Interview with James Bellini
What is the most amazing experience you have had as a speaker?
As a speaker and conference moderator I travel all over the world so my experiences are around people and places. I met and interviewed Nelson Mandela while working at the Davos World Economic Forum – he was a totally inspiring figure. In terms of place – my work has taken me to many fascinating places, but I think Langkawi was the most fascinating – it is a group of 104 islands off the north west coast of Malaysia. It’s fabulous geography made it a setting for one of the James Bond movies – my visit was a little less exciting, working with a major bank, but it was a very special place nevertheless.
Can you briefly define the Digital Consumer?
It’s no secret we now live in the digital age, but digital technology is transforming the way people make consumer decisions and also how business now uses that technology to analyse consumer behaviour and expectations and manage their customer relationships in a totally new, customer-centric way. Together these two trends are creating the digital consumer.
What are some of the major trends you foresee within the next ten to twenty years?
A shift in working practices towards a ‘free agent’ landscape in which people will increasingly work where and when they want.
In the post-industrial old developed world, a return to the making of things – a kind of second industrial revolution based around advanced technologies and life sciences. With ageing populations and the rise of a ‘live-alone’ society (today in Europe the fastest growing household unit is the single-person household) there will be a trend towards re-inventing the idea of ‘community’ and a different kind of urban life.
One of the great challenges in this century is creating a more sustainable – and frankly more intelligent – approach to producing, processing and distributing food. One way to achieve this is to re-discover the traditional idea of eating what the seasons provide, another is growing more of our food in cities rather than on large-scale rural farms.
How do you work with clients when preparing for a keynote?
I never give the same presentation twice and always make my talks as relevant as possible to the professional challenges and interests of the audience in front of me. So thorough briefing discussions with the client are an essential ingredient – I always tell a client when preparing for an event ”I prefer more rather than less… send me anything and everything you think will help me do the best job”.
What are some of your most popular keynote topics?
- A) How corporate culture and ‘psyche’ makes the crucial difference between success and failure (I recently wrote a book on this topic).
- B) How ‘the new normal’ in the fast-changing global economy is changing the ‘geography’ of how the world works and will work in the future.
- C) The workplace of tomorrow… I am a director of the talent foundation in the UK and take a keen interest in how the next generation will run our wealth-creating machine.
- D) The implications for managers of a ‘connected world’ where everything is linked to everything else.
- E) It’s also good to have some fun talking about daily life in 20 or 30 years time… Smart homes, smart neighborhoods, smart cities and a totally different environment in which to live, work, consume, socialise, manage our health and well-being etc etc. It will be a world of holograms, robots, intelligent surfaces, implanted chips for individual health monitoring, ultra-light aircraft… The list is endless.