What If Worlds

Working with an unpredictable future
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What next? It’s anyone’s guess…

And anyone that tells you otherwise is either deluded, lying or in possession of information they probably shouldn’t be privy to (and most likely oughtn’t be relied upon).

The nature of our relationship with the emerging future is far from straightforward.  The probability of each and every perceived version of future reality actually coming to pass is in constant flux, and there are certainly many versions of the future we haven’t even yet thought of. We live in an environment of constant change, fast-flowing information and hidden assumptions. We delude ourselves that we ‘know’ what will happen next. If we’re honest with ourselves, our expectations and assumptions in many situations often prove to be unfounded and ultimately far from correct.

Layers of causality and complex systems (interconnected webs of information, relationships, events, actions and decisions) make prediction impossible. The trail of causality we attribute to a series of unfolding events in hindsight, is often well-hidden at the time of their gradual emergence. We neglect to consider, or fail to notice, a raft of alternative futures that don’t quite fit our shared standard narrative of what might happen next.

A glimpse of the future

The art of the possible is a red-herring – our true quest is to consider the immediately impossible and highly improbable – it is there that we might find a glimpse of what the future may actually hold in store for us!

None of us truly know what’s around the next corner but we can, without doubt, better prepare ourselves for any potential futures that may come to be. The odd mental ‘time-travelling’ expedition can unveil disruptions and disruptors, and better prepare us for the most challenging eventualities.

This is what the generation of what if worlds is all about. Read our fortnightly what if world articles, listen to the whatiftribe podcast, meet our what if tribe, and access our fuller what if world scenarios as they become available.

What If Worlds

Thoughts on an unpredictable future

The aim of our what if short articles is to engage minds and spark curiosity around a range of possible futures … each fortnight we will release a very short examination of a potential future action, decision or event. The idea is not to get the future right – it’s very unlikely that we will. Instead we hope that the ideas will test the limits of current reality, loosen entrenched perspectives, heighten shared consciousness and just maybe spark some ideas that cause someone somewhere to embark on a journey that changes the future and shifts the paradigm within which we operate forever…

Future Scenarios
February 24, 2020

What if short – COVID19

It’s always hard to know whether a moment has paradigm shifting potential until it is upon you and you are truly in the thick of…
Future Scenarios
February 10, 2020

What if short – automotive

Our latest what-if short explores our future relationship with the technology we encounter in our vehicles, how we might drive them...
Future Scenarios
October 29, 2019

What if short – clothing

Our latest what-if short explores our future relationship with the clothes we wear, the manner in which we may acquire them...

Challenge your assumptions

The whatiftribe podcast is where we pose a question about the future to a wide range of people and gather a rash of answers. If you want to broaden your perspective, challenge your assumptions and gain greater insight into the wide range of possible futures that may await us, you’re in the right place. Get in touch if you have a burning question about the future that you would like us to tackle!

What If Tribe

Our whatiftribe is made up of people drawn from a broad range of sectors with varying experiences and backgrounds who all have an interest in working with the future. The tribe is purposefully diverse so that we can robustly challenge any assumptions upon which our individual habitual view of the future is based. The whatiftribe meets regularly to work on the creation of scenarios that examine specific aspects of potential emerging futures in some depth. From time to time the tribe is joined by guest members who have a particular interest in the futures under consideration.

Kelly Jackson

Chief People Officer | Luno

With over 13 years’ experience within the People space, across a number of industries including Technology and Financial Services, Kelly is currently Chief People Officer at Luno, a leading crypto currency exchange whose mission is to upgrade the world to a better financial system. Prior to this, Kelly was Chief People Officer at WorldFirst where she helped to scale the fast growth FinTech business and built out a global People Team and culture before its acquisition by Ant Financial (part of the Alibaba group). Kelly adopts a true People First approach, which was recognised by her winning HR Professional of the Year 2018. As a Psychology graduate from University College London, Kelly has always had a passion for understanding what drives behaviour and how this applies to the world of work. She is driven by creating workplaces in which people can feel a true sense of belonging and therefore thrive.

Ben Alcott

International Director | UK Civil Aviation Authority

Ben Alcott graduated in 1992 with a BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering and went on to complete an MSc in Thermal Power at Cranfield University, graduating in 1993. In 2015 he graduated from a Post Graduate Diploma in Organisational Leadership at Saïd Business School, Oxford University.

Following spells in the oil contracting industry, conducting gas turbine research for the government, and at Rolls-Royce Deutschland, Ben joined CAA in 1998 working on engine certification, oversight of a variety of UK and overseas companies, and rulemaking projects in Europe and the USA.

Since then Ben has held a variety of management and leadership roles in the UK CAA, covering safety reporting, data analysis and planning; licensing of pilots, engineers and Air Traffic Controllers; and regulatory strategy.

From 2013 to 2015 Ben led the UK’s CAA’s Performance Based Regulation Programme, the CAA’s transformation programme to be a ‘performance-based’ regulator, delivering the strategy created in his previous role to shift the CAA towards integrated regulatory oversight based on risk and organisational performance

In November 2015 Ben was appointed as the CAA’s first International Director, creating and leading the now established International Group with accountability for the CAA’s advisory and training arm (the wholly owned subsidiary CAA International Ltd), the CAA’s State Safety Partnership programme, and engagement with international institutions such as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the institutions of the EU.

Since 2012, Ben has also been a Director of Air Safety Support International (ASSI), the CAA’s wholly owned subsidiary organisation providing oversight of and support to the UK’s Overseas Territories. He is also a founding member of CAA’s ‘Aviation Futures’ group, a diverse team of regulators, academics and industry experts examining potential long-term changes in the aviation system.

In his spare time Ben is a keen sailor, cruising the south coast of the UK with his family and is currently Commodore of Dell Quay Sailing Club in Chichester Harbour.

Alpesh Tailor

Executive Director | GFT Group

With over 20 years of experience in the IT industry, Alpesh Tailor is currently an Executive Director, a Global Business Unit Lead and a member of the Group management team at GFT Financial.
Alpesh describes himself as very ‘client-centric’, and has worked with a major financial services client since joining GFT in 2007, moving from account management to UK Client Unit Manager and ultimately to Global Client Partner for the client’s Capital Markets segment, a role which he also currently assumes.
His wealth of experience, ranging from direct banking to systems integrated solutions houses in financial services, has been gained through his previous roles at Morse where he was responsible for account management and delivering IT infrastructure services, and Citigroup where he led a multi-site team delivering the service provision of hardware and IT services across all London locations, including the high-profile Y2K programme. He also sat on the Global Problem Management Committee.

Elena Sidorochkina

Head of LNG | OMV Gas

Elena Sidorochkina, Head of LNG at OMV Gas Marketing & Trading, has 16 years of experience in the gas industry, with a particular focus on LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) since 2005. After graduating from the Russian State University of Oil and Gas in Moscow as a Master of Economics, Elena joined Gazprom Export Ltd., the export arm of Gazprom Group. In her initial role, she was involved in the development and implementation of the first ever contracts for pipeline gas supply from Russia to first liberalised markets in North West Europe. Following a two-year stint in the pipeline gas business, Elena spent a year on the LNG desk of Total Gas & Power in London, after which she returned to the Gazprom group to become one of the pioneer members of the company’s dedicated LNG team in GM&T. Elena was running a global team, represented in London and Singapore, with responsibility for developing Gazprom’s LNG portfolio based on strategic sources of the group (Russian projects) and third-party supply. The team was also dedicated to sales of LNG on a term basis to traditional buyers and emerging LNG markets. Elena joined OMV in August 2018 to head the team in charge of LNG trading and origination, monetising LNG related assets and developing LNG portfolio.

Tom Barltrop

Head of UK & Ireland | Zava

With over 10 years experience of disruptive, high-growth tech start-ups, Tom is currently Head of UK & Ireland, for one of Europe’s largest online doctors, Zava.

After graduating from Bristol University in 2009, Tom spent the next year studying Mandarin in China. On his return to the UK he joined the nascent Groupon UK, and helped with its rapid expansion nationwide (and also briefly Peru), as it became the fastest-growing company to reach a billion dollars revenue in modern history.

With a passion for disruption and innovation, Tom then moved into the world of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) as VP of Products & Services, and founding member, of the connected division for Motorola Monitors. Splitting his time between Bangalore, Hong Kong and London, Tom managed the launch and scaling of one of the world’s first mass-adopted Smart Home apps and subscription service, to over 1.5 million users worldwide.

In 2016, Tom joined eBuyNow, a global eCommerce platform, where he was responsible for managing Motorola’s third party Accelerator Program. During this time he also co-founded ProductLoop, an internal startup based in Taiwan, which created proprietary Big Data technology to inform major Consumer Electronic brands of trends and opportunities.

Tom’s most recent move saw him return to London, and to another industry prime for disruption - healthcare. Heading up the UK for Zava (one of Europe’s largest health tech providers), Tom is responsible for defining the strategic vision and day to day management of the UK business. In June 2019, Zava confirmed $32m in Series A funding, and Tom is focused on realising the company’s ambitious growth plans in the UK.

Richard Brown

Broker Account Executive | Ageas

I have over 10 years’ experience in the insurance industry having held roles across both underwriting and business development/distribution functions. In my current role as Broker Development Manager in the South East of England, I am directly responsible for the relationship management of over 400 brokers at senior executive level as well as managing the development of a book of multi product business of c£40m. I lead all aspects of Ageas’ schemes and deals in South East delivering on growth and profitability in line group strategic objectives.

Ageas has a strong appetite to grow in the commercial SME market and that particular dimension of our relationship with broker partners. Having stood in my current role for the last 3 years, advocating brokers’ interests and creating solutions that genuinely add value, commercial SME GWP in the South East has doubled year on year consecutively for the last 2 years to circa £15m GWP whilst returning strong profitability.

I live with my wife and two children in the New Forest, I’m a keen sportsperson playing for my local football team and Squash club.

David Wilson

Managing Director and CEO | Accuity

After serving as Accuity's chief operating officer for 18 months, David Wilson was named the firm's managing director and CEO in 2019. Overseeing financial crime compliance, payments, and Know Your Customer (KYC) solutions, Accuity provides deep expertise and industry-leading data-enabled solutions from the Fircosoft, and Bankers Almanac brands. Its dedication to technology innovation has led to breakthroughs in financial crime compliance while creating more efficient global payments. Part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professionals and business customers across industries, Accuity has been delivering solutions to banks and businesses worldwide for 180 years.

Wilson is responsible for the performance and strategic vision of Accuity using unique data, technology, and analytics to solve business challenges for compliance and payment professionals by utilizing over 20 years of experience.

Prior to this, Wilson held roles as global publishing director and managing of New Scientist, and CEO of Proagrica, the global Agriculture division of Reed Business Information. There he transformed the business from a publishing operation to a global portfolio offering technology, software, data, and analytics solutions.

Diana Hogbin-Mills

Behavioural Change Coach

Diana Hogbin-Mills has a degree in psychology, training in executive and team coaching, and more than 20 years’ work experience across a range of roles focused on people and customers; often in a programme environment, where it can be challenging and fast-moving. She brings specialist knowledge of Organisational and Leadership development, Emotional Intelligence, Compassion and Resilience to create high performing work environments.

Diana constantly looks out for things that will help to solve her clients’ challenges in engaging and sustainable ways. She believes firmly in working collaboratively to move programmes forward and describes her motivation as seeing an ability in everyone to do amazing things. Diana is adept at working at both strategic and operational levels and has the breadth of skill and drive for developing people to enact and enable change. She takes a systemic approach and reaches solutions in a way that others might not have considered.

Along with her husband, Diana also runs and supports the running of start up businesses in the education and food and beverage sector.

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