Future Talent Conference 2020: Purpose, Meaning and Culture

Highlights and speaker videos

Learn about why we should embrace purpose, embed meaning into all of our activities, and drive value through a culture of investment in human-centred skills, inclusion, leadership and development. Our outstanding global line-up of thought leaders from business, culture, society and the arts include theatre director Kwame Kwei-Armah, astronaut Tim Peake, and Bear Grylls.


Tim Peake: Learnings from Space

Reflecting on his personal experiences as the first British ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station, Tim will explore what he had to learn to prepare for his Principia mission, both personally and as part of a large team.


Margaret Heffernan: Uncharted: navigating the future

In a world of increasing volatility and uncertainty, a clear sense of purpose should provide direction. For entrepreneur and CEO Margaret Heffernan, leadership requires vibrant and proactive vision: seizing new ways to work and throwing out the old.

Kwame Kwei-Armah: Theatre is a platform for structural change

Actor and director Kwame Kwei-Armah made the case for theatre as an agent for cultural change: in the arts, the leader’s role is to listen, to hear, and to act in accordance with what they are hearing and feeling in their soul. 

Bear Grylls: Becoming X: Lessons from a life of adventure

Bear will talk about the key lessons he has learned from a life of adventure and meeting some of the most inspiring and iconic people alive. Bear was due to be at the Future Talent Conference 2020 live in March before the postponement, and has filming commitments in November 2020, but we are delighted that he has been able to pre-record his keynote for our virtual event.

Jim Carrick-Birtwell: Welcome and introduction

Future Talent Learning's founder and CEO Jim Carrick-Birtwell explains how the line-up of inspiring speakers will address why and how your organisation should embrace purpose, embed meaning into all of its activities, and drive value through culture, inclusion, leadership and the development of your people.

Panel: Changing organisational culture – can it ever truly be inclusive?

Through the lens of gender, this panel including Sarah Jenkins, Louisa Moreton, Emma Codd and Jenni Hibbert (with Simon Fanshawe OBE as chair) will ask tough questions around diversity, bringing perspectives from a range of industries to consider how organisations can change workplace culture to foster a true sense of belonging.

Panel: How do we respond to the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement?

This panel, featuring perspectives from Kwame Kwei-Armah, Tim Campbell MBE and Claudia Iton and chaired by Matthew Taylor, CEO of the RSA, explored the lived experiences of the panellists and aimed to provide practical ideas and insights to HR and business leaders about what they and their organisations need to be doing to enact change.

Lucy Winkett: Thought of the day: Living to work or working to live?

Lucy will explore the purpose of work and how the culture of our working environment can be developed to add not only value, but meaning to your team. ‘Bringing your whole self to work’ has become a cliché, but what could that mean in practice, given that a huge proportion of our waking hours are spent working? Do we live to work or work to live?

Andrew White: A guided meditation for leaders

In this session Andrew White, Associate Dean for Executive Education & Corporate Relations at Saïd Business School, will use a guided meditation/ visualisation to show how leaders can quickly focus on the right conversations. He will also present a process to further the investigation into an organisation’s journey towards understanding and aligning with its purpose.

Philosophy slam: Bringing meaning to life

Philosophers Mark Vernon and Robert Rowland Smith put the audience through a virtual cognitive workout through their innovative Philosophy Slam. From ‘Trump’, to ‘interdependence’, to ‘gravitas’, delegates suggested random words for the pair to debate to which they responded with nuggets of insight from philosophy, psychology, science and art.

Christine Armstrong: Lockdown and culture: what we’ve learned

Author Christine Armstrong reflected on the challenges of the lockdown prompted by COVID-19. The challenge for businesses now, she argued, is to reach and include those who lost confidence, traction and networks, to enable them to contribute productively in this hybrid world of work. She offered practical ways to help reinvigorate our cultures and sense of purpose.

Purpose, Meaning and Culture: Inclusion highlights

Re-live the highlights of the first virtual summit convened by Future Talent Learning in November 2020. Inspiring thought leaders from across the globe explored the need for inclusive environments for all of our people, the importance of purpose as a driver of change and the absolute necessity of agile and authentic leaders.

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