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John Thackara

Design Expert and Global Authority on Innovation and Sustainability

John Thackara is a writer, advisor and event producer. He curated the celebrated Doors of Perception conference for 20 years, first in Amsterdam, later across India, and was commissioner of the UK social innovation biennial Dott 07 and the French design biennial City Eco Lab.

"One of the most influential people in the world on ecodesign"

John Thackara - speaker profile photo

In detail

With a focus on social, ecological and relational design, John has curated place-based xskool workshops in 20 countries. He studied philosophy before working for ten years as a book publisher and magazine editor. He was the first Director (1993-99) of the Netherlands Design Institute. He is a senior fellow at the Royal College of Art and Visiting Professor at School of Visual Arts in New York and at Pontio Innovation in Wales. His most recent book 'How To Thrive In the Next Economy: Designing Tomorrow's World Today' has just been published in China where, since 2019, he is a Visiting Professor at Tongji University with a focus on urban-rural reconnection. John travels the world looking for real-world but below-the-radar examples of what a sustainable future can be like. He writes about these stories online, and in books.

What he offers you

In his presentations John tells how AI can enable relationships that reconnect man and nature and help us accelerate the transition to ecological agriculture. He shows how AI can be a relocalisation engine, and also function as a convivial technology that enables diverse actors to work together on the many challenges, we all face. His talk is filled with compelling real-world stories.

How he presents

Encounters with John Thackara can occur in a variety of formats adapted to suit your unique requirements - from a one-hour keynote lecture to more interactive workshops, design clinics and Explorers Clubs.


He presents in English. He can also do so in French and Dutch if you do not demand perfection.

Want to know more?

Give us a call or send us an e-mail to find out exactly what he could bring to your event.

How to book John Thackara?

Simply phone or e-mail us.

Speaking topics

  • Sustainability You Can Touch
  • REWILDING A.I.: Machine Learning, Convivial Tech and Sustainability
  • Creativity and Social Innovation
  • Growing the Bio City
  • Pathways to a Living Economy
  • Five Per Cent Health
  • Design in the Light of Dark Energy


  • The audience was extremely positive. John was great, very enthusiastic and driven - University

Books and publications

  • 2017
    How to Thrive in the Next Economy
  • 2009
    Clean Growth: The Things We Need More Of
  • 2007
    Wouldn't it Be Great If
  • 2005
    In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World
  • 2002
    The Edge Effect: Designing the Contexts for Innovation

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