John Thackara

Cutting Edge Design Expert and Global Authority on Innovation and Sustainability
Keynote Speaker John Thackara

John Thackara

Cutting Edge Design Expert and Global Authority on Innovation and Sustainability


John Thackara is a philosopher and curator. He curated the celebrated Doors of Perception conference for 20 years, first in Amsterdam, later across India, and was commissioner of the UK social innovation biennial Dott 07 and the French design biennial City Eco Lab. He currently working with China on urban-rural reconnection.

With a focus on social, ecological and relational design, John studied philosophy before working for ten years as a book publisher and magazine editor. He was the first Director (1993-99) of the Netherlands Design Institute. He is a senior fellow at the Royal College of Art, a visiting professor at Tonhji University in Shanghai,  and Visiting Professor at School of Visual Arts in New York. His most recent book ‘How To Thrive In the Next Economy: Designing Tomorrow’s World Today’ has just been published in China.  He is “one of the most influential people in the world on ecodesign” (Vice), “a global expert on innovation and the green economy” (McKinsey Quarterly) and “one of the great voices on sustainability” (Business Week)

In his presentations John tells how AI can enable relationships that reconnect man and nature and help us accelerate the transition to ecological agriculture. He shows how AI can be a relocalisation engine, and also function as a convivial technology that enables diverse actors to work together on the many challenges, we all face. His talk is filled with compelling real-world stories.

Encounters with John Thackara can occur in a variety of formats adapted to suit your unique requirements – from a one-hour keynote lecture to more interactive workshops, design clinics and Explorers Clubs.


  • From Oil Age to Soil Age: Growing the Bio City
  • Rewilding A.I.: Machine Learning, Convivial Tech and Sustainability
  • The New Geographies of Innovation: Pathways to a Living Economy




  • Bioregions: Parhways to Urban-Rural Reconnection (2019)
  • How to Thrive in the Next Economy (2015)
  • Clean Growth: The Things We Need More Of (2009)
  • In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World (2005)
  • The Edge Effect: Designing the Contexts for Innovation (2002)
  • Winners – How Europe’s Most Successful Companies Use Design to Innovate (1999)
  • Web Publishing Strategy (1996)
  • Lost in Space (1994)

Want to know more?

Give us a call or send us an e-mail to find out exactly what he could bring to your event.

How to book him?

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