Announcing the first draft programme for 2020!

Day 1  | Monday 21 September 2020

9:30 am

Registration and coffee

10:00 am

Chair’s welcome & opening remarks


10:10 am

Keynote: How do we build the new world while we keep the old world running?

We have brought a group of some of the most senior professional firm leaders together for our keynote examination of an existential challenge for the industry.  How do hugely successful, profitable and established market leading firms create the new, competitive digital business model for the 2020s and beyond without fatally undermining the proven previous model.

  • How to maintain the profit streams necessary to retain talent and generate investment as clients opt for better, faster and cheaper digital options?
  • How to attract the next generation of data, advanced tech and innovative talent into professional services where long-established cultures and remuneration models are fixed and conservative?
  • How to deliver innovation, transformation and even disruption from a market leadership position
  • Where collaboration, ventures, incubators, platforms, hubs fit in the new world
  • Will we reach a point in the next few years where firms have to surgically remove the residual, hard-to-change rump of the business?


11:10 am

Networking break & coffee

11:40 am

Data assets: turning concept into reality

Our panel of experts bring a number of different specialist perspectives to bear on the question of how professional firms can convert the much-discussed potential value of the data they hold into genuine, measurable business assets.  This session focuses on the practical steps to move beyond talking about the great value of data assets to a new model of genuinely harnessing and realising it:

  • Identifying and prioritising your potential data assets
  • Mining, analysing and monetising data
  • Protecting and maintaining your assets
  • Valuing and accounting for data assets
12:30 pm

Spotlight on the new innovation community: data analytics

Throughout the Summit we will take a deeper look at some of the roles rapidly establishing themselves as core to the new professional firm model, hearing direct from two people doing these jobs in the industry.

For this session we will hear about data science / analytics roles, how firms are deploying these skills and how working in professional services compares and competes with other sectors, plus some tips on where to find data talent and what to look for.

1:00 pm

Networking lunch

2:00 pm

The war for digital talent: why winning it is critical to business success

There is a growing consensus that knowledge-based professional businesses now need the best digital and innovation brains to evolve and survive.   New hybrid roles are fusing technology, entrepreneurial and product capabilities into traditional professional roles.  Already, firms and recruiters report shortfalls in most of the main skill categories and firms are grappling with how to grow their own in new areas where they don’t have decades of pre-eminence. On top of this, for this talent pool professional firms are not just competing with each other, but with every other sector of the economy and, critically, particularly with the fast moving, entrepreneurial and potentially hugely remunerative tech sector.  This session takes a closer look at what these key skills and roles are, how those talent markets work and what professional firms are and could do to attract and retain the best people.

2:40 pm

‘Nextology’: The technologies that will transform professional services next

The premise for this session is simple.  We have pulled together a group of incredibly experienced professional technology leaders, including both firm CIOs and CTOs and leaders and strategists from some of the largest tech businesses in the market.  We asked them to put their reputations on the line and tell us what technologies they think will have the biggest transformational impact on the professional services world in the next 3 years.  Against a background of an explosion of potential routes and technologies for businesses to deploy, sifting the options and identifying strategic choices becomes ever more business critical.  Our speakers will explain their choice and then face the questioning of the audience and fellow panellists.


3:20 pm

Networking break

3:50 pm

Knowledge-sharing sessions: Delivering value from innovation

This series of facilitated group sessions emphasises unique knowledge sharing opportunities.  The aim is to deliver insights and take-aways that are simply not typically available and come from hearing experienced practitioners discuss real experiences in a confidential, intimate and interactive setting.  These interactive and informal discussions follow the Chatham House rule – giving you the freedom to speak your mind and providing what some previous delegates have described as ‘group therapy’. Small groups allow everyone to participate and brainstorming will give insight into your peers’ challenges and provide solutions to your own.

For 2020 our Advisory Board have set the over-arching theme, which focuses intently on how professional organisations can deliver real, sustainable and meaningful value from the ever-accelerating array of innovation and technology projects and investments.  Overcoming resistance, developing critical digital capabilities, addressing deep-seated obstacles to change, aligning business process and performance management to the new normal all feature in this exceptional menu of sessions for delegates to select from.

There will be two 40-minute sessions so that you can attend two of the ten topics.

  1. What are the critical digital capabilities required for the next decade 
  2. Data is hot, but insights are hotter
    Elizabeth Kavanagh, Senior Consultant and Head of HR, PCSG
  3. Getting the right innovation balance between value-add client freebies and actual revenue generating new services
    Lucy Dillon, Chief Knowledge Officer, Reed Smith
  4. Design thinking in practice
    Jonathan Patterson, Managing Director, DWF Ventures
  5. How do we persuade our leaders and partners that innovation represents a good investment 
  6. Future Proofing your innovation programme 
  7. How digital businesses and platforms drive valuations in today’s market
    Justin Anderson, Head of Digital Deal Strategy, KPMG
  8. Innovation for the 2020s in real estate portfolio management
    Justin Young, Chief Operating Officer, Knight Frank
  9. Meeting your innovation and digital talent needs
    Rosemary Nunn, Managing Director, I&K, The Innovation and Knowledge Agency
  10. Achieving SDGs through tech and innovation – the big challenge/ opportunity of 2020
    Alex Edds, Director of Innovation, JLL


5:10 pm

Networking break

5:15 pm

The Samoan Circle – an Alternative panel discussion: Time to bring back boring?

Our own very special end of day one closer is the Samoan Circle. After a short break, we’ll re-convene for an informal and interactive session using the “Samoan Circle” format.  Set up in the round, delegates will gather around a central circle to eavesdrop on a frank, facilitated, conversation which will initially be between four leaders in technology and innovation roles in professional firms.

The debate this year is all around whether firms should be deliberately revising their technology focus and investment and weighting the balance back towards exploiting the existing tech stack.  All firms are now sitting on a large cumulative investment in established applications that are deployed across the business but poorly understood, used and managed to drive continuing benefits and returns.  These often unglamorous applications, starting with the core Microsoft Office suite, are not seen as disruptive, innovative or ‘AI’ but have the potential to deliver substantial efficiencies.  Are we in danger of creating a fatal digital skills gap in our workforce around the most common, fundamental technologies, even as we reach for ever more ambitious innovation?

Audience members can join in the discussion by entering the “inner discussion circle” and sitting down.  The working principles of the Samoan Circle are:

  1. Only those in the inner circle may speak, until prompted to retire
  2. You can enter the inner circle at any time if you want to join the discussion
  3. You must finish your point and leave the inner circle when prompted by the facilitator

The bar is open, awaits your questions / comments and we hope you’ll join in the conversation. It could be lively!


  • Adam Grainger Chief Information Officer - Baker Tilly International
6:00 pm

Chair’s closing remarks and end of day one


7:30 pm

Drinks reception

8:00 pm

Dinner and entertainment followed by overnight stay

Day 2  | Tuesday 22 September 2020

9:30 am

Registration and coffee

10:00 am

Chair’s welcome and opening remarks

10:05 am

Can our future professional workplace be both agile and collaborative?

Changing spaces: what does the 2020s professional workplace look like, what are the drivers for change and what are the best organisations doing today to deliver a new vision of the agile professional working environment?  If teamworking, collaboration and hybrid models are core to the future of work, how does a shift to a remote and virtual workplace help rather than hinder that? And how can workforce diversity, agility and wellbeing be transformed through designing the right professional workplace for the new decade?


10:35 am

Response Panel: can our future professional workplace be agile and collaborative?


11:00 am

Exclusive: The map of the U.K. services AI and innovation landscape


  • John Armour Professor of Law & Finance - Oxford University
  • Stephen Browning Challenge Director – Next Generation Services - Innovate UK
11:30 am

Networking break & coffee

12:00 pm

Towards a professional services common data model

The tantalising idea of a single, standard, globally translatable data model that could transform the efficiency, speed and security of professional service engagements looks to be coming a lot closer.  Thanks to a set of initiatives and new business ideas the standardisation of organising, categorising and sharing corporate data is very much ‘in play’.  Our expert panel will explain what is happening, how professionals can get involved and what the consequences might be for the industry.

12:30 pm

Lessons from beyond: the innovation journey in other sectors

10-minute presentations from expert speakers on their innovation journey.  Followed by Q&A session.

1:00 pm

Closing Keynote – Alternative Tech & Innovation Leaders’ Room 101: our End-of-the-Conference, End-of-the-Decade predictions

We will wrap up our 2020 event in time-honoured fashion with some on-stage debate and, hopefully, disagreement and some audience participation.  This year we’re taking advantage of the calendar and asking our star panel to get out their crystal balls and give some thought to their vision for the end of the 2020s.  What will have changed or disappeared forever in the professional services world?

Based on the popular BBC format, each panellist will propose their obstacle and aim to persuade our host and the audience to consign it forever to Room 101.

Our host:

And very special guests:
Greg Smith, Partner & Co-Lead, Digital Transformation & Analytics, Arthur D. Little
Jonathan Patterson, Managing Director, DWF Ventures


1:30 pm

Chair’s closing remarks followed by lunch and departure

If you have an interesting story to tell and would like to join our speaker panel, please contact:
Sarah Katherine Bagshaw
07701 091 664