Talks (live & online)

Museo Disseny, Barcelona, 2020
(above) opening keynote on “Rewilding AI” at #EPC2019, Shanghai, 2019
(below) online talk to launch Student Service Design Challenge, 2022

“one of the most influential people in the world on ecodesign” Vice 

“a global expert on innovation and the green economy” McKinsey Quarterly
“one of the great voices on sustainability” Business Week

The world is not short of ideas – so why invite me to talk, or spend half an hour online? The short answer: 75% of my clients say our session was “inspiring”. By casting fresh eyes on your situation, I suggest new opportunities for change. I leave you determined to make something happen and with a clear understanding of what that next step needs to be.

Three headline talks for 2022-2023


Sustainability Reporting. Net Zero. Climate Finance. ESG. Green New Deal. A lot seems to be happening at a top-down level – but how directly are your people involved in their working lives?

A clear majority of today’s workers – in offices, and remote – want to participate in real-world activities that have a positive impact on their local environment and communities.

The good news? Opportunities are all around us. John Thackara introduces you to people who green the streets around their offices; set up biocanteens with local farmers; plant micro-forests on disused land; ‘daylight‘ lost rivers; help their city become a national park; organise bioblitzes with local schools – and many more. “Your people can get involved, too”, says John – and discusses how to do it in the Q+A.


Machine Learning, 
Convivial Tech, Sustainability

What is AI actually for? John Thackara proposes a simple but radical answer: “The purpose of AI is to help all of life thrive – not just human life”. 

The best-selling author of How To Thrive In The Next Economy 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 

Finding Your Place in the Next Economy 

Relational Design. Peer-to-Peer. Mobility as a Service. Platform Co-ops. The Maker Movement. Civic Ecology. Earth Repair. Social Food. Transition Towns. The New Hospitality. Care Collaboratives. New economic and social models are emerging everywhere among edge projects and networks. You you need to know about them – and, ideally, connect. But how? I cite compelling real-world stories to inspire the practical first steps on your pathway to sustainability. In this new economy, care – for the wellbeing of social and ecological systems – replaces money as the ultimate measure of value. Growth takes on new meaning as the improved health of soils, plants, animals – and future generations.

Why a philosopher?
I come to our encounter wearing three hats: a philosophy hat, a storytelling one, and a design hat.The philosopher in me asks: “what’s the most important question here?” As a storyteller, I introduce you to real people doing inspiring projects around the world. Finally, with my design hat on, I ask what these innovations mean for your place in the regenerative economy that’s now emerging.

(Above: Floating Talk Show, The Alternative, Paris, 2015)

I do big-picture keynote talks for cities, companies, universities, and institutions. A combination talk + xskool workshop gives us more quality time together.

(Above: OuiShare Festival, Paris , 2014. The text of my keynote is here).

Videos online
My keynote at Poptech! is here; here is my talk on Big Data, for AMP in Sydney; here is my talk at Mayo Clinic;  here is my New York talk “Thinking Like A Forest” – and a two minute interview in Barcelona about the skills we need. Here is my keynote in Milan on “Future Ways of Living” and – also in Barcelona – my talk on 
“The City and Its Bioregion”

(Above: Arising Architecture, Aarhus, Denmark, 2017)

Do you need a conference moderator, or jury chair?
People seem to enjoy my lively Q+A interviews. More info here.

Online option: Brown Bag Skype

(above: Video talk with Ars Electronics, Vienna, 2016)

For a short change of pace in your Board workshop, or retreat, this simple but effective online format is ideal: Sometimes I send a short video ahead of time, that you download; or we can do a 1:1 session live on Skype or FaceTime. Some recent examples:
– foreign ministry officials at a strategy seminar in The Netherlands;
– managers at an innovation workshop in Belgium;
– design educators at their annual conference in the US;
– architects at a festival in Brazil;
– interactive media professionals at a seminar in Hong Kong.

cv JT CityEcoLab
    Eithne Jones: eithne [ a t ] speakerideas [ d o t ] +31 6 1089 3693