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Five factors that will shape the future of your business…

13 Feb 2018
IoD Open House branding with a woman's silhouette with a transparent umbrella in front of a neon sign

IoD Open House is an invaluable opportunity to hear from the leaders, innovators and policy makers who are shaping the future of Britain.

They are all uniquely positioned to talk about the issues, services and inventions that are already having a major impact upon how we work and live. Here, we have picked five of the key topics set to dominate the agenda at Open House…


For the uninitiated, Blockchain is defined as a shared ledger for recording transactions. For the rest of us it is better known as a digital currency trading platform. Crucially, its technology cuts out the middle men who usually handle financial transactions. For SMEs, blockchain technology could streamline how payments are settled, which, in turn, could transform how the financial side of a business is run.  

Gemma Godfrey is the founder and CEO of investment service Moola, and one of the leading figures in the Fintech industry, which is disrupting old models of financial services. She says, “The Brexit vote has highlighted how some people feel disenfranchised, without the tools or opportunities to improve their lot. Services that boost people’s financial wellbeing will therefore be vital.”

Gemma Godfrey will be takin part a seminar on Fintech Futures on Tuesday, 13 March at 11.05am

Lifelong Learning

The idea of the ‘job for life’ has all but disappeared. To survive and thrive through the technological revolution we will need to be more adaptable and will have to learn new skills.

Last November, Open University Vice-Chancellor Peter Horrocks and the IoD’s Director General Stephen Martin sent a joint letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond urging him to recognise that improved skills training is key to future economic prosperity.

"Technological, demographic, political and economic changes are revolutionising the nature of employment and work. Some industries will inevitably decline while others are likely to grow and prosper, and the skills demands of employers will consequently change. We need to prepare our education and training system for these coming changes.

"Improving lifelong access to skills and education provision must therefore be a key priority for Government and should be front and centre of the upcoming industrial strategy.”

Peter Horrocks will lead a seminar on Lifelong Learning – Keeping workers in skilled employment at Wednesday, March 14 at 11.05am


There are plenty of people who will tell you that it is simply a matter of when, rather than if, large swathes of the workforce will be made redundant and replaced by robots. Similarly, dire predictions were made following the Industrial Revolution and when digital circuits were introduced in the 1950s to automate production.

In July 2017, Matthew Taylor published the report ‘Good Work’; an independent review into modern employment, which was commissioned by the UK Prime Minister.

On the subject of automation, Taylor wrote, “Progress and recent developments in machine learning and processing capacity have resurfaced discussions on the automation of work. These discussions are often controversial, with widely varying predictions around the number of jobs that could be lost to automation. However, history has shown that technological advancements and the automation of individual tasks don’t just result in substitution of labour, but also lead to job creation.”

Matthew Taylor will be giving a speech on Exploring the Future of Work at on Tuesday, 13 March at 2pm


Four out of five employees with poor mental health say that work is a contributory factor. Having policies and structures in place to promote good mental health and wellbeing will get the best out of your team and will help in attracting the next generation of talent.

Paul Farmer is the CEO of Mind, the UK’s largest mental health charity. He says that senior management needs to lead by example. “The most crucial thing is leadership. Despite what we might like to believe, senior leaders are not immune to stress and mental health problems at work, and only by acknowledging that can we set the best example. Taking responsibility for our own mental wellbeing, being honest with ourselves about what our limitations are and doing our best to maintain a good work-life balance are the only ways to make sure our staff do the same.”

Paul Farmer will be giving a speech on Wellness in the Workplace on Wednesday, 14 March at 11.05am


If you’ve ever had conversation with Alexa then you are on speaking terms with Artificial Intelligence. Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has described AI as ’our biggest existential threat’. Harnessed in the right way, AI could make us more productive and take care of time-consuming tasks and decisions that eat up so much of our working lives.

Umang Patel is a Fellow at the NHS Leadership Academy and a director at Babylon Health. He believes that technology can make healthcare simpler, more accessible and more affordable.

He says, “AI eliminates office distractions. Searching the company database for information, or answering a slew of internal requests from other departments can steal your employees' time and prevent them from working on their most important and engaging tasks.”

Umang Patel will be giving a keynote speech on The Rise of the Robots on Wednesday, 14 March at 10am

This unique three-day festival of business will be held at the IoD’s headquarters at 116 Pall Mall.

Headlining an inspirational three-day event at the iconic 116 Pall Mall, join Baroness Brady and a diverse mix of directors, leaders and entrepreneurs in setting the conversation for the future of business.

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