• Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

    The Future Debates

    12 people.


    1 hour.


    A conversation about the future.


    What's on your mind?

  • About The Future Debates

    In 2018, there's a real empathy deficit. Underlying many of the world's problems is a lack of understanding. We live in an age of self-curated news, knowledge and opinion and we've stopped listening to perspectives we don't agree with. In today's technology driven workplaces we've forgotten to make time to talk and listen to each other, which is stifling innovation, creativity and progress.

    Thinking. Talking. Listening.

    I created The Future Debates as a way of getting people to talk about the future. Not the future according to Hollywood or the internet, but the real future. The one that will change more quickly than we've ever known. The one that will have to consider a more uncertain, turbulent world. In today's digital age we have more information than ever before, more predictions about what will happen to the planet and human race. Global challenges such as climate change will begin to affect our lives at home and at work more and more. It will be our collective response that will shape the future and that response begins by having conversations, testing ideas, putting forward arguments and listening to other perspectives.


    Often we don't have time to have those conversations even with our own family and friends, never mind colleagues at work. There are too many distractions or demands for our attention. So I am giving you that opportunity in an open, inclusive environment. Choose a question or topic that's important to you and start a conversation yourself or simply come along to an event and get involved with someone else's. All you need is an open mind. It's your chance to meet people, widen your network and talk about something other than office politics or what's trending this week.


    I look forward to talking to (and listening to) you soon.


    Paul Coverdale, Founder Future Debates

    About Paul Coverdale

    The Future Debates is part of my mission to collaborate, connect and communicate. I am curious about the future and how we all might make the planet a more sustainable place. You can see what else I am up to here.

  • How It Works

    A simple guide to your Future Debate

    The Format

    Up to twelve of you get together to discuss a topic that matters to you. You could be a group of friends, colleagues from a team or others from within your workplace.  You may have a shared interest; you may not. Everybody gets to air their views, there are no sides, no motion to be proposed or opposed, no voting. It's participatory, inclusive, open and honest. Just a straightforward conversation that will help you unlock your collective potential. Simple.

    The House Rules

    Healthy, passionate debate is to be encouraged and we wouldn't want to stifle the conversation. In the interests of making sure everyone gets the most out of it we ask you to abide by these few simple rules.

    • Firstly, Listen. The most important rule. You'll enjoy your debate much more
    • Respect the right of others to have opinions different to your own
    • Be polite, don't interrupt or have separate conversations
    • Let the conversation flow a little, and don't worry about going off topic
    • Chatham House Rules apply - what is said in the room stays there
    • The 45 minute time limit is deliberate, please stick to it to allow people to leave if they need to. You are of course more than welcome to carry on the conversation afterwards...
    • At the end we have a 'call to action'. Commit to doing one thing, however small, based on the conversation you've just had. What change will you want to make?
  • How Future Debates can help you

    Five ways that open, inclusive discussion will benefit your team or organisation


    Need to get creative?

    If you want to generate some new ideas for an event, a strategy, or to tackle a problem, then a Future Debate is an ideal way to catalyse those creative juices. The natural flow of discussion in a group sparks ideas and triggers new thoughts that just wouldn't happen otherwise. We can help you capture what happens in the room for the next steps.


    Plotting a course for the future

    All organisations have a 'mission', a 'vision' or strategy of some sort that lets everyone know what direction its headed. Ask yourself this one question: did you uncover why the elements of your strategy are important? If you want to understand your collective DNA a little better, then a Future Debate will help you find out what's important to the people you work with.


    A problem shared...

    ...is a problem halved, and even better if you divide it into twelve. Discussing problems often invokes an emotional response in people and helps to identify the underlying causes. If you want to get to the root of an issue affecting your organisation - either hypothetical or real - then a Future Debate is a great way to do it. We offer follow up sessions to help you solve it.


    When things go wrong

    We all know that if there are tensions or even outright conflict within a team or organisation then it won't function properly. Resolving conflict is challenging, but getting people to air their grievances face-to-face - rather than via email - in a neutral setting with other mediators can start to build bridges.


    About each other, or even yourselves...

    At its heart, Future Debates is about exploring curiosities. If you think your team would benefit from talking about something other than work in a semi-focused way then get in touch. Lunchtime or post-work conversations can bring people together, and it's a great way of uncovering hidden talents.

  • Partners

    Interested in collaborating? Here are some of the great people we've worked with

    Helping create careers that matter to you

    Escape was where Future Debates took its first steps into the world. While co-working there, we held a series of lively debates on a variety of topics including education, smart cities, consumerism, food waste and the Olympics.

    More than just a co-working space

    As part of a Lunch and Learn series, we were invited to host a number of debates to encourage collaboration between the wide range of start-ups and social enterprises that base themselves there. Away from the usual pressures of running a business, participants opened up about politics, waste and plastic.

    Making it easy to do some good

    We held a great ideation session at the newly minted B Corps earlier this year. They wanted some help to become even more sustainable! Drawing on a group of employees from different areas of the company the Future Debates format sparked creative ideas around supply chains, marketing, and the environmental footprint of Fruit Towers, Innocent's HQ.

  • Join the Debate

    Do you want to join the conversation? Let us know if you want to suggest a topic or if you'd like to bring Future Debates to your organisation or community.