Archive for November 2013

FutureScape – November 27th – Reimagining and Financing Tomorrow’s Cities

November 28, 2013

Welcome to our latest newsletter. In this edition we would like to share with you the highlights of several excellent events we attended during the last few months with a strong focus on innovation and tomorrow’s cities. We would also like to offer readers a discount on the latest in a series of inspiring Re.Work futures conferences to be held in London on December 13th.

As always we welcome your feedback, contributions and suggestions for future topics.

Please feel free to forward the newsletter to your contacts and networks.


Rohit Talwar
Fast Future
Tel +44 (0)7973 405145

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 1.  Looking for Speaking Opportunities in New York and Rio de Janeiro / Sao Paolo

Rohit will be visiting New York City regularly over the next few months for various speeches and events. He will be available for additional speeches and workshops on the following dates:

December 9th and 10th

January 6th – 10th, 29th – 31st

February 3rd – 7th

March 3rd and 4th

Rohit will also be in Rio de Janeiro from February 8th-15th observing the training of local trainers as part of his role supporting Street Kids International (SKI). While there he’d be happy to deliver presentations to local audiences with the proceeds going to SKI.

During his trip Rohit will be delivering talks on the following:

  •  Future law firm strategies and the impact of IT on the legal industry over the next decade
  •  Global drivers of change for business and the accountancy profession
  •  From muscle to magic – how smart firms create the future
  •  Futureshock – a timeline of science and technology developments shaping the next 50 years
  • The future of travel, tourism, business events, airports and aviation.

If you would like to discuss booking Rohit for a speech for your organization, please contact

2.  Announcing the forthcoming RE.WORK Summit – London –  December 13th 2013 – 30% discount for our readers

On September 19th this year we attended the excellent  RE.WORK Technpic1_reworkology Futures Summit in London. This  extremely well designed and curated event was created by  founder Nikita Johnson. A strong panel of speakers  explored  the themes of future urban landscapes,  wearable and embedded technologies, the internet of  things (IoT), big  data, the future of health and medicine  and many other  themes. A series of inspiring talks  provided genuinely new  insights, ideas and perspectives  and challenged the audience  to think well beyond the  here and now.You can find a summary of the sessions from September 19th  here:

Based on our experience at RE.WORK Tech, we’d strongly recommend attending the forthcoming RE.WORK Cities Summit  The event will take place on December 13th in London and will focus on the potential of technology to make our cities more efficient, safer and sustainable. Attendees will have the chance to gain insight into breakthrough innovations that will have an impact on our future urban areas. The sessions will explore how open data and sensors, nanotechnology and synthetic biology could affect future cities. Participants will be encouraged to brainstorm ideas on tomorrow’s city and have the opportunity to meet and network with start-ups, entrepreneurs, innovators, business leaders and academics.

The aim of RE.WORK Cities is to bring together the most influential technologists, entrepreneurs, academics, business leaders and Government officials to collaborate and reshape our future cities. There will be over 30 speakers and a target of around 200 attendees at the event, including Carlo Ratti, MIT; Fabio from Future Cities Laboratory, Andrew from UCL Bartlett, Alicia from Libelium; Enrico Dini, d-shape.

The agenda will be split into themed sessions including: Data and the Changing Dynamics of the City; Digital Fabrication & 3D Printing; and Synthetic Biology and the Living City. Sessions will include short talks from speakers plus a group discussion session. There will also be an interactive brainstorming session moderated by the Future Cities Catapult. Throughout the day there will be a showcase area featuring exhibitions from Arup, The Design Museum and prototypes from a joint wearable technology hackathon from Wearable Futures and RE.WORK. RE.WORK Partners include: The Future Cities Catapult, Arup, Wearable Futures, The Observer, The Guardian, TechCityNews, BBC Future, BBC Focus, The Global Urbanist, BBC Worldwide, Google Solve for X and the Singularity UK.

As supporters of the event, our readers can take advantage of a reader discount. To claim the 30% FutureScape discount please use reader discount code fastfuture30

3.  Financing Tomorrow’s Cities 

On 19th November, the newly elected Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf introduced the Financing Tomorrow’s Cities initiative – a joint project by the City of London Corporation and  Z/Yen  Group. The goal of the initiative is to  create a  debate around innovative financing mechanisms for t  tomorrow’s cities through  shared research, a series of  events and online  discussions.The Lord Mayor’s introduction was followed by a  panel discussion with representatives from the  banking, legal, insurance, engineering, construction and policy sectors.  A critical observation highlighted by the panellists is the fact that cities will have to finance and build more infrastructure in the next 40 years than they did in the past 400. The associated challenges range from smart allocation of capital to assets that need to be built through to climate change mitigation and a transition to a circular economy.  Although responding to these challenges is not easy, the panellists argued that future city leaders should focus on three key change levers:

  • Learning from best practices from around the world
  • Encouraging more collaboration among the numerous stakeholders in a city such as education providers, businesses and architects, and
  • Incentivising future-proof thinking.

4. Financial Times Innovate

Image The 2013 FT Innovate Event entitled ‘’The New Groundbreakers’’ took place  in London on 6th-7th November.  Over the course of two days, innovators  from  academia, corporations, start-ups and innovation agencies were  informed,  inspired and entertained by a series of talks delivered by start-ups  like Decoded and VoxPopMe,  corporations such as Samsung and P&G and digital  innovators such as  Facebook, Amazon and Dropbox.

In this issue of FutureScape we decided to highlight the talk delivered by  INSEAD  Professor Hal Gregersen as it  captures the essence of innovation,  explains why some people are more innovative than others and suggests  how  to improve our  innovation capacity.

Clearly, innovation is the ability to create value, driven by bright ideas. But  how do innovators come up with  those ideas that disrupt industries?  Gregersen argues that the answers can be found in rigorous research  undertaken by  Clayton Christensen, Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen and summarized in the book  “The Innovator’s  DNA’’.

As the research suggests, innovators come up with great ideas through the utilization of key discovery skills,  including observing, networking, experimenting, associating and questioning. Innovative leaders like Jeff Bezos  and Steve Jobs think differently, challenging the status quo, but also act differently – discussing and experimenting with new ideas. Gregersen suggested that all individuals and companies can learn to be more innovative because innovators are not born but made. The starting point is to remain as curious as children who are open to the world and not afraid to ask questions. Everyone can be an innovator – we just have to unlock our potential.

You can watch Hal’s inspiring talk here:

5.   Rohit on the Road

In the next few months Rohit will be delivering speeches in Dubai, Karachi, London, Maastricht and New York. If you would like to arrange a meeting with Rohit in one of these cities or are interested in arranging a presentation or workshop for your organisation, please contact

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RE:WORK Technology Summit 19th September 2013, London

November 27, 2013

On September 19th this year we attended the excellent RE.WORK Technology Futures Summit in London. What follows is a short summary of the presentations delivered on the day:

Bruce Schlee, Co-Founder, Helical Robotics – Bruce discussed how robots and automation can change industries by mitigating risk and increasing profitability.

Rachel Armstrong, Co-Director, AVATAR, University of Greenwich – Rachel talked about her research which investigates opportunities to transform cities into soil-producing systems. Initial findings suggest that it may be possible to design synthetic soils that will help us transform waste into useful substrates which will however require a complete redesign of our buildings.

Skylar Tibbits, Director, Self-Assembly Lab, MIT – Skylar highlighted the potential of self-assembly and self-programmable materials for our future built environments. Smart materials that make decisions and self-configure themselves could certainly lead to innovation in construction, manufacturing and also to more sustainable cities.


The Future of our Urban Landscapes

Hedwig Heinsman ,Co-Founder, DUS Architects – Hedwig focused on 3D-printed buildings and what they would mean for the future of architecture. She revealed DUS Architect’s idea to 3D-print a version of the traditional Amsterdam canal house with the  building process taking place at an open source construction site that functions as an expo- and event space.

Wearable Technology, Embedded Technologies & Design

Chris Brauer, CAST co-director and Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London – Chris described how his team used mixed ethnographic and quantitative research methods to investigate the applications and impact of wearable technologies.

Despina Papadopoulos, Owner, Studio 5050 – Despina focused on the relationship between design, technology and ethics and highlighted how design principles can inspire sustainability.

Andy Goodman, Fjord – Andy gave several vivid examples of how emerging technology is changing our lives, increasingly blurring the lines between digital and physical, between the human body and the machine.  


The Internet of Things, Data & the Citizen

Anab Jain, Founder, Superflux – Anab presented Internet of Things Academy –Superflux project that encourages creativity, collaboration and technological literacy. The IoTA is a web-based platform to that aims to help people build projects, share expertise and tackle the biggest challenges of our time.

Vlad Trifa, Co-Founder, Evrythng – Vlad explained how everyday products become smarter when they are connected to the web – allowing users to connect to their belongings in a smart ways as well as brands to build one-to-one relationships with their customers.


Emerging Tech, Creativity & Innovation

Anna Haupt, Founder, Hövding – Anna presented Hövding’s incredible invention – a bicycle helmet cleverly disguised as ordinary clothing. The airbag is worn like a stylish collar or a scarf around the neck. In the case of an accident, it inflates to protect the cyclist.

Cathrine Kramer, Founder, The Centre for Genomic Gastronomy – Cat introduced the Centre for Genomic Gastronomy, where she and colleagues research the biotechnologies and biodiversity of human food systems. The various projects and events run by the Centre for Genomic Gastronomy aim to map food controversies and prototype alternative culinary futures.

Damien Walter, Columnist, The Guardian – Damien’s inspiring talk argued how fostering a culture of creativity is the key to both personal and economic growth. He argued that the creative fulfilment of every human being should therefore be a mission for educators, government officials and business leaders.


Technologies in Resource-Constrained Environments

Ken Banks, Founder, and Erik Hersman, Co-Founder, Ushahidi – Ken and Erik discussed how technology, combined with the right approach, could bring about positive social change in the developing world.


The Future of Health & Medicine

Aubrey de Grey, Chief Science Officer, SENS Foundation – Aubrey argued that in the next few decades  it will be possible to control aging and extend life due to rapid  advances in neuroscience and regenerative medicine.

Hagan Bayley, Prof. of Chemical Biology, Oxford University – Hagan discussed the importance of basic research for both scientific and economic progress.

Giuseppe Battaglia, Prof. of Molecular Bionics, Dept of Chemistry, UCL – Giuseppe discussed how interdisciplinary approaches combining basic science and engineering could lead to new solutions for clinical challenges  such as the delivery of drugs in the brain, to solid tumour treatment.

Mohammad Hajihosseini, Sr. Lecturer in Developmental Neurobiology, University of East Anglia – Mohammad highlighted how eating disorders are increasingly straining health budgets in countries around the world. He argued that since appetite is regulated by the brain, rewiring the brain might be the most effective solution to tackle eating disorders and to control eating habits.


Digital Health: a New Revolution

Joel Gethin Lewis,Co-Founder, Hellicar & Lewis – Joel showcased the work of Hellicar & Lewis – software that produces visuals based on music and how this has been applied in projects like Hello Cube (Tate Modern 2013).


Big Data & AI Predictions

Stuart Armstrong, James Martin Research Fellow, Future of Humanity Institute – Stuart delivered a truly interesting talk discussing what we can learn from the success and failure of famous AI predictions.

Shamus Husheer, CEO, Cambridge Temperature Concepts – Shamus presented DuoFertility – an innovative solution that helps women battle infertility and start a family without expensive fertility treatments.

Paul Watson, Professor of Computer Science, Newcastle University – Paul discussed how advanced digital technologies and pervasive computing can considerably improve the lives of both young and old people who are victims of social exclusion. He gave an example of how a sensors embedded in utensils can help old people suffering from Dementia execute simple everyday tasks such as cooking.

Daniel Hulme, CEO, Satalia – Daniel explained how Satalia bridges the gap between academia and industry in the field of software development and highlighted some of the implications of Big Data on the future of work and jobs.


The Future of Robotics

Jamie Paik, Director of Reconfigurable Robotics Lab, EPFL – Jamie explained the Robogami (robotics origami) concept and discussed the challenges associated with the building of fully functional Robogamis.

Nick Hawes, Senior Lecturer in Intelligent Robotics, University of Birmingham – Nick explained why we still see robots mostly in highly constrained environments such as factories and discussed the challenges and approaches taken to transfer truly autonomous, intelligent robots from research labs to the real world.

Nick Bostrom, Director, Future of Humanity Institute – Nick discussed the changes in the human condition over the past 100 years and highlighted that that rapid technological progress might lead to either a post-human society or to human extinction, depending on both our use of technology and our values.