Future Talent Conference 2021: Transforming Skills and Inclusion

Highlights and speaker videos


Learn how to accelerate your thinking about how we transform the capabilities in our organisations to keep pace with the speed and scale of change; get insights about how the pandemic has transformed the talent landscape; and answers to the questions ‘what skills do we need to thrive?’ and ‘how can cognitive diversity support a more creative approach to inclusion?’ Our speakers include historian David Olusoga and Harvard Professor Francesca Gino.


David Olusoga OBE: Change & history in the era of Black Lives Matter

Historian David Olusoga believes we are living through "intergenerational change" around race, with organisations at the centre, offering hope for the future. History can help us understand race and offer the blueprints for its deconstruction. 


Professor Francesca Gino: Rebel Talent – inclusive management

Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino outlines how we can embrace constructive rebelliousness in our work and life and become more adaptive and innovative, especially in times of change. Followed by Q&A with Robert Rowland Smith.

Margaret Heffernan: Human capacity for an uncharted future

As we face an uncharted future, Margaret explores why our quest for certainty is thwarted and agile leadership is needed now more than ever. She calls on us to learn and develop the 'human skills' to respond to change effectively. 

Jim Carrick-Birtwell: Welcome and introduction

Future Talent Learning's CEO shares stories from his early life and education to outline how lifelong learning, inclusion, cognitive diversity and the changing talent landscape are central themes to be explored during the conference.

Panel: How has the talent landscape been transformed?

Led by Rosaleen Blair CBE, this panel of global HR and talent leaders explores how the pandemic has catalysed change when it comes to people and talent practices. Are we facing an opportunity to reimagine the talent landscape and reset 'work'?

Philosophy slam part 1: The art of the possible

The hugely popular philosophy slams are back for the 2021 conference. Robert Rowland Smith and Dr Mark Vernon provide a much-needed brain workout to begin the day, this time focusing on what's possible when it comes to skills and inclusion.

Panel: Transforming our approach to skills

This panel of education industry experts, chaired by Carl Ward, Chief Executive of City Learning Trust, considers the skills required for the changing world of work and why greater emphasis must be placed on core transferable skills like creativity, problem-solving and innovation. 

Professor Andrew Scott: Work and learning over a longer life

London Business School professor and co-author of The 100-year life, Andrew Scott, shares why he is optimistic about the prospect of a longer working life and an increased capacity for knowledge and skills. Followed by a Q&A with facilitator Robert Rowland Smith.  

Andreas Schleicher: Critical skills for the future from the OECD

Andreas shares his insights as a leading global policy adviser on how employers can develop long-term plans to meet the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He reflects on areas for employers and learning professionals to focus on to upskill and reskill their workforces.

Philosophy slam part 2: Reflections on the themes of the day

Bringing together the myriad themes and topics covered during the conference, Robert and Mark return to mull over their main takeaways around skills, inclusion and belonging along with some prompts provided by the global audience.  

Jim Carrick-Birtwell: Remarks on opening session

Reflecting on earlier sessions, Jim notes the importance of lifelong learning: the pandemic has shown us that learning new skills, particularly around inclusion, empathy, vulnerability and authenticity, is crucial for leaders today. 

Transforming Skills and Inclusion: The highlights 

Re-live the highlights of this unique virtual summit convened by Future Talent Learning in June 2021. Inspiring thought leaders from across the globe explored the need for 'human skills' to keep pace with the speed and scale of change. 


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