Diversity speaker, Adah Parris is an award-winning polymath and enthusiastic curator of people, patterns and stories, anti-disciplinary artist, tech futurist, activist, and keynote speaker.
An expert in fields including systems design, digital and ecological technology, and living systems, she has an unique perspective on innovation, technology, and transformation. She is both empathetic and subversive, challenges the status quo, and helps people to recognise and bridge the gap between their external stories and internal behaviours.
Since 2020, Adah has been chair of Mental Health First Aid England, a social enterprise that offers expert guidance and training to support mental health in the workplace. She is also Chair for The Centre for Cultural Values Advisory Group.
Adah Parris is co-founder of Ism.Earth and Artist in Residence at the Santa Barbara Centre for Art Science and Technology. She was an Artist in Residence at the Design Science Studio and the Living Collaboratory – a partnership between The Design Science Studio and the Emergent Media Lab at the University of California Irvine.
In 2018 Adah Parris was recognised as one of the UK’s Top 100 Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Leaders in Technology; she was then noted as one of TED Talks’ Global Emerging Innovators in 2019, and long-listed as one of the Most Influential Women in UK Technology in 2020.
Adah is a storyteller who empathetically subverts the status quo by encouraging her audiences to become critical thinkers, creative innovators, philosophers and immersive storytellers.
ChatGPT describes Adah Parris as “the tech shaman who channels ancient wisdom and makes immersive and wearable art on the side”.
Contact Great British Speakers today to book diversity speaker Adah Parris for your next event.
With over twenty years of experience in transforming cultures to create human blockchains*, Adah Parris has worked with businesses and individuals in advertising, education, entertainment, entrepreneurship, marketing, media and technology start-ups. Often described as a female Hans Rosling or David McCandless, Adah provides business leaders with ways to approach challenges and change.
*Decentralised human ecosystems of trust and transparency.
Adah’s work explores the idea of transformation and innovation, and how our changes can influence how we see the world. She does this by asking the question, “What type of ancestor do you want to be?” – This was also the title of her 2022 TED Talk, in which urged audiences to reflect on the legacy they will leave behind by challenging the status quo, and cultivating a sense of belonging, all aiming to create a more sustainable future for ourselves and future generations.
She has coined the philosophy, Cyborg Shamanism™, which merges ancient wisdom, living systems, indigenous community practices, and digital technologies, and she provides individuals with the tools and practices to bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be through her consulting and her Ancestors Retreats.
Adah’s work with both individuals and complete organisations helps them to develop a deeper understanding of their perspectives and expand them, and to then take positive action towards a more sustainable future. She encourages business leaders to embrace this idea of prioritising long-term thinking and being a good ancestor, being inclusive and diverse, and being sustainable, by creating experiences that prioritise physical and mental wellbeing and ethical responsibility.
– Are we looking for a new religion through our use of technology?
– Find balance in a digital world that is constantly seeking for meaning
– The impact of the commodification of technology on the sense of self, curiosity and the potential for innovation
– Can we achieve flow in a technological hyperconnected world?
– Creating human blockchains
– Emerging technologies and storytelling
See Adah Parris giving her talk ‘What type of ancestor do you want to be’ at TEDx Amsterdam below:
Adah has worked with a wide range of high-profile clients and events including ArabNet Dubai, the British Council, the British Film Institute (BFI), the British Library, Burning Man Camp: Playground, the EU Council, the Friday Club, Google, Innovate Finance, Oath, Ogilvy Labs, Sainsburys, Shambala Festival, the Tate Modern, Unilever, the Union Chapel and Wayra UK.
Below: Adah Parris takes part in a Scania-sponsored debate about Future Cities:
Speaker: The House of Beautiful Business in Lisbon; the British Interactive Media Association Emerging Technology Showcase; the VCCP Network annual conference; the Drum Network CEO Club; NatWest’s Annual Conference; CPA Virtual Conference; the Creative Conscious Awards; STEP Conference in Dubai; the Oxford Inspires Conference at Oxford University; Uniqlo Tate Lates; and the Google for nonprofits UK Annual Summit.
Host/Moderator: The Fourth Group Political Summit; the Meta Gather Conference; the Council of 90 at the World Indigenous Forum; SheSays Action Against Racism Global Session; and Omniwomen UK + Allies Leadership Summit.
Judge: The Geraty Awards; WARC Awards for Effectiveness; RSA Student Design Awards; and BIMA Award for Start-up of the Year.
Technology: Redefining technology is, and more importantly, what it is not.
– The impact of technology on identity, culture, economics and ecosystems
– How to adopt emerging technologies (by asking the question: what type of ancestor do you want to be?)
– Overcoming the false duality of technology vs nature
– The soft side of tech (about building a future that is planet and all human centric)
– Transformative technologies
– Kinship in the age of cyborgs
Innovation: Decolonising and democratising the innovation process.
– The power of being a good ancestor: How embracing long-term thinking can drive innovation and creativity in business
– Ancient wisdom and new thinking for future innovation
– Thriving in innovation (in a post-pandemic world)
– Designing immersive experiences: The power and responsibility of transformation
– Can collaboration solve society’s problems
– Belonging and kinship in the age of 1s and 0s
Ecology: Taking a ‘living systems’ approach to understanding, deconstructing and redesigning governance structures from the bottom-up.
– Culture, art and climate change (intersection and opportunity for change)
– Systems foresight
– Systems change
– From chaos to growth: The value of embracing turbulence in business and beyond
Art: Changing how we experience the world.
– An anti-disciplinary artist designing and co-producing multi-sensory immersive experiences
In November 2023, Adah Parris – who is considered to be one of the most important futurists in the world – was in Brazil, more specifically in Salvador to participate in the Afrofuturism Festival.
A Chat with Adah Parris
As part of our ‘Chat with…’ podcast series at Great British Speakers, our director Jane Farnham sat down with Adah to discuss her many titles, as a futurist, cultural strategist, keynote speaker, STEM innovator and mental health advocate. Find out more HERE.
Just wanted to say a huge thank you to Adah for being her insightful self yesterday and challenging us all to question and to be more deliberate. I hugely appreciated her arriving early so that she was able to have greater context of the event and the preceding panels to her presentation. Adah definitely delivered on what we were hoping she would do. She provided a fresh, ‘Nowist’ perspective that the audience really held onto from the feedback post event. I think she fired us all up to really appreciate the opportunity and responsibility we have as communication experts – and to continue to broaden the narratives being created and told. All we wish for at these annual events is to enthuse everyone, by providing a chance to think differently, out with the day-to-day detail. Adah did just that.
Fiona Couper, Chief Marketing Officer, VCCP
I had the pleasure of working with Adah on a talk she gave for our team. She impressed us with her knowledge, but what really stood out to me was how she establishes connections across several topics to put together the bigger picture. This provided us with immediate actionable learnings but also lots of food for thought, which is invaluable to truly allow us all to grow.
Andy Posteret, DSBO Channel Sales and Activations, DACH at Google
Adah hosted me in a lively and challenging discussion with BIMA, about the future of humans in an age of intelligent machines. Her grasp of the issues raised in my book Clear Bright Future was thorough and I actually learned stuff about my own work. It was one of those discussions you have to spend days unpacking in your head – and I can’t wait to encounter her ideas and expansive imagination again.
Paul Mason, Journalist and Film-Maker
During the Uniqlo Tate Late, Adah led a round table on ‘cyborg shamanism’. It was thoughtfully crafted and skilfully facilitated – engaging visitors in dynamic discussions on the future of technology and how it impacts our lives and shapes our experience.
Liat Rosenthal, Senior Creative Producer, Uniqlo Tate Lates
The buzz in the room was palpable during our #NT100is5 panel discussion, and there’s no doubt it was enhanced by Adah’s energy and passion. Her insights into the future of tech, business and humanity have been a valuable addition to our podcast series Our Lives + Tech.
Charlotte Knight, Social Tech Trust (formerly Nominet Trust)
We approached Adah to explore both company brand positioning and personal branding for our fundraising team. It was an invaluable experience and we now use many of her tips and tools to grow our external positioning.
Jonathan Keeling, Head of Partnerships at Crowdcube