Ed Gillespie is a writer, communications specialist, serial entrepreneur and futurist. He is the author of ‘Only Planet – a flight-free adventure around the world’ a book about his circumnavigation of the globe without getting on a plane, which the Independent said “Allows the world’s flaws and beauty to seep into your soul”.
Gillespie’s core talent is to take the complex, interconnected, interdependent nature of the many challenges the world faces, from climate change to disruptive innovation, and make common sense of them for non-specialist audiences.
Gillespie is co-founder of Futerra, a change agency that specialises in business transformation and creative communications and campaigns. For the last fourteen years Futerra has become internationally renowned for its influential and award-winning work on some of the biggest corporate sustainability initiatives, from Unilever’s ‘Sustainable Living Plan’, through Mondelez’s ‘Coffee Made Happy’ to SAB Miller’s ‘Prosper’.
Professionally Gillespie is known for his own unique brand of authentic ‘insultancy’ – being strategically rude to clients, with judicious wit and wisdom to inspire them to greater heights and aspirations. He is highly adaptable, constructively challenging and pushes audience assumptions of business as usual, opening minds then mapping possible practical solutions and opportunities.
Gillespie is also actively involved in a number of pioneering businesses as a Director or Investor, from Zero Carbon Food, a renewable energy powered, LED-lit, hydroponic farm in a disused underground tunnel in South London, to Loco2.com a pan European rail-ticket agency that makes it as easy to book a trans-continental train as a plane. He is also a London Sustainable Development Commissioner, advising the Mayor and the Greater London Authority on green entrepreneurship and clean-tech.
Aside from writing regularly for the Guardian and other media, Gillespie is a sought after speaker, event host, lively compere and entertaining Chairperson, renowned for his entertaining presentations laced with thoughtful insights, trends and humour. Since 2001, he has presented all over the world, from Hong Kong to Bratislava, from Korea to Auckland. And he’s been heard by every kind of audience, from the UN and national governments, to multi-national corporations and global associations. He’s even dabbled with stand-up comedy to enhance his presentational and engagement skills.
Gillespie's recent speaking engagements include giving the inaugural ‘Bonn Speech’ on Global Transformation for the German Government, a keynote on ‘The Future of Energy’ in Slovenia, ‘The Power of Business with Purpose’ in Finland and ‘Refloating the Ark – The Future of Natural History Museums’ in Manchester.