Ovation 2017

Coworth Park

Ascot, England
July 13-14, 2017

Previous Speakers’ Impressions

  • “I was personally very interested in the exchange and found the event very inspiring”
    Alain Dehaze - Chief Executive Officer, Adecco


  • “From my perspective the event went very well with the participants extremely engaging both in the sessions and over dinner and lunch.”
    - David Gann - VP, Innovation, Imperial College London


  • “What a great event! Very smart people, fascinating speakers, a wonderful venue.”
    - Tim Harford - economist, writer and broadcaster



2017 Speakers

Jeremy L Wyatt - Professor of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, University of Birmingham

Jeremy conducts research in autonomy, intelligent robotics, machine learning, robot manipulation, robot vision, robot task planning, robot motion planning, and decision making under uncertainty. He obtained his PhD in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh. Jeremy has published more than 100 papers, edited three books, and has led or participated in research projects worth £15m. He has coordinated two major international research projects in robotics: CogX (35 researchers, 6 universities) on robot planning and learning in unstructured worlds, and PacMan (25 researchers) on robot manipulation. He works with a variety of industry partners on early stage technology transfer in logistics, robot manipulation, computer vision and autonomy. He has advised the UK and the EC on policy on robotics and artificial intelligence.

Caralynn Nowinski Collens

Caralynn Nowinski Collens, M.D., serves as the Chief Executive Officer of UI LABS, a first-of-its-kind innovation accelerator designed to transform entire industries through collaboration. A current member of the Illinois Innovation & Competitiveness Council and the World Business Chicago’s ChicagoNEXT Council of technology leaders, Caralynn is a frequent guest speaker on technology entrepreneurship and industrial innovation.

James Bilefield - Serial Digital Entrepreneur, former Digital President, Conde’ Nast, part of the founding management team, Skype

James is a serial digital entrepreneur and former investment banker. He scaled Skype’s global business as part of its founding management team, managed the digital transformation of media group Condé Nast across 27 countries, and led a major investment in fashion e-commerce leader Farfetch. He also co-founded UpMyStreet, one of the UK’s first digital businesses, ran OpenX, a pre-IPO company delivering billions of digital ads daily, and managed large parts of Yahoo!’s European operations during its major growth phase.

James currently serves on a range of boards, holds advisory positions at McKinsey & Company and Advent International, and is an active technology investor and mentor.

Kevin Slavin - Chief Science and Technology Officer, The Shed, Entrepreneur & Assistant Professor, MIT Media Lab

As an entrepreneur, Kevin Slavin has successfully integrated digital media, game development, technology, and design. He is a pioneer in rethinking game design and development around new technologies (like GPS) and new platforms (like Facebook).

Kevin argues that we’re living in a world designed for–and increasingly controlled by–algorithms. His very popular TED talk, “How Algorithms Shape Our World,” has received over 2 million views.

Kevin has taught at NYU’s ITP, the Cooper Union, and Fabrica, and has worked as a creative director and strategic planner in advertising agencies, including DDB and TBWA\Chiat\Day. He has been written about in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Wired, and Fast Company.

Casper Berry

Caspar Berry – Professional poker player and entrepreneur

As a professional poker player – and poker advisor on Casino Royale – managing risk formed a constant part of Caspar’s life for many years. He pitted his wits against some of the best players in Las Vegas before becoming one of the faces of poker on television on Poker Night Live and Sky Poker in the UK. Before all this, however, Caspar studied economics at Cambridge University and built and sold his own company to a PLC. What he saw in the mechanics of poker was a relevance to business that was not fully understood or realised by most. So now Caspar brings cutting edge scientific research together with powerful metaphors and his own personal experiences as a professional poker player to create unique, informative and original content on the subject matters of risk taking and decision making.

Prof Dr Frank Rozemeijer

Prof. Dr. Frank Rozemeijer – NEVI Chair, Purchasing and Supply Chain Management, Maastricht University, School of Business and Economics

Frank holds a Master’s degree in Business Economics (University of Amsterdam) and a PhD in Technology Management (Eindhoven University of Technology).

Since 2007, Frank holds the NEVI Chair in Purchasing and Supply Chain Management at Maastricht University, School of Business and Economics and is responsible for setting up PhD research, coordinating courses on ’Purchasing Management’ and supervising master thesis projects. Furthermore, Frank is program director of the NEVI Procurement Leadership Program that is hosted at both Maastricht University and Stockholm School of Economics.

Dr Catharina Paukner

Dr. Catharina Paukner – Co-founder and Chief Scientist, Cambridge Nanosystems Ltd.

Catharina’s research focuses on the application development for both graphene flakes and carbon nanotubes in inks and polymer composites to make lightweight, indestructible machines that never rust, the areas of application are limitless, ranging from power supply, aerospace, automotive and construction to healthcare and the design of everyday electronics. Labelled in the UK media as "The First Lady of Graphene” and one of the eight business leaders to watch in 2015, she is “an amazing scientist with a passion for her work that is infectious”. She received her MSc in Chemistry from the Karl Franzens University in Graz (in Austria) and a PhD in Materials Science at the University of Cambridge.

Wynne Lewis - R&D Director, 3M

Wynne joined 3M in 1981 after receiving a first class honours degree in Chemistry from the University of Wales. During Wynne‘s career at 3M he has held a number of senior R&D and Technical positions around the world including R&D Manager of 3M’s Pressure Sensitive Adhesives Group in St. Paul, Minnesota (USA), Senior Laboratory Manager for the WEMS (Western Europe Marketing Subsidiaries), CEE (Central & Eastern Europe) and MEA (Middle East & Africa) regions. Wynne’s current remit is to enhance the local product development capabilities of the UK & Ireland subsidiary.

David Rae - Head of the Supplier-Enabled Innovation Centre, Procurement Leaders

David is responsible for content strategy, CPO engagement and Supplier-Enabled Innovation. He joined Procurement Leaders in January 2008 as Editorial Director following a successful career in business, financial and technology publishing. Since joining Procurement Leaders, David has played a key role in the growth of the business, helping to steer the organisation to multiple awards and accolades; including IPAC Business Magazine of the Year three years in a row. He is in constant communication with members and spends a large amount of time trying to understand their challenges and priorities and adapting the content strategy of the business to meet their needs.

Tom Seal - Head of Research, Procurement Leaders

Prior to joining Procurement Leaders in 2010, Tom spent 10 years working in procurement and management consulting at Shell, Diageo and HSBC. He has practical experience as a category manager for both direct and indirect categories. Particular areas of experience include packaging and software. Recently, he has overseen research in a number of areas including steel, electricity, packaging, contingent labour and oil and gas infrastructure.

Nandini Basuthakur - CEO, Procurement Leaders

Nandini was appointed Chief Executive Officer and Board Member of Procurement Leaders (PL) in March 2017. She joined the company as Chief Operations Officer in September 2015, the role focused on elevating all aspects of the existing business and product sets, and driving further global expansion of the membership base.

Nandini is an experienced senior executive with 20+ years in public and private sector transformation internationally. She commenced her career with EY Management Consulting in APAC. Subsequently serving as Executive Committee member of CEB leading teams in North America, EMEA and India. Post CEB she was SVP and MD at Opower (now Oracle), tasked with launching their EMEA business and supporting their successful IPO.

Nandini holds an M Sc. in Economics and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and completed her undergraduate studies in Economics, Management and Psychology from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, TechLondon Advocate and Board Advisor/Treasurer for St Hilda’s East Community Centre, based in London.

Previous Speakers

Ovation brings together a wide selection of external speakers, including authors, academics, entrepreneurs, technologists, futurists and CEOs. See some of those who have taken part in previous events.


Andy McAfee

Andrew McAfee (@amcafee), a principal research scientist at MIT, studies how digital technologies are changing business, the economy, and society. His 2014 book on these topics, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (co-authored with Erik Brynjolfsson) was a New York Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the Financial Times / McKinsey business book of the year award.

Pamela Meyer

Pamela Meyer is founder and CEO of Calibrate, a leading deception detection training company, and of social networking company Simpatico Networks. She holds an MBA from Harvard, an MA in Public Policy from Claremont Graduate School, and is a Certified Fraud Examiner. She has extensive training in the use of visual clues and psychology to detect deception.

Charles Leadbeater

Charles Leadbeater is a leading authority on innovation and creativity. He has advised companies, cities and governments around the world on innovation strategy and drew on that experience in writing his latest book We-think: the power of mass creativity, which charts the rise of mass, participative approaches to innovation from science and open source software, to computer games and political campaigning.

Ulrich Weinberg

Under the directorship of Prof. Ulrich Weinberg, the School of Design Thinking at the Hasso-Plattner-Institute, is a unique complementary program in Design Thinking (inventive development) and the first of its kind at a German university. Modelled on the famous d.school at Stanford University in California (US), the one-year program in Design Thinking will enable students to develop particularly user-friendly IT-based products and services in multidisciplinary teams.

Mischa Dohler

Mischa Dohler is full Professor in Wireless Communications at King’s College London, Head of the Centre for Telecommunications Research, co-founder and member of the Board of Directors of the smart city pioneer Worldsensing, Fellow and Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE, and Editor-in-Chief of the Transactions on Emerging Telecommunications Technologies and the EAI Transactions on the Internet of Things.

David McWilliams

David McWilliams is one of Ireland’s leading economic commentators and was the first economist to identify the Irish boom as nothing more than a credit bubble. He is a writer, journalist, lecturer, broadcaster and documentary maker and has written four bestsellers, presented award-winning documentaries and brought a sell-out, one-man economics stand-up show to the stage at Ireland’s renowned national theatre, the Abbey.

Chairman - John Paterson

The former CPO of IBM and Procurement Leaders Advisory Board chairman, John Paterson, is chairing Ovation for the third consecutive year, having presided over affairs in both Frankfurt and Dublin.

Alain Dehaze - Chief Executive Officer, Adecco

Alain Dehaze is the Chief Executive Officer of the Adecco Group since September 2015.

He trained as a commercial engineer at the ICHEC Brussels Management School, Belgium.

From 1987 until 2000, Alain Dehaze held senior positions in a number of European countries at Henkel and ISS. In 2000, he became Managing Director of Creyf’s Interim in Belgium (now Start People). From 2002 to 2005, he was Chief Executive Officer of Solvus. Following the acquisition of Solvus by USG People, the Netherlands, in 2005, he became the Chief Operating Officer of USG People, with overall responsibility for operations, including the integration of Solvus. From September 2007 until 2009, he was CEO of the staffing services company Humares, the Netherlands.

Alain Dehaze joined Adecco Group in September 2009 as Regional Head of Northern Europe. He was appointed Regional Head of France in July 2011 leading the Region until September 2015 when he took up the role of Adecco Group CEO.

Since January 2016, Alain Dehaze is Chair of the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN). He was Vice President of the Board of the European Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (Eurociett) and member of the Board of the International Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (Ciett) between December 2010 and December 2015.

David Gann - VP, Innovation, Imperial College London

David Gann is Imperial College’s Vice President, leading innovation and holding the Chair in Technology and Innovation Management. He has worked with many entrepreneurs, technology ventures and large engineering and technology firms, including as Group Innovation Executive at Laing O’Rourke plc from 2007 to 2011.


He advises government and firms on research, development and innovation strategies and in 2011, was a member of the UK government’s Independent Hargreave’s Review of Intellectual Property and Growth.

Tim Harford - economist, writer and broadcaster

Tim is the author of the million-selling “The Undercover Economist” and more recently of “Adapt”. Tim was the first Peter Martin Fellow at the Financial Times, and was a member of the Financial Times editorial board from 2006-2009. He previously worked for Shell and for the World Bank. He’s won awards both for his Financial Times columns and his BBC radio series, “More or Less”, which debunks dubious statistics wherever they may lurk.

Dr Garrick Hileman - Economic Historian, University of Cambridge & London School of Economics, Founder of MacroDigest

Dr Garrick Hileman is an economic historian at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and London School of Economics Centre for Macroeconomics. He was recently ranked as one of the 100 most influential economists in the UK and Ireland and he is regularly asked to share his research and perspective with the FT, BBC, CNBC, WSJ, Sky News, and other media. Garrick has been invited to present his research on monetary and financial innovation to government organisations, including central banks and war colleges, as well as private firms such as Visa, Black Rock, and UBS. Garrick has 20 years’ private sector experience with both startups and established companies such as Visa, Lloyd’s of London, Bank of America, The Home Depot, and Allianz. Garrick’s technology experience includes co-founding a San Francisco-based tech incubator, IT strategy consulting for multinationals, and founding MacroDigest, which employs a proprietary algorithm to cluster trending economic analysis and perspective.

Barbara Kux - Member of the Board of Directors at Firmenich, Henkel, Total and Umicore

Barbara Kux is a member of the board of directors at Firmenich, GDF Suez, Henkel, Total and Umicore. As a board member she contributes her experience in sustainable leadership, as she does as a guest lecturer in management at St. Gallen University. She is also a member of the board of trustees of Max Schmidheiny Foundation at the same university as well as of the Advisory Council of INSEAD. Since 2012 she has been one of the jurors of the Georg von Holtzbrinck Prize for Business Journalism.


From 2008 until 2013 Barbara Kux was a member of the managing board of Siemens, the first woman in the 160 year history of the company. During her five year mandate she increased results from supply chain management and green technology by several billions of euros, just as she had done previously as a member of the group management committee at Royal Philips. Under her leadership, both industrial companies reached top positions in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index; in 2012 and 2013 Siemens was distinguished in this index as the most sustainable industrial company of the world.

Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive, Nesta

Geoff Mulgan has been Chief Executive of Nesta since June 2011.


Nesta is the UK’s innovation foundation (established as the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts). It runs a wide range of activities in investment, practical innovation programmes and research. It works both across the UK, and globally. From 2004-2011 Geoff was the first Chief Executive of the Young Foundation.


Between 1997 and 2004 Geoff had various roles in the UK government including director of the Government’s Strategy Unit and head of policy in the Prime Minister’s office. Before that he was the founder and director of the think-tank Demos. He has also been Chief Adviser to Gordon Brown MP; a lecturer in telecommunications; an investment executive; and a reporter on BBC TV and radio.


His recent books include The Locust and the Bee, The Art of Public Strategy - Mobilising Power and Knowledge for the Public Good, Good and Bad Power: the ideals and betrayals of government and Connexity (Harvard Business Press and Jonathon Cape, 1998). His next book, for Princeton University Press, focuses on the theory and practice of collective intelligence.

Carlo Ratti - Director, MIT Senseable City Lab

An architect and engineer by training, Carlo Ratti practices in Italy and teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he directs the Senseable City Lab. He graduated from the Politecnico di Torino and the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris, and later earned his MPhil and PhD at the University of Cambridge, UK.


Carlo holds several patents and has co-authored over 250 publications. As well as being a regular contributor to Project Syndicate, he has written for the Le Monde, Scientific American and The New York Times. He has been featured in Esquire Magazine’s ‘Best & Brightest’ list and in Thames & Hudson’s selection of ‘60 innovators’ shaping our creative future. Blueprint Magazine included him as one of the ‘25 People Who Will Change the World of Design’, Forbes listed him as one of the ‘Names You Need To Know’ and Fast Company named him as one of the ’50 Most Influential Designers in America’.


Carlo has been a presenter at TED and is currently serving as Chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Future Cities, and he has been selected as Special Adviser to the President and Commissioners of the European Commission, to advise on urban innovation.

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