Charles Leadbeater Speaker, Speeches, Booking Agent | MFL Global

Charles Leadbeater

Leading Authority on Innovation & Creativity

Charles Leadbeater is a world-renowned innovation expert whose work focuses on how to be human in an increasingly technological, unequal world, overshadowed by climate change.

He is the author of several internationally renowned books. His forthcoming books explore how to be human in an increasingly technological, unequal world, overshadowed by climate change. The Analogue Innovator, released in 2018, looks at why as digital innovation accelerates we are so drawn to older forms of craftwork, culture and technology as a counterbalance. Finding the right combination of the old and the new, the human and the technological will be critical to how we live and work well. In Breakthrough Movements, Charles Leadbeater unpicks the DNA of breakthroughs which change life for the better for millions of people, from the creation of the modern restaurant to the invention of the contraceptive pill. Big breakthroughs come from innovation movements that combine new thinking about society with technology, organisation and culture to make it real. Leadbeater uses this anatomy of breakthrough innovation strategies to forecast which technologies will provide the biggest breakthroughs in future: from driverless cars and block chain to personalised genetic treatments and solar energy.

Charles Leadbeater has a track record for being ahead of the game. The best seller, Living on Thin Air, published in 1998, forecast the rise of the knowledge-driven, weightless economy and We-Think: mass innovation not mass production, published in 2008, forecast that the web was breeding a Pro-Am culture of collaboration across a wide range of fields. In 1997 Charles was one of the first people in the world to write about the impending rise of social entrepreneurship.

Since then he has been a social innovator in his own right as one of the founders of the influential innovation and design agency Participle and as founder chair of the Google award-winning charity Apps for Good. He is a well-known and provocative voice in debates on the future of learning arguing that education should prepare young people to be creative and collaborative problem solvers. His TED talk based on his report Learning from the Extremes, looking at social innovation in education in the slums of the developing world, has been seen more than 3 million times.

Charles Leadbeater was an award-winning journalist with the Financial Times in London and Tokyo before going on to become assistant editor at The Independent, where he got Helen Fielding to write the column that became Bridget Jones’s diary. He went on to become an advisor to Tony Blair and David Miliband when they were in government.

As a Cultural Ambassador for London Mayor Sadique Khan and an associate of the Centre for London, he has written widely on the future of London and other cities, looking in particular at how successful cities can be smart and efficient but also hospitable and humane. Charles is a life fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, a trustee of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and an Arsenal season ticket holder.

As a speaker, Charles Leadbeater uses his expertise and aptitude for spotting ideas ahead of time to expound on topics such as ‘cloud culture’, ‘remixing the city’ and ‘a better kind of banking’.

View Charles Leadbeater’s masterclass: Frugal Innovation – Make Better not More.

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Six Ways to Survive the Next Ten Years

In the midst of such profound, existential uncertainty, with systems we rely upon seemingly on the point of breakdown and the economy growing only haltingly, this talk explores the six main strategies that individuals, companies, cities and governments will turn to in order to get through the next ten years of turmoil and disruption. These are strategies we will see in politics but also reflected in business, technology daily life and in ourselves: escape; resist; cope; control; embrace; create. The talk, based on my forthcoming book, explores how each of these will make sense for different kinds of constituencies in society and to different business strategies.

Vortex: The State We Are In

How did the world get into quite such a state of turmoil, disruption, anxiety and uncretainty. This talk presents a simple, easy to follow and digest model of how modern, ultra connected, fluid societies change. Drawing from the science of complex fluid dynamics it is organised around a simple diagram which explains how the contest between insurgents and incumbents creates a vortex of change both creative and destructive in society. The talk applies this simple model to business, politics and to daily life to provide people with an easy to use tool to plot where they stand amidst the swirl of change and how they can make progress.

The Great City Recipe

We know the future is to be made in cities. But what will make the cities of the future successful, great places to live and work? This talk, drawing on work with cities all around the world and especially the recent experience of London as the world's leading creative city, provides a simple model for thinking about what makes a city great. It rests on finding the right combination of systems, which are needed to make the city work at scale efficiently and empathy, to make it social, creative, friendly and convivial.

Transformational Innovation

This talk looks at the different kinds of innovation we will see in future: smart innovation to make existing systems more effective; exponential innovation to breakthrough to abundant solutions; frugal innovation to make the most of limited resources; human innovation, to focus on low and no-tech experiences. The talk argues that the combination of these four innovation forces may make for the truly transformational innovation that we need: the creation of new systems which will allow many more people to live better lives while using fewer resources.

Learning to be More Human

In an age of machine learning and artificial intelligence many more routine jobs will be done by smart machines threatening the jobs of many people, from Black Cab drivers to accountants. How should we respond, as workers but also as parents and teachers. This talk, based on research with schools and education systems around the world, argues that the response must be to make us more human, to focus dynamic learning and development, across the lifetime, on creativity and empathy, resilience and cooperation. In an age when anything scripted and programmed will be done by machines, we need to focus on what is unprogrammed and unscripted.

Cloud Culture

In this talk, Charlie explores how the rise of cloud computing could change our culture and asks whether it could provide the platform for a new, more cosmopolitan global culture which is both connected but diverse.

The feedback from delegates has reassured us that the theme, content and delivery will support them in the challenges they face, and that the power of strong and purposeful leadership will continue to be a focus for raising standards and increasing the life chances of the students in our care.

DRB Group

The audience were particularly impressed with this speaker and his innovative and forward-thinking ideas.


Event went great and Charles did a fabulous job. We would definitely consider him for future events with a different audience.


Charles did a great job and hit the mark with his presentation. The presentation gave rise to many fruitful conversations during the rest of the day.

Bindslev A/S


The Frugal Innovator

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Up The Down Escalator: Why The Global Pessimists Are Wrong

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School Leadership for Public Value

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In Search of Work

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We Think: Mass Innovation Not Mass Production

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Innovation in Education: Lessons from Pioneers Around The World

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Surfing the Long Wave: Knowledge Entrepreneurship in Britain

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Living on Thin Air: The New Economy

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Fees & Details

Fees From*

  • UK:

    £7k to £15k

  • Europe:

    £7k to £15k

  • US:

    £7k to £15k

  • Africa/Asia/ME:

    £7k to £15k

Travels From

  • United Kingdom



* This Speaker's fee falls within the ranges shown above. Ranges are presented as a guideline only. Speaker fees are subject to change without notice. For an exact quote, please contact us.

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