Speakers

VentureFest North East is all about creating a space for businesses from all sectors, of all sizes to network, collaborate and learn from one another.

That’s why we handpick a diverse range of inspirational speakers from regional, national and international platforms who have a story to tell, who have transformed their sector and have business advice to give.

Our speakers are at the forefront of innovation and draw on their experience to offer delegates advice on how to use innovation to take their business to the next level, whether it’s growing, getting investment or gaining new connections.

The list below will be updated as more speakers are confirmed for VentureFest North East 2021. To be the first to know about programme announcements sign up to our newsletter. If you haven’t already registered, get your free ticket now.

Piers Linney

Dragons' Den investor and entrepreneur

Piers Linney is a technology and telecommunications entrepreneur and investor with a professional City background in law, investment banking and hedge fund management.  He is best-known as an investor on BBC2’s Dragons’ Den and is a well-known and highprofile champion of entrepreneurship, small businesses, diversity, and inclusion.  Piers is a NonExecutive Director of the government-owned British Business Bank, has been recognised as one of the UK’s top 20 Ethnic Minority Executives and is actively involved as a founder in new businesses ranging from 3D printed mountain bike manufacture to a small business service provider.  

Piers has personal and professional experience on all sides of the table as an entrepreneur, adviser, executive or non-executive board member, investor, and lender. Having experienced both success and failure he is a recognised champion of entrepreneurship, technology, and small and medium-sized enterprises. Although it is difficult to align objectives, culture and timescales, Piers believes that value can be created by partnerships between small innovators and large enterprises. 

Dr Nicola Millard

Principal Innovation Partner at BT Enterprise

Once described as “human caffeine” on Twitter, Dr Nicola Millard injects a positive, people-centred expresso shot to innovation and future strategy. Half social scientist, half technologist, all academic, she uses techniques from disciplines such as design thinking, psychology, anthropology, computing, and business consulting to generate data, provocations and stories which can engage and create conversations from the board room, to the front line. No frothy coffee; just solid research. 

In her long and varied career at BT, Nicola has been involved with several BT firsts, including the first application of artificial intelligence into BT’s call centres, BT’s initial experiments with home working, and helping to develop BT’s “net easy” score, a new way of measuring customer experience. She currently looks at innovation in both employee and customer experience. 

Nicola is an award-winning presenter, with 2 TED talks and hundreds of conference panel, chair and keynote sessions under her belt. She occasionally pops up on radio and TV around the world, including appearances on ‘Woman’s Hour’, ‘Tech Tent’, ‘The Genius of Invention’ and ‘Back in Time for the Weekend’ for the BBC. 

Lucy Winskell

Chair of North East LEP

Lucy has been a member of the Executive team at Northumbria University since 2010, having made the transition into higher education following a 28-year career as a litigation lawyer.

Her non-executive career has been focussed on economic growth and regeneration within the North East.

Lucy’s regional roles have included Board Member of the North East Regional Investment Fund and North East Access to Finance (both supporting SME growth); non-executive Director of Government Office North East; Chair of the North East Industrial Development Board; Board Member of ING; Vice Chair of BE Group and a Member of CBI Regional Council.

Lucy was  Chair of the Board of the North East England Chamber of Commerce (NEECC) for six years, standing down at the end of that term in October 2020.

She has also been a strong advocate for the region at a national level. As a member of Arts and Humanities Research Council she highlighted the importance of the cultural and creative sector in a regional economy, and as Vice Chair of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) she has ensured a regional voice forms part of BCC’s lobbying and policy work.

Dr Arnab Basu MBE

Chief Executive Officer of Kromek Group

Dr Arnab Basu is the founding CEO of Kromek Group plc, a supplier of patented radiation detection technologies to the Medical Imaging, Nuclear Detection and Security Screening markets globally with operations in Durham and Huddersfield in the UK, and Pennsylvania and California in the USA.

Dr Basu successfully led Kromek through five rounds of private equity financing of over $40 million, including its first institutional Venture Capital funding in 2005. More recently, he led the successful acquisition and integration of California based NOVA R&D Inc., in 2010; eV Products Inc., in Pennsylvania, US, in 2013 and a successful listing on AIM, at the London Stock Exchange, in October 2013, raising over $65m in the market. Arnab has extensive experience in international business in USA, Europe, Middle East and Asia and has led M&A’s, formed strategic partnerships and raised equity. Arnab has also been part of many trade missions including a Prime Minister led mission to India in November 2016 and has led UK trade missions to Asia.

A prominent figure within the business community, Dr Basu is currently chair of the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN) and council member of Innovate UK

He previously served as a Board member of the North East LEP (leading Inward Investment), the Go-Global Partnership (trade contract delivery for UKTI), the North-East Innovation Strategy Board, Business Durham, a member of the International Advisory Board of Newcastle University Business School, chair for the steering group of Health Quest (Grand Challenge) for the North East LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and is a founding member of Northern Futures UTC (University Training College in partnership with Sunderland University), in Newcastle.

Jonathan O'Halloran

CEO and co-founder of QuantuMDx Group

Jonathan is the inventor of QuantuMDx’s proprietary sample preparation, amplification and detection technologies. After studying for his PhD in genomics, Jonathan began his career working in pathology laboratories in the UK. He was consistently frustrated by the speed at which the laboratory was able to turn tests around, whether that be through the need to batch samples, transportation of samples, or simply the long analysis time. During his time in the pathology lab, Jonathan defined the specifications for a POC MDx device and then set to build and alter the technologies to facilitate his dream in his garage at home. This early work was the foundation for which QuantuMDx’s technology is built upon.

Jonathan spent two years in Cape Town, working to develop QuantuMDx’s technology in the market that will benefit the most from it. He spent many hours a week talking with frontline health workers, who routinely perform POC Dx, to understand the field. This experience with the battle against drug resistant tuberculosis has been channelled into the design of QuantuMDx’s diagnostic devices, making them uniquely suited for the challenges the world now faces due to drug resistant bacteria. Jonathan was recognised for his achievements in 2015 when he was awarded European CTO of the Year. He advised Lord O’Neil’s Review on Antimicrobial Resistance in 2014 and is quoted in the 2018 book “Superbugs – An Arms Race against Bacteria”.

Fareeha Usman

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Manager at Dynamo North East

Fareeha Usman is a multi-award winner, philanthropist and an Entrepreneur for Good. A global voice of authority on gender equality, diversity and inclusion she is the Founder of Being Woman Charity and the mind behind the food sharing app “Share Karo”, launched to provide an integrated system to distribute food and essentials for the people in need. She is a Trustee for YMCA Northumberland, Board Member Healthwatch Northumberland and an advisor to TechMums whilst being an Agile Business Analyst.

In her role as EDI Innovation Manager at Dynamo North East Fareeha is working to foster better understanding of EDI in the North East Tech Sector. She has been actively promoting digital and social inclusion in Northumberland UK through her work and is one of 100 Tech Up Women Programme by Dr Sue Black. She strongly vouches for the promotion of equality and diversity and supports BAME, asylum seekers and refugee women and families. Fareeha strongly believes that people should be recognised on the basis of their talent and capabilities rather than judged on colour, race, age or gender. Through her work she has established that we can certainly break barriers if we are ready to make that change. It is all about accepting each other and dignifying the abilities we all possess.

Jamie Campbell

Design Associate at the Rural Design Centre

Jamie is a passionate Designer, and has worked in the design industry for over 14 years.

He has experience in various design disciplines, and his current focus is on digital experience and service design. Jamie has worked for organisations large and small, and across many sectors including; tech, higher education, local government, financial, healthcare, and the third sector.

He is currently a Design Associate for the Rural Design Centre, helping to bring together people and organisations, and using co-design to solve issues faced by rural communities. He gets his energy from doing helpful design that will benefit people and the planet.

Ammar Mizra CBE

AmmarM

Ammar Mirza CBE, MBA, FInstLM, FRSA, is a multi-award winning, sought after enterprise, leadership & business management consultant.  A self-made serial entrepreneur with investments across a number of sectors and industries.

Over a 19 year period Ammar has helped establish several hundred new businesses. Through his various roles including chairman and founder of not-for-profit Asian Business Connexions CIC, chair of the North East LEP’ Business Growth and founder of the SME Centre of Excellence, Ammar has made a significant social and economic impact across the Globe.

Ammar’s many accolades include Maserati top 100 Entrepreneur, English Asian Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 and being appointed a CBE by Her Majesty the Queen.

Cam Ross

Chief Operating Officer at Green Angel Syndicate

Cam Ross co-founded, jointly ran and raised 2 rounds of Business Angel funding for a contact centre payments business, with an exit by sale to AIM-listed Eckoh plc.  Cam is an Aeronautical Engineer by training, and has experience in creating, commercialising and patenting new technology. He has twelve granted patents in the fields of telecommunications, payments and customer authentication. He has a practical ability to analyse and improve complex processes, from manufacturing to software systems. Cam manages Technical Due Diligence for Green Angel Syndicate.

Cam is also a Board member of SocietyWorks, the commercial arm of the not-for-profit social enterprise mySociety, which builds technology to help democracy, transparency, and community in the UK and overseas.

Helen Oldham

Founding Board Director at North Invest

Helen is a Founding Board Director of a highly successful early stage investment connector for tech start-ups;  NorthInvest, a NED, mentor, and Chair of the Trustees for Smart Works Leeds which provides coaching and clothing to unemployed women.

Helen supports entrepreneurs and Northern based SMEs to reach their potential.

Jason Hobbs

Chief Executive at the North East Fund

Jason has worked in the development of the access to finance infrastructure in the North East for the past 16 years.  During this period he has helped to develop and manage over £300m of investment funds, including the £160m JEREMIE Fund, and is currently Chief Executive of the £120m North East Fund.

Having qualified as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young, he previously worked at Black & Decker’s manufacturing plant in County Durham, before joining The Health Clinic, a venture capital backed company that successfully floated on the London Stock Exchange.

Amy Peace

Innovation Lead for Circular Economy at Innovate UK

Amy Peace is the Innovation Lead for Circular Economy at Innovate UK. With a background in Chemical Engineering, she has coordinated sustainability projects and programmes in industry (ICI, INEOS, Britest), industrial clusters (Chemicals Northwest) and pan-EU cross-sector initiatives (Horizon2020 SPIRE). Amy’s current work portfolio includes UKRI investments in interdisciplinary circular economy centres and the development of future programmes to aid the transition of manufacturing and materials sectors to get to Net Zero, highlighting the importance of embedded carbon in supply chains.

Professor Jonathan Sapsed

Principal Investigator at Creative Fuse North East

Jonathan Sapsed is Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Newcastle University Business School. He is Principal Investigator of Creative Fuse North East, a collaborative project – now into its second phase – between the five North East universities funded by the ERDF and AHRC, which aims to support innovation and research-led growth in the region. This is a successor to The Brighton Fuse projects, which he led prior to 2017 in a significant creative-digital cluster. Jonathan has researched innovation in digital firms in Silicon Valley in the US, UK video games developers, as well as companies such as Disney, Sun Microsystems, Ericsson, and QinetiQ. He has advised national and regional government, including BEIS/DIUS/DTI on new technology adoption for SMEs, and DCMS on designing evaluations and classification of creative industries. He is a Co-Investigator of the AHRC’s Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) researching clustering and international competitiveness.

Mark Adamson

Project Director at Creative Fuse North East

Mark is Project Director of Creative Fuse North East leading the central team at Newcastle, providing strategic direction for the project and acting as an interface with key regional and national stakeholders. Mark has over 18 years’ experience working across the creative, cultural and digital sectors and broader knowledge economy. He has operated in commissioning and investment at senior strategic level and on into provision of direct business support and advice, at regional, national and international levels. Outside of Creative Fuse, Mark is also a consultant, providing a range of services including business development and strategy, marketing, project design through to delivery and management, finance & funding, knowledge transfer, change management, skills development, and business mentoring. Recent work has included industrial digitalisation/Industry 4.0, health and wellbeing innovation, creative and digital industries business support, and lean start-up innovation.

Dr Henry Kippin

Director of Economic Growth at the North of Tyne Combined Authority

Dr Henry Kippin is director of economic growth at the North of Tyne Combined Authority.  He was formerly an executive director at the West Midlands Combined Authority, responsible for its work on inclusive growth, public service reform, climate change and digital.  Previous to this he was chief executive of Collaborate CIC and held roles in UK public policy and international development.  He is a member of NESTA’s Government Innovation Board, and between 2013-18 was a visiting fellow of the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence.

Ian Lloyd

Head of Microgrid Solutions at Siemens plc

Ian’s career started in the electricity supply industry in the apprentice scheme of the Central Electricity Generating Board at Aberthaw Power station in South Wales, and proudly serving as an electrical fitter until industry privatisation. Recently leading the Siemens Technical programme of works and strategic growth plans, Ian now Heads up Microgrid Solutions, delivering ideas and systems that will enable a smart infrastructure more suitable for our future, driven by decreasing our carbon impact and improving cost-reduction techniques.

Jeni Smith

Founder and Networking Strategist at Networking KnoWho

Jeni is passionate about connecting people. When people come together powerful things happen: relationships are built, knowledge is shared and sparks of innovation are fired.

With fourteen years’ experience in the networking industry, Jeni now teaches networking skills and creates networking strategies to help people come together and build effective, long-term relationships. During her career she has won a number of awards in enterprise including being named within the ‘Future 100 Young Entrepreneurs’ in the UK in 2010, and ‘Growth Accelerator Programme’ winner 2012. Results from academic research done with Durham University spurred her on to launch Networking KnoWho, a new networking consultancy, to help individuals and businesses become more confident, efficient and strategic networkers.

Kate Lloyd

Programme Manager at Constructing Excellence North East

A Civil Engineer by profession, Kate has worked within the industry for over 20 years, starting as a Site Engineer in the North East of England. Following a couple of years as a teaching associate at Newcastle University, she then started working for CITB in the Careers and Education team. Between 2007 – 2011 Kate managed the Women and Work: Sector Pathways Initiative across England which supported over 4,000 women through training and networking opportunities in construction. This work informed the development of the Fairness, Inclusion and Respect programme, a national initiative to drive inclusion across the construction industry. Kate joined Constructing Excellence North East in 2017 and manages large events and business development opportunities. During 2019 and early 2020 she consulted with the region’s construction industry and wrote the One Voice, North East England Construction Strategy, 2020-2025.

Dr Lucy Foley

Director of Biologics at the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI)

Lucy joined the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) in September 2013 as Biologics Lead Biopharmaceutical Engineer and was part of the team responsible for the design and build of the organisation’s Darlington-based National Biologics Manufacturing Centre.

Prior to her arrival, Lucy was a lecturer in Biopharmaceutical Engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials at Newcastle University, and had also been a Research Fellow in Newcastle University Business School

A founding member of the ATMP Manufacturing Community, Lucy has a Masters Degree in Biochemical Engineering with Bioprocess Management from University College London, and an Engineering Doctorate in Biochemical Engineering and Bioprocess Leadership from University College London.

Matthew Bedford

Managing Director of Sales and Service at Draeger UK and Ireland

Matthew is recently appointed as Managing Director – Sales & Service for Draeger’s UK and Ireland business. A qualified Management Accountant by profession, Matthew trained with Unilever and worked for a range of organisations in the private and not-for-profit sector before joining Draeger in 1994. Since then, he has taken on a wide variety of responsibilities in both Medical and Safety divisions of Draeger, gaining experience of managing across the spectrum of Draeger’s functions. He begins his new role in exceptional times for Draeger, as the company faces the challenges and opportunities arising from Covid-19 and Brexit.

Paul Swift

UK R&D Open Innovation Director at Procter and Gamble (P&G)

Paul is P&G’s Director for Open Innovation in the UK, helping to initiate partnerships to meet today’s needs across the Procter & Gamble business: for products, technology, in-store, e-commerce and the supply chain. P&G is a company of leading Home & Personal Care brands including Ariel, Fairy, Pampers, Always, Gillette, Oral-B, Vicks, Head & Shoulders and Olay.

Paul Szomoru

Director of Business Events at NewcastleGateshead Initiative

Director of Business Events at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Paul Szomoru leads the NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau and is responsible for bringing strategically important business events, conferences, and meetings to the region.  He sits on the Core Cities destination management group and has held non-exec board positions with the Meetings Industry Association (MIA) and the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP).

The NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau was established in 2000, and works in partnership with hotels, venues, and support service providers, as well as universities and inward investment teams, to attract business events that align with the sector strengths and economic ambitions of the region. Business events play a vital role in attracting influential, national, and international audiences and raises our regions profile as a place to do business. They also generate £150m a year of revenue for the businesses of NewcastleGateshead and support thousands of jobs.

Peter Baeck

Co-Head of the Centre for Collective Intelligence Design at Nesta

Peter is responsible for a number of large-scale research projects and experiments that explore how human and machine intelligence can be combined to solve social challenges. As the Head of the Centre for Collective Intelligence Design, Peter’s work focuses on areas such as labour markets, healthcare, and digital democracy. His work also covers the role of digital technologies in public and social innovation, crowdfunding, smart cities, the collaborative economy and public innovation labs.

Dan Appleby

Managing Director of Drummond Central

Dan has nearly 20 years’ experience in creative marketing agencies in London and Newcastle. He has consulted and delivered across many marketing disciplines including brand strategy, direct and CRM, advertising and digital. Throughout his career, his work has won awards from Cannes Lion Direct, DMAs, The Drum, D&AD, Travel Marketing, Marketing Week’s Masters, Campaign Direct, Campaign Big, Roses Creative Awards, The Northern Marketing Awards and CIM Marketing Excellence.

He is an elected member of The IPA Council, the governing body of the UK’s most influential professional body for practitioners in advertising and marketing. He previously held the role of IPA North East City Head for three years and has recently been honoured with a lifetime Fellowship (FIPA) for his contribution to The IPA and the industry. As MD of Drummond Central, Dan continues to work closely with their clients at a strategic level as well as leading their team to ensure they continually deliver excellent service to their clients and he is passionate about creating an environment and culture that allows people to create the best work of their careers.

Gareth Humphreys

Consulting Partner at Solutions Performance Group

Throughout his over 20-year career, Gareth has worked with a number of leading-edge service providers and technology vendors in the cloud, application and operational transformation space. Now consulting partner at Solutions Performance Group, Gareth works with clients to understand their technology and operational challenges, identifying the “unknowns” along the way.

Laura Kemp

Service Delivery Centre Cluster Lead at Dynamo North East

Leading Dynamo North East’s Service Delivery Centre Cluster, Laura works with large regional employers to understand the challenges and opportunities of human and computer interaction. Over the past year Laura has been supporting businesses to use technology to overcome the challenges of remote working and is now looking ahead to future ways of working, including the sustainability of remote teams and managing hybrid working.

Stewart Miller

Chief Technology Officer at Innovate UK

Stewart is an experienced industrial leader with a reputation in leading business transformation both for recovery and growth. As someone who has always invested in personal learning and development coupled with an engineer’s interest in the application of new technologies, Stewart has hands-on experience of Digital Transformation, most recently as SVP of Leonardo UK Innovation and Technology Group.

With a career in engineering, ranging from Electronic Design through Engineering Management and Business Development to Senior Business Management, he has worked predominantly in the Aerospace and Defence sector for Leonardo, BAE Systems, GDUK and Thales, as well as a spell in DE&S. Always conscious of the impact of transformation on the people involved and the world around us, Stewart’s skills lie in turning concepts and theories into practical approaches that transform business for the better.

David Lynch

ENERGY INNOVATION PARTNERSHIP MANAGER

David has 15 years’ experience working in the energy sector and attained a MA by Research at Durham University in 2014.  Having worked at National Energy Action (NEA) and the Energy Systems Catapult David is skilled in business planning, environmental awareness and project management. David look up the position of Energy Innovation Partnership Manager at the North East LEP in October 2019 and is leading on the North East Energy Catalyst programme, a ground-breaking partnership to unite the North East’s leading energy innovation demonstration and delivery capabilities.

Graeme Miller

INNOVATION MANAGER AT INNOVATION SUPERNETWORK

With a degree in Business Systems and IT, Graeme started his career in the commercial world of recruitment before moving into business support. With experience working across all five regional universities, the public and private sectors and a role with the North East Satellite Application Centre, he has significant strength of knowledge across the regional innovation landscapes.

Annie Rigby

DIRECTOR OF UNFOLDING THEATRE

Annie Rigby is Artistic Director of Unfolding Theatre. Unfolding Theatre make big-hearted theatre that delights in bringing people together. Annie directed critically acclaimed productions including Hold On Let GoLands of GlassPutting The Band Back TogetherBest in the World and Building Palaces. Into 2018 Unfolding Theatre created young people’s video installation, Multiverse Arcade, for Great Exhibition of the North. It has attracted 20,000+ visitors across the North East since it first opened.

Annie is Co-Vice Chair of Seven Stories: National Centre for the Children’s Book. Previously Annie was Resident Director at Northern Stage (2003-08) and Northern Rock Foundation Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme (2007-08).

Simon McKeown

PROFESSOR OF ART IN THE MIMA SCHOOL OF ART AND DESIGN AT TEESSIDE UNIVERSITY

Simon McKeown is a Professor of Art in the MIMA School of Art and Design at Teesside University. He is an active researcher involved in digital practice and culture, having worked at a senior level in both the broadcast and computer games sector, he joins the Creative Fuse team as a creative digital expert.

As an artist, he is known for his work around disability and technology.  McKeown specialises in largescale outdoor visual events and has created works such as Prometheus Awakes with Graeae Theatre in London and Las Fura dels Baus of Catalonia. His work Cork Ignite closed the centre of Cork for a one-off performance which was a central feature of Culture Night Ireland in 2015. Working with Heart of Glass in St Helens, he created a collaborative work with Buzz Hub (St Helens Coalition of Disabled People), to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the City of St Helens in an event launched by Sir Phil Redmond.

As well as working internationally, he is very active regionally and is a voluntary director and trustee for Platform Arts, one of the region’s artist and craft-based studios. Simon is a member of the External Advisory Group on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion to UK Research and Innovation and similarly with British Antarctic Survey.

Jordan Dargue

ACCESS TO FINANCE MANAGER

Jordan is a senior talent and technology leader with over 15 years experience across a diverse range of sectors.  Jordan is an innovative and entrepreneurial professional with a proven ability to drive start up and business growth through raising capital and strategic development.  Jordan has an abundance of experience working directly with investors including angel investors and works with start up companies to connect them with the right source of funding.

At Innovation SuperNetwork Jordan is responsible for leading the Regional Angel Accelerator programme, an Innovate UK Accelerator to help stimulate Angel investment in the North.  Jordan is also responsible for overseeing and developing the Newcastle Angel Hub, building an angel investment network bringing together investors from across the region to build an active investment syndicate and co-investment network.

Alderman William Russell

LORD MAYOR OF THE CITY OF LONDON

Alderman William Russell took office as the 692nd Lord Mayor of the City of London on 8th November 2019. He served as a Sheriff of the City of London in 2016-17 and, in that capacity, supported the then Lord Mayor, undertaking numerous visits and official functions. On 30th September 2020 William was elected to serve a further year in office, to provide continuity of civic governance during the Coronavirus emergency.

His mayoral theme for his time in office is “Global UK – The New Future”, supporting businesses through the COVID19 crisis, speeding the recovery and seizing the opportunities of the new future.

William has over thirty years’ experience in the financial and business City including holding senior positions in the national and international Banking sector. In 1987 he went to work for First Boston Corporation before joining Merrill Lynch in 1992 as an Investment Banker in Institutional Equity Sales, working in Asia, New York and London. William is currently Chair of CDAM, a London based Asset Management business and Senior Advisor to STJ Advisors.

William served on the Board of Innovate Finance, the industry body for the UK based Fintech community and is also an educational entrepreneur, as the co-Founder and Chair of Knightsbridge School and a Director of Knightsbridge School International (KSI). William is a member of the Campaign Board for Durham Inspired, a landmark philanthropic campaign focused on ensuring Durham remains at the forefront of learning, research and education for generations to come.

Rohit Talwar

GLOBAL FUTURIST

Rohit Talwar is a global futurist and award winning speaker who leads Fast Future. He advises global businesses, start ups, NGOs, and national governments on how to anticipate and prepare for the forces and shifts shaping the emerging and the scenarios that could emerge. He has a particular focus on how to use future insights to drive strategy and innovation. His clients include American Express, Aruba, BP, BT, Deloitte, EY,  Heathrow, IBM, Intel, KPMG, Microsoft, Novartis, Pepsi, Pfizer, PwC, Shell, Tata, VW, and the governments of the UK, US, UAE, and Singapore. He is probably the only person in this event who has been on Interpol’s Most Wanted list and has been a stand in for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Caroline Theobald CBE

CO-FOUNDER AND CHAIR OF FIRST

Caroline Theobald CBE is the co-founder and chair of FIRST a learning and skills development agency that has innovated in purpose and practice over the last year.  It now provides accredited enterprise courses for young people and early stage business founders so they can equip themselves better for the changing nature of work. FIRST also  offers a ‘beacon of hope and growth’ through Startup North East, the region’s only dedicated startup competition.

Caroline’s non-executive roles are focused on contributing to a vibrant and sustainable regional economy.  She is a founding director of the North East Initiative on Business Ethics and Teesside’s Power of Women campaign. As chair of the Advisory Board to Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, she is working with the executive on a new strategy for the School to become a force for good; and in the Tees Valley she is involved in gathering community evidence for the UK2070 Commission’s Teesside Task Force as an associate of Teesside University.  Over the past 14 years she has served as an honorary diplomat to the Swedish Government and as the north east region Swedish Chamber of Commerce’s chapter chair through which she promotes the region as an inward investment destination for Swedish companies.

Simon Green

CEO AT INNOVATION SUPERNETWORK

Simon Green is the founder and CEO of Innovation SuperNetwork, working with the North East LEP, local authorities, universities, support providers and businesses to drive growth through innovation. Working as a partnership of 60 organisations with a wider network of 5,000 businesses, the SuperNetwork has led a step-change in collaborative innovation activity in the region over the past five years and grown to a team of 25 innovation professionals.

Simon’s background is in innovation within small business and corporate environments, having originally moved to the North East to work for Procter & Gamble on global programmes. He has launched five start-ups over the past decade, securing significant public and private funding in the process. He is founder and CEO of Rural Design Centre (focused on rural innovation) and ed/ge, an innovation and investment consultancy.

Professor Lars Holmquist

Professor of Innovation, Northumbria University

He is an internationally leading researcher in human computer interaction, interaction design and ubiquitous computing. He has published over 100 articles in fields such as HCI, design methods, mobile applications and ubicomp, which have been cited more than 3500 times. His work has been presented at major scientific conferences including CHI, SIGGRAPH, UIST, UbiComp, Mobile HCI, InfoVis and ECSCW. His first book, Grounded Innovation: Strategies for Creating Digital Products, was published by Morgan Kaufman in 2012, and provides a practical guide to the design-driven innovation process, with many examples drawn from his own research and elsewhere. He was most recently a Guest Researcher at Tokyo University, where he is worked on his second book. Before this, he was a Principal Scientist at Yahoo Labs in Sunnyvale, CA, where he did research in areas such as location-based services, interactive television and augmented reality.

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