Future Talent Conference 2015

01 May

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      FT 2015 collage

      This week the Changeboard team – and our friends at Plotr – hosted our 2nd Future Talent conference in London. Five hundred professionals gathered at the Royal Opera House for a day of networking and collaboration, to watch our inspiring array of speakers challenge the impact of globalisation and the digital age on the world.

      We were absolutely delighted that our dedicated hashtag #FutureTalentConf trended third on Twitter in the UK for just under an hour (thank you to all the terrific tweeters who contributed) – and we even had guests who enjoyed a virtual experience of the conference from across the globe.

      We cannot wait to share the full coverage of the event in our next issue of Changeboard magazine, but for now, here’s a little taster of the topics, the venue – and of course, our amazing audience – and some takeaways from the day.

      the speakers

      Jim  KatieChangeboard’s very own Jim Carrick-Birtwell (also CEO of careers inspiration platform for 11-24 year olds, Plotr) took to the stage first to give a brief overview of the day; introducing Future Talent’s diverse and exciting range of speakers – a mixture of business & HR leaders, philosophers and entrepreneurs –  and setting the agenda for the day.

      Next onto the stage, Jim welcomed our wonderful conference facilitator, author and broadcaster, Katie Ledger.

      Gurnek Bains

      Gurnek Bains, co-founder & chairman at YSC (and author of Cultural DNA: The Psychology of Globalization) opened the Future Talent conference with a thought-provoking discussion on how globalisation is affecting leadership styles in different countries.

      Can we really expect leadership styles in America to work as successfully in China? How can global organisations ensure they engage effectively with employees across both time zones and cultures? Gurnek answered these questions by examining how businesses can create a truly global culture.

      Clare Moncrieff

      CEB’s executive advisor, Clare Moncrieff, brought a wealth of research statistics to the stage, to challenge the myths surrounding ‘weaker’ talent groups: millenials and women.

      She revealed that flexibility is key when it comes to organisations retaining their female leaders.

      Meanwhile, millennials’ competitive nature originates from comparing themselves to, and trying to out-perform their peers.

      Hayley Tatum

      In the new digital world, where 24 hour shopping is at our finger tips – what time of the day would you say is the busiest hour for online shopping? 12pm on a Saturday? 3pm on a Sunday? No, between 5am-6am Monday to Friday revealed Hayley Tatum, HR director of grocery giant, ASDA.

      Hayley also shared that in terms of global shopping trends, the UK is well and truly on the map. ASDA will open their first ‘Pod shop’ this year, which offers a drive-in automated shopping service (no employees required) looking to change both the way consumers shop and the supply chain forever.

      Stats from ASDA showed that 40% of 16-24 years now work for big retailers, and that employees aged 55+ are on the increase too, including ASDA’s oldest employee, Ray Mellors who celebrated his 90th Birthday recently.

      Piers LinneyEx-Dragons’ Den star and co-CEO of Outsourcery, Piers Linney, discussed the importance of improving diversity in the workplace and motivating the next generation of employees in his inspiring talk.

      Touching on his own experiences as an entrepreneur, former City worker and youth champion, Piers urged delegates to look beyond ‘male, pale and stale’ when it comes to future leaders.

      Kursty Groves-KnightHow can you create an effective work environment that makes people feel good, inspired and productive? Kursty Groves, founder of Headspace, is a creative consultant who specialises and advises on how to build innovative and collaborative workspaces in organisations.

      Sharing quick-wins, Kursty revealed that having plants in your workspace can raise productivity by 17%, while pictures and colourful surroundings can boost productivity by 32%.

      Kursty also set the audience an interesting exercise: ‘draw a meeting in 30 secs’ and ‘draw having a meeting in 30 secs’ – try it, think about it, the two different perceptions can create something completely different…

      Alain de Botton

      Following an inspirational speech about the meaning of work at the 2014 conference, philosopher Alain de Botton returned this year to discuss developing a mindset for change. The best way to be ready for change, he said, is to focus on what is unchanging. He argued that human nature in essence does not change, but with the advent of technology – which in contrast changes all the time – we have allowed ourselves to be intimidated.

      For de Botton, the key to workforce change is an emotionally intelligent employer. “Technology is a tool but philosophy sets the course,” he said, adding that “there are not enough philosophers in the boardroom.” He urged delegates to take the time to focus on essentials, such as what your organisation stands for, rather than being distracted by defensiveness which he argued characterises many leaders today. “Good change depends on good psychology,” he said. “If we got rid of defensiveness, my goodness would productivity rise.”

      Peter Cheese

      Peter Cheese, CEO, CIPD opened his talk with the statement: “the nature of the world we live in has never been more changeable,” and the imminent trends within HR being, ‘the uncertainty of the economy, technology/digital movement and also demographic of the workforce’.

      Quoting a headline from the Evening Standard that read, ‘HR must up their act if UK is to succeed’, he emphasised the need for change within the industry, sharing that 15% of total employment today is self employed. Peter also revealed that highly skilled jobs have accounted for a 71% rise in employment.

      Peter closed his presentation with: ‘We can’t change behaviour by writing rules, so don’t force people into boxes,’ – which proved a hugely popular quote among our tweeters.

      robertboltonHow can we decode the HR dilemma? KPMG UK partner Robert Bolton advised HR professionals to embrace analytics and big data rather than fearing them in his presentation.

      From embracing an evidence-based approach to HR to examining the issues global CEOs are grappling with, Robert gave a fascinating insight into big business utilising some of KPMG UK’s latest research.


      Alan Watkins xxDid you know that there are 2,000 emotions in the universe? Dr Alan Watkins started his session asking the audience to tweet a specific emotion in relation to the day, using the all important hashtag (i.e. #happy #excited).

      Watkins then walked his audience through the development process of a human, determining that every stage of a young child is of vital importance when taking control of emotion. Watkins reckons we don’t develop much further than a 14 year old inside, we just adapt to life more.

      The purpose of this ‘self’ timeline is to determine ultimately what emotional planet you are on. An app that was devised by Complete Coherence was used throughout the day, monitoring the delegates ‘hashtagged’ emotions used on twitter. This tool is something that is meant to help you take control of your emotional planet.

      “You move from victim, to taking control,” summarised Watkins.

      Atif Christine

      Christine Deputy, group HR director at Aviva, and Atif Sheikh, took to the floor to discuss how the insurer has reinvented itself and how it is preparing employees for the future.

      Sheikh opened the discussion by asking the audience how ready they felt to take on disruption and the desires of future talent – with most delegates pretty confident about this.

      Aviva was behind the times and needed to change the culture quickly, which meant implementing a thoughtful talent philosophy which involved everyone. Before refocusing the values and cultures, every employee was encouraged to identify their own personal values. Since undergoing its transformation, Aviva has cut £400m in costs and seen a significant boost in culture. Tapping into employees’ values and emotions was key for Deputy, who concluded that “emotion is the fuel of organisational energy.”

      Porteur Keene Headshot blog

      Changeboard’s executive chairman Porteur Keene, closed the event thanking his business partner [Jim Carrick-Birtwell], the speakers for their ‘thought-provoking discussions and challenging many assumptions’, the sponsors, and the audience: “it’s you guys who make this day happen.”

      The speakers’ presentations and videos will be shared and published over coming weeks, and a full editorial write-up will feature in our next issue of Changeboard magazine. Please also remember to download our new interactive digital app on iOS and Google Play for monthly bite-sized articles – and keep your eyes peeled for when our new Changeboard.com website launches in early June.

      Save the date: More exciting news… Porteur announced our next Future Talent conference will take place on 1st March 2016 at a new venue, Sadler’s Wells, in Islington. Registration opens in July.

      In addition, a very special mention for Changeboard’s Lisa Fawdry, who was in charge of organising Future Talent 2015 and our brilliant PR, Emma Price of BeHeardMedia.

      we want your feedback!

      Did you attend Future Talent 2015? We would love to hear your thoughts about the day. Please fill out our survey to tell us how we can make next year’s Future Talent conference even bigger and better.

      Survey button

      the sponsors

      Sponsors FT

      A huge thank you to our sponsors: KPMG UK, CEB, Manpower Group Solutions, EG1, Ignition Law, Powermeeter, Alexander Mann Solutions and Carve Consulting.

      getting social

      Thank you to all our terrific tweeters – we trended third on Twitter in the UK with our dedicated hashtag #FutureTalentConf so thanks to everyone who tweeted and joined the conversation.

      Tweets collage

      pictures from the day

      A little glimpse of what Changeboard’s editorial team got up to on the day! A couple of selfies, video interviews, goody bags and our submission for Kursty Groves’ ‘draw a meeting on 30 secs’ talk – we can’t wait to share the full event round-up in the next edition of Changeboard magazine

      Editorial collage

      Written by Sarah Clark, online features editor, Changeboard

      Sarah Clark, online features editor, Changeboard

      Sarah is the online features editor at Changeboard.

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      2 Responses to “Future Talent Conference 2015”

      1. […] The speaker videos are here! Catch up on all the best presentations from this year’s Future Talent Conference. […]

      2. […] The speaker videos are here! Catch up on all the best presentations from this year’s Future Talent Conference. […]