Director of Futures & Projects

Background: 

I lead Forum’s work using futures to create #theBIGshift. Our futures and strategy work includes single organisations, collaborative futures processes with sector coalitions and our Futures Centre in Singapore. We have a great team of ‘sustainable futurists’ in New York, London, Singapore and Mumbai, skilled in using techniques such as scenario building, visioning and horizon scanning to motivate and inspire people to make decisions that will bring about a sustainable future. I work across the areas of energy, food and sustainable business, covering topics from agricultural supply chains to sustainable entrepreneurship, from the informal economy to the fashion industry.

Graduating from Manchester University with a First Class degree in History, I spent some time teaching and travelling in Turkey and Japan. I came to Forum in 2001 from a market research agency, where I managed global research projects for tech firms. Joining Forum, I focused initially on what the digital revolution meant for sustainability co-writing, “Making the Net Work,” published in 2003. I’ve kept my interest in ICT, for example sitting on Vodafone’s sustainability advisory panel, but have broadened the work I do, and in 2006 I set up Forum’s futures team.

The futures approach has become one of the most effective ways we have for creating change – whether it’s working with individual organisations such as PepsiCo or Unilever to imagine sustainable future business, or with industries such as dairy, retail or the shipping industry.

My dream forum project? 

I want to see significant change and new ideas take off, and I believe strongly that futures work is a great way to achieve that. I want Forum to be specialists in ‘futures with a purpose’ or ‘action futures’, driving through the implications of the work we do with partners and coalitions into new strategy, business models and product.

What floats my boat outside of work? 

In my other life, as they say, I am a poet. My first collection of poems is Claytown (Salt Publications, 2011).

LinkedIn Twitter

Contact James