2018 Speakers

From the dark side of the universe to the future of robotics, the importance of the arts to understanding autism and so much more, take a look at the 20 spectacular speakers of 2018

Watch their’s and all previous talks here.

  • David Webster

    David Webster is a Partner at global design and innovation company IDEO, and is based in Palo Alto, California. Immersed in the heart of Silicon Valley, Webster and his colleagues are passionate about using design to humanise technology. They channel this into the creation of valuable new user experiences and businesses for tech giants, global brands, and startups.

    David is particularly focused on exploring the new affordances of emerging technologies. A current example is ‘augmented intelligence’, where the goal is to use artificial intelligence to extend and complement, rather than replace, human capability.

    David has played multiple leadership roles in his 20-year tenure at IDEO. He was previously the Managing Director for each of IDEO’s largest studios, in Palo Alto and San Francisco, and also led the company’s global Health and Wellness practice.

    Before IDEO, Webster worked at GK Design in Tokyo, where a renowned Japanese industrial designer taught him the phrase, ‘Human-Machine-Soul-Energy.’ He firmly believes in the value of designing at the intersection of all four, making it a core theme in his work and many talks for conferences, clients, and universities.

    Webster holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Design Engineering from the Royal College of Art and a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from University of Edinburgh. He is happiest being a kid with his kids and building things in their imaginary worlds.

    How we can help technology to be good

    Creativity x Technology = Impact. Every single human is capable of being creative. Technology is providing us with the most powerful tools in history. The world needs all of us to choose to do something positive with that.

    But technology can often be a problem as well. These days, we are all too familiar with the unintended consequences of technological advances. And the pace of progress is only increasing.

    Technology advances won’t stop. We don’t get to control whether they happen, but the right design approach lets us influence how they happen.

    David believes that optimism still works when it comes to creating with technology. By observing a few simple steps, anyone can orient their creativity and invent in a way that brings out the best at the intersection of human and technology.

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  • Karen Dunbar

    Born in Glasgow and brought up in Ayr, Karen Dunbar is one of Scotland’s best-known and loved comedy actors. Starting off her television career in the sketch show Chewin’ The Fat, she went on to star in four seasons of The Karen Dunbar Show, which received four Rose d’OR nominations, and, most recently, joined the infamous River City cast.

    But television is just one string to her bow, Karen has repeatedly appeared in British theatres including London’s West End, the National Theatre, acted in Shakespeare plays, performed Burns poetry, done stand up comedy, recorded her own album and DJ-ed in New York and Australia.

    For over 25 years she has charmed audiences with her comedy, music and acting talents and now she brings her unique style of storytelling to our TEDx stage.

    Use humour as a tool, not a weapon

    Exploring her personal connection to humour and how it has not only formed the basis for her career but enabled her to make connections with others, Karen’s talk emphasises our need, as a society, for humour.

    For many though, humour is a weapon, one to both protect themselves and, at times, attack others. In her early years, Karen used humour as an outlet for unresolved issues and often went too far in the quest for a laugh. When a former fan complained about the hurt her humour had caused, Karen was forced to rethink what she framed as ‘funny’.

    When used for ill, humour can have devastating effects. But, when used widely, it can be a powerful tool for good. So before we crack that next joke, Karen will ask us to consider our motives and deliver more than the perfect one-liner.

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  • Nick Earle

    Nick spent 30-years in the high-tech industry and led two cross-company transformation programs for $50 billion-dollar IT giants prior to applying his change management skills to the transportation industry. He has also co-authored two books; Mesh Collaboration: Creating New Business Value in the Network of Everything (2008) and From Dot.com to Dot.profit (2000).

    Today, Nick leads Virgin Hyperloop One’s Global Field Operations organisation. Virgin Hyperloop One is leading the world in designing and building the first new mode of mass transportation since the aeroplane.

    Prior to this, Nick was responsible for the Cisco Systems’ global cloud go-to-market strategy and Cisco Services worldwide field organisation and grew the business to over $10 billion in revenue. He was tasked by the CEO to lead the company’s efforts to transition from hardware-centric company to a cloud, software, and services-led company. He has also held senior executive roles at Hewlett Packard, where he ran the Worldwide Enterprise Marketing function and was appointed by the CEO to define and roll out the HP Internet strategy to transform HP for the dot-com era.

    Collapsing the barriers of distance & time

    Today, it takes five hours to travel between Glasgow and London on the train. What if those 300 minutes were collapsed to just 50?

    With speeds that are two to three times faster than high-speed rail and on-demand experience with no stopping, hyperloop can make this dream a reality.

    The speed and experience of hyperloop could radically alter daily commutes, supply chains, airport and city design, and could ultimately boost the economy. In his TEDxGlasgow talk, Nick Earle will take us on a journey of hyperloop’s potential impact in the next ten years and beyond.

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  • Marcela Navarro

    Marcela is the award-winning Co-Founder and CEO of Project-X. Their mission is to radically transform 10 industries in 10 years – making whole industries more sustainable in the process. By working within the value chain, working with tested and viable sustainable innovation substitutions, they are achieving exponential impact.

    Her career has spanned over 20 years, three continents, four languages and the fields of value chain, sustainability and banking for the likes of WWF, RBS and ABN Amro. She is a recognised leader in purpose-led transformation, value chain and open innovation models.

    Self interest is the key for collective action

    We only have a decade before catastrophic climate changes melt the polar ice caps, kill half of all species on planet Earth, as well as keystone ecosystems like the coral reefs or rainforests. If we manage to survive beyond this most of the biodiversity we are familiar with will be something you will only see in museums.

    So, how do we avert this disaster? It isn’t easy. There’s no magic wand we can wave to change that, no silver bullet, and the next planet over is far from habitable, no matter what Elon Musk says.

    Procurement of sustainable innovations is at the center of scale and impact. We know how to do it, we have proven it twice… but we need help.

    In her talk, Marcela invites you to join her on her time-critical mission. Project-X’s resolution is unwavering, with their sights set on accelerating change in 10 of the world’s most polluting industries in just 10 years. This will mean shifting nothing short of 2% of the total global world’s product into cleaned sustainable procured pounds. An ambition with great magnitude.

    Find out how you can play your part in helping achieve 10×10 and speed up change.

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  • Dr Adam Rutherford

    With a PhD in Genetics and a degree in evolutionary biology, Adam Rutherford is well known for his BBC Radio 4 flagship science programme ‘Inside Science’, as well as many documentaries, on the inheritance of intelligence, on MMR and autism, human evolution, astronomy and art, science and cinema, scientific fraud, and the evolution of sex. On television, his latest series was The Beauty of Anatomy on BBC4, on the role of the human dissection in art.

    Adam also presented the award-winning Horizon: Playing God (BBC2, Jan 2012); The Gene Code (BBC4, Apr 2011); and the award-winning The Cell (BBC4, Sept 2009).

    A movie geek, Adam was scientific advisor to Björk’s movie Biophilia Live and worked on World War Z, The Secret Service (2014) and Ex Machina (2015). His critically acclaimed first book, Creation – on the origin and future of life – was published in 2013, and was nominated for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize. He is currently writing his second, and third.

    Rethink everything we know about genes and identity politics

    Genetics is merely the formal scientific study of sex and inheritance. Genetics is – at best – a science only a century old, we’ve only really begun to get a grasp on how DNA relates to how and who we are in the last 10 years. We’ve been thinking about sex and inheritance for ten thousand years. What this means is that there is a lot of cultural baggage that people carry when it comes to the ideas that genetics is beginning to unpick scientifically. And most of them are wrong.

    DNA will not tell you who you are, what tribe you belong to or what country your ancestors came from. Your genes will not reveal whether you are gay or straight, who you will fancy, what foods you should eat, how smart you are, nor how you will die. We’re in a golden age for the science of genetics, but the advent of cheap consumer genomic testing kits – for everything from ancestry to wine preference to skin cream to sporting advice – is hampering the progress we should be making towards a greater public understanding of how DNA is part of our lives. The kits play to our cultural prejudices and base desires for simple answers to complex questions, from the trivial – everyone wants to be a Viking – to the profoundly pernicious, including as justification for racism. We have to rethink how to talk about genetics.

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  • Kirsty Wark

    One of Britain’s most experienced television journalists, Kirsty Wark has presented a wide range of programmes over the past thirty years – from the groundbreaking Late Show to Election specials, live stadium events and the BBC’s flagship nightly current affairs show Newsnight. She also hosted the weekly Arts and Cultural review and comment show, The Review Show (formerly Newsnight Review) for over a decade. She has conducted long-form interviews with everyone from Margaret Thatcher to Madonna, Harold Pinter to Pete Doherty, Damian Hirst to George Clooney and the likes of Toni Morrison, Donna Tartt and Philip Roth.

    Kirsty has made cameo appearances in a range of television dramas, radio programmes and films. She has featured in Dr Who, Absolutely Fabulous, The IT Crowd, Spooks, The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, The Acid House, Beyond the Pole, Party Animals, With Great Pleasure and The Politician’s Husband. She reached the final in Celebrity Masterchef in 2011 and hosted the culinary quiz A Question of Taste for BBC2. Kirsty has won several major awards for her work including BAFTA Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting, Journalist of the Year and Best Television Presenter.

    Kirsty was born in Dumfries and educated in Kilmarnock. She is married to Alan Clements and has two children. Her debut novel, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle, was published in March 2014 by Two Roads – an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton. She is currently writing her second novel.

    Working well in the 21st century

    The world of work is changing rapidly, but by present measures the UK’s productivity is woeful, and yet we work long hours. Something’s not working.

    Kirsty will be building on research and the evidence of other countries to suggest that 4 days of work can be more productive than 5. The question is what would you do with the present of a day?

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  • Simon Bowers

    With a notable career as an investigative journalist spanning over 20 years, Simon Bowers worked as Senior Business Reporter for The Guardian before joining the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) as its senior reporter in January 2017.

    Specialising in investigative stories, he has worked on projects involving large data leaks, including the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers. His reporting has featured in The Guardian, BBC Panorama, New York Times, The Irish Times, CBC News, ABC News, Vice News, Le Soir and El Confidencial.

    Often working closely with whistleblowers, his articles have helped to win awards, spark political resignations, prompt parliamentary inquiries, change laws, build lawsuits and bring criminal prosecutions. And now, he brings his story to our TEDx stage.

    How can we help big corporations learn to love paying tax?

    Simon has spent the last seven years exposing elaborate internal money flows, hidden inside large global corporations, that serve no purpose other than to avoid tax. Most voters and politicians want to stop this behaviour. But effective reform has been very hard to accomplish.

    We need to rethink. And the rethink needs to start with some basic reflections on our own attitudes to tax. When we are clearer about the role tax plays in our own lives, then we can help politicians and multinational corporations reach for solutions that don’t work against our interests.

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  • Adam Kashmiry

    An Egyptian refugee, Adam is a performer, an LGBTIQ advocate and an educator for transgender issues. He has recently made his professional debut in the theatre production called ADAM as part of the Fringe 2017. This play went on to win the Fringe First Award, the Scottish Arts Club Award and was shortlisted for Amnesty International’s coveted Award for Free Speech. Adam has also won a Herald Angel Award for this role.

    Prior to this, Adam appeared in the short film ‘Time for T.E.A’ by LGBT youth Scotland, as well as a 2012 production in the Citizen’s theatre called ‘Here we stay’.

    Imagine that being yourself could get you killed

    In his talk, Adam will explore how we construct our understanding of ourselves and those around us. How the person we are born does not necessarily dictate the person we become.

    From Alexandria in Egypt to Glasgow, Adam crossed borders, barriers and genders to find his true self. Delving into the realms of politics, LGBTIQ rights, education and ignorance, this talk exposes a deeply personal story alongside some stark facts, in the hopes of delivering a powerful message to rethink our own perspectives, bias and compassion.

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  • Catherine Heymans

    Catherine Heymans is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Edinburgh. She specialises in observing the dark side of our universe, using deep sky observations to test whether we need to go beyond Einstein with our current theory of gravity.

    Catherine has co-authored over 150 articles in scientific journals and written the popular science book “The Dark Universe”. She is a fellow of both the European Research Council and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and she holds the 2017 Darwin Lectureship from the Royal Astronomical Society. When Catherine is not busy unveiling the mysteries of the universe or enthusiastically lecturing undergraduates, she can usually be found building sandcastles and paddling in the sea with her three small children.

    Searching for a new cosmic view

    Just over 95% of our universe comes in the shrouded form of dark energy and matter that we can neither explain nor directly detect. Together, these two dark entities play out a cosmic battle of epic proportions with the gravity of dark matter slowly pulling structures in the universe together, and dark energy fuelling the universes accelerated expansion, making it ever harder for those structures to grow.

    Catherine Heymans has used the world’s best telescopes to map out the invisible dark matter in our universe and confront different theories on the dark universe. In her talk, she will explore this dark enigma and explain why she thinks that in order to truly understand the dark universe we need some new physics that will forever change our cosmic view.

    Join us for an adventure through space and science.

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  • Roie Galitz

    Israeli born photographer Roie Galitz’s greatest passions in life, nature and photography, take him into the wild. As an adventurous wildlife photographer, he travels in extreme conditions to some of the most remote places on earth, capturing images of rarely viewed animals in their natural habitats.

    He believes that a unique perspective, in photography and life, can actualize any vision. His lifelong mission is to take pictures that have never taken before, through which he is able to raise awareness to increasingly pressing environmental issues.

    Roie is an award-winning wildlife photographer and a Greenpeace ambassador to the Arctic and the Antarctic. For over a decade, he has been exploring and documenting our planet’s wildlife. His photographs get great exposure worldwide, millions of views and frequent appearances in the media (most recently featured in the BBC’s Snow Bears film, aired Christmas 2017). He has been showcased in international exhibitions and featured in exclusive magazines, and this year, he will share his exciting adventures here at TEDxGlasgow.

    Our world is changing and so should we: A visual story to promote positive change

    Picture this – it’s a nice chilly evening, let’s say 40 years from now. You’re sitting next to your grandchild, reading her favourite bedtime story. Her big eyes shine with delight as you tell the tale of huge magnificent creatures who once roamed our world.

    When you imagine that day, that story, do you think of woolly mammoths? Maybe dinosaurs? Probably not polar bears, gorillas and rhinos though, right? Well then, it’s time to rethink. Because that might well be our future. And it’s not so far down the road as you may think.

    In this thrilling talk, Roie Galitz, a renowned wildlife photographer and Greenpeace ambassador, will share the stories of endangered animals, as seen through his lens. Join him on exciting adventures across our amazing planet, discovering the secrets behind some of his greatest shots. Through his inspiring stories, Roie hopes to share the importance of environmental awareness today, at a point when we are still able to action change.

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  • Victoria Heaney

    Victoria Heaney is a woman on a crusade for menstrual justice. She is a member of one of Scotland’s most effective grassroots organisations “Women for Independence”. Her commitment to feminism and gender equality led her to create #FreePeriodScotland, a national research study that set out to create a never seen before evidence base around period poverty.

    The findings of her research highlighted that period poverty was but a scratch on a surface of one of the most salient hidden issues of our time. This has propelled Victoria to go beyond period poverty and to take the topic of menstruation into the mainstream. Fighting for equality is intrinsic to her values and something that has followed her all her life. From supporting women to pursue equal pay in her hometown as a trade unionist to being an International Observer for the Catalonian Government, her pursuit of doing the right thing is a natural part of her character.

    Let's get the nation talking about menstruation

    With her research into period poverty uncovering shocking statistics around the spread and depth of the problem right here in our country, Victoria wants to challenge us to not only rethink menstruation but to start talking about it. You could say that she is a woman on a menstrual justice mission.

    Victoria will discuss how her she reframed her role as an activist to become a social researcher in her pursuit of creating evidence around a notoriously under-researched subject.

    The research is not only about women in poverty. It uncovered real issues around stigma and shame, which need to be challenged in order for us to open up a national conversation that can create a cultural shift in our attitudes. A conversation that is drastically needed if we wish to stop forcing women to choose between food or sanitary wear.

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  • Dr Jack Kreindler

    Jack is a doctor, serial technology entrepreneur, and international thought leader on the future of life science and medicine.

    Having trained at UCL in Medicine and Physiology, and after practicing in Emergency Medicine and High Altitude Physiology, in 2007, Jack founded The Centre for Health and Human Performance (CHHP) in London. CHHP is now renowned for its work with elite athletes and applying sport science to help the sickest and most unlikely individuals succeed in extraordinary challenges, including all the Sport Relief charity challenges.

    With an interest and professional experience in information technology since the age of 13, Jack has founded and funded several innovative medical technology ventures in the UK and California aiming to bring predictive analytics and Artificial Intelligence into healthcare management and medical practice to enable doctors and patients make better, earlier decisions.

    Cancer. Crossing the incurable sea.

    Our approach to aggressive cancers and the diseases of aging needs to be transformed. They are complex ‘systems biology’ problems, impenetrable to cure. They often leave patients and loved ones without hope. We must rethink how we study and treat them, collaboratively.

    The current model – risk averse, do no harm, incremental change through expensive trials. These have proved so much, but, used alone, are no longer fit for purpose. If we harness innovations like Genomics, Next Gen Biomarkers and AI within Adaptive Clinical Trials, use connectivity and creativity beyond the medical sphere as in engineering, technology and design, we can start to navigate our way through previously impassable waters.

    We can now learn, from every doctor about every patient, how to better treat and eventually prevent such devastating diseases, and, above all, offer hope for all those who find themselves lost at sea.

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  • Shona McCarthy

    Shona McCarthy is the Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society – the charity that underpins the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world.

    Originally from County Down, Shona has dedicated her career to championing and developing arts and culture. From 2011 to 2014 she was Chief Executive of the Culture Company, leading on Derry-Londonderry’s transformational year as UK City of Culture, creating and delivering a world-class, citywide cultural programme for 2013. Prior to that she was Director of the British Council Northern Ireland leading a team of 40 to oversee international programmes of work across schools, arts and Higher Education to build positive international cultural relations. She was the CEO of Imagine Belfast, heading up Belfast’s bid to be European Capital of Culture. She was Head of Exhibition at the Northern Ireland Film Council and also spent many years as Chief Executive of Cinemagic Film Festival for young people in Belfast; and the Foyle Film Festival in Derry.

    In 2007 she was the Northern Ireland recipient of a NESTA cultural leadership award which took her to live and work in India with Seagull Foundation for the Arts in Calcutta, and in 2014 she was Northern Ireland’s recipient of the Eisenhower Fellowship. As well as her Fringe commitments, Shona is Chair of Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast, and Walk The Plank, a Salford-based Creative agency specialising in spectacular outdoor arts and pyrotechnics.

    The art of the Fringe and the fringe of art

    There is an urgent need to embed active, creative cultural inclusion into every aspect of our societies, education, health and well-being, economics, skills and jobs. Why is is that creativity and culture what we turn to as the last resort when all else has failed? We know it works, from Cities of Culture, Festival cities to failing schools that have been transformed by becoming arts schools.

    The Creative industries grow at twice the rate of the rest of our economy. Study after study has provided evidence and statistics to illustrate the positive impact of creativity and making, the social, cultural and economic value. Ken Robinson wrote All our Futures 20 years ago and is a global advocate for creative learning and educational reform, there have been almost 50 million views of his TED talk. So, what has changed? If feels like we are in reverse on this agenda. Humanity needs us to be in acceleration.

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  • Darren McGarvey

    Going by the stage name Loki, Darren McGarvey is a Scottish rapper, hip hop recording artist, columnist, author and social commentator, who is passionate about exploring community and social responsibility.

    Brought up in Pollok, in Glasgow’s south side, surrounded by poverty, addiction, and mental troubles, Darren went on to study journalism at Glasgow Clyde College and wrote and presented eight programmes about the cause of anti-social behaviours and social deprivation for BBC Radio Scotland.

    In 2017, he published his first book Poverty Safari: Understanding the Anger of Britain’s Underclass.

    Understanding anger in an age of outrage

    In his talk, Darren will examine the role anger and other potentially toxic emotions can play in undermining our wellbeing as well as our ability to bring about broader social change.

    Personal experience has taught Darren that while he often has every right to be angry about things, it doesn’t always lead to a good outcome. As well as the impact of anger on personal wellbeing, he’s found it makes him less effective at listening and communicating.

    Anger is natural, but how do we wield it to our advantage?

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  • Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne

    Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne is a trained chef and food entrepreneur. She studied Physiology at the University of London and after graduation, trained at Leith’s School of Food and Wine before honing her skills as a Chef at Conran’s Bibendum Restaurant. Lucinda also ran a successful catering company in London for three years before returning to Leiths as a cookery teacher and co-author of the Leiths Techniques Bible.

    In 2008, she founded Genius Foods, a company with a mission to deliver delicious gluten-free products and promote gastronomy inclusivity. Now with in excess of 25 products, Genius exports across the globe to Europe, Australia and North America.

    In addition to Leiths Techniques Bible, her literary portfolio now also includes How to Cook for Food Allergies published 2007 and most recently The Genius Gluten-Free Cookbook published in January 2016. Lucinda was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2017 where she now sits on the Enterprise Fellowship Panel. She has also recently been announced as Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Edinburgh.

    A winning recipe for innovation

    In this fast changing world, innovation is everything.

    After failing to find soft, fresh and tasty gluten free bread, suitable for her gluten intolerant son, Lucinda set out on a mission to develop this badly needed product herself. Three years of research and hard work later, on the back of this groundbreaking innovation, she founded Genius Foods and launched her bread nationwide in 2009. Since the first listing of Genius bread in Tesco, Lucinda has overseen the creation of Britain’s leading bakery brand within the ‘Free-From’ category, revolutionising the industry with over 25 products.

    As a chef and entrepreneur, Lucinda aims to give her unique recipe for successful innovation through her TEDx talk and share how everyone can be a part of it.

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  • Sethu Vijayakumar

    Professor Sethu Vijayakumar holds the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering – Microsoft Research Chair in Robotics at the University of Edinburgh and is the founding director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics. He has pioneered the use of large scale machine learning techniques in the real-time control of several iconic robotic platforms, including the SARCOS and the HONDA ASIMO humanoids, KUKA-LWR robot arm and iLIMB prosthetic hand.

    His latest project (2017) involves a collaboration with NASA Johnson Space Centre on the Valkyrie humanoid robot being prepared for unmanned robotic pre-deployment missions to Mars. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a judge on BBC Robot Wars and winner of the 2015 Tam Dalyell Prize for excellence in engaging the public with science.

    Sending your robot to Mars? List of things to pack

    Robotics are changing the way we work, play and explore. In his talk, Sethu explores some daring ideas that are both out of this world and have a profound impact on our daily lives – ideas that would have been considered impossible just a decade ago but are now critical to the very survival of our race. Ideas that are being enabled through cutting-edge developments in robotics and artificial intelligence.

    Along the way you will see the future of smart cities, experience first-hand a robot augmentation of human capabilities and, of course, attempt to answer what (capabilities) to pack in an unmanned robotic pre-deployment mission to Mars.

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  • Philippa Waller

    Philippa is CEO of 4D Human Being. She is passionate about bringing Conscious Leadership and Conscious Communication to leaders, teams and individuals all over the world.

    With a background in business, theatre, improvisation and psychology, Philippa works extensively in the fields of personal impact, presentation skills, storytelling, creativity and communication at all levels within organisations. And in all formats – from fully immersive 4D Leadership & Communication skills Programmes to 1-2-1 Executive Coaching to Interactive Conference Keynotes.

    The improvising mindset: How every connection and interaction shapes your reality

    “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.” And you are a part of this performance of ‘life’ – which is not a pre-planned script, but an enormous emergent improvised scene.

    So, let’s get good at the game of improvisation. In the same way that your brain fires off two neurons creating a new neural pathway leading to new thoughts, beliefs and realities – so every interaction and connection in every relationship is doing the same.

    We human beings are not objects in a vacuum, we are the sum of our interactions. In her talk, Philippa shares how to become a great improviser, so that you can consciously shape your interactions and so consciously shape your life. Learn the rules of improvisation so you can play the game and more than that – you can change the game. Rethink as an improviser. Rethink how you shape your life. Rethink you.

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  • Andy Haldane

    Andrew G Haldane is the Chief Economist at the Bank of England.  He is also Executive Director, Monetary Analysis, Research and Statistics.  He is a member of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee.  He also has responsibility for research and statistics across the Bank.  Andrew has an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University, is Honorary Professor at University of Nottingham, a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, a member of Economic Council of Royal Economic Society, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and Member of Research and Policy Committee at NESTA.   Andrew is the founder and Trustee of ‘Pro Bono Economics’, a charity which brokers economists into charitable projects and a Trustee of National Numeracy.

    Andrew has written extensively on domestic and international monetary and financial policy issues and has published over 150 articles and four books.  In 2014, TIME magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

    Putting the “Public” in Public Institutions

    Public institutions, such as the Bank of England, were created by the public for the public.

    Yet public trust in, and understanding of, these public institutions has been eroded, including by the
    financial crisis.

    How are these deficits of trust and understanding among the public to be closed and the legitimacy of public institutions thereby restored?

    One option is to give the public direct democratic control of public policy decisions, through referenda. That would come at a heavy cost. An alternative, Andy Haldane argues, is to put place a “deliberative democratic” process – an ongoing, two-way engagement between public institutions and the public they serve.

    This would involve convening and consulting the general public on a systematic, regional basis – for example, through Citizens’ Panels – on the economy and economic policy.

    These panels would be a means of harnessing the wisdom of crowds, of harvesting people’s lived experiences, to improve the setting of policy and the legitimacy of the public institutions setting it.

    For the first time in its 324-year history, the Bank of England is about to do just that.

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  • Jean MacAskill Kerr

    Jean MacAskill Kerr has spent over 20 years working in the tech industry developing a deep fascination with change and how people react to it – in today’s’ increasingly chaotic and unpredictable world the need for resilience and strength in the face of change has never been more critical.

    Through Jean’s day job, supporting leaders and teams in Cisco as they transform the business, her passion to learn more about wellbeing and resilience become strong enough to have her step forward and volunteer to learn more deeply about wellbeing first hand. By becoming an early pioneer for the Cisco Pavelka initiative Jean had the opportunity to work closely with international health and wellbeing expert Jessie Pavelka who is partnering with Cisco to re-imagine how we tackle wellbeing in the workplace. Always an enthusiastic student, Jean threw herself into the experience and learned how to completely rethink her approach to health and most importantly how to put small and sustainable changes in place to make a real transformation that can “stick” – even when things get challenging.

    Change - how do you make sure you don’t stop?

    When it comes to change – getting started and taking those first steps can be the hardest thing to do.

    In Jean MacAskill Kerr’s experience, she found sustaining change was, in fact, much harder than starting. Thirteen years of fresh starts built a pretty strong starting muscle. What Jean really needed was a sustaining muscle!

    Only when Jean had a total rethink of her beliefs on change, success and failure did she have a breakthrough moment. In her talk, Jean will take you through her journey of fear, discomfort, joy, setbacks and occasional minor victories.

    Instead of constantly starting – Jean has found a “get back up and keep going” approach has completely changed not only her health and wellbeing but also how she tackles life challenges with a new found sense of resilience.

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  • Rachel Woods

    Rachel was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism at the age of 10 at the Edinburgh Sick Kids Hospital. She went on to receive speech and social therapy from a very young age. Anxiety plays a big role in her everyday life but with a supportive network of family, friends and colleagues, she can confidently turn to those people when she is in need of help.

    Now, Rachel works for VisitScotland, has delivered a speech to HRH Princess Anne and is representing Scotland’s youth as a Year of Young People Ambassador.

    Let's rethink ability and autism

    Do you know someone with autism? Have you heard about it or come across it in the media? Or have you been reading this wondering what that word autism actually means?

    Don’t worry, when Rachel sat in front of a team of psychologists during her official diagnosis she had a very similar response.

    In her talk, Rachel would like to help us understand what life can be like for her and the 700,000 people in the UK on the autism spectrum. Life can be challenging but Rachel never dared to imagine the opportunities, friendships and achievements she would make – in a relatively short career – since her diagnosis. While the professional help she has received has been wonderful, it is the humanity and support she has received along the way that she feels has been invaluable.

    Rachel will discuss the part we can all play in helping the other 699,000 people in the UK – just like her – get the help and support she has been so fortunate to receive.

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