Keynote Speakers

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Professor John L. Casti

John L. CastiDr. Casti received his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Southern California. He worked at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA, and served as a professor at Princeton and New York University in the USA before becoming one of the first members of the research staff at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna, Austria. He has also been on the faculty of the Technical University of Vienna and the Santa Fe Institute in the USA.

He has published eight technical monographs in the area of system theory and mathematical modeling, as well as 12 volumes of popular science, including Paradigms Lost, Complexification, Would-Be Worlds, The Cambridge Quintet, and Mood Matters. His 2012 book, XEVENTS addresses the role complexity overload plays in the creation of potentially life-changing events such as the crash of the Internet or the outbreak of a global pandemic. His most recent book in Confronting Complexity, published in 2016. It revisits the topics of extreme events and mass psychology, adding much technical material as well as a detailed discussion of the concept of system resilience.

Dr. Casti is currently Director of The X-Center, a prívate research institute in Vienna focusing on the development of tools for anticipation of extreme events in human society. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Complex Systems and Enterprise at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New York.

In early 2016, Dr. Casti received the Medal of Honor for meritorious service to the city of Vienna.


 Cornelia Daheim


Cornelia Daheim is a foresight expert and consultant, founder and principal of Future Impacts. Since 2000, she has been leading corporate foresight projects for corporate customers such as Alstom, SKT or BASF, up to CEO level, and public sector projects, e.g. within the framework of international as well as European research networks, e.g. for the Korean innovation institute STEPI, the European Parliament or the European Commission. Recently, her topic focus was on the future of work, societal change, and the future of energy and mobility.

In her public sector projects, she has e.g. developed long-term scenarios for the impact of demographic change on the environment for a German ministry, or on the future of waste and respective policies for DEFRA, the British Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs. A range of her recent projects focussed on the future of work and education, e.g. a study for UKCES “Jobs and Skills – Work 2030”, or a study on the future of work/education and technology by the Millennium Project published with Bertelsmann Foundation.

Ms Daheim has experience in foresight assignments in Europe, the US and Asia, and has spoken on foresight and future trends on all continents. In 2003, she founded and has since acted as head of the Millennium Project’s German Node – the MP is the world’s largest continuous foresight NGO working on future global change. She is President of the Foresight Europe Network and has been named one of the world’s top female futurists.


Professor René Rohrbeck

René Rohrbeck René Rohrbeck is Professor of Strategy at the Aarhus School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University. Before joining Aarhus University he spent 6 years in industry where he worked on innovation management at Volkswagen and on corporate foresight at Deutsche Telekom.

For over 10 years he has researched into the foundations of organizational future preparedness, conducting over 20 deep case studies and running two large benchmarking studies. He has developed a maturity model for the future preparedness of firms, that has been applied to benchmark more than 400 companies.

René Rohrbeck has worked as a manager and consultant in a wide range of industries including, oil and gas, energy, chemicals, luxury goods, automobile, and ICT.

Recently he has edited a Special Issue on Corporate Foresight for the journal Technological Forecasting and Social Change, which was published in 2015. He teaches in a variety of international MBA and executive education programs.

Personal website:


Kristel Van der Elst

Co-Founder and CEO, The Global Foresight Group
Professor, College of Europe
Member of multiple global advisory and expert committees
Former Senior Director, Head of Strategic Foresight, World Economic Forum

Kristel Van der Elst has 17 years of experience in forward-looking strategy and policy advisory roles. She works with senior executives and policy makers including heads of state, ministers, heads of international organisations and think tanks, and CEOs providing the insights, resources and processes to help them turn long-term strategic thinking into actions and impacts.

She is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Strategic Foresight Community, the OECD Governmental Foresight Community, the Strategic Foresight for Research & Innovation Policy in Horizon 2020 (SFRI) European Commission Expert Group, and the Independent Advisory Committee to the Global Burden of Disease initiative.

Kristel is an established speaker, moderator and facilitator at high-level events including Davos, OECD, European Commission and Oxford, and the author of numerous reports and articles. She is also a HuffPost blogger.

Kristel is Visiting Professor at the College of Europe. Kristel holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management, a Masters in Development Cooperation from the University of Ghent, and a Masters in Commercial Engineering from the Free University of Brussels. She is a Fulbright Scholar, a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar, a Global Leadership Fellow and a Certified Professional Facilitator.


Riel Miller

Team Leader Futures Literacy, UNESCO, Paris

Riel Miller is one of the world’s leading authorities on the theory and practice of using the future to change what people see and do. He is recognized as an innovative and globally experienced project initiator, designer and manager. He is widely published in academic journals and other media on a range of topics, from the future of the Internet to transforming strategic processes. He is an accomplished keynote speaker and facilitator. He has worked with international and national organisations to put cutting-edge ideas at the service of transformational change.

He has worked as a senior manager in the Ontario public service (Ministries of Finance; Universities; and Industry) and for some thirteen years in total at the OECD in Paris (Directorates of: Economics; Science & Technology; Education; Territorial Development; Development Centre; International Futures Programme). In 2005 he founded an independent consultancy – xperidox (which means knowledge through experience) to advise clients on how to use the future more effectively. In 2012 he was appointed Head of Foresight at UNESCO. He is currently finishing a book: Transforming the Future: Anticipation in the 21st Century (video: Transforming the Future – YouTube). For publications see: ResearchGate.


Naoki Saito

Deputy Director-General, National Institute of Science & Technology Policy (NISTEP), Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology (MEXT)

Mr. Naoki Saito started his career at Science and Technology Agency (current MEXT) in 1987 after receiving a master’s degree in Philosophy, Graduate School of Arts & Science from the University of Tokyo. During his earlier career, he served in various fields of science and technology policy such as nuclear energy policy, space policy, and human resources development, as well as a position of research director in international S&T policy, regional innovation and industry-academia collaboration.  He also worked at Embassy of Japan in Australia as a First Secretary and Bangkok Office of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a Director.

Mr. Naoki Saito previously served as Director, Special Needs Education Division, Elementary and Secondary Education Bureau, MEXT, 2009-2010; Director, Planning & Management, JST/RISTEX [Research Institute of Science & Technology for Society], 2010-2012; Director, Knowledge Infrastructure Policy Division, Science & Technology Policy Bureau, MEXT, 2012-2013. He was appointed his present position in July 2013.

Major Publications:

  • ‘A Study on Conditions and Promotion Policy for Successful Regional Innovation Development Japanese-Type Sustainable Regional Clusters’, Policy Study No.9, NISTEP, March 2004
  • ‘Study for Evaluating the Achievements of the S&T Basic Plans in Japan: Achievements and Issues of Major Policies for Industry-Academia-Government Cooperation and Regional Innovation’, NISTEP REPORT No. 87, March 2005
  • ‘Study for Evaluating the Achievements of the S&T Basic Plans in Japan: Comparative Analysis of S&T Policies and their Achievements in Major Countries’, NISTEP REPORT NO.91, March 2005
  • ‘Study on Systematization of the Indicators on Regional S&T Activities toward Innovation’, Research Material No.110, NISTEP, March 2005