On Friday 17th October, 2003, The Futures Academy, located in the Faculty of the Built Environment, DIT, will be hosting its first Conference at The Pillar Room in The Rotunda Hospital in Dublin City Centre. The Futures Academy was launched in January 2003, with the aim of promoting the use of futures techniques in order to facilitate more successful and valuable strategic thinking for all sectors of society in Ireland: industry, finance, social partners, academia, governance and many others.

We feel that Ireland is at a unique point in its development, and yet the future is uncertain for many. It is this uncertainty which makes it vital that the future is seen not simply as some distant event, but something which is happening every day. What that in mind, this one-day Conference is intended to stimulate thinking about the future in three inextricably linked areas, each of which has a large impact on the potential success of the others: wealth creation, governance, and the next generation.

This Conference is a gathering of leading world-renowned strategists and thinkers on using futures thinking to create a viable and sustainable Ireland, and some of the Speakers include:

Dr Oliver Sparrow (Keynote Speaker): "Weak Signals, Harsh Impacts"

Oliver Sparrow is the Director of the Challenge Forum. He has spent the bulk of his career in Shell, chiefly in strategic planning. He left in 1996 to set up a think-tank operating out of the Royal Institute for International Affairs, aimed at generating an overview of the challenges of the next twenty years - the Challenge Forum is its consultancy arm.

Dr Eddie Molloy: "Imagining the Future of Higher Education"

Eddie Molloy has been an independent consultant specialising in strategy and large scale organisational change for nearly 30 years. He was involved in the modernisation of Guinness Ireland over the course of 10 years and in many other landmark change projects. In the higher education domain he facilitated a process involving the Heads of Universities and Institutes of Technology to identify and address strategic issues facing the higher education sector and he has worked with the Higher Education Authority at developing strategy.

Professor Tom Ling:

"Innovation and competitiveness in public policy in the UK: the role of futures thinking"

Tom Ling wrote the Maddingley Scenarios for the National Health Service in 1998, the biggest public sector scenario project ever carried out in Britain. Tom is a strong believer in the idea that futures thinking is instrumental in providing the basis for building high performance organisations in times of great uncertainty. BBC World ServiceShell International Ltd.Unilever plc.The Cabinet Office (UK)British Aerospace Systems Ltd.

Other notable Participants include:

  • Dr Richard Boyle (Senior Research Officer, Institute of Public Administration)
  • Fabienne Goux-Baudiment (Director, euroProspective)
  • Geoff Woodling (Founder, Business Future Networks)
  • Dr Aideen McGinley (Permanent Secretary, Dept of Culture, Arts and Leisure, NI)
  • Dr Don Thornhill (Chairman, Higher Education Authority)
  • Dr Eddie Molloy (Advanced Organisation and Management Development Ltd.)
  • Dr Ken Ducatel (IPTS European Commission)
  • Professor John Ratcliffe (Director, DIT)
  • Ute Helene von Riebnitz (Director, Scenarios+Visions)
  • Seán Ó'Riordáin (Director, Environmental Resouces Management (Ireland) Ltd.)
  • Dr Lorcan Sirr (Head of The Futures Academy)
  • Gerard O'Neill (Director, Amárach Consulting)
  • Conor Skehan (Director, EIS Ltd.)

For further information, please contact Dr Lorcan Sirr on (01) 402 4748, or email:

Go to the Futures Academy Website

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