1st October, 2019

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Following the success of our inaugural Conference in 2018, we are pleased to announce that this year’s Creating the Future Conference will take place on Tuesday 1st October 2019.


As with last year, we will be exploring some of the world’s most challenging and exciting issues: the future of democracy, how recent advances in neuroscience and technology are set to revolutionise healthcare and the ever more urgent need to create radical change to protect our planet.


Alongside two of our brilliant speakers from 2018 – Mark Stevenson and Rory Sutherland – we will have a whole new line up of speakers to bring these issues to life and answer your questions.  You can read more about them below.


In addition to the short talks followed by time for questions, there will be time to meet guests and speakers over lunch and at the evening drinks reception, plus the opportunity to try out various tech powered experiences.


We have created this event because we are truly passionate about the issues that will affect all of us in the future. We hope you will join us at the Conference to learn more about them and how we can all play our part in tackling them.



The underpinning assumptions of democracy – a system of governance which supports freedom and equality for everyone – is failing. Fake news, the use and misuse of data, declining trust in our politicians and political systems have seen a corresponding rise of popularism and protest. In addition to the questions surrounding interference in the Brexit referendum and the US Presidential elections, the Chinese Social Credit System is concerning many. So what are the questions we should be asking and the changes we wish to see? Will democracy survive and in what form?


Recent advances in neuroscience have revolutionised the understanding of how our brains work. We’ll look at how nutrition and exercise can prevent illness; the links between gut health, bacteria and the chemical brain imbalances that control our mood; how brain stem cells destroyed by diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis can be regenerated; and how almost instant analysis of your personal DNA is enabling early detection, prevention and highly targeted therapies for a whole range of conditions.


Humanity now dominates the planet. Global food production uses 60 times more land than our cities and villages, destroying primary rainforest and mining so much water for cultivation that rivers and lakes are drying out at an alarming and unsustainable rate. How can we nourish the increasing global population without further destroying the essential resources we rely on? 

JAMES THORNTON, Founding CEO, ClientEarth

James is the founding CEO of ClientEarth, an environmental lawyer and social entrepreneur. The New Statesman has named him as one of 10 people who could change the world, alongside Sir David Attenborough. In 2007, he founded ClientEarth, Europe’s first public interest environmental law organisation. Now operating globally, it uses advocacy, litigation and research to address the greatest challenges of our time including biodiversity loss, climate change, and toxic chemicals. James is a member of the bars of New York, California and the Supreme Court of the United States, and a solicitor of England and Wales. He founded the Citizens’ Enforcement Project at NRDC in New York, winning some 80 federal lawsuits against corporations to enforce the Clean Water Act after the Reagan Administration stopped enforcing it. He founded the Los Angeles Office of NRDC, delivering internationally important environmental work with the support of the Hollywood community. He is a Conservation Fellow of the Zoological Society of London; and a fellow of the Ashoka Foundation.

PROFESSOR DAVID RUNCIMAN, Head of the University of Cambridge's POLIS Department

Professor David Runciman became Head of the University of Cambridge's Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) in October 2014. He gave his Inaugural Lecture on "Political Theory and Real Politics in the Age of the Internet" on Tuesday 24th February 2015, which can be viewed online. His research interests are in twentieth century political thought, particularly ideas of democracy and crisis, and the role of technology in contemporary politics. David's new book is "How Democracy Ends", published by Profile. His recent Darwin lecture on Trump as conspiracy theorist can be seen here. David also writes regularly about politics for the London Review of Books.


Siddharthan trained in medicine at Southampton University, before neurology training at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London and Cambridge. He was awarded a PhD in developmental neurobiology in 2000 from the University of Cambridge. His previous appointments have included Consultant Neurologist, University Lecturer and Fellow of Kings College at the University of Cambridge. In 2009, he took the position of the MacDonald Professor of Neurology at the University of Edinburgh where he is also the Director of the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences and Edinburgh Neuroscience.

MAXINE MACINTOSH, Co-founder Health Tech & PhD Student

Maxine is a PhD student at the Alan Turing Institute and University College London’s Institute of Health Informatics. Her PhD involves using medical records to uncover early signs of dementia. She is interested in how we might make better use of routinely collected data to inform our understanding of health and disease. Maxine is also the co-founder of One HealthTech – a community which champions and supports underrepresented groups, particularly women, to be the future leaders in health innovation. Her professional work has led her to the Royal Society, Roche, L’Oreal, the Department for International Development and NHS England. She is part of a number of communities and committees including the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers, and the British Computer Society (Health Exec).


Carole is a journalist for the Guardian and Observer. She worked for a year with whistle-blower Christopher Wylie to publish her investigation into Cambridge Analytica, which she shared with the New York Times. The investigation resulted in Mark Zuckerberg being called before Congress and Facebook losing more than $100 billion from its share price. She has also uncovered multiple crimes committed during the European referendum and evidence of Russian interference in Brexit. Her work has won a Polk Award and the Orwell Prize for political journalism, and she was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for National Reporting in 2019. Her recent TED talk has already topped 1 million views.

MARK STEVENSON, Futurologist, author & entrepreneur

Futurologist Mark is the author of two bestselling books, "An Optimist’s Tour of the Future" and the award-winning "We Do Things Differently". He is one of the world’s most respected thinkers on the interplay of technology and society, helping a diverse mix of clients that include government agencies, NGOs, corporates and arts organisations to become future literate and adapt their cultures and strategy to squarely face the questions the future is asking them. His many advisory roles include Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Earth Challenge, the policy and regulation division of the GSMA, future-literacy hub Atlas of the Future and music industry re-boot The Rattle. Mark is also Médecins Sans Frontières (UK) Futurist without borders.


Kate is an economist focused on exploring the economic mindset needed to address the 21st century’s social and ecological challenges. Her bestselling book, "Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist (2017)" has been translated into 15 languages and has been widely influential amongst sustainable development thinkers, progressive businesses and political activists. She has presented it to audiences ranging from the UN General Assembly to the Occupy movement. Kate’s career has spanned working with micro-entrepreneurs in Zanzibar to co-authoring the Human Development Report for UNDP in New York, and a decade as Senior Researcher at Oxfam. She is currently a senior visiting research associate at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute and a senior associate at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

RORY SUTHERLAND, Vice-Chairman, Ogilvy

Rory is the Vice Chairman of Ogilvy, where he has worked since 1988. This attractively vague job title has allowed him to form a behavioural science practice within the agency whose job is to uncover the hidden business and social possibilities which emerge when you apply creative minds to the latest thinking in psychology and behavioural science. Rory co-heads a team of psychology graduates who look for "butterfly effects" in consumer behaviour - these are the very small contextual changes which can have enormous effects on the decisions people make - for instance tripling the sales rate of a call centre by adding just a few sentences to the script. Put another way, lots of agencies will talk about "bought, owned and earned" media: we also look for "invented media" and "discovered media": seeking out those unexpected (and inexpensive) nudges that transform the way that people think and act.

DR GAIL BRADBROOK, Extinction Rebellion (XR)

Gail has been researching, planning and training for mass civil disobedience since 2010 and co-founded the social movement Extinction Rebellion (XR) in October 2018. There are already 350 XR groups in 50 countries. She has been arrested three times for civil disobedience and has said she is “willing to die” if it would serve to protect the environment, though has every intention to live a long and courageous life. A mother of two, Gail trained in molecular biophysics. Her talk on the science of the ecological crisis, the psychology of active participation and the need for civil disobedience has gone viral, inspiring many to join XR.

OLI BARRETT MBE, Event Moderator

Oli is a regular conference and awards host, for events across business, technology, education and entrepreneurship. In the past year, he has chaired events for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, The ScaleUp Institute and The Times Tech Summit. He is on the advisory boards of the New Entrepreneurs Foundation and Centre for Entrepreneurs, One Million Mentors and Troubadour Theatres, and is a Fellow of impact incubator and business builder Zinc. As a serial founder, he co-created Tenner (the UK's largest schools enterprise challenge), Volunteer It Yourself (the social venture which has helped thousands of young people to fix their own youth clubs) and the TOTS (Turn on the Subtitles) campaign to improve children's literacy. He co-founded StartUp Britain, which was launched by the British Prime Minister. Oli hosts The Lens podcast with Business in the Community, which pairs senior leaders with future leaders, to discuss the future of work.

To sign up to our newsletter to receive regular updates about our Creating The Future conference via email, such as speaker interviews, please click here.



This short piece of footage will give you just a flavour of the extraordinary speakers and the breadth of the topics they covered at our Creating the Future Conference. 


The feedback from our guests is testament to the excellence of the speakers and their presentations. 

“Truly inspiring and thought provoking conference hosted by Weatherbys Bank today.”

“Extraordinarily powerful address by Dr Scilla Elworthy.”

“The Creating The Future event was fantastic – it’s going to take me at least a week to process the incredible talks."

“Over the years I have attended many conferences, often as a speaker. Quite simply the finest I have ever attended.”

Conference Guest, 2018


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