The robots are coming: friends or foes?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Barbican, London

Co-producer & debate chair. Has the march of the robots, which has been declared numerous times before, been greatly exaggerated?


Wednesday, June 3, 2015


If it’s connected to the internet, it’s vulnerable to cyberattacks. If that’s your computer, you probably have defences in place – but what about if it’s your fridge? Or TV, or even your children’s toys? The Internet of Things allows a revolutionary way of life, but security is lagging behind.

Adrian McEwen with cybersecurity experts Sadie Creese and Martyn Ruks explore what you need to know. This event will be chaired by technology and business writer, Martyn Perks.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Internet of Things technologies – fitness wristbands and smart watches – are moving health from the hospital to the home. But if your watch, thermostat and games console could manage your well-being, how would you feel about being constantly monitored?

Engineer Ian Craddock and social scientist Madeleine Murtagh delve into the technology and the ethics, and ask if this is a future of health we can live with. This event will be chaired by technology and business writer, Martyn Perks.

Big Data: Big Boon or Big Brother?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

College of Computing Technology
30-34 Westmoreland Street 
Dublin 2 Dublin

The gamification of society: time to grow up?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Barbican, London

Co-producer & debate chair. Is gamification just the latest marketing gimmick, or can it offer genuine benefits to how we work and interact with each other?

Digital Fabrication

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Design Exchange curate talks at Tent / Superbrands 2014

Debate chair. Designers and artists from around the world are more and more using digital fabrication as a way to develop and realise their work. This talk explores how the technology is evolving and poses questions like, ‘Who is demanding it?’, ‘Why Now?’, ‘What are the creative limitations?’ and finally… ‘What comes next?’

Between Voyeurism and Narcism... Growing up with Social Media!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Home House
20 Portman Square
London W1H 6LW

What does privacy mean in an interconnected world? Are we too complacent with the likes of Facebook and Google?

Judge: Debating Matters South Region Final 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cumberland Lodge, Windsor

Judging panel for Debating Matters final round debate on: "Western countries should not encourage coal-fired power stations in the developing world"

Anglo-Israel Colloquium on "Ethics and Responsibility in an Interconnected World"

Friday, November 15, 2013

Jerusalem, Israel

Three-day colloquium in Jerusalem with 40 speakers from UK and Israel.

What does privacy mean in a connected world?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

From Google and Facebook to government surveillance, our data is being mined behind our backs. But should we be surprised? When the product is free, we should realize we (in the form our data) are the product. Is surrendering our personal data and privacy the price of entry to gain access to free content (freemium)? And if we’re doing nothing wrong, do we mind what others know about us? Or is ditching freemium for premium, paid-for-content the way to regain control over our data and our privacy? Given that all business is based on confidence, how can consumers and corporations forge trusting relationships in the networked society? Are ‘the crowds’ being empowered or not? What’s the future role of social media
 and old media? Or are both trust and privacy dead? Is that what we call the price of progress?

3D printing: a new industrial revolution?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Barbican, London

Over the past two or three years, the idea of 3D printing has gripped the imagination of everyone from creatives in design and IT through to wider industry and governments up to and including President Obama. At a time when many business innovations are based around how the product is packaged and sold to the customer, it is indeed refreshing to see a technology-led boost to how material things are made in the first place, potentially transforming the production of everything from children’s toys to cars and even guns. Some go so far as to proclaim that with ‘additive manufacturing’, we are on the cusp of a new industrial revolution, one that will restructure society, make the means of production more democratic and give the economy a much needed boost.Others are more sceptical – seeing additive manufacturing as just another (albeit still exciting) technique that adds to the multitude of existing manufacturing processes. So where we are with this technology, and does 3D printing really amount to an industrial revolution or is it just overblown hype?

Infrastructure and investment: have we lost our nerve?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Barbican, London

With HM Treasury having recently set up a new body to oversee £350bn of infrastructure investment, are we about to see an explosion of large projects around the UK? Or can we expect large-scale infrastructure projects to be used as political footballs and kicked into touch by a government too wary to risk its reputation on implementing them? The proposed HS2 high-speed rail network has been written off by some even before the first rail sleeper is to be laid in 2017, and not only on anti-development grounds; some suggest the future is with driverless cars rather than rail. Meanwhile, Thames Water’s proposed £4.2bn super sewer, meant to replace the capital’s creaking Victorian sewerage system, faces strong local opposition because of fears about smells, expected congestion and economic effects.Of course, not everything ends up being tied up in bureaucratic wrangling, opposition and procedural delays. The massive re-development of the 2012 Olympic park area including its stadia and underground infrastructure was a success—perhaps spurred on by an immovable deadline. There continues to be a lot of energy put into high-speed broadband networks, including providing digital infrastructure for the largest cities in the UK, in the hope that it will help businesses grow faster and make them more efficient. London’s Crossrail, currently Europe’s largest infrastructure project, provides another example of how to deliver an ambitious construction project that will have a significant impact on the capital’s rail network when completed in 2018. But while the spotlight is on improving the nation’s rail network, perhaps the more pressing problem is how to update our roads – with or without driverless cars – not least because the majority of the economy relies heavily on road transportation. Past governments have all resisted large-scale investment in road-building programmes, not least because of environmentalist concerns about cars.Why do some projects succeed while others struggle to get started? Is the problem the lack of a political sponsor, able to conjure up the compelling vision necessary to inspire support and private investment? Are environmental issues and concerns taken too seriously, or is the problem a NIMBY attitude that ignores the bigger picture? Should more effort be spent in deregulation and easing up the planning process to encourage competition between construction providers? Or is there an unwillingness to tear down existing infrastructure because no-one wants to lose face over betting on untested new ideas?

Policy over a pint: Control Shift

Thursday, May 30, 2013


A discussion over a recent Demos report called Control Shift. It argues for a 'nudge-plus' approach to helping individuals, families and communities make 'better choices' and behave more responsibly.

Private dinner and debate - Design and healthcare: Getting the balance right

Thursday, December 6, 2012

De Santis, Old Street, London

Healthcare is an emotive issue. It consumes vast amounts of resources, and is crying out for new ideas that can improve access, services and treatments—especially given the demands of an ever-changing population. So: should design set about bringing advances in areas such as telehealth, the administration and packaging of drugs, and in the revival of R&D?

Or is design’s role better suited to highlighting ‘softer’, patient-centered issues, such as improving patient care, dignity and wellbeing, and providing patients with a greater say about how they are treated? Perhaps design should both help people more easily manage their health, and, through new advances in clinical innovation, also bring them greater freedom over their lives – not least, the freedom to stop worrying about their health.

Battle over the Internet

Thursday, November 1, 2012

John Dalton C0.14 Lecture Theatre, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), Manchester M1 5GDBook tickets in advance and online via Eventbrite.

Norman LewisMindy Gofton and Keith Teare will introduce a discussion about our aspirations for using the Internet.

Making it in the 21st Century

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Barbican Centre, London. For tickets, book from the Barbican website. For the full festival programme, visit the Battle of Ideas website

Conveyning and introducing the strand of five debates.  Is it game over for manufacturing in the developed economies or might America stage a comeback? Can there be a rebalancing of production to the west and consumption to the east? Will gas galore provide the cheap energy to fuel that possibility? Does design drive engineering or the other way round? Why do we suffer droughts in wet old Britain? And is file sharing just stealing?

Event: Symposium on the Big Potatoes Manifesto for Design

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Made in Brunel, OXO Tower Wharf, London SE1 9GY

Following the 2010 publication of BIG POTATOES we have focused our analysis and thinking on particular areas, creating workgroups, including on design, with the aim of drafting manifestos in each area.

This invite-only symposium is the first time the Design Manifesto will have had a public airing. Feedback and contribution from participants will be invaluable, helping shape its arguments in time for its launch on an unsuspecting world!

Debate: In both manufacturing and services, design is pivotal to economic growth?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Product Design + Innovation, ExCel, London
Head-to-head debate with James Woudhuysen and Martyn Perks speaking against the motion; Clive Grinyer and Andrea Siodmok speaking for the motion. For all full review, read this article on the PDI website.

The rise of the clicktivists: will the revolution be digitised?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Royal College of Arts, London

Is the internet just another tool in the activists’ toolbox, accelerating normal protests, or has it brought about fundamental changes?

What's innovation good for?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Royal College of Arts, London

A debate about what kind of innovation do we need? Newer, cooler iPads and faster, sleeker cars? Or might we have higher aspirations for human ingenuity and economic dynamism?

Late-Nite Review: Public Engagement in Architecture

Friday, July 29, 2011

Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Debated blue-skies thinking on Radio 4's PM programme

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Is blue-skies thinking just a management cliche or is it something we should pursue, at a time when big thinking seems so out of fashion today?

The future of Internet retailing

Saturday, June 11, 2011

University of the Arts, London College of Fashion, London

What are the key trends that small businesses should be aware of and learn from, including advances in technologpy to innovations in how leading retailers promote and develop their services online. 

Can Design change the World? And should it try?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Plymouth University, Plymouth

Is it irresponsible to want design that is radical, experimental, is risky and that can challenge the brief? Or if not, then what is design for? And why does any of this matter?

Big Potatoes: Innovation, Science, R&D and the General Election

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Royal Society, London

The launch event of the Big Potatoes maniesto.

Can design change the world (and should it try)?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Designers Society talk, in association with Plymouth University Faculty of Art Plymouth

Is it irresponsible to want design that is radical, experimental, is risky and that can challenge the brief? Or if not, then what is design for? And why does any of this matter?

Designing behaviour and healthcare

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Is this behaviour led approach more benevolent than the old universal model, will it result in better healthcare, or is it unacceptably authoritarian?

Shaping Social Policy: Designers and Health

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Battle of Ideas festival 2009, Royal College of Art, London

Everyone agrees healthcare needs to be improved, but can attempts to alter patients’ and staff’s behaviour succeed? And will focusing on patient satisfaction be enough to transform the NHS and wider healthcare provision?

Shaping Social Policy: Designers and Crime

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Forget the police: a new crime-buster is on the block. Designers claim they can lead the charge in the fight against crime.

Design in denial?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Design Museum, London

Mobile working

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

University of London

Realising the productive potential of workers by utilising the potential of IT. Work without the constraints of physical space. Recognising the expanding category of work. Utilising the expanding corporate network.

Human Centred Design: The limits of usability

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

A panel debate with Ann Light, Editor of Usability News; Peter Bosher, director of accessibility company Soundlinks. Read a review of the debate

What use for usability?

Friday, September 20, 2002

University of East London

Session convener, part of Knowledge Economy: New hope or old hype, a one day conference organised by University of East London and spiked-IT.

Web accessibility & web usability

Friday, July 5, 2002


Speakers included Chris Rouke of User Vision; Catriona Campbell of The Usability Company; Simon Norris ofNomensa
Read a review of the debate.

Usability vs. innovation

Monday, June 10, 2002


Debate with Steve Krug, usability guru and best selling author of Don’t make me think. Read a review of the debate

The limitations of user-centred design

Tuesday, May 21, 2002


Read a review of the debate. and an article in IT week by James Woudhuysen

The future of usability

Wednesday, March 20, 2002


Speakers: Phil Barrett, of Flow Interactive; Julie Howell of the RNIB. Introduced by Andrew Summers, Chief Executive of the Design Council, and chaired by ex-New Media Creative editor Alex Tanner. Read an introduction of the debate

Editorial design for the Web

Sunday, July 1, 2001


Speakers included Max Gadney, BBCi