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10:15 am - 11:20 am

Morning Keynotes

Our Morning Keynote includes three impressive speakers, each driving forward innovative approaches to ensure we build inclusive sustainable communities locally, nationally and globally.

Building on VentureFest’s central theme, Our Future, Now, each speaker will offer delegates several provocations to consider and question what more we could do collectively to drive transformational change and innovate for good.


Finbarr Dowling

Project Director, Siemens

Experienced in managing projects that focus on positively impacting and bringing communities together on the journey to innovate, Finbarr will challenge the VentureFest audience to question what social value really looks like, taking into consideration broader themes like biodiversity, inclusivity, and sustainability as part of the ESG mix. He will question to what extent ‘levelling up’ is happening, asking, how do we bring communities ‘being left behind’ along with us?

Martin Hunt

Managing Director UK & Europe, Forum for the Future

Martin Hunt, Managing Director UK & Europe for international sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future, will provide a picture of some of the big global issues facing society and our race to net zero. These represent big challenges, but also big opportunities for collaboration, innovation and truly transformative solutions. He will also talk about the need to think about these challenges systemically, and consider the wider enabling conditions that will allow innovation to have greater impact regions such as the North-East.

Adah Parris

Polymath, Tech Futurist, Anti-disciplinary Artist, and Activist

Adah Parris’s keynote talk, ‘The Softer Side of Tech,’ challenges the audience to adopt a living systems approach to emerging technology creation that prioritises harmony with and between the human and ‘more than human’ experience, recognising their intrinsic value beyond financial worth.

Adah presents five provocations that encourage individuals to take responsibility towards future generations, create legacies that foster an inclusive and equitable future, and recognise the opportune moment for making decisions that positively impact the future. The talk emphasises the importance of storytelling in shaping our vision for the future and provides a framework for businesses to consider the social and environmental implications of their technology and operations.

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