Marc is Founder & CEO of HRN, HR Tech World, disruptHR and iRecruit.

Once again, I am blown away by the exclusive content up for grabs on the main stage this year, the context of which hopefully builds on the high expectations built over the last 5 years. Sir Richard Branson stole the show last year, a hard act to follow? Yes, however I have greater confidence that we have produced a significantly better agenda this year that will provide the inspiration and context that allows for intelligent action.  A sold out exhibition of Who’s Who in Global HR and currently we are 22% ahead on delegate numbers compared to this time last year.

A very warm welcome to some of our Day 1 Main Stage speakers Gary Hamel, Vivek Wadhwa and Daniel Thorniley.

Daniel is a friend of old whom Peter and I first met some +10 yrs ago in Vienna through a mutual acquaintance at PwC Russia. A time when Central Eastern Europe was way more of an adventure – that terra incognita for the hungry travelling westerner, a real sense of communism, fur coats and popsical red hair was the rage. Daniel worked for the Economist Intelligence Unit back in those days and enjoyed references from global leaders … that were just about enough to get us across the line – example provided below). The rest as they say, is history.

“Danny Thorniley is a remarkable public speaker. Knowledgeable, insightful, provocative and very funny. He is very worth listening to. I also find his position papers extremely useful in global analysis. As I have told Danny, I wish he had been working for me as a personal adviser when I was Prime Minister”.

The Right Honourable John Major, former UK Prime Minister

Brexit, austerity, migration, political legitimacy, the “Trump” effect, temporary jobs, the gig economy – just when you thought the only disruption was digital!  Daniel will focus on the business outlook and the implications of a lack of final demand in the global economy which stems in large part from people and especially young people being alienated in the global job markets: 27% of people aged 27-33 live with their parents in the EU, and 63% of young people in the EU do not have proper full-time jobs. Why is this, what does it all mean (especially for HR) and where do we go from here?

Across the programming you will discover HR Tech World has taken on the challenge of being first to fly on tough questions like; Brexit – the implications for HR? … the growing leadership crisis? … how machine learning and cognitive HR/tech is going to displace millions of jobs especially Tier 1 and Tier 2 Shared Service/Slave Centre jobs, HR Admin jobs??? … delving deeper into the HR Hell that some in our community have not fully considered; for example changes in data privacy/employee information/data centre locations/movement of labor/location of leadership teams, etc.

I believe this is the year when our community will finally get a sense of the pace at which technology is moving, and will be better able to prepare for the coming major shifts in the workplace over the next 5-10 years.

Gary Hamel at HR Tech 2013
Gary Hamel at HR Tech 2013

Gary Hamel – back by popular demand to kick us off – one of our best speakers ever and one of the world’s most influential and iconoclastic business thinkers. The Wall Street Journal ranked Gary Hamel #1 as the World’s Most Influential Business Thinker and Fortune Magazine has called him the World’s leading expert on business strategy.

Bureaucracy, the operating model for virtually every organization on the planet, is fast becoming economically and competitively untenable. “Bureausclerosis” is costing the global economy $8 trillion annually, in this WORLD EXCLUSIVE – Gary outlines 4 key steps for busting bureaucracy and setting humans free at work.

Vivek Wadhwa is a Fellow at Stanford University; Director of Research at the Center for Entrepreneurship Duke University; and Faculty and Advisor at Singularity University. There is a lot of pessimism about the future. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Vivek Wadhwa (Time’s Magazine Top 40 Most Influential Minds in Tech) discusses why he believes that this will be the most innovative decade in human history. He will explain how exponentially advancing technologies will enable us to start solving humanity’s grand challenges.

The Palais des Congres is going to burst this year with 18 parallel breakouts, some of which are bigger than most HR conferences, +60 meeting rooms, a sold out exhibition.  Sincere and special thanks and mentions to SAP SuccessFactors, Cornerstone, CoreHR, Workday, Oracle, IBM, ADP, CrossKnowledge, Infor, and Benify for your continued and increased confidence in our show this year, it is this support that allows us to take everything up a gear year-on-year and you will discover lots of exciting announcements over the coming weeks on 2017-2018.

Our continued pro-bono work for the startup community has gone from strength to strength – disruptHR has grown 40%, so we have to move it to Level 1! Day 1 will close on our usual high, a cocktail party kindly supported by NGA Human Resources (A big SHOUT OUT to Michael Custers!) which warms up everyone to a night of dinners, boat cruises on the Seine and festivities across every arrondissement in Paris. A well deserved drink might be needed, as we have brought in fellow Deise man from back home in Ireland – Keith Barry world renowned brain hacker. Our thinking was kicking off the day with a session that follows our long standing motto – Unleash Your People, that it might be a good idea to close the day with Unleash Your Mind!

Keith Barry is the world’s leading Hypnotist and Mentalist.  His hit TV hypnosis game show “You’re Back in the Room” has completed two seasons on ITV in the UK and on Channel Nine in Australia.  His new US TV show “Hypnotise Me” airs early in 2017 on FOX in the US and he was Chief Hypnotist and Mentalist Consultant on the huge Hit Movie series “Now You See Me”.  Keith knows how to get inside your head, how to “Unleash Your Mind” using his powers of hypnosis, mentalism and magic. He also likes to have bundles of fun…and you will get to see exactly what we mean as Keith Unleashes our People and puts the power of the mind into action. Our MC and Main Stage Ninja for the 3rd year in a row is Jonathan Campbell – I know first hand that he is not fond of the darkside, so expect him to be sitting in the back of the audience for this one :).

The HRN team have been buzzing these last few months with many new improvements and ideas for this years show  and so we will be keeping 2-3 surprises up our sleeves over both days.  As always we appreciate your feedback and ideas on how we can improve this years main stage as we look ahead into 2017. Thanks for reading and sharing. See you in Paris! Marc.