As a Futurist and a Humanist, Keynote Speaker, Author and Film-Maker I strive to share foresights and practical wisdom with my audiences and clients. I focus on penny-drop moments and actionable observations, and cover many different sectors such Society and Culture, Policy and Government, Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, AR & the Metaverse, Healthcare, Pharma and Life-Sciences, Climate Change and Sustainability, Banking and Financial Services, Jobs, Work and Education, Human Resources, Mobility Transportation as well as Tourism & Hospitality.
My most important topic is The Good Future: An optimistic, hopeful and ‘protopian’ view of the future that first defines what good actually means for most of us, and then looks at how to make it a reality.
Read more about my Good Future talks here, watch the follow-up film ‘The Good Future, Explained’ here; or have a look at this Youtube playlist on my 3 tickets to the Good Future, theDDR: Digitization, Decarbonisation and Reformation.
Other key topics include ‘The next 10 years – the 10 things you need to know‘. Many of my talks are held virtually (using a unique approach I call ‘Keynote Television‘) but of course I still love to travel and do face-to-face events as well!
Amidst the fears and everyday realities of wars and pandemics, the urgency to address global warming and the societal challenges of technological hyper-transformation the world continues to change at a mind-boggling pace. Radical and once unthinkable climate-emergency measures like new carbon taxes (such as for airline tickets or for buying meat) are becoming increasingly likely as consumers and concerned citizens around the world push for real and unheard-of change. At the same time, Company CEO’s are touting their new commitments to stakeholder values, not just shareholder values. So how can we make The Good Future a reality?
On top of the many challenges brought on by the pandemic and the Russia/Ukraine war, the urgency to address global warming and the mounting societal challenges of technological hyper-transformation, the world continues to change at a mind-boggling pace. Radical and once unthinkable climate-emergency measures like new carbon taxes (such as for aviation or for eating meat) are becoming increasingly likely as consumers and concerned citizens around the world push for real change. At the same time, Company CEO’s are touting their new commitments to stakeholder values, not just shareholder values. Tensions abound.
What kind of future do we want? Is our current economic logic even suitable for the future? Will ‘free and open markets’ deliver solutions for these complex global issues?
‘Green New Deals‘ are blossoming everywhere. New funding is flowing into climate change adaptation and mitigation, with potentially 10s of Millions of new jobs in sustainability-focused sectors in the near future.
The global shift towards a new kind of capitalism will reboot markets around the world in the next 5-7 years as we transition from the outdated single bottom-line of GDP-Growth and Profit to what I call thequadruple bottom-line: People, Planet, Purpose and Prosperity * aka sustainable capitalism, post-capitalism or conscious capitalism. Visit my new Good Future Hub for constant updates.
“The metaverse is a hypothesized iteration of the internet, supporting persistent online 3-D virtual environments through conventional personal computing, as well as virtual and augmented reality headsets” (Wikipedia). 👉 “The metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world” (Facebook’s Meta briefing).
On the one hand, the Metaverse could be ‘the Internet we’ve always wanted’: Immersive, real-time/feel, 3D… and that could be great for business, commerce, retail and of course technology companies:) On the other hand, it could end up to be more of a MetaPERverse, replacing human relationships and experiences with deep surveillance and a bizarrely monetized simulations, reducing complex human life to data feeds, fancy graphics and AI-fuelled convenience: Consensual hallucinations sold as ‘human empowerment’? Imagine social media’s aberrations and abuse – but x 1000!
In this talk, I outline both the ‘heavenly’ possibilities of the Metaverse as well as the more troubling aspects while depicting possible ways forward, based on my motto of ‘embracing technology but not becoming it‘. Watch my latest Metaverse videos and keynotes.
(Note: Actual topics tbd with each client)
Accelerated by the ‘new normals’ of the Covid19 crisis, we are going warp-drive into a future characterised by what I call the DDR: Digitization, Decarbonisation and Reformation (a new economic logic ‘beyond GDP’, and new focus on purpose & humanity, and new role of policy-makers and government). This has huge impact on consumers, on all aspects of retail and digital commerce, and of course on brands, themselves. As I like to say, the future belongs to those that can hear it coming (quoting David Bowie). This requires a new focus on developing a ‘future mindset‘, questioning one’s assumptions and the ability to respond to the framework changes (not just individual pictures). because: the future is no longer about ‘tomorrow‘ – the future is already here; we are just not paying enough attention yet!
By 2030, we will have approx. 9 Billion people connected at high speed and very low cost, virtual/augmented reality will be as normal as WhatsApp or Signal, today; voice control will be how we interact with our devices, and generally a rapid convergence of online / virtual and real-life / physical worlds and the resulting Megashifts will revolutionise pretty much everything we do, from working to traveling to shopping to healthcare to banking. The power of exponential technologies will become almost limitless which is why brands and retailers must now place a strong focus on staying human, and on ethics and values – in a way, purpose will become the new product (and green is the new digital). The future is better than we think – we just need to understand it better, and decide what kind of future we want rather than simply do what is possible!
‘Digital transformation’ is just business-as usual-by now. Around the globe, pretty much every organisation that intends to thrive in the next decade is hard at work on digitization, automation, virtualisation etc – what I call The Megashifts.
The next really big topic has been on the agenda for decades but apparently had to first be kick-started by the Corona Crisis: The Decarbonisation of our economies and the ‘gradually, then suddenly‘ departure from the fossil-fuel era.
Get ready: wide-ranging new carbon taxes are inevitable (airlines, meat etc) and fossil fuel subsidies will be turned into ‘nature positive’ investments. During the Covid crisis we have learned that being prepared for emergencies is utterly essential – and that yes we can indeed compromise and collaborate if we have to. Covid19 is a test-run for climate change.
I set forth that the circular economy is the only economy we’ll have in 2030, and that ‘sustainable’ is becoming the new ‘profitable’ in the next 5 years (yes…have a look at the stakeholder economy debates).
Any company that does not understand how this global move towards rapid decarbonisation will impact every segment of their business – from R&D to supply-chains, to production to distribution to marketing to branding – will wither and shrink or just fade away, and any individual that does not understand what it means as far as knowledge, skills and mindset is concerned, will quickly become dispensable.
In this talk, I explain why this tectonic shift is happening now, what it really means, and how to get behind it and prosper in this fork-in-the-road decade that’s coming up. Visit my new Decarbonisation / Green Hub. Watch this short film
While a rising tide lifts all boats, one-sided or blind disruption can capsize any organization. To create enduring, dynamic organizations built to last in today’s era of accelerating exponential technology, the most important thing is foresight and preparedness.
Unlike any other point in history, companies and organizations – and their people – find themselves forced to pivot and dramatically reinvent themselves, or face sudden disintermediation and irrelevance. From music to the automotive industry, big oil to big box retail, and everything in between, the pace of change is increasing and only poised to accelerate further as the 11 Megashifts (which include digitisation, automation, datafication, virtualisation, robotisation, and others) sweep across the industry and society, altering every aspect of daily life.
While organizations unprepared for the waves of change to come will not survive, those that ready themselves can take advantage of the enormous opportunities created amidst the chaos, from IoT and artificial intelligence to robotics and new human-machine interfaces (such as voice-control and intelligent bots).
All too often, scientific breakthroughs, the latest technological achievements or obsession with GDP-growth dominate discussions about our future. Yet as the world is rapidly going digital and virtual, I believe it actually is our humanity that needs the most attention, and that it will be our humanness which will make all the difference. The recent hype about The Metaverse (I call it the MetaPERverse) is a case in point: it gives us everything we’ve ever dreamed of, but nothing we really need!
Computers will inevitably outpace humans in mere processing power, logic and efficiency, and the resulting ‘End of Routine’ is a certainty. Thus, the ticket to our future is to become more human, not less, not to compete with the machines but to use their increased competence to handle those tedious commodity tasks better and faster. Machines, computers and algorithms should have competence not consciousness.
What will happen to humans when machines become truly ‘intelligent’? What about privacy, mystery or serendipity? And what of emotions, intuition, imagination, consciousness (what I call, in my last book, the androrithms)? In this talk, I outline the challenge as well as some possible solutions – The Future is better than we think!
The biggest danger today is not that machines will eliminate us, but that we may become too much like them.
For decades, Hollywood has flooded the public with visions of dystopian futures. It is no wonder that many people fear AI and robots. Add the never-ending Covid-19 crisis, (de)globalisation, automation and geopolitical uncertainties to the mix, and the result is a widespread belief that the future is mostly bleak.
Yet the fact is that our world is not irrevocably destined to become a dehumanized hellscape ruled by AI, or some other Black-Mirror-like nightmare, and our future certainly isn’t fixed – we create it with our (in)actions, every day. And if you look at the correct data, you’ll find things often are actually better than ever before.
The world is, in fact, improving at a rapid rate. Sure, the world’s progress in the past 30 years is not all just peachy and amazing – especially when seeing it in context with the current corona crisis. Yet we are well on the way of reducing extreme poverty and hunger, and chiselling away at many of the other woes that have plagued humanity since the dawn of time, including diseases, crime and war. Indeed, we have a lot of reasons to be optimistic about our progress. In the next decade, I think we will have most of the tools (i.e. science and technology) we need – so now we must acquire the telos (will, purpose and wisdom).
So what can you do, as an individual, an enterprise or an organisation, to make sure your future will indeed be bright? How will you develop a Future-Ready-Mindset? How will you turn these challenges/opportunities into positive action? If we are (or become) what we believe we can be, how do we change our beliefs and mindsets?
While there is no such thing as “knowing the future,” nothing is more important to the long-term success of your organization than the future-readiness and foresight of your employees, upper management, and C-suite. Every captain needs a compass, especially in these uncertain times of technological and social upheaval where only the organizations with an eye to the future can react quickly enough to not only survive, but thrive.
There is a reason the half-life of great organizations is getting shorter and shorter. Technological disruption and competition have killed many once-great companies. And today, amidst the upcoming megashifts poised to transform the world as we know it, only agile, resilient organizations with future-ready teams and leaders will have the fortitude and foresight to capitalize on these unprecedented economic opportunities.
The question is: are your people and processes ready?
Science fiction is increasingly becoming science fact. Consider the dramatic technological advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, human genome manipulation, autonomous vehicles, and quantum computing. In 10 years, the power of technology will become almost limitless!
For these reasons, the ethical and humane use of technology can no longer be an afterthought, but is instead an existential challenge. If we define ethics as “knowing the difference between having the power to do something, and doing the right thing”, who do we want making these critical decisions? Should it be for algorithms and profit incentives alone to determine our fate? Who will be “mission control for humanity”?
As renowned Apple CEO Tim Cook once said, “Technology can do great things, but it does not want to do great things…” And the same is true of the organization and the economy as a whole.
In a world where technology will increasingly define every aspect of life, who do we want at the helm? If we define ethics as “knowing the difference between having the right or the power to do something, and doing the right thing”, who, then will decide what is right, and who will be “mission control for humanity”?
Humanity has entered a critical moment in its history. We’re at a pivot point. The coming decade is a time of mind-boggling exponential change and great significance, because the decisions we make in the next 10 years will determine whether our future is bright, happy and prosperous, or whether it leads to misery or perhaps even our eventual demise as a species.
And while many different forces are impacting our future, I propose that there are four overarching challenges that dwarf all others:
The good news is that while our challenges are urgent, we are not yet too late. In fact, I often say that the future is better than we think- but we must make the right decisions, here and now and in this coming decade. What kind of world do we want to leave our children and our succeeding generations?
“You can always count on humans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else”
Gerd’s fees depend on the degree of desired customisation, audience size, preparation time required, and overall event context.
Beyond keynotes and presentations, Gerd also offers bespoke ‘futurizing’ advisory sessions, workshops, seminars, as well as executive board and CXO future-coaching. Gerd is also a film-maker and heads up all StoriesFromTheFuture.tv projects. He is available for participation in fire-side chats, talk-shows, public debates and TV shows, and enjoys moderating events, as well. Gerd presents both in English as well as in German language.