Future Talent Conference 2019 – humanity and technology

The central role of humanity in an age of technology


“For HR leaders, there is an urgent need to grapple with, and understand, the multi-dimensional challenges upon which the people function must lead and advise in the face of these technological developments”


Jim Birtwell

Changeboard’s sixth Future Talent conference aims to support the need to learn anew: we strive to surprise you with ideas and stories throughout the day. The aim is to enable you to step across boundaries and disciplines and make connections between adjacent fields and areas of knowledge. 

The event will provide a range of outstanding thought leaders from business and technology, but also from philosophy, the arts and society, to consider and provide insights around the following three themes:

1. Technology: 

How can technology augment humanity? What are the questions that HR leaders should be asking the business about technological changes and disruptions? And, most importantly, what are the ethical, cultural and practical implications of AI, machine learning and algorithms; and how is it impacting wellbeing, performance and trust in our organisations? 

2. Learning:

In this rapidly changing world of work there is an urgent need to re-skill and up-skill the workforce and ourselves as leaders. How do we need to be redefining learning for the 21st century? How do leaders need to adapt, and what skills do they need to learn to thrive and be successful in this brave new world? Critically, how can we keep reinventing ourselves, un-learn the habits of a life-time, and embrace an outlook of life-long learning.

3. Diversity:

The changes driven by technology provide an opportunity to re-boot our thinking, and re-define the talent pools from which we can source our future talent. A range of exciting perspectives and stories will address social mobility, immigration, cognitive diversity, bias – conscious and unconscious, as well as ask tough questions of leadership teams about what constitutes true inclusivity.

Jim Carrick-Birtwell, Co-founder & CEO, Changeboard


Join us on March 21st, 2019 for an incredible programme of TED-style keynote talks and discussions.

Foreword from Professor Andrew Scott, London Business School Co-author of ‘The 100 Year Life’


Andrew Scott

You’ve probably heard that the robots are coming. AI, Machine Learning and ever smarter machines are set to transform how we work, where we work and even if we work. You need to be prepared for a different future and the first stage to doing that is finding out how that future will be different.

I hear all of this an awful lot and the clamour gets louder each year. If you are worried about losing your job because of automation I would suggest you get one writing and talking about technology. Demand grows exponentially, I have my own version of Moore’s Law – the number of people writing about robots doubles every 18 months. If only there was a machine smart enough to write the book itself…

I don’t doubt that we are witnessing the emergence of a powerful new technology that is and will exert a powerful influence on all aspects of our life, including our working life. However why I am especially excited about Changeboard’s 2019 Future Talent Conference is its focus on the really important thing – not the machines but the people. The human factor.


“Jobs which will become important in the future are those that emphasise our human nature”


This matters for so many important reasons. The first is that the general consensus about the march of AI is that the jobs which will become important in the future are those that emphasise our human nature. Our ability to relate to one another and make connections, to communicate, to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty, our ability to inspire and create. To focus on the machines and what they can do is to miss the point that humans will always have a comparative advantage in being human. To fully exploit this we have to change both how we structure our organisations but also how we acquire skills and talents. 

The second reason is that we have since the Industrial Revolution, if not before, learnt how to adapt to machines in the workplace. Yes, Robots are very different machines which bring a whole set of new opportunities and challenges, but we are used to machine-led innovation. What we have had less success at is building organisations that give people the scope to be innovative and creative and driven by human instinct. The rise of AI is itself a testimony to human ingenuity but a more difficult problem remains to be cracked – how to create a fulfilled and productive workforce. AI doesn’t give us the answer to that question. In fact, managing and inspiring a workforce will be exactly one of those skills and professions that will become all the more important with the advent of AI.

What our speakers have said about Future Talent…


“This is a conference that delivers what every conference should but rarely does: Proper food for thought and a lot of entertainment of the best kind. You get to learn, but in the most painless and most beguiling way.”

Alain de Botton, Author and Philosopher

“Discussing, listening and learning at the same time was fantastic. I especially enjoyed the variety of speakers from different backgrounds. I certainly came away with a lot to think about.”

Dame Katherine Grainger, Olympic & World Champion Athlete

“The best thing about Changeboard’s Future Talent Conference is the energy in the room. The questions were flowing, people were very engaged and it was all hugely insightful.”

Dame Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive Officer, easyJet Airline Company Ltd.

“Very imaginative and stimulating in getting people to think in different ways.”

Margaret Heffernan, Author

“Future Talent is important for the most obvious but deep of reasons: because the collective flourishing and success of the nation depends on properly mining the talents and interests of the next generation.”

Alain de Botton, Philosopher

“The challenge for those thinking about future talent is how we improve the utilisation of skills and stimulate demand for higher level skills. There’s a real need to invest in management and leadership, whilst also providing opportunities for young people to take their first steps into the world of work.”

Peter Cheese, CEO, CIPD

“Recruiting the right talent into your teams / organisations is always going to important but for me this is the starting point not the finish point. What I’m looking for is how can we coach that talent once people have been recruited in order to make them better at what they do.”

Sir Clive Woodward, England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup Winning Head Coach

About Changeboard

Changeboard is a privately owned media business co-founded in 2004 by CEO Jim Carrick-Birtwell.

It focuses is upon providing insights about the changing world of work for a global community of senior human resource decision-makers. 

Changeboard ‘Future Talent’ events include conferences and roundtables, as well as a regular series of debates and panel discussions for CHROs, HRDs and Heads of people functions who are members of the ‘Future Talent Leaders Club.’

The community is supported by a range of award-winning content products, in print and digital formats, that enable individuals and organisations to future-proof themselves.

Changeboard also produces world-class content, communications and event solutions for organisations that want to tell their talent story more effectively to internal employees, clients, and other stakeholders.