JT Unbox 2014 copy
(Above: Unbox Festival, Delhi, 2014)

The world is not short of ideas – so why invite me to talk, run a workshop, or spend half an hour on Skype?

I like Marcel Proust’s explanation: “the real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes”. In re-framing questions, and casting fresh eyes on your situation, I can help reveal opportunities for change. When I ask for feedback, 75% of my clients say our session was “inspiring”​.

I come to our encounter wearing three hats: a philosophy hat, a storytelling one, and a design hat. The philosopher in me asks: “what’s the most important question here?” As a storyteller, I introduce you to real people doing inspiring work around the world. Finally, with my design hat on, I ask how these innovations might be improved upon, with which partners, and how.

I do big-picture keynote talks for cities, companies, universities, and institutions. I often chair events; and people seem to enjoy my Q+A interviews. A combination talk + xskool workshop gives us more quality time together.

The benefits to you? A shared perception of new opportunities, and a determination to make something happen.

(Above: OuiShare Festival, Paris , 2014. The text of my keynote “How We Meet Is As Important As Why” is here).

Lecture topics for 2015-2016

I don’t do standard set-piece talks – each one is shaped to its unique context – but as a starting point…

My new book draws on a lifetime of travel in search of real-world alternatives that work. I describes how communities the world over are creating a replacement economy from the ground up.

The best way to transform complex systems is to ‘seed’ their edge with small experiments. This talk draws on change labs from the worlds of health, energy, food, and mobility.

By some accounts the world’s information is doubling every two years – but there’s a danger that we focus so much on the instrumentation that we lose sight of other opportunities.

Ninety five percent of person-to-person healthcare happens in the home and in the community. What platforms and practical measures are needed to support the people who already do the bulk of caring?

Recorded examples

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My closing keynote at the Informal Economy Symposium, in Barcelona (above) is here; my keynote at Poptech! is here; my lecture for Design In Action, in Scotland, is here; my talk on Big Data, for AMP in Sydney, is here; a short TV interview in France about “What next after GDP?” is here; my talk at Mayo Clinic is here; a talk at the Oui Share Festival in Paris – How We Meet Is As Important As Why – is here.


“inspirational – ideas and perspectives we had not heard of before“
Nordic Housing Conference
“you challenged us to look outside the square for inspiration” Queensland Tourism
an excellent session on Big Data: it kept people’s attention right to the end” AMP, Sydney
“an insightful and charismatic jury chairman” Stylepark AG, Curator, Audi Urban Future Award
“an inspiring presentation for our executive workshop” Ikea
“a fantastic talk – it gave us so much to to think about” Snøhetta Architecture + Landscape, Oslo,
“you lifted the conference and discussion to a high level” Oslo Architecture Triennale
“our high-level guests greatly appreciated your challenging talk” T-Mobile
“your lecture created an enormous buzz” Vision2020 Leicester
le pape du design” (the pope of design) Terra Economica

Online conversations

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A simple but effective online format works well if you need a change of pace in your workshop, retreat, or conference: Sometimes I send a short video lecture ahead of time, that you download; or we can do a 1:1 session live on Skype or FaceTime.
Some recent online sessions:
– foreign ministry officials at a strategy seminar in The Netherlands;
– managers at an innovation workshop in Belgium;
– design educators at their annual conference in the US;
– architects at a festival in Brazil;
– interactive media professionals at a seminar in Hong Kong.

cv JT CityEcoLab
(Above: John Thackara – in the green football shirt – at City Eco Lab in St Etienne, France)

I am represented by Lavin Agency where you can write direct to Gord Mazur: gmazur [ a t ] thelavinagency [ d o t ] com.
or email john [ a t ] doorsofperception [ d o t ] com
(If you’d like to talk on the phone, or skype, send me: a number, preferred time, and your timezone).