Lady Kinvara Balfour advises companies big and small on what is cool out there in the zeitgeist. She understands the worlds of tech and popular culture and the psychology that drives them.
Having worked across fashion, media, the arts and technology, Kinvara has unique overall experience in a mixture of industries and environments, making her an inimitable keynote speaker and moderator.
As of 2014, Kinvara Balfour hosts Fashion in Conversation for Apple Inc., a series of interviews with global icons at the Apple store which is available to an audience of over 900 million on iTunes. In 2014, she was one of the few women invited to speak at President Obama’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
What does it mean to you to be a woman in your industry?
I work across a variety of industries – tech, fashion, film, and theatre – so am never aware of any difference in that these industries are all fairly equal on the gender front. When speaking at conferences, I occasionally find that I am in the minority but only occasionally. And when I am, that’s ok too.
What were your highlights from the past year?
The past year has been busier than ever, with a variety of wonderful speaking jobs in so many beautiful countries. I spoke in Singapore which I loved – what a special city. Such incredible architecture, such dynamic people. 2017 also saw my first ever visit to China; hopefully it was not my last. I spoke about female entrepreneurship for Caijing Media in Sanya – a fascinating island with one of my favourite conference centres to date which is set within the grounds of the Rosewood Hotel, overlooking the ocean. I then travelled on to Beijing to talk about fashion trends in Grasse Town, which was beautiful and perhaps like the Bel Air of Beijing. In between, I managed to climb the Great Wall of China and see the Forbidden City. These are true highlights for me and once that will stay with me for life.
What are the tech and consumer trends we should all be looking out for?
As far as tech trends go, there are many. AI is the greatest at present. As Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently said, AI is going to be ‘more profound than electricity or fire’. That is a big statement and one which we can’t ignore. In addition, the robot and the digital assistant are fast becoming a part of everyday life. I am excited about VR, AR and MR. In addition, the aviation and space industries are particularly fast-changing at present. When it comes to consumer trends, these change rapidly due to the hungry appetite created by the web and social media. Overall, however, consumers will seek more interesting ways in which to adopt/buy products and engage with brands, with immersive experiences replacing traditional brick-and-mortar store models, and e-commerce superstores offering products via same-day delivery and digital experiences that reach far beyond the tradition ‘click and buy’ model of now.
What are your favourite topics to speak about as a keynote speaker?
I love giving my trend download – a general download of everything that is happening in the worlds of tech, fashion and culture, which serves to excite and inspire an audience, whatever industry they might be in. I also love moderating talks – with anyone and everyone. My past guests have included everyone from Arsene Wenger and Nico Rosberg to Chris Evans, aka Marvel’s Captain America, and Tom Ford. I enjoy researching my subjects and interview them with no notes so that the conversation is authentic and natural; that is my signature style.
Can you tell us about one of your upcoming projects that you’re particularly excited about?
Right now, I am most excited about THE VISIONARIES a series of mini-films I have shot on iPhone featuring the key visionaries of the world which are currently airing on YouTube. For this I have filmed icons like legendary shoe designer Manolo Blahnik, Soho House founder Nick Jones, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Peter Morgan, creator of Netflix’s The Crown. The series is inclusive, free to watch, and serves to inspire every one of every age.
To read more about Kinvara Balfour, click here.