Speaking - keynotes, conferences, panels

My name is Phil Dearson. I have been speaking since I was about 2 years old. My first word was “hullygully” which, I appreciate, is not actually a word. This may explain why it took another 35 years, drama school training and an extensive career in the digital industry before anyone invited me to speak professionally.

Since then I’ve been making up for lost time by speaking many quality words. Mainly about the impact of emerging technologies on society and business.

I’ve been a keynote speaker at many events, including: Google’s Squared programme, the Festival of Marketing, the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD), the Institute of Fundraising, Speakers Corner for Creativepool, the Tech Off (Fight Club for geeks), the Nationwide Building Society Fresh Thinking Conference, The Marketing Store Worldwide’s 25th anniversary event. I’ve appeared on panels for the likes of The Guardian, The Drum and Contagious Magazine. I’ve been an expert speaker for the Academy of Digital Business Leaders, the Lead Digital online learning programme and have been a guest speaker for Hyper Island. I also compèred Prime Conference at the Royal Institution in London and host The Magical Machine, an irregular podcast about the future.

My career started in market research. When the web was created, I migrated into the agency world where I held a variety of roles, making and marketing: Head of Digital, Head of Strategy, Head of Innovation, Planning Director and Technical Director. I eventually founded the business transformation consultancy, Subsector.

I’ve been lucky enough to work across a range of sectors in the last 25 years, including Government, the Arts, Alcohol, Financial Services, Third Sector, FMCG, Retail, Fashion, Telecoms, Automotive, Health & Fitness and Entertainment.

My experience with complex organisations is extensive. I helped Disney deliver their first ecommerce platform in the UK. I helped the mobile operator 3 to launch in the UK. I helped to architect and implement a future-facing ecosystem for Volkswagen UK. I held a seat on the McDonald’s UK Digital Working Group where, with the board, I worked on organisation-wide digital programmes.

More recently I’ve been helping global enterprises transform their organisations for the future. The focus is on improving the customer experience for the ultimate benefit of the organisation. By consulting on the interplay of customer needs, multiple touchpoints and operational issues, I help organisations to transform by innovating around their core offer.


Subsector designs practical, simple plans for growth and transformation that you can act on. We find that this work often falls into the categories below.


We can help you improve the experience for the people you care about most:

> Prioritising customer needs

> Customer Journey Mapping

> How your customers use technology

> What motivates your customer


We can help you with rapid innovation, using simple and practical methods:

> Generating ideas for products and services your customers will love

> Prototyping quickly and easily

> Minimising risk

> The implications of innovation on your business or service


We help agencies grow with short-term and long-term programmes:

> Non-executive roles

> Senior level resource to help you answer growth challenges

> Project support in Customer Experience, Innovation and Technology

> Helping agencies better understand their customer and build the right proposition

> Using The POP Method® to solve business problems for you and your clients


We can provide digital inspiration and education for you and your teams:

> Demystifying technology and getting hands-on

> Understanding how technology is changing society and business

> How to keep up to speed

> Keynote speaking and thought leadership


We run inspiring, practical and accessible transformation workshops, where delegates can:

> Get a taste of a wide range of technologies

> Put themselves in the shoes of their "customers"

> Rapidly develop a tangible transformation plan

More about workshops


We speak about the impact of emerging technologies on society and business:

> Conference or event keynotes

> Subject matter expert panels

> Recorded media

> Conference content design

More about speaking

Practical Plans for Growth and Transformation

Contact Us For More Information

Transformation Workshops

The problem with terms like “transformation” is that they can make the whole idea seem unnecessarily daunting. We all know we need to adapt what we do to the environment we live in – we’re not idiots. So why do so many organisations seem to delight in making the whole process seem as complicated as possible?

We’re taking the opposite approach with some inspiring, practical and accessible transformation workshops to help organisations get started, or build on what they’ve already done, very rapidly.

1 day transformation workshops

1 day transformation workshops

The Very Digital Caterpillar: A one-day workshop where you will get a taste of a wide range of digital technologies.

Attendees try out the tech that they’ve read about, gaining hands-on experience. This then allows them to imagine how it could be used. They can ask us questions to better help their understanding.

By getting a practical grasp of the current digital landscape, it is easier to see how it can be properly employed to help the customer and the organisation.

2 day transformation workshops

2 day transformation workshops

Through The Looking Glass: A two-day event that puts you in the shoes of the people you care about most.

Using a range of techniques from service design (including input from customers), attendees will understand what people really want and develop ideas for serving those needs.

This exercise creates insight into news ways to create value in the digital world. This is a world where disruption is rapidly changing diverse industries.

3 day transformation workshops

3 day transformation workshops

Metamorphosis: An intense three day experience, rapidly developing a tangible transformation plan.

This activity builds on the output achieved in “Through The Looking Glass”.

Having understood what customers truly want, attendees rapidly develop a business model for delivering it. Together we identify what the organisation might need to change to achieve these aims and how to do it. We develop a tangible transformation plan building on customer interviews and rapid iteration of ideas.

Agency Training Day

Agency Training Day

Agency Training Day: For businesses with clients that are being affected by rapid technological change.

This training day helps to give your team increased confidence talking about and responding to the changing world that your clients are facing. The day is broken up with hands-on activities to help all of the attendees better understand some of the terminology and methodology being employed by big organisations. As clients increasingly expect agencies to be comfortable with and actively using these methods, this is a great first step to preparing your teams.

For more information on the Agency Training Day, please download the PDF here.

Intro To Service Design

Intro To Service Design: Practical techniques for adapting products and services in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous).

For startups, enlightened enterprises and innovation labs, the methods and mindset of Service Design are proving to be effective when adapting to the modern landscape. This practical day helps to give your team increased confidence when responding to the changing world. The day is full of hands-on activities to help all of the attendees better understand some of the terms and methods employed by service design professionals. Attendees will be able to take these practical techniques back into the organisation for immediate use or review.

For more information on the Intro To Service Design day, please download the PDF here.