Pearl Academy, in one of its diligent attempts to empower creative minds initiated a thought leadership platform, What’s Next in 2014.


About What’s Next

Pearl Academy initiated its annual thought leadership platform What’s Next in 2014.
This intellectual symposium is a space for change makers from across diverse contexts, to come together to discuss, deliberate and share thoughts, experiences and ideas to enable and co-create a vision for a future that is dynamic, exciting and happening. The What’s Next confluence is designed to encourage free flowing conversations and exchange of ideas, and has evolved over the years to become a seminal platform that drives design thinking to address topics impacting the country and the world at large.”

“We are at a point in the course of human evolution when the demands of survival converge with the higher ideals of humankind and the well being and flourishing of human society. It is up to us that we navigate this transition, adapting to and emerging in a NEW REALITY.”

~ Jonathan Salk

The New Reality@What’s Next 2020

Convergence: The Borderless World

What is already evolving, success stories across the globe, laying the groundwork for a convergence of thoughts and ideas that are no longer on the drawing boards but a reality of our times

Transition: Rhetoric for Change

Areas where it is pertinent that the transition and change is happening and must happen for the New Reality to be/ come to pass

Emergence: The Balanced Ecosystem

The Future we are already working towards – tomorrow’s world


This year, we have put together a distinguished panel of speakers who will be sharing their insights and wisdom on What’s Next 2020
Nancy Giordano

Nancy Giordano

Strategic Futurist

Nancy Giordano is a strategic futurist, global keynote speaker, corporate strategist and summit designer with a drive to help enterprise organizations and visionary leaders transform to meet the escalating expectations ahead. 

Recognized as one of the top female futurists, Nancy’s expertise and experiences range from A.I. to frozen foods to reinventing the internet. Her projects have a key common denominator: transitioning away from the extractive operating systems and outdated business thinking that simply do not hold up to today’s societal needs, and to create the more sustainable, inclusive and dynamic solutions that the future demands. 

The world’s first TEDx licensee, a Singularity University lecturer, frequent SXSW ( ‘south by southwest’ ) contributor, and recent creator of the first “Career Fair For The Future: for college + high school students”, Nancy is committed to advancing the societal structures and new mindsets necessary to effectively harness the significant technology innovations for ensuring a safe and thriving future for us all.

James Woudhuysen

James Woudhuysen

Professor of Forecasting & Innovation at The London South Bank University

James Woudhuysen is a professor of Forecasting & Innovation at The London South Bank University. He is a graduate in Physics from University of Sussex and co-installed Britain’s first computer-controlled car park in1968. James has worked for the Design magazine as an Editor and co-founded the Blueprint magazine. As the Chief of worldwide market intelligence at Philips Consumer Electronics, Netherland, he was responsible for the overall Strategic, Marketing and Financial experience. He also co-led a multi-client study on e-commerce for Fitch. He has enjoyed a 4 year stint with Seymour Powell as Director-Product Design where founded and led the forecasting arm of Britain’s premier product designers. His recent clientele includes American Express, British Venture Capital Association, British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, Dassault Systèmes, Dell, Fujitsu, Heathrow Airport, National Grid, Oracle, Sage.

Anne Lise Kjaer

Anne Lise Kjaer

Futurist and a renowned TED speaker

Anne Lise Kjaer is a Futurist and a renowned TED speaker. She has authored The Trend Management Toolkit – A Practical Guide to the Future. She holds the honorary title of Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassador and was recently appointed to the International Panels of Experts for Singapore Urban Development Authority. She founded Kjaer Global Ltd in 1988, a Trend Management & Ideas agency that provides businesses and public institutions with insights to drive new models and innovation.

She is a regular media commentator on trends and has featured on Aljazeera, BBC, CNN, DR, and TRT. In 2015, she was identified as one of seven top futurists by Huffington Post and was featured for predictions in Technology for the next decade. She presents regularly at international conferences and has lectured at Cambridge, Esade, HEC, LSE and MIT. She believes in the whole brain methodology that bridges the rational and emotional universe – shaping the strategies and core concepts that drives businesses and brands of the future. Her clients include Amazon, BBC, Dell, Huawei, IKEA, Visa, Volvo, the EU, OECD and Wired Lab.

Anne is a Design and Product Development graduate from The University College Teko Denmark

Danish Husain

Danish Husain

Actor, Poet, Storyteller, and Theatre Director

Danish Husain is an actor, poet, storyteller, and a theatre director. He stays in Mumbai & runs his theatre production company called The Hoshruba Repertory. He started his career in theatre with Barry John and went on to work with directors like Habib Tanvir, M.S. Sathyu, M.K. Raina, Sunil Shanbag, Sabina Mehta Jaitly, & Naseeruddin Shah. 

His major film work includes India's entry to Oscar 2018 - Newton (2017), Ankhon Dekhi (2013), Dhobi Ghat (2010), and Peepli Live (2010), ), Shaad Ali's film Soorma (2018) Gaurav Chawla's Baazaar (2018), a cameo in Nandita Das's Manto (2018), and Antagonist in Bard Of Blood for Netflix.

Anju Maudgal Kadam

Anju Maudgal Kadam

Founder and Chief Nurturer of the powerful internationally acclaimed movement

Anju Maudgal Kadam is a communications professional who enjoys the challenge of piecing together a story to look at the big picture. She is a custodian of stories. Especially those that inspire and bring change. Anju is a Founder and Chief Nurturer of the powerful internationally acclaimed movement, the #100sareepact, a platform for voices of women to build the narrative of their lives through the medium of the saree.  

She is also the Founder and Director of Webtv.in, a company that works to build effective communication for its clients. A mentor to start ups and entrepreneurs for goal setting, vision & mission and communications, Anju guides her mentees to plan and prepare for success. And failure.  

A firm believer in a fit mind and body leading to unlocking of potential, she champions the cause for women’s health and fitness because a healthy woman can change and impact so many more lives. She is an Ambassador for Pinkathon, India’s first Women’s only run. She is also a yoga instructor and holds sessions to share practices on breath and mindfulness at corporate workshops and for individuals. 

Varghese Mathew

Varghese Mathew

Director of Product Design at BYJU’S

Varghese Mathew is a trans disciplinary designer who has been part of growth stories of multiple B2C startup ventures with almost a dozen product launches.   

Currently as a Director of Product Design at BYJU’S, he scaled up the design team to 25 designers & user researchers which has won multiple design awards. He is responsible for everything design from Re-Branding to defining the App Experience to become the most loved and preferred education app for students across age groups.   

A design graduate from NIFT (New Delhi), he was tutored in the fundamentals of design by Itu Chaudhury while designing for the Economic Times. With a focus on branding & interactive design, Mathew believes in a people centred design approach while keeping the business vision. 


  • The Lalit Ashok,

  • 30th April (by invite only) & 1st May
    8:15 - 17:15




Opening: Introducing Whats Next 2020

by Suresh Venkat

Introduction to "The New Reality"

by Nandita Abraham

Keynote#1: The New Reality : A vision of the future-Technology, Environment, Society

by Nancy Giordano

Keynote #2: The New Reality: Future of Design- Education, Disruptions, Leadership, Commerce

by Sharad Mehra

Whats Next Cafe Breakout Session: Lets talk New Reality



Theme #1 Provocation: Convergence- The New Reality of Corporate culture

by Parmesh Shahani

Theme #2 Provocation: Transition- Return to innocence: Leveraging the grassroot culture

by Shruti Jagota

Theme #3 Provocation: Emergence- Future of Individual Commerce & New Economics

by Mukund Kulasekharan

Whats Next Cafe Breakout Session: Lets talk Convergence, Transition, Emergence


Recaping the New Reality


Closing Keynote : The New Reality:Trendspeak

by Anne Lise Kjaer

Closing Keynote : The Emerging India

by Rajeev Sethi

Awards- Papers

by Sanyogeita Chaddha


by Suresh Venkat



Opening: Introducing Whats Next 2020

by Suresh Venkat

Discourse: The New Reality: Global Trendspeak

by Anne Lise Kjaer

Discourse: The New Reality: Revival and regeneration of human culture & ethics

by Anju Maudgal Kadam

Discourse: The New Reality: Rethinking Design

by James Woudhuysen




Discourse: The New Reality: Future of Education- Convention vs. Disruption

by Varghese Mathew

Discourse: The New Reality: Design Innovation, Technology & Strategy for the future

by Nancy Giordarno

Discourse: The New Reality: Art & Expression- Emoting thoughts

by Danish Husain




by Viveck Vaswani

Join What’s Next 2020


The registration fee for attending the event is as mentioned below.

  • Early Bird Registration: Delegates- ₹ 7500 ( By February 28th 2020).
  • After February 28th, 2020: Delegates- ₹ 10000.
  • Academics and Institutions (minimum of 3 attendees)- ₹ 7500.
  • Students- ₹ 3000.


The registration fee for attending the event is as mentioned below.

  • Individual Delegates- USD 250.
  • Academics and Institutions (minimum of 3 attendees)- USD 150.
  • Students- USD 100.


—   The Lalit Ashok,


—   30th April – 1st May 2020


—   Time: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM


—   Get Direction


—  No. 31, Residency Road,
Next to Opera House,
Opposite to the The Gateway Hotel,
Bengaluru- 560025