Beyond tomorrow: Navigating AI, sustainability and the global economy

24 May 2024

Cranfield campus

Join us at 'Beyond tomorrow: Navigating AI, sustainability and the global economy' for a transformative exploration of the pivotal themes shaping our world today.

Join us for a thought-provoking journey where Cranfield faculty and experts unravel the threads that bind these crucial elements, charting a course for a more sustainable and more technically advanced future:

  • Explore the dynamics of the global economy,
  • Gain foresight into the future of work,
  • Delve into the transformative power of AI,
  • Soar into the realm of sustainable transportation.

Throughout the 2024 alumni conference, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in discussions, interactive sessions, and networking, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange.

'Beyond tomorrow' promises to be a thought-provoking and forward-looking exploration of AI, sustainability and the global economy.



Session Details


Registration and refreshments


Opening remarks
Professor David Oglethorpe, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Cranfield School of Management


The Economy – Past, present and future

Professor Joe Nellis CBE, Professor of Global Economy and Deputy Dean of Cranfield School of Management

A look back at some of the major economic events and policy developments that have shaped the wider business environment over the past 40 years - since Joe joined Cranfield! This will set the scene for a critical assessment of the current economic situation and the prospects for sustained recovery and long-term growth.


Networking and refreshments


Beyond tomorrow: The changing world of work
Professor Emma Parry, Professor of Human Resource Management

Over the past few years, we have seen the world of work change dramatically due to aspects such as technological advancement, demographic trends and the Coronavirus pandemic. This session will explore how changes to the external context are expected to influence the nature of work, the workplace and the workforce and how leadership, people management and organisation design will need to adjust to address these.


Parallel sessions


Networking lunch and exhibition


Navigating the AI-cyber ‘fog’

Dr Emma Taylor CISSP CEng FIMechE FSaRS, Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor in Digital Safety and Security

Management of cybersecurity is impacted by AI’s explosive growth in capabilities and reach across the global economy, individuals, and society. It is unclear how things may play out and where, outside the evident technical complexities, management focus should be directed. Perhaps surprisingly, standards and frameworks are an active front, technically and geopolitically. This talk will present a novel blend of perspectives and present some food for thought for those looking to navigate through the AI-cyber ‘fog’.


The views expressed in this talk are personal only and are provided to inform the discussion at the  2024 Cranfield Alumni conference, "Beyond tomorrow: Navigating AI, sustainability and the global economy".


Parallel sessions


Networking and refreshments


A journey in(to) the future

Professor Graham Braithwaite FRAeS FISASI FCILT, Director, Transport Systems

How do we ensure that transport into the future is both inclusive and environmentally sustainable? In reflecting on Cranfield’s contribution to this field, we will consider how technology creates both challenges and opportunities and how developing a whole journey approach can radically change how we think of a journey.


Closing remarks

Professor Joe Nellis CBE, Professor of Global Economy and Deputy Dean of Cranfield School of Management


Networking drinks and close

Morning parallel sessions

Session 1: Business and social impact: The case of social procurement movement

Dr Leila Alinaghian, Associate Professor of Business Relationships and Impact, Director of full-time MBA and Timo Worrall (MBA 2010), Director of Global Supplier Diversity & Inclusion, Johnson & Johnson

Businesses have begun to take a lead role in addressing complex, multi-layered global social challenges. Discover how social enterprises are the ultimate form of social-value focused business and the role of corporate buyers in progressing the social procurement movement. Timo will share insights and examples from his own experience of leading successful global supplier diversity and inclusion initiatives at Johnson & Johnson internationally, including how the company is partnering with social enterprises.

Session 2: De-globalization, Slowbalization or Re-globalization? The future prospects for global trade

Professor Andy Angus, Professor of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

The World Economic Forum believes there are strong indications that the era of globalization is coming to an end. The risks created by geopolitical conflicts, pandemics and climate change appear to favour national security over global value chains. This talk will explore the different views on the future direction of global trade, drawing out the implications for countries, businesses and managers.

Session 3: The future of strategic leadership - Leading people and organisations in a complex world

Professor Andrey Pavlov, Professor of Strategy and Performance and Head of Strategy Group and Elizabeth Honer (MSc Managing Organizational Performance 2009), former CEO of the Government Internal Audit Agency

Discover a compelling vison for strategic leadership in today’s volatile world. The session introduces the complexity paradigm as a more realistic approach that acknowledges the unpredictable, nonlinear nature of organisational and human dynamics. Examples will show how to cultivate an organisational culture that embraces change, leverage values for decision-making, and prepare for future challenges without relying on predictability and control.

Afternoon parallel sessions

Session 1: Leading beyond tomorrow

Dr Rosina Watson, Associate Professor of Sustainability

In the face of global social and environmental challenges, there is increasing pressure from customers, investors and citizens for business to be part of the solution. Those leading their businesses into the future must now respond and engage with a wider set of stakeholders than ever before, in the context of a volatile, uncertain and complex environment. Explore the capabilities leaders need to contribute meaningfully to a more sustainable future and how these can be taught and developed within your organisation.

Session 2: Fuelling progress: Entrepreneurship as the engine for growth

Professor Stephanie Hussels, Group Head: Strategy, Entrepreneurship & Sustainability, Director of the Business Growth Programme, Cranfield School of Management

During the panel discussion, we will explore the significance of entrepreneurship, highlighting that it is critical for establishing new businesses and emphasising that an entrepreneurial mindset is now more essential than ever to keep established businesses ahead of the curve.

Session 3: Contemporary trends and challenges in supply chains - Planning for the future, including a case study of BP Pulse

Professor Michael Bourlakis, Director of Research and Director of the Centre for Logistics, Procurement & Supply Chain Management and Joel Brown (MSc Supply Chain Management 2018) Head of Logistics, BP Pulse

This session will analyse the major, contemporary trends taking place and their significant impact on current and future supply chains. Key insights will be provided for the transformative role and importance of these trends with a particular focus on how these trends shape and influence current and future supply chains. This presentation will be based on past and ongoing research work and Joel Brown will share a case study of BP Pulse.

Conference Chair - Professor Joe Nellis CBE
Professor of Global Economy and Deputy Dean of Cranfield School of Management

Professor Joe Nellis CBE is Professor of Global Economy at Cranfield School of Management. He is also Deputy Dean and the longest-serving member of the School’s Executive Board. 

Joe joined Cranfield in 1984 and established the Economics Group. Joe has previously served as Director of the School and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University. He also holds Visiting Professorial appointments at various universities in Germany, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, Hungary, USA, and Ghana. 

Joe is an experienced contributor to a wide range of national and international conferences and is a consultant to a number of organisations. His hobbies include golf and running, and he describes Ghana as his second home due to time spent there on Voluntary Service Overseas. 

The academic year 2023-2024 marks Joe’s 40th year at Cranfield. 

Keynote speakers

Professor Joe Nellis CBE
Deputy Dean and Professor of Global Economy

Professor Emma Parry
Professor of Human Resource Management

Professor Graham Braithwaite FRAeS FISASI FCILT
Director, Transport Systems

Helpful information

Directions and parking

For directions to the venue please click here. On reaching the campus please follow the signs for AIRC Parking. 

Please note that the parking scheme in place at Cranfield University does not apply to attendees for this event.

 WiFi details

To connect as a wireless network guest user:

  1. Use your wireless network connection software to connect to Cranfield Web
  2. Launch a web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer or Firefox)
  3. Enter the username and password exactly as listed below

Username: guest-Alumni
Password: salify19braver

This access is valid until Friday 24 May 2023, 8:00 PM

Dress code

The conference is designed to be informal and relaxed, therefore casual dress is appropriate during the day.

Local Taxi numbers
Milton Keynes
Skyline: 01908 222 111

Skyline taxis: 01234 555 555
Anglia Cars: 01234 320 032

Filming and photography

Please note, that recording and photography will be taking place at the event. If you object to being included in any film and/or photography produced, please let the event organisers know on the day.

For information about how your data will be processed, please see our privacy policy on our website -

Images, audio or footage captured may be used in marketing or communications publicity across all platforms.

The 2023 alumni conference had an incredible day of content

Across the day our speakers brought to life the theme of resilience, with keynotes and lectures providing a mix of discussion, debate, education and reflection.

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Contact us

Alumni Relations and Development - Cranfield University

T: +44 (0)1234 754456

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