BLOG: Imagining a radical future: 2019 Future Leaders Innovation Showcase Rally

UKGBC’s Head of Learning and Leadership, Elfrida Hamilton-Russell, reflects on the 2019 Future Leaders Showcase Rally.
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June 21, 2019

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Addressing the big picture challenges our industry faces demands leadership that is bold and radical. To achieve a built environment that is both sustainable and equitable, we require the next generation of leaders to be equipped with the skills to re-imagine and radically transform our industry. That is why it was so heartening to see those very characteristics on display at our Future Leaders showcase event, held at Conway Hall last Thursday. The event was an opportunity to bring together leaders from across the sector to support our future leaders, but also to inspire ideas around innovation.

Conway Hall is steeped in radical history, named in honour of the anti-slavery advocate Moncure D. Conway, it was a central space for coordination, education and debate during the Suffragette movement. It was both humbling and inspiring to see our Future Leaders on a stage that had once hosted those giants of history who had dared to not only dream of a better world, but to take courageous action to change it for the benefit of future generations.

Great leaders have the ability change hearts and minds, to inspire and unite people towards achieving a common vision. Achieving such outward change requires an ability to look inwards and reflect on ourselves. That is why the programme puts such an onus on giving future leaders the space to explore what leadership means to them, to think differently about themselves, and to develop a greater understanding of how they impact on others.

On the night, four of our future leaders courageously shared their own leadership journeys, reflecting on how the programme had changed them, not only professionally, but also in their personal lives and their aspirations for society.  Common to all the journeys was an understanding of the need for dedicated space and time to collaborate and think creatively, but also for greater compassion for those around you. The journeys were incredibly moving and uplifting. This perfectly laid the foundations for the Innovation Act, the part of the night where our future leaders pitched their ideas to the audience and our panel of expert judges.

Their innovations addressed many of the critical challenges facing society and represented a rich diversity of thought that befits such a multi-disciplined cohort. ‘Our neighbourhood’, ‘Klub’ ‘Green Flame’, ‘Goals’ and ‘Start here’ pitches demonstrated the depth of their innovative thinking and ideas creation. It was clear from their detailed responses to panel and audience questioning how well thought through the ideas were.  Aside from the courage and excellent delivery of all the teams, I was most impressed by the incredible teamwork on display. You could see the support our future leaders gave each other visibly before, during, and after the pitches. It has been a great privilege to accompany them through this programme, they are an inspiration to us all!

The showcase marked the end of the 2019 programme. But in many ways, it is just the beginning of the cohort’s leadership journey.  They will not only go back into their companies equipped with the skills and vision to drive radical change, they will also join our Future Leadership Alumni Forum. The network brings together a growing number of thought-leaders across the built environment value chain, as well as further opportunities for continued professional development.

UKGBC Future Leaders has now launched its online application process for the next programme, seeking to attract a new cohort of the best and brightest minds in the built environment to focus on critical issues facing the sector. Further details about the programme, including the application form, are available at ukgbc.org/futureleaders