Open Future Festival

Hong Kong, London and New York


A 24-hour rolling event in Hong Kong, London and New York, The Economist’s Open Future Festival was a global conversation on the role of markets, technology and freedom in the 21st century.

The Open Future Festival was born out of The Economist’s Open Future Initiative which aims to remake the case for classical liberal values and policies in the 21st century. It was a culmination of an initiative to mark the newspaper’s 175th anniversary. 


Open Future Festival


Economist Events

In the Round

The Economist Events team tasked us to create an interactive and engaging environment. We felt that a forum layout would be ideal as a medium where ideas and views on particular issues could be exchanged. With a central stage as a focal point, our solution included seating “in the round” so that the audience could communicate with each other, as well as hear the thoughts of presenters on stage.

The festival featured a diverse line up of speakers representing many sides of the debate, including Amber Heard, actress and activist, Mustafa Suleyman, Co-Founder of Applied AI at DeepMind; Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist; Joshua Wong, Secretary-General of Demosisto; Nick Clegg, former British Deputy Prime Minister and Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister.

Live and Virtual Audiences

Live camera relay, presentations and handovers in real time between the three continents were displayed on three large digital surfaces and facilitated a clear, crisp view for the live and virtual audiences.

The Economist encouraged people from all walks of life to take part in the conversation. Guests who attended in person were able to participate in talks, interactive exhibitions, immersive experiences, debates and networking while those watching the live stream experienced the full agenda across all three cities.

Broadsword’s technical provision, including the seamless live stream and handovers was delivered faultlessly with care and respect. We sent teams to New York and Hong Kong to oversee local suppliers and ensure a consistent and exemplary service and execution of the event.

A Classical Venue

The Festival was held at 8 Northumberland in London, a spectacular venue which is a stone’s throw away from Trafalgar Square. We enhanced the Ballroom’s original features with large graphic prints. Naturally, the classical nature of this venue is reflective of so many in London and echoes the influences of Ancient Greek and Roman architecture; this created the ideal forum setting for a dynamic event of this nature, that dealt with the most urgent issues of our time, remaking the case for freedom, rights and progress.

“Discussions and debates mediated by journalists from The Economist to consider the future of freedom, individual rights, trade and technology.”