• The Future Debates

    12 people.


    1 hour.


    A conversation about the future.


    What's on your mind?

  • Future Debates

    Here are details of our upcoming debates

    More Debates will be coming soon!

  • News

    A round up of what's been happening at Future Debates

    You can listen to my interview on community radio station, Brooklands Radio, about Future Debates. We talked about why I set it up, how it all works and some of my ambitions for the future. Have a listen here.


    1. About The Future Debates

      In 2017, there's a real empathy deficit. Underlying many of the world's problems is a lack of understanding. In an age of self-curated news, knowledge and opinion we've stopped listening to perspectives we don't agree with.

      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. But there's also a real empathy deficit. Underlying many of the world's problems is a lack of understanding of root causes. We live in a time of self-curated news, knowledge and opinion and we've stopped listening to perspectives we don't agree with. Some of those predictions are exciting and frightening in equal measure. 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. 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.


      So far, we've talked about the future of: work, the media, smart cities, technology and happiness, the Olympics, food, careers, plants, consumerism, education and the social impact of business. Expect this list to get longer...


      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 might make the planet a more sustainable place. You can see what else I am up to here.

    2. Future Writing

      An occasional blog about all future related things. If you are a Medium user you can read the blogs here.

      Stacey Lowman believe's that lots of us can feel better and do better with money. She's the founder of Pachira Money and in a new collaboration with Future Debates, together we'll be exploring how the way we spend and save can be aligned to the values we live by and the goals we aspire to achieve...
    3. How It Works

      A simple guide to your Future Debate

      Up to 12 of you sit and discuss a topic suggested by at least one of the group. You could be friends, colleagues or strangers; it doesn't matter. People can come and go. 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 about something that matters to you. It's as simple as that.

      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 all participants get 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 debate 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?
    4. Actions

      The first step to solving a problem might be to talk about it, but the following ones are even more important. This is where actions happen, progress is made. I have an ambition that Future Debates will be the catalyst for activity that addresses today's and tomorrow's issues. I hope that many projects start from a conversation and I'm including them here.

      Escapee Consumers

      Have you ever wanted to divest from big, corporate giants as a consumer but don't where to look for alternatives? The Escapee Consumer is a list of independent, ethical, sustainable companies across all sectors that the FD community have had experience of or used themselves. Do you know of one?

    5. Resources

      Do you want to get better at those important conversations but haven't been able to come along to a debate yet? This section is full of great stuff we've found around debating and the importance of listening to alternative points of view. Have a look!

      How we think

      The Art of Reflection and Fruitful Curiosity in an Age of Instant Opinions and Information Overload

      This article from the always excellent Brain Pickings about how we think and the art of reflection by John Dewey. Even though it's 100 years old it is still relevant today as we faced with a deluge of information. Read it here.

      A difference of opinion

      Why diverse opinions lead to better outcomes

      In this short article by Ian Burbidge of the RSA, he takes a look at why the seismic political changes of 2016 mean we should embrace different perspectives.

      Acknowledging our inner storyteller

      The two kinds of stories we tell ourselves

      Taken from TED.com, psychologist Emily Esfahani Smith writes here about how our own life experiences inform the way we view the world.

      Change your view

      An online forum for discussion and debate

      reddit, a huge repository for conversation, has a specific forum called Change My View. The idea is you post an opinion and responders seek to persuade you of alternatives in an intelligent way. The topics cover just about anything you care to mention.

    6. 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 community.

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