Over the past two decades, Gerd Leonhard has risen to one of the top 10 futurist keynote speakers worldwide. With over 2,000 engagements in 60+
countries since 2004, and a combined audience of over 2.5 million people, Gerd has been listed by Wired magazine as one of the Top 100 Most-Influential People in Europe, and as ‘one of the leading media futurists in the World’ by The Wall Street Journal.
Gerd focuses on the future of humanity and technology, digital ethics, artificial intelligence, future leadership, and foresight. His keynotes, speeches, and presentations are renowned for their hard-hitting and provocative style - inspiring, humorous, motivational, and always personal. Using cutting-edge creative motion design, Gerd’s performances have become a uniquely immersive experience on the big screen, reinventing the visual side of the conference industry.
Gerd is highly regarded as a global influencer and has advised many business leaders and government officials around the globe. His diverse list of clients include governments, NGOs and Fortune 500 companies such as SAP, Microsoft, Google, Accenture, Deloitte, KPMG, Sony, UBS, Tetrapak, Mastercard, BBC, Unilever, Lloyds Bank, WWF, Sony, The Guardian, Telkom Indonesia, Siemens, RTL, France Telecom, The Financial Times, Ogilvy, Omnicom, The EU Commission, VISA, Audi, NetAPP
and many others.
A true thought leader in the futurist space, Gerd is above all a dedicated humanist who believes that all technological progress should further collective human flourishing. His credo is simple: People, Planet, Purpose, and Prosperity.
Gerd uses his keynotes, presentations, workshops, and advisory sessions to deep-dive on complex topics. Recurring themes include the coming redefinition of human-machine relationships, exploring what it means to be human in a world of machines and algorithms, the future of work and jobs, and the ethics of technology. As Gerd likes to say, humanity will change more in the next 20 years than in the previous 300 years – so let’s maintain and protect what makes us human!
For more information on booking Gerd Leonhard, please contact Executive Speakers Bureau at 901.754.9404.
THE TOP 10 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT THE NEXT DECADE
The future belongs to those who can hear it coming!
In this fast-paced talk, I cut to the chase. Only my most important future-observations make it into this presentation. Culled from my firehose-like-mix of recent reads, news, reports, research, videos and films, and influenced by the many brilliant people I meet and speak to, this constantly updated keynote lays out the top-10 things I find most relevant for our immediate future. This talk is highly customisable and can cover almost any desired segment within business, society, technology and humanity.
The future of work, jobs and education
The automation of everything, the rise of smart machines and AI: what is the future work, jobs / employment… and education?
Automation is everywhere, already: from electronic bridge-tolls to connected cars with dash-cams and self-parking capabilities, to digital wallets and mobile payment platforms, to networked medical devices and quantified-self applications, to sensor networks for traffic control and robotic nurses for the elderly – and this is only the beginning.
The next 5 years will bring rapid advancements in all areas of AI, robotics and the Internet of Things, and almost all of them will bring more automation to every sector of our society.
I believe that in the near future we need to focus on human-only jobs and non-routine tasks that only humans can undertake, focusing on creativity, design, tacit pattern recognition, negotiation and other ‘soft skills’, on right-brain capabilities or on emotional context (EQ).
However, unemployment is very likely to soar, regardless, as ever smarter and cheaper machines increasingly automate all routines. So will we see the rise of a minimum guaranteed income (i.e. get paid without working) in some developed countries such as Switzerland? The very concept of work and ‘earning a living’ will need to be re-imagined, and soon.
How To Get Future-Ready
I often start my talks by stating that the future is already here but that we’re just not paying enough attention. I also suggest that the future is no longer a mere extension of the present because the changes that are now impacting every aspect of our lives are exponential, combinatorial and interdependent. The future is no longer a time-frame, it’s a mindset.
‘Tomorrow’ is happening increasingly faster than we think, and it is therefore vitally important to boost our future-readiness, to nurture a future-mindset, and to ‘futurize’ ourselves as well as our organisations.
In this talk, I share my approach to observing, understanding and imagining the future, both on a personal as well as on an organisational level. The future is not something that just happens us – it is something we create!
Understanding the Megashifts: Transforming your organisation
The top 20 global technology brands and digital platforms are growing exponentially while many incumbent enterprises and former household-name-brands are forced to ‘pivot’ and dramatically reinvent themselves, or face sudden disintermediation and irrelevance. Witness the media industry, or recently, the incumbent car industry giants in Europe.
In this eye-opening session, Gerd looks at how to evolve into a future-ready organisation based on understanding and exploiting The Megashifts, a key meme first presented in Gerd’s recent book Technology vs. Humanity. The Megashifts include digitisation, automation, datafication, virtualisation, robotisation, and others (for a total of 11), and understanding them is the ticket to future success.
In this riveting talk, Gerd depicts the key trends, reveals the likely minefields and identifies the key opportunities, dishing up a mixture of future-shock and awesomeness to stimulate some serious thinking.
Practical wisdom (Phronesis) is what I aspire to in my work. Practical wisdom is about a specific kind of knowledge, foresight and wisdom that ties directly into action and immediate human benefit. Aristotle puts it this way: “Practical wisdom is not concerned with the universals alone, but must also be acquainted with the particulars: it is bound up with action, and action concerns the particulars”
Unchanged: In this spirit, this impactful presentation features my key memes and statements such as ‘gradually, then suddenly is the new normal’ (exponential and combinatorial thinking), ‘technology is not what we seek but how we seek’ (human-centric progress), or ‘societies are driven by their technology but defined by their humanity’ (the importance of digital ethics). In each scene of this talk, I set forth a key realization and provide examples on what that means for business and society.
Happiness in the Digital Age
I have spoken a lot about happiness in my talks since 2015, and it’s an important chapter in my book Technology vs Humanity. Trust isn’t digital. Machines don’t do relationships. Happiness is not a download, and it can’t be automated or digitized.
Unhappiness appears to be rising around the world (as are mental health issues and opioid addiction), and the power-users of social networks are said to the highest suicide rate of any population segment. Is technology, done wrong, ‘bicycles for the mind but bullets for the soul’? Does ‘too much technology’ (#toomuchmagictech) lead to unhappiness?
Does too-much-tech prevent us from being open to true happiness? If so, how will we balance technology and our need for real happiness? As big tech offers its hedonistic pleasure traps, how can we protect and pursue those deeper forms of happiness (eudaemonia) that involve what I all the ANDRORITHMS such as empathy, compassion, and consciousness ?
And what about digital well-being? Technology is very good at giving us what we want but very bad at giving us what we need. Technology is not what we seek but how we seek. My hunch: We will not find real happiness on a screen or in VR, or in the cloud.
A new human renaissance
The first Renaissance was a European movement away from feudal dogma to human artistry and independent thought, led by polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci. Today, the new dogmas – Technology, Data and Connectivity – are endangering human agency, threatening to literally reprogram us. Something must and can be done. Based on almost two decades of global experiences and insights as a Futurist, Gerd now outlines his vision of a new human renaissance – essentially an embrace of human sovereignty over medieval dogma – and how we can reassert the human being over its artificial substitution and replacement. For this bold new talk, Gerd rediscovers the spirit of the Renaissance to offer you a new vision based on human genius and human values. Instead of a tech-dominated dystopia full of bots and ‘thinking machines’, Gerd suggests that the future can be one of liberated expression and human mastery.
Disruption to construction: futurizing your business
In this dynamic talk, Gerd delivers the immersion and the excitement that is often necessary to truly futurize your business or organisation, and to challenge and change established mindsets, toxic assumptions or satisfied attitudes. Understanding that the ‘digital default’ is becoming the new normal is often crucial to the process of constructing a new future. Angling for quick disruptions is no longer sufficient: everything and everyone is getting connected, everywhere and at all times; mobile devices have already become our external brains while bots and intelligent assistants are next – connected devices are now truly becoming the ‘the extension of man’. This coming hyper-networked society will not just change the very definition of ownership, property and control, but business models in general will become increasingly transient rather than permanent and predictable. How can you get ready for this kind of VUCA future, personally and professionally? How will you move beyond disruption towards constructing a truly sustainable future? Watch this keynote excerpt on how to become future-ready.
The future of education, learning and training
Technology and the Future of Education, Learning and Knowledge
Education is next on the list of to-be-disrupted sectors of our society, following music, media, film, TV, print and journalism. Incumbent educational institutions are witnessing a tidal wave of disruptive innovations driven by technology as well as by globalisation. Will true knowledge – and beyond that, ‘wisdom’ – still require us to look beyond the mere flow of information, and if so what will the future of universities, colleges and other educational institutions be, within 5-7 years? If online education is ‘free’, and simple to find and access, will universities have to adapt and become part of a larger digital education ecosystem rather than actually owning or running it? What can we learn from the BRIC countries, and will they lead the way into the future of education?
Re-defining the meaning of knowledge and learning in a networked society
Digital technologies and the so-called social-local-mobile (SoLoMo) society are quickly and radically changing the definition of learning, training and education. Disruption is certain but new opportunities abound for those that can develop prescient foresights and act on them. The next three to five years are certain to bring rapid and global change to pretty much all segments of society, business and culture. Yet, it is not really about technology, in the end – it is how people’s habits and social behaviours are changing because of it, and what challenges and opportunities lie ahead as a result.
Redefining leadership for a digital world
In the near future, more and more products will become services, and many services will then become experiences, across most sectors of our society, as we are currently already seeing in television, books and transportation. As Mark Andreessen likes to put it: ‘software is eating the world’. Add the rise of ‘digital darwinism’ i.e. a much increased efficiency that almost always results from this total digitisation of society, and you will truly have a VUCA ( volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) world. It will be all about radical openness and liquid, irreverent creativity, awakening imagination and a kind of human-only ingenuity in your team members, about generating actionable foresights and quickly recognising patterns among an ever increasing noise, and about focusing on what humans do best – because all the real economic and cultural value will be created here.
In the future, most repetitive or machine-like tasks and jobs will be largely offloaded to ultra-smart software and intelligent machines. We will need to steer away from the jobs-that-robots-can-and-will-do and re-focus on those tasks that only us humans can do. Skills or character traits such as creativity, pattern recognition, imagination and storytelling will once again become increasingly important as machines are not yet suited to tackle them (at least in the foreseeable future). How will you get ready for this?
Other Possible Topics
A futurist's case for technology regulation
How to futurize your business
THE FUTURE BEYOND CORONA
GREEN IS THE NEW DIGITAL, SUSTAINABLE IS THE NEW PROFITABLE
THE GOOD FUTURE: PEOPLE PLANET PURPOSE PROSPERITY
AWESOME HUMANS ON TOP OF AMAZING TECHNOLOGY
CULTURE EATS TECHNOLOGY FOR BREAKFAST: REHUMANIZE!
HUMANITY AND TECHNOLOGY: DIGITAL ETHICS IN THE 21ST CENTURY
THE FORK IN THE ROAD: TACKLING HUMANITY'S 4 EXISTENTIAL RISKS
THE FUTURE IS BETTER THAN WE THINK
THE 10 MEGASHIFTS OF EXPONENTIAL TRANSFORMATION
DEVELOPING A FUTURE-READY MINDSET
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