cement manufacturer, a poultry producer and used tyre operators combined efforts across supply chains to create environmental and commercial success.

    Terry believes the only chance for humanity to prosper is if those businesses which are environmentally brilliant make money and those who are environmentally poor go out of existence.

    In Scotland, Terry believes SEPA can make a powerful contribution to creating this new type of prosperity through its new One Planet Prosperity strategy.

    The mindset for a new prosperity

    Since the 1960s, most environmental action has focused on improving the environment alone. This has delivered some success. But it is no longer enough.

    Humanity’s future problems and opportunities are all systemic. Improving the environment without creating different types of social and economic success is now impossible. For example, if we don’t slow climate change, it will wreak social and economic havoc. Conversely, the only way to slow climate change is to change our social and economic systems. We need the clarity to see this truth and the courage to act on it. Many people have started to do so. But time is short and the need is urgent. Terry will talk about his experiences of how a change in mindset is possible and examples of where people have had the clarity and courage to act on this different way of thinking.

    Terry believes Scotland can make a big contribution. He sees it as being big enough to be serious, small enough to be nimble and with a long-term history of innovation and leadership. Terry thinks that Scotland is perfectly placed to prove that clarity of vision and courageous leadership can create new forms of environmental, social and economic success.

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  • Helen Minnis

    Helen is Scotland’s only Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and one of fewer than 20 black female Professors in the UK.

    Curiosity led her into science after spending a year working as an orphanage doctor in Guatemala, before training in psychiatry. The children in the orphanage, who had experienced severe abuse and neglect, had very unusual social behaviour – now called “Attachment Disorders”. This Attachment Disorder behaviour – an over-friendliness with strangers or severe social withdrawal – put them at risk of further abuse and neglect. Helen has spent her subsequent career trying to find out why many abused and neglected children have Attachment Disorders and how to help them.

    Helen enjoys charting new territories and getting surprises. Most recently, she has been running a large randomised controlled trial of a specialist mental health service for pre-school children coming into foster care due to abuse and neglect. This has underlined to her just how little we know. One of the biggest surprises she has come across is that many people think we understand a lot more than we actually do, which presents a challenge in itself.

    Lead by admitting that you don’t know

    “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain.

    Helen has been thinking about this statement, as she runs a randomised controlled trial (RCT) of a treatment for families who have abused or neglected their children. Judges struggle on a daily basis with momentous decisions about these children’s futures: send them home risking further abuse, or recommend adoption and sever family bonds? Science has not provided them with any evidence upon which to base these life-or-death decisions. Can you imagine if doctors simply guessed which drugs to give their patients, not knowing if they will poison or cure?

    Helen will explain that RCTs are a bit magic: tossing a coin irons out all complexities, allowing you to study your treatment alone. RCTs are a great way to lead by accepting that you just don’t know for sure – but that you plan to find out.

    Expecting one person to hold all the knowledge makes their decisions impossible.

    This talk will suggest that a true leader is someone who follows their nose, accepts uncertainty and stays curious. It is believing we know the answer that makes us blind.

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  • Janice Kirkpatrick

    In 1986 Janice co-founded design studio Graven in Glasgow with Ross Hunter. The studio employs 30 people and works for clients and projects in 32 countries. Janice is a designer who creates and manages brands and design projects for blue chip companies and ambitious start-ups, including British Airways, Radisson, Carlson Rezidor Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank, RBS, Martha’s and ROX.

    Janice is also a broadcaster and writer. She wrote and presented the BBC2 series ‘Designing Our Lives’. She was a Conran Foundation Archive Collector, a Governor of Glasgow School of Art, member of the British Council’s Creative Industries Advisory Group, Trustee of NESTA chairing the £20M Investment & Innovation seed fund, Trustee and Chairman of The Lighthouse and she is on the Advisory Board for V&A Dundee and The Scottish Government’s Creative Industries Advisory Group.

    Janice is also a horsewoman and beekeeper. She runs charitable project clydesdalehorse.org in conjunction with William Grant Foundation to ‘Preserve Clydesdale Horse Traditions’. She is also writing a book, ‘Brands for Boards’, to be published in 2017 that is based on her highly successful ‘BuildMyBrand’ process used in over 200 organisations.

    Brand Grooming

    In the era of social media, political upheaval, fake news and fake information, everyone is looking for trustworthy leaders to help them build lives they can believe in.

    Brands have stepped into this territory leading individuals to define their place in society and to give them social and economic status. But how can you be sure your chosen brands have integrity and that you are making informed choices?

    Brands are a primary natural resource, commodifying anything by using nothing more than grey matter. They are an amazing way to convert creativity into cash. Brands communicate devastatingly quickly and across many dimensions simultaneously. From toddlerhood, we unconsciously ’speak’ or follow brands in our search for things that promise security or advantage, because by rubbing up against brands we can increase our social and economic traction.

    The businesses behind brands groom new generations of addicted followers, incapable of judging the true value of the things brands represent. We all collude in their construction and are susceptible to their power.

    In her talk, Janice will show you how to interrogate your choices so that you can unpick your brand loyalties and learn to control brands for your own ends. In other words, how to become an empowered player, rather than a powerless fan or passive follower of brands.

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  • Dr Graeme Malcolm OBE

    Scientist and entrepreneur Dr Graeme Malcolm has led a productive career in photonics and laser technology, responsible for the growth of three successful photonics companies. Graeme is co-founder and CEO of M Squared, which develops and manufactures solid-state lasers and photonics applications.

    Graeme’s work with M Squared currently focuses on some of the greatest challenges in science, technology and society. These include remote sensing for security, counter-terrorism and civil infrastructure challenges, photonics technologies that help scientists develop techniques to diagnose and treat diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, systems to monitor climate change and food production from the Earth’s orbit and new ways to enhance cell science through microscopy.

    Most recently, M Squared have started working with the UK Quantum Technology Hubs and have successfully produced some of the UK’s first commercial quantum technologies including atom interferometry equipment and a single-pixel camera – a hybrid technology combining quantum sensing with infrared imaging.

    Graeme devotes himself to supporting the UK’s scientific base. He was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen for his services to science and innovation and a Swan Medal from the Institute of Physics for his outstanding contributions to the application of physics in a commercial context.

    Quantum technology: Building the gateway to a new world

    Quantum physics is a gradually emerging area of technology that will transform digital computing, information and communications technology, medical science and care, navigation, security and financial markets and could transform life in ways we cannot yet even imagine.

    Graeme will introduce both the science and the business of quantum technology and offer insights from his own experience working in this emerging field of groundbreaking technology.

    Scientists such as Albert Einstein and his contemporaries first promulgated quantum theory in the early 20th Century. Particles could be in two states at once, and two separate particles separated by a great distance can seemingly sense something about their counterpart’s condition, a situation known as quantum entanglement. Einstein nicknamed this ‘spooky action at a distance’ and, being the basis for our most advanced understanding of physics, it has considerable consequences for technology of all kinds, including communications and information technology. It is highly counterintuitive, running against Newtonian understandings of the universe’s natural laws, which were previously considered to follow the observable way in which matter behaves.

    Only in the past two decades have many of these theories entered the realms of established science, thanks to huge leaps forward in scientific understanding and experimentation. Much of this advancement is down to laser technology.

    Lasers and photonics instruments undergird manufacturing techniques, computer processors and hard drives, medical scanning instruments, chemical and gravity sensing instruments, imaging tools, time measurement and other tools. They are also used to help us build a scientific understanding of cells and organic tissues, the basic nature of physical matter and gravity.

    If quantum science is now providing the foundations for the advancement of our scientific understanding of the world, where could this lead? And, how will the limits and boundaries of technology change? Graeme will explain, in simple terms, the nature of this new understanding of physics and how quantum computers and other new technologies could take huge leaps forward thanks to our new understanding.

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  • Gillian Docherty

    Recently scooping CEO of the Year at the DigiTech Awards 2017, Gillian has been the CEO of The Data Lab for the last 2 years, a Scottish Innovation Centre helping organisations innovate through the use of data science and analytics. Gillian’s work leading The Data Lab includes working to bring translational research into new products, services and to enable operational and productivity efficiencies.

    A self-confessed technology geek and ex-IBMer, Gillian talks regularly on technology and specifically data and its impact on our lives, our businesses and our public sector. Gillian is passionate about enabling our children to embrace new opportunities and for them to have the skills and aptitude needed to thrive. Gillian is also on the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Board and Tech Partnership Board and has a degree in Computing Science from University of Glasgow.

    2037, who is leading, who is following?

    Gillian will talk about life in 2037, through the eyes of her daughter. By then, many aspects of technological innovation will have revolutionised how we live, how we interact with our bodies, family, colleagues and socialise. Gillian will share that journey with the audience, exploring some of the technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing and other technology.

    Through her talk she will ask the question; Do we need to lead now, so that our children can lead in the future?

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  • Theo Priestley

    Theo Priestley is a technology executive, advisor, recognised industry thought-leader and futurist, with special interests in virtual and augmented/mixed reality, artificial intelligence, the Internet of things, big data and cloud technologies, and how they all connect.

    Over the last decade, Theo has presented to Business and IT audiences around the world, and written articles on emerging themes, such as digital transformation, fintech, big data, AI, the Internet of things, and future trends. He has spent time researching and advising clients on such topics and the challenges they face on technology culture changes within their organisations.

    He also gives back his time advising and mentoring tech startups in accelerator programmes. More recently, Theo has joined SAP as Vice President and Global Evangelist for S/4HANA Cloud.

    Would you be happy to follow a robot leader?

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the hottest topics at the moment across the globe. And, many are saying that it poses a threat to humanity. But, will we ever accept a robot as a leader in business, as a figurehead for a nation or a country?

    What are the implications of allowing AI into our lives? Or, is the genie out the bottle already? In his talk, Theo looks at AI now and in the near future.

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  • Wafa Shaheen

    Originally from Iraq, Wafa arrived in Glasgow in 1996. Wafa has been working since 2000 on immigration and asylum issues, programmes and projects providing information, advice, advocacy and support to refugees at different stages of the asylum and integration process. Her role as Head of Services involves development, management and delivery of Scottish Refugee Council’s direct services ensuring that they are of a good quality and support refugees to exercise their rights and rebuild their lives in Scotland.

    In Iraq, Wafa had a BSc degree in Mechanical Engineering and worked for 8 years in a factory initially as a maintenance engineer, then production and her last job was as the assistant technical manager.

    Life after Iraq – Decision to destination

    Some decisions take a long time to reach, even if their impact is not that significant. However, some life-changing decisions happen with no time to think.

    Looking back, leaving Baghdad, – her home, her large family, friends and history – with no destination in mind was the most difficult decision Wafa had to quickly make.

    In her talk, Wafa tells her story of the decision to leave Iraq in 1996 with her husband and her three-year-old son, which ended up, unexpectedly, in Glasgow. She offers her own perspective, as well as reflecting on the experiences faced by others. Looking at the barriers faced, the challenges and the successes of delivering a pioneering integration service.

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  • Jamie Cooke

    As Head of RSA Scotland, Jamie leads on the development and delivery of a wide range of policy, research and thought leadership projects. Rooted in collaboration across a wide range of sectors, Jamie works to bring together individuals and organisations committed to progressive social chance and the concept of a better Scotland.

    He is a lead figure in the basic income movement in Scotland, and also has particular interests in the areas of design, public service reform, political engagement, education and politics.

    Jamie is a Director of the Melting Pot, Scotland’s Centre for Social Innovation; a Board Member of COSCA, Scotland’s Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy; and a
    Trustee of Citizens Basic Income Network Scotland (CBINS).

    He lives in Bishopbriggs with his wife, two children and cat.

    Basic income – Scotland’s radical chance to lead the world (again)

    The welfare state, built for a different age, is crumbling.

    As films such as ‘I, Daniel Blake‘ have vividly demonstrated, a system designed to support and protect people at moments of vulnerability in their lives has been warped into one which uses sanctions to punish and control. As wages have stagnated, jobs have changed and incomes have been unpredictable, we have seen the growth of a section of society which Guy Standing calls the ‘Precariat’, living precarious, insecure lives. In turn, we have seen dangerous forces start to harness these insecurities, fuelling the rise of the far right in various parts of the world.

    It’s a depressing picture, but there is hope – and Scotland, once again, has a chance to act as a beacon of enlightenment.

    Glasgow is leading the way on developing basic income pilots, radical schemes to change the way we envisage work, income and our place in society; and in which we fundamentally shift the relationship between the citizen and state.

    In this talk, Jamie will outline some of the positive paths we could take, and the role that basic income could play in creating a radically different Glasgow and Scotland.

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