Agenda for the Future

Informed debate on the demands of the future

Agenda for the Future is a one-day event hosted by London Futurists at Birkbeck College on a Saturday later this year (date to be confirmed). To register, visit the meetup page for the event.


Unless we urgently change our culture, we risk collectively rushing towards a future which will turn out to be hostile to humanity. Can we identify and agree a better Agenda for the Future?

Speakers at this event will give their opinions on topics such as the transformation of politics, the challenge of artificial intelligence, the reform of capitalism, the increased importance of business ethics, a new approach to money, the risks to the environment, a simpler form of taxation, the benefits and risks of immigration, manipulation of the mass media, and changes in healthcare.

The speakers have in common the view that better solutions are at hand, provided we act with sufficient foresight. The aim of the event is to stimulate informed debate on the demands of the future.

AftF v2

The event will be introduced and chaired by David Wood, Chair of London Futurists and Executive Director of Transpolitica.

Schedule for the event:

(Subject to minor changes)

09.15: Doors open
09.45-10:00: Chair’s welcome
10.00-12:00: First group of speakers
12.00: Break for lunch and networking (lunch is not supplied)
13:00: Tea and coffee available, for post-lunch networking
13:30-15:00: Second group of speakers
15:00: Break for tea/coffee networking
15.30-17.00: Final group of speakers
17.00: Room empty. Optional continuation of discussion in nearby pub.


We’ll be in one of the lecture rooms of Birkbeck College, Torrington Square WC1E 7HX, London.

The room will be announced nearer to the time of the event.

Torrington Square (which is a pedestrian-only square) is about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or Goodge St tube stations.

Note that lunch is not supplied. This Google Map lists selected restaurants and coffee shops that are within around 10 minutes walk from the conference venue – providing a wide choice of options for lunch.


Tickets for this full-day event will be priced at £18, to cover room hire, refreshments, and IT and AV expenses.

Until [date to be confirmed], Early Bird registration will be available, at the reduced price of £12 per ticket.

To register for this event, see this meetup page.

Note that the registration process involves people formally joining the London Futurists meetup group. As a result, Meetup will by default from time to time email you notifications about meetup activities. You can alter the settings for how often Meetup contacts you:

Journalists who can point to an established track record of publications about technology and/or futurism in major media outlets (e.g. Wired, BBC, New Scientist) are invited to contact the organisers to obtain a press pass.

About the Speakers:

Note: Following the rescheduling of this event from the originally planned date of 3rd June, it’s possible that there will be changes in the following speaker line-up.

Derek Bates

Topic: Why we need an Agenda for the Future

Derek Bates is Consulting Scientist and Director, Materials Technology Ltd.

Derek is a distinguished materials scientist, business man and author. In his recent book ‘Shadows in the Wall’  he outlined the past corruption of church and state, and juxtaposed this with pitfalls of modern democracy. Included in the appendix is also an overview of alternative democracy and tax simplification.

Vicky Pryce

Topic: To be confirmed

Vicky Pryce is former Joint Head of the United Kingdom’s Government Economic Service.

Vicky Pryce’s recent positions have included: Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting; Director General for Economics at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS); and Joint Head of the UK Government Economics Service where she was responsible for evidence based policy and for encouraging measures that promoted greater productivity in the UK economy. She had previously been Partner and Chief Economist at KPMG and earlier held chief economist positions in banking and the oil sector. Vicky co-founded GoodCorporation, a company set up to promote corporate social responsibility.

At various stages in her career she has been on the Council of the Royal Economic Society, on the Council of the University of Kent, on the board of trustees at the RSA, on the Court of the London School of Economics, a fellow of the Society of Business Economists, on the Executive Committee and the Council of the IFS, an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences, a Visiting Professor at the Cass Business School, a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Adjunct Professor at Imperial College and Visiting Professor at Queen Mary, University of London.

She is patron of ‘Pro-bono Economics’ and has served as Master of one of the City of London’s Livery Companies. She sits on the Department for Business Innovation and Skills’ panel monitoring the economy and is on City AM’s Shadow Monetary Policy Committee.

Books written or edited by Vicky include It’s the economy, Stupid! Economics for votersRedesigning Manufacturing: Reimagining the Business of Making in the UK, and Greekonomics.

Tom Levitt

Topic: Why Business Doing Good is Doing Good Business

Tom Levitt is a writer and consultant on responsible business, a field he has worked in since leaving Parliament in 2010 after 13 years as a Labour MP.

In the Commons Tom specialised on communities, charities and international development and he recently helped to found the anti-poverty charity and social enterprise Fair for You. He has held several positions as charity trustee/chair and company director. His current book is ‘Welcome to GoodCo: Using the Tools of Business to Create Public Good’ and his forthcoming work is ‘The Company Citizen: Why Business Doing Good is Doing Good Business’. As a consultant his clients have included major businesses, think tanks and charities and he has carried out ground-breaking research on the role of SMEs in the community.

Previously a science teacher in secondary schools and a County Councillor, Tom now lives in West London.

Michael Mainelli

Topic: Taking Advantage Of Mutual Distributed Ledgers (aka Blockchains)

Michael Mainelli FCCA FCSI FBCS is Professor Emeritus of Gresham College and Chairman of Z/Yen, the City of London’s leading commercial think-tank and venture firm, which he founded in 1994 to promote societal advance through better finance and technology.

A qualified accountant, securities professional, computer specialist and management consultant, educated at Harvard University and Trinity College Dublin, Michael gained his PhD at London School of Economics where he was also a Visiting Professor. His PhD was on the application of risk/reward methodologies involving chaotic systems.

Michael’s early scientific research in aerospace (rocket science) and computer graphics led to him starting Swiss companies in seismology, cartography and energy information. Michael spent seven years as a senior partner and board member of the leading accountancy firm, BDO Binder Hamlyn, directing global consulting projects. Michael served as a Director of Europe’s largest R&D organisation (DERA) leading to two privatisations.

Michael has published over 50 journal articles, 180 commercial articles and four books

Tim Pendry

Topic: How predictable are political events? Futurist adaptability in the face of history and ideology

Tim Pendry is Director of Research, Internationalist Future.

Tim has been a financial and corporate communications and political and campaigns adviser. He oversees political intelligence, issues management and threat analysis, handling crises arising from political struggle, fraud, NGO campaigning and terrorist incidents. Tim’s three decades of experience cover all aspects of issues and crisis management, enabling effective priority setting and allocation of resources.

Indra Adnam

Topic: Reimagining politics

Indra Adnan MSc HGIDip is Co-initiator, The Alternative UK.

For over twenty years, Indra has been writing, consulting, network-building and event-organising in the international arena of soft power, conflict transformation and integral leadership.

As founder and Director of the Soft Power Network, she works in both the public and private sphere advising on personal, local and global agency. Recently qualified as a psycho-social therapist, Indra is also a partner in New Integrity management consultancy, founder / Director of The Downing Street Project for balanced leadership, and a freelance project director for Compass think tank. Her clients have held senior posts at the World Economic Forum, Indian government, the British Council, the Scottish Executive and the Institute of Contemporary Arts.

She writes regularly for The Guardian and The Huffington Post and her e-books Soft Power Agenda and New Times are available on

The daughter of an Indonesian Muslim father and a Dutch Catholic mother, Indra is now a Buddhist living in North London with her partner and teenage son.

Indra has been writing consistently about soft power, public diplomacy and the power of attraction and relationship in international relations for over a decade, in major UK and US publications.

Alvin Carpio

Topic: Creating a New Politics for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Alvin Carpio is Founder & Chief Executive, The Fourth Group.

Alvin is an anti-poverty activist who has spent the last decade campaigning on issues of social justice. In 2016 he was granted an Singularity University Impact Fellowship to develop technologies to improve global governance. He subsequently founded The Fourth Group, a global community that studies and builds emerging technology that will influence politics in the future.

Rohit Talwar

Topic: Crossing the Chasm of Chaos: Navigating the Second Storm

Rohit Talwar is the founder and CEO of Fast Future Publishing. He advises clients around the world on the forces shaping the landscape, emerging scenarios and how to experiment towards preferred futures. He is the co-editor of The Future of Business, and forthcoming books on The Future of AI in Business, Scenarios for the Next 50 Years, and A Very Human Future. He has also recently been taken off Interpol’s most wanted list after discovering that he had spent 15 years leading a double life as a drug dealer in Brazil as a result of identity theft.

In his presentation at Agenda for the Future, Rohit will outline four critical choice points for how we navigate “the second storm of change” over the next few years to ensure we create lives people love, workplaces we want, systems that serve and a planet with purpose.

A lot of energy is being devoted to immediate and near term disruption and to thinking about the 10-year plus horizon. Less attention is being paid to the potentially chaotic middle ground of the next 3-10 years as the world catches up with today’s choices and starts to prepare the path for radically different futures. How can we navigate what Steven Houghton-Burnett describes as the “messy middle ground” between the current wave of disruption and possible long term futures – shaped in part by exponential and combinatorial advances in science and technology?

Dean Bubley

Topic: Anti-Forecasting: Taking the Impossible Off the Table

Dean Bubley is founder of Disruptive Analysis, an independent technology industry analyst and consulting firm.

Often, futurists assert that they don’t make forecasts, but instead create scenarios, bringing alive the possibilities enabled by new technologies and social change. Yet while it’s perhaps not realistic to make concrete predictions, it is sometimes possible to work out what’s simply not possible, for example because of awkward laws of physics, mutually-incompatible trends, poor economics or human nature. By restricting the ‘possibility space’ to the probable and reasonably-conceivable, we can avoid unnecessary and distracting flights-of-fancy and make smarter policy decisions and investments.