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John Thackara

Cutting Edge Design Expert and Global Authority on Innovation and Sustainability

John Thackara is an internationally acclaimed authority on innovation in a green economy. For Business Week he is "one of the great voices on sustainability", and the Wall Street Journal has noted his "global reputation as a cutting edge design expert". The Economic Times of India lauded his "brilliant insights into the internet and sustainability".

"Innovation starts with a meaningful question" John Thackara

John Thackara - speaker profile photo

In detail

John studied philosophy and trained as a journalist, before working for 10 years as a book and magazine editor. He was the first Director of the Netherlands Design Institute in Amsterdam and was program director of Designs of the Time (the social innovation biennial in England). He is a Fellow of The Young Foundation, the UK's social enterprise incubator and sits on the advisory boards of the Pixelache Festival in Helsinki, the Pecha Kucha Foundation in Tokyo, and Design Impact in the USA. A Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art, he is also a member of the UK Parliament's Standing Commission on Design. John is the author of a widely-read blog at, and of twelve books including 'In The Bubble: Designing In A Complex World'. As director of Doors of Perception, John also organises festivals around the world in which communities imagine a sustainable future - and take practical steps to realise it.

What he offers you

John's talks deliver tangible benefits: actionable insights into sustainability and resilience; a shared vision of 'preferred states'; opportunities for innovation in your organisation; and the impetus to launch high impact projects. He uses inspiring stories to demonstrate how the sustainability challenge is an opportunity for immediate action. "I talk honestly about the severity of the economic and environmental challenges that confront us - but then I re-frame these challenges in such a way that people gain fresh insight into opportunities for innovation that they can exploit".

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, fax or e-mail us.

Speaking topics

  • 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

  • 2015
    How to Thrive in the Next Economy
  • 2009
    Clean Growth: The Things We Need More Of
  • 2005
    In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World
  • 2002
    The Edge Effect: Designing the Contexts for Innovation
  • 1999
    Winners - How Europe's Most Successful Companies Use Design to Innovate
  • 1996
    Web Publishing Strategy
  • 1994
    Lost in Space

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or: +44 1628 601 410
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