FUTURIST, VISIONARY THINKER, KEYNOTE SPEAKER AND AUTHOR
Listed by Wired Magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people in Europe (2015), Gerd Leonhard’s work focusses on the future of humanity and technology, digital transformation, big data, automation, AI and robotics, media, content, marketing and advertising, telecommunications, culture and tourism, banking and financial services, government and leadership. In his keynotes, presentations, workshops and advisory sessions Gerd often addresses topics such as digital darwinism and the challenges of digital transformation, the redefinition of human-machine relationships, the future of work and jobs, privacy in the era of big data, the sharing economy, and many more. His presentations are renowned for a hard-hitting and provocative yet inspiring, humorous and motivating style.
Gerd is a much sought-after speaker, having presented at more than 1500 events in 40+ countries since 2005. His list of clients include Google, Sony, UBS, Mastercard, Unilever, Lloyds Bank, WWF, Nokia, The Guardian, Telkom Indonesia, Siemens, RTL, ITV, BBC, France Telecom, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, MTN, The Financial Times, DDB, Ogilvy, Omnicom, The EU Commission, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, VISA, and many others. Gerd Leonhard is a member of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA, London). He resides in Zürich, Switzerland.
Gerd is a global citizen of the future who spends his life travelling through worldwide meetings, workshops and conferences on transformational change. A star speaker on topics of major strategic importance – from digital disruption to business remodeling to specific vertical scenarios across public and private sectors, Gerd is a rare hybrid of artist and scientist, with a pioneering background in digital music ecosystems and a head start in the disruption game. For the last fifteen years he has been the first choice in business leaders’ minds for inspirational and paradigm-shifting advice.
ON BEING A FUTURIST
“I’ve been a Futurist for more than 15 years, with more than 1500 engagements for over 800 clients in 50+ countries, and an estimated global audience of 1.5 Million people. I focus on 5- to 10-year future scenarios, yet my work is becoming increasingly ‘nowist’ i.e. about the here-and-now, because “the future is already here – it’s just unevenly distributed” (as one of my favourite science fiction writers, William Gibson, likes to say).
My main theme is the future of technology and humanity. In a world where technological progress is exceedingly exponential and combinatorial, how will we define what is human, and what is not? What will humans do, in the future, and what will be done by technology? What should and what should not be automated? From genetic engineering to artificial intelligence and robotics, from cognitive computing to the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 – we are heading into a future where much of what used to be science fiction is becoming science fact. What consequences will this have on society, culture, economy, business, government, the environment … and ourselves? What do we need to do today to make sure the ultimate result will still be human flourishing?
My role is to serve as a compass, translator, remixer, catalyst or coach for my audiences and my clients, helping them to discover and create their preferred futures. In this coming convergence of technology and biology, of man and machine, of algorithms and what I call humarithms, I aim to contribute independent leadership and global-minded stewardship. In this context, I am very fortunate to have the support of my fellow futurists, dear friends and colleagues at The Futures Agency (where I serve as Founder and CEO).”
“TECHNOLOGY IS NOT WHAT WE SEEK BUT HOW WE SEEK”
Futurists have supplied some of the most penetrating visions for enterprises and organizations intent on reinventing themselves and redefining their sectors. Gerd Leonhard is something more. A humanist who not only thinks about the future, but someone who resides there and travels back to the present day to share his insights and practical wisdoms. Welcome to a new way of ‘doing the present’ from your chosen future.
The future is more unknowable and yet much closer than it’s ever been in human history. Humanity will change more in the next 20 years than in the previous 300 years. In business life winning or losing are now happening faster than ever before. Digital transformation may be your view of the future, but in Gerd Leonhard’s world it is only one among multiple Megashifts, which will completely reshape business and life.
In our personal lives, waves of technology and social change are radically reshaping our reality and creating wholly different life patterns compared to those of the previous generation. Humanity has never been as empowered before, while at the same time our lives are threatened by new kinds of instability – from vanishing jobs and weakening national identity to social unrest and terrorism.
The second decade of the twenty-first century may not quite be the world of George Orwell, yet, but living in these times is certainly puzzling. Futurism used to be the study of the future, but nowadays it’s hard enough to read the present, and practically impossible to detect the long-term future exactly or confidently. Gerd Leonhard has spent his lifetime engaging with change, as a professional artist, internet entrepreneur, author and now as a visionary thinker and speaker.