Following his recent appearance at the Global Innovation Summit in Dubai, Dr. Tim Jones, the programme director of Future Agenda, the world’s largest open foresight initiative, shared with some of the insights gained from 120 discussions held around the world last year. Along with Caroline Dewing, he has distilled the core points from these discussions into a new book titled Future Agenda: Six Challenges for the Next Decade.

As well as highlighting the main global shifts, Tim’s keynote address at the GIS focused on some core areas of potential innovation opportunity for the UAE and the wider Middle East. Of the issues shared at the event, three significant trends seemed to resonate particularly well with the audience.

Education Revolution

Broader access to improved education is seen as a major catalyst for empowerment, sustained economic growth, overcoming inequality and reducing conflict. Additionally, our education system needs to evolve to reflect the digital revolution.

Energy Storage

Energy storage, and particularly electricity storage, is now seen as the missing piece in the renewables jigsaw. If solved, it can enable truly distributed solar energy as well as accelerate the electrification of the transport industry. Bringing to the market a low-cost, highly efficient solution that can be adopted in many applications is a focus for many researchers and success will drive a major change across the whole energy landscape.

Data Marketplaces

Many see that data is now becoming a currency, and as such, requires a marketplace. An ecosystem for trading data is now emerging and, around the world it is being debated how a stock exchange for data would work.

Read more from Tim’s recent blog on

Future Agenda: Six Challenges for the Next Decade is published 20th October.