Innovation visionaries and entrepreneurs converge for the Global Innovation Forum 10th anniversary, in an inaugural Virtual Edition

Over the last ten years, the Global Innovation Forum has built an enviable reputation for an annual assembly of some of the world’s most influential innovation leaders and creative business pioneers. Each year they share cross-sector insight, personal stories of success, and critically, the important lessons learnt through failure! In this milestone anniversary year, the organisers have responded to world events in true innovation style by pivoting, from the physical gathering in London, to going digital –  in a live, fully immersive experience running from the 17 to 19 of November.

Combining streamed talks, virtual tours, digital workshops and 1-on-1 video meetings, three of our own innovation leaders, Ben Strutt, Chris Houghton and James Harmer, will be hosting a series of diverse talks with international personalities who have each broken new ground in their respective fields.

This year’s event theme “Bring back the fun”, could not be more appropriate, better timed, or more greatly needed as the world continues to adapt to widespread remote working and fewer face-to-face collaborations. Buzzing with a line-up of design and innovation leaders from companies including Google, Disney, P&G, Amazon, Unilever, Lego, IBM, Impossible Foods, Glaxo Smith Kline, Mondelez, plus world record breakers, and design legends, it promises to deliver a high-octane three day virtual event.

“In times of crisis, society repeatedly displays extraordinary resilience, capacity for adaption, and change. It is likely that 2020 will be remembered as a defining period in which bold steps were taken to reimagine the future, initiating years of mass technology and service progress, compressed into just months” commented Cambridge Design Partnership Director, Ben Strutt.

“While challenges lay ahead, there are so many reasons to be positive and inspired by the experiences of others, get connected (safely!) – and have fun – values that resonate strongly with our Employee Owner team”

For 25 years Cambridge Design Partnership’s integrated team of researchers, strategists, designers, engineers and scientists have worked in partnership with our clients across consumer, industrial and healthcare markets, on the toughest challenges – pushing technological and creative boundaries – to improve lives and create better experiences.

“This Virtual Edition of the GIF event will be an extraordinary opportunity, in an extraordinary time for a wider global audience than ever before to be inspired, and connect with like-minded innovators”.

Three of our senior innovation leaders will host six of the streamed discussions, and be available for further conversation throughout the event. We are also able to offer an exclusive discount code on delegate passes – please reach out to to find out more.

Meet our event moderators and the sessions they’ll be hosting, in this short video:

Ben Strutt

Ben leads Cambridge Design Partnership’s design and front-end innovation activities and is a Partner in the Business. His perspective on innovation is founded on 20 years of global insight, and end-to-end product development experience working with businesses ranging from start-ups to some of the most well-known consumer goods and healthcare brands in the world. Ben will be hosting three different talks:

“I get much of my creative inspiration from thought-leaders and content outside of my own sphere of focus, and was extremely excited to have the opportunity to work with three very diverse speakers”.

“The peculiar Amazon approach to culture and innovation” with Eric Tachibana, Amazon Web Services.
November 17th at 10:30 am

“Chasing perfect” with Frank Stephenson, Iconic Car Designer.
November 18th at 10:00 am

“Overcoming obstacles, living in the moment and avoiding risky situations” with Kane Avellano- Adventurer, Entrepreneur & Guinness World Record Circumnavigator.
November 19th at 13:10 pm

Tribute to the late Sir Ken Robinson, 1950-2020, prior to the broadcast of the most watched TED talk of all time, ‘Do schools kill creativity?’
November 19th at 12:40 pm

James Harmer

James leads insight and innovation projects for major food and beverage industry clients, with responsibility for ‘joining the dots’ between consumer needs, strategic opportunity, and breakthrough branded-packaging innovation. With a portfolio spanning more than 25 years of partnership with global FMCG companies, including Unilever, Nestle and PepsiCo, James has a strong focus on helping clients unlock innovation opportunity in a sustainable circular economy.

James commented “It’s an amazing privilege to speak to some of the world’s leading innovators across such a broad range of areas. I’m going to be exploring diverse topics from the carbon budget to the future of comics!  Ken Lashley will be bringing a different perspective on how to integrate creativity into their work to inspire everyone and Gif. Whilst Rebekah Moses is sharing an incredible case study on ‘planet saving innovation’, addressing the future of food that will have everyone engaged and enthused”.

“Becoming one of the comics go-to cover artist” Ken Lashley, Marvel.
November 18th at 13.50 pm

“Addressing climate change & sustainable food futures through plant-based meat” Rebekah Moses, Impossible Foods.
November 19th at 13:50 pm

Chris Houghton

Chris is Head of FMCG at CDP, leading brand innovation & packaging design capabilities and is a Partner in the Business. He is a designer and strategic innovator with over 20 years of experience working with global brands to deliver new products and packaging. During his career has been entrusted by more than 100 brands – ranging from Cadbury and Coca-Cola to Lego and Reebok. Chris is delighted to be interviewing Ivy Ross, VP, Head of Design for all Hardware Products at Google.

“Google has grown at a phenomenal rate over the past 20 years, investing and acquiring a diverse portfolio of innovation assets, including artificial intelligence and machine learning. Expanding from software into hardware required a clear design vision which Ivy has orchestrated over the past seven years. Combining design and science, empathy and analysis, their hardware products boast a distinctive identity and have humanised technology within our increasing smart homes” reflected Chris.

“The intersection of Design and Science” with Ivy Ross, Google.
November 17th at 15:30 pm

We hope you can join us at GIF, November 17th-19th to see the full agenda please see here. For more information, you can contact us at