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Invited Speakers

Ruth Levitas

Ruth Levitas is Emerita Professor of Sociology at the University of Bristol. She writes on utopia, the history of political and social thought, policy and politics, and poverty, social exclusion and inequality. She was founding Chair of Utopian Studies Society Europe (USSE) from 1988 to 2006. She holds the Sargent Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Utopian Studies, is a Distinguished Fellow of the Schumacher Institute, and has been Chair of the William Morris Society. She was a member of the Poverty and Social Exclusion (PSE) teams for the 1999 and 2010 surveys, the largest-ever dedicated poverty surveys in the UK. In addition to well over 100 chapters and articles, her books include The Ideology of the New Right (ed. 1986); Interpreting Official Statistics (ed. with W. Guy 1996); The Concept of Utopia (1990/2010); The Inclusive Society? Social Exclusion and New Labour (1998/2005); Poverty and Social Exclusion in Britain: the Millennium Survey (ed. with C. Pantazis and D. Gordon 2006); Utopia as Method: the Imaginary Reconstitution of Society (2013).


Liisa Välikangas  

Liisa Välikangas is Professor of Innovation Management at Hanken School of Economics and Aalto University. Previously, she has been affiliated with Stanford University, London Business School, Keio University in Japan and IMD in Switzerland. Her research on innovation, strategy and organizing has been published in Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review and California Management Review and presented to various executive audiences. She is the author of The Resilient Organization, How Adaptive Cultures Thrive Even When Strategy Fails, McGraw-Hill, 2010 and Strategic Innovation, The Definitive Guide to Outliers Strategies, Pearson/Financial Times Press, 2015. Prof. Välikangas is Senior Editor of Management and Organization Review, in charge of the Dialogue, Discussion and Debate column.



 Jens Beckert

 Jens Beckert is professor of sociology and director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne. He studied sociology and business administration at the Freie Universität Berlin and the New School for Social Research in New York. Beckert was a visiting fellow at the sociology department of Princeton University in 1994/95 and at the Center for European Studies of Harvard University in 2001/02. In 2007 he was a Fernand Braudel Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence and in 2012/13 he was a fellow of the Institut d’études avancées in Paris.

His research focuses on the fields of economic sociology, organization theory and social theory. His recent interest centres on the role of imaginaries of the future in economic decision making and for capitalist dynamics.



Julian Bleecker

Julian Bleecker is a designer, engineer, publisher and co-founder of the Near Future Laboratory, a modern design practice focusing on representing possible near future worlds and their specifics. He is Creative Director of the Laboratory’s TBD Product Catalog, a representation of today's "disruptions" as tomorrow's normal, ordinary, everyday products. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MS in computer-human interaction. He earned his PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz where his doctoral dissertation focused on science, fiction, technology and culture.




 Riel Miller

Miller Riel Miller works at UNESCO in Paris. His primary expertise is in designing processes that use the imaginary future to understand the present. For three decades his work has concentrated on how to assess and direct the potential for socio-economic transformation in the private and public sectors. He has championed the development of the Discipline of Anticipation as a way to advance the capacity to use the future. Riel is widely published on topics ranging from the future of the financial sector and the internet to the future of schooling and social equity. He teaches around the world and for six years was a faculty member of the Masters in Public Affairs, Institut de Sciences Politique (Sciences-Po), Paris, France. Riel is a former board member of both the Association of Professional Futurists and the World Futures Studies Federation. He serves on numerous editorial boards and gives keynote speeches around the world.



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