How to use a futurist to create value: shifting executive thinking


Liz Alexander of Leading Thought has recently published an interesting free ebook titled How to Use a Futurist, which compiles examples of how 24 futurists have created value for clients.

This was my contribution to the ebook (5MB pdf):
Read more

8 key insights into the Future of News: Making media relevant to a 21st century audience


The news industry is undergoing radical transformation. It is also at the forefront of 21st century innovation. The convenience and hype around live video recording, social media, and a variety of new platforms and interfaces are helping ordinary people to become not only consumers of news, but also creators of news. What does this mean for the future of the news industry?

Leading futurist Ross Dawson gave some important insights on “Creating the Future of News” in his opening keynote to the 2015 International News Media Association (INMA) World Congress. Despite the challenges facing traditional printed news, Dawson pointed to our increasing demand for information. “Humans have an insatiable appetite for news and media, and that will continue to grow,” Dawson told the New York congress attendees. “News is exceptionally important for the future of individuals, for the future of companies, and for the future of humanity.”

Here are eight key insights into the future of news, drawn from Dawson’s talk at the INMA congress.

Screenshot 24.12

1. Every organization needs to develop their media capabilities

We all thrive on the flow of news. The relationships between organizations and their customers are no exception. Today, “every organization is a media company,” Dawson observed. Consequently, organizations across diverse industries need to harness media capabilities. This involves creating an environment in which media skills can be developed and readily tapped. In fact, in the 21st century, most media is created for—and created by—everyone. The popularity of Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and many other platforms is turning individuals into news creators in widespread contexts.

2. News must be immediate, direct, and relevant

The decline of print media is becoming a hard fact in many parts of the world. Dawson is well known for his Newspaper Extinction Timeline that he created in 2010. Although the futurist believes predictions in general are unreliable, he created the Timeline to “wake up” people who were falling behind in the world of modern media.

The reality is, most people now expect news to be instantaneous. Recording functions on devices such as mobile phones and tablets mean that anything anywhere can be recorded and become part of the news. Open source intelligence is changing the news landscape as never before. As a result, timeliness and direct reporting are ever more important.

Relevance is also key. Technology is making it easier to customize news for audiences and individuals. Dawson showed how the social value of news flows into the industry value of news, with direct implications for the revenue of news organizations.

3. Boundaries are there to be transcended

Organizations must push the traditional boundaries of media if they are to survive in the competitive 21st century climate. In his keynote Dawson quoted Professor James Carse, the author of the influential book Finite and Infinite Games, saying: “Finite players play within boundaries; infinite players play with boundaries.”

Dawson told the INMA audience that “[the concept of] journalism is a boundary which we need to transcend.” He cited recent developments in automated journalism as an example of this transcendence.

4. Engaging people’s senses and emotions is key

Visualization will be increasingly important to the future of news, as will interactive user experiences. Infographics, moving 3D charts and multi-format news are already on the rise. Media labs are now using emotion sensors to detect people’s reactions to interactive media. The proliferation of interfaces from smartphones to wearables to virtual reality is seeing new experiences such as Facebook’s immersive Oculus Rift headset, Microsoft’s HoloLens holographic computer, and Magic Leap’s 3D computer-generated imagery.

Applying new user experiences to create interactive news media has significant potential. As Dawson noted, the total global crowdfunding raised for film, theater and music was 100 times greater than the amount for stand-alone journalistic pursuits. This suggests the value people place on exciting, immersive experiences.

5. Organizations need intelligent platform strategies

The flow of news into the future will require platform expansion in order to create the multi-channel news and multi-party interactions appreciated by consumers. Consequently, organizations will need to build a structured method to understand how platforms develop relative to each other. Game theory can be applied to examine the trade-offs and contingencies of choosing particular platforms.

Another solution news organizations could consider is building their own platforms. With the right tools and expertise, this can create unique and compelling offers to attract users.

6. Inviting active participation reaps rewards

Nowadays, we are no longer mere recipients of media. We are participating in media. In some countries, people already spend more time on social media than on accessing formal news sources. News is mobile, and over the next five years, three billion more people will have access to smartphones and the Internet. In this context, news organizations need to consider the many benefits of inviting users to participate in news creation.

News organizations must understand that relying on their media professionals alone will no longer be sufficient. According to Dawson, successful companies will harness the power of crowds and automation to add value to their products and services. In his book Getting Results from Crowds, the futurist listed 12 applications of crowdsourcing in news, from iReport for reporting to Storify for story compilation to Cell Journalist (now ScribbleLive) for video. Dawson believes that organizations who pay their contributors—including the crowd—will attract a greater proportion of talented people than their competitors.

7. Aggregation is critical to entice subscribers

It seems logical that people are more likely to buy a subscription to a news source if it brings together most of the news that interests them. News aggregation is therefore critical to collating the types of individual, local, national and global news that appeal to an organization’s target audience. Furthermore, subscriber memberships will need to evolve to make members feel part of a community, with shared values.

8. Value creation flows between individuals, communities, and ecosystems

“True community is connection,” Dawson told the INMA audience. In line with this mantra, many newspapers aim to bring their readers together. Some, like The Guardian, even extend this to creating their own dating websites. Regardless of the method, the fact remains that in an open world, value creation occurs most beyond the organization, across ecosystems. The news organizations of the future will not simply create value for their participants, they will encourage them to create value in their own ecosystems. This cycle is crucial to the flow of innovation that media companies can mobilize to create an exciting and adaptive future.

Savvy sci-fi futurists: 21 science fiction writers who predicted inventions way ahead of their time


Many futurists, scientists and inventors have been inspired by the imagination and anticipation of the future inherent to science fiction novels. From the Internet to iPads to smart machines, some of the world’s greatest advances in technology were once fictional speculation. As sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke wrote in Profiles of the Future (1962), “The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.”

Sci-fi is a powerful genre because it envisages how society could function differently. “This is the first step towards progress as it allows us to imagine the future we want, and consider ways to work towards it,” writes physicist and philosopher Dr. Helen Klus. “It also makes us aware of futures we wish to avoid, and helps us prevent them.”

The 21 sci-fi futurists featured below gave some of the earliest recorded mentions of inventions that have since become a reality. Several of these authors doubted that their fictional inventions would ever come to fruition, or thought it would take much longer for their inventions to occur than it actually took. Others were remarkably spot on. Regardless of accuracy, however, what these future thinking authors all recognized was that change is an inevitable and powerful force that can blur the boundaries between fiction and possibility.

1. Rocket-powered space flight: Cyrano de Bergerac, 1657

1.rocket Steve JurvetsonWhile astronomer Johannes Kepler had envisaged lunar travel in his Somnium (The Dream) written in 1608, the idea was so strange at the time that Kepler chose to have demons transport his protagonist. In 1638, Bishop Francis Godwin had a similar flight of fancy: his protagonist in The Man in the Moone hitched a ride with migratory birds. But in The Other World: The States and Empires of the Moon, an early science-fiction story by French author Cyrano de Bergerac, the protagonist makes a machine that launches when soldiers fasten fireworks underneath it:

“I ran to the Soldier that was giving Fire to it… and in great rage threw my self into my Machine, that I might undo the Fire-Works that they had stuck about it; but I came too late, for hardly were both my Feet within, than whip, away went I up in a Cloud.”

In a literary sense, this passage evokes the exhaust flames produced by rockets with internal combustion engines. The first rocket that propelled something into space—the satellite Sputnik—would be launched 300 years later, in 1957.

2. Submarines: Margaret Cavendish, 1666

Many people attribute the first mention of a submarine to Jules Verne, who described an electric submarine in his famous book 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1870). However, few people know that an early form of submarine was mentioned in The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing-World (1666), a book about a satirical utopian kingdom, written by Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle. The book is perhaps the only known work of utopian fiction by a woman in the 17th century, as well as one of the earliest examples of what we now call science fiction. Cavendish’s protagonist talks to sentient animals about various scientific theories, including atomic theory, before travelling home in a submarine when she hears that her homeland is under threat.

3. Machine-automated language: Jonathan Swift, 1726

Jonathan Swift, the well-known Irish satirist who wrote Gulliver’s Travels, critiqued the so-called scientific literature of his time, which was not always the result of rational thinking. Consequently, when Swift described an “engine” that could form sentences, he was satirizing the arbitrary methods of some of his scientific contemporaries:

“…the most ignorant person, at a reasonable charge, and with a little bodily labour, might write books in philosophy, poetry, politics, laws, mathematics, and theology, without the least assistance from genius or study”.

What Swift may not have realized was that his ensuing description of a machine containing all the words of the language spoken in Lagado, a fictional city, is one of the earliest known references to a device broadly representing a computer. Nowadays, computers are able to generate permutations of word sets, as Swift envisaged.

4. Eugenics: Nicolas-Edme Rétif, 1781

4. Australe left align croppedSci-fi writers have had their share of scandal. One such writer was Nicolas-Edme Rétif de la Bretonne, a Frenchman whose work was still deemed licentious in 1911 by the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Despite Rétif’s notoriety, some critics now praise his inventions and naturalistic approach in his science fiction book La Découverte Australe par un Homme-Volant (The Discovery of Australasia by a Flying Man). As well as describing aviation gear two years before Louis-Sébastien Lenormand made the first recorded public parachute descent, Rétif converts early thoughts about evolution, adaptation and transformism into fiction.

Among the creatures Rétif’s hero encounters is an articulate half-human, half-baboon. “The book is part natural history, part imaginary evolutionary experiment, in which Rétif brings these primitive beings to life and demonstrates the genetic mixing that gradually results in both the differentiation of animal species and the emergence of humankind,” writes Amy S. Wyngaard. Rétif imagined Australasia as a sort of eugenic utopia, a century before the term “eugenics” would be coined by Charles Darwin’s half-cousin, Francis Galton.

5. Oxygen in air travel and space travel: Jane Webb Loudon, 1828

A future where women wear trousers and automatons function as surgeons and lawyers was foreseen by pioneering sci-fi writer Jane Webb Loudon. In her book The Mummy: A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century, Loudon gave a very early mention of the notion that, to survive in outer space in earth’s orbit, it would be necessary to take some air with you. She wrote:

“… and the hampers are filled with elastic plugs for our ears and noses, and tubes and barrels of common air, for us to breathe when we get beyond the atmosphere of the earth.”

So, next time you are on an airplane watching a demo about oxygen masks, don’t forget to remember the contribution of Jane Webb Loudon!

6. Debit cards: Edward Bellamy, 1888

Edward Bellamy’s novel Looking Backward: 2000 to 1887 featured an American utopian society that used so-called “credit cards”. Bellamy’s concept actually relates more to debit cards and spending social security dividends than borrowing from a bank. The main character describes how people are given a stated amount of credit on their card to purchase goods from the public storehouses:

“You observe,” he pursued as I was curiously examining the piece of pasteboard he gave me, “that this card is issued for a certain number of dollars. We have kept the old word, but not the substance…The value of what I procure on this card is checked off by the clerk, who pricks out of these tiers of squares the price of what I order.”

Debit cards and credit cards would be invented more than 60 years later.

7. Electric fences: Mark Twain, 1889

7. electric fence Hannah BannerA lesser-known fact about American novelist and humorist Mark Twain is that he predicted the electric fence. In his novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Twain transports an American engineer back in time to the court of King Arthur, where modern engineering and technology win him fame as a magician. In one passage, Twain described the electric fence in considerable detail, before concluding that it has a marvellous use in defense:

“Now, then, observe the economy of it. A cavalry charge hurls itself against the fence; you are using no power, you are spending no money, for there is only one ground-connection till those horses come against the wire; the moment they touch it they form a connection with the negative brush through the ground, and drop dead.”

Electric fences were not used to control livestock in the United States until the early 1930s.

8. Videoconferencing: Jules Verne, 1889

Famous French sci-fi pioneer Jules Verne described the “phonotelephote”, a forerunner to videoconferencing, in his work In the Year 2889. The phonotelephote allowed “the transmission of images by means of sensitive mirrors connected by wires,” Verne wrote. This was one of the earliest references to a videophone in fiction, according to, a site that traces inventions and ideas from science fiction. In the Year 2889 also predicts newscasts, recorded news, and skywriting—inventions which have all come to fruition well before 2889.

9. X-ray and CAT scan technology: John Elfreth Watkins Jr., 1900

In a visionary article for the Ladies’ Home Journal entitled “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years”, an American named John Elfreth Watkins Jr. made several remarkable predictions. One of the most striking was his prediction of X-ray and CAT scan technology:

“Physicians will be able to see and diagnose internal organs of a moving, living body by rays of invisible light.”

In the same article, Watkins also foresaw high-speed trains, satellite television, the electronic transmission of photographs, and the application of electricity in greenhouses.

10. Radar: Hugo Gernsback, 1911

10. radar U.S. Naval Forces croppedThe beauty of Hugo Gernsback’s prediction of radar lies in its intricate detail. The description occurs in Gernsback’s series of short stories, Ralph 124c 41+, which was a play on “One to Foresee For One Another” (and appears to have anticipated texting language as well):

“A pulsating polarized ether wave, if directed on a metal object can be reflected in the same manner as a light ray is reflected from a bright surface… By manipulating the entire apparatus like a searchlight, waves would be sent over a large area. Sooner or later these waves would strike a space flyer. A small part of these waves would strike the metal body of the flyer, and these rays would be reflected back to the sending apparatus. Here they would fall on the Actinoscope, which records only the reflected waves, not direct ones…From the intensity and elapsed time of the reflected impulses, the distance between the earth and the flyer can then be accurately estimated.”

In 1933, a working radar device that could detect remote objects by signals was created.

11. Atomic bomb: H.G. Wells, 1914

One of the most unfortunate legacies of science fiction is the genre’s inspiration for the atomic bomb. In The World Set Free, H.G. Wells predicted that a new type of bomb fuelled by nuclear reactions would be detonated in the 1956. It happened even sooner than he thought. Physicist Leó Szilárd apparently read Wells’s book and patented the idea. Szilárd was later directly involved in the Manhattan Project, which led to the tragedy of nuclear bombs being dropped on Japan in 1945. Strikingly, Wells spelled not only spelled out the idea of a sustained atomic reaction, he also predicted the moral and ethical horror that people would feel upon the use of atomic bombs, and the radioactive ruin that would last long after the bomb was dropped.

12. Cyborgs: E.V. Odle, 1923

12. clockwork face George BoyceThe Clockwork Man by E.V. Odle depicted a cyborg as a major character and also helped to introduce steampunk. The Clockwork Man is a cyborg who suffers from a glitch that causes him to fall into the world of 1923. The book dealt with what happens to humanity when people merge with machines and live inside a vast cyberspace-like world that seems to offer them infinite plenitude. It wasn’t until 1972 that the cyborg concept gained greater currency, when Martin Caidin’s novel Cyborg speculated in depth about human-like bionic limbs. Today, cyborgs are becoming a reality.

Some readers believe that E.V. Odle was a pen name used by Virginia Woolf, who dabbled in science fiction and sought to protect her credibility as a serious writer. Most consider this an unfounded rumor, and hold that E.V. Odle was Edwin Vincent Odle, a little-known British playwright, critic, and author. Regardless of the author’s identity, Virginia Woolf’s work seems to have influenced the novel. Reviewer Annalee Newitz calls the book “an odd mashup of Virginia Woolf and H.G. Wells”.

13. In vitro fertilization: J.B.S. Haldane, 1924

J.B.S. Haldane was a British scientist who also imagined the future directions of biology in his book Daedulus; or Science and the Future. The work proclaimed how scientific revolution might alter the most private aspects of life, death, sex, and marriage. This was a bold move given the uproar that inventions like birth control were causing in contemporary media.

Haldane predicted the widespread practice of in vitro fertilization, what he called “ectogenesis”. His theory of reproductive technology and his scientific futurism influenced Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World (1932).

Haldane also stressed that humans need to make advances in ethics to match our advances in science. Otherwise, he feared, science would bring grief, not progress, to humankind.

14. Teleoperated robot surrogates: Manly Wade Wellman, 1938

14. robot surrogate Sebastian DoorisThe short story The Robot and the Lady by Manly Wade Wellman offered an early fictional account of teleoperated robots. The context is entertaining: roboticist Dr. Alvin Peabody seeks a date with another researcher in the field, Muriel Winthrop, but fears he is too “scrawny and fluffy-headed” to attract her. So he chooses his “tall, dashing” prize robot to speak and act for him. Ironically, Winthrop also chooses a robot surrogate to woo Peabody. When both parties discover the mutual deception, they believe they are made for one another and hasten to meet in person.

Some robot surrogates already exist. See, for example, the Inmoov Robots for Good designed for hospitalized children, the InTouch medical rounding robot for doctors, and the Geminoid human replicas.

15. Microwavable heat-n-eat food: Robert Heinlein, 1948

In Space Cadet, famous sci-fi author Robert Heinlein took the newly invented microwave one step further by predicting the rise of ready-to-eat, microwavable food:

“Theoretically every ration taken aboard a Patrol vessel is pre-cooked and ready for eating as soon as it is taken out of freeze and subjected to the number of seconds, plainly marked on the package, of high-frequency heating required.”

It took a few decades before Heinlein’s vision became an everyday reality.

16. Earphones: Ray Bradbury, 1950

In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury described earphones that were much more convenient than the huge headphones of his day:

“And in her ears the little seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind.”

In-ear headphones were released to the mass market in 1980.

17. Machine intelligence outsmarting humans: Clifford Simak, 1951

In Time and Again (also published as First He Died), Clifford Simak depicted a chess game between a man and a robot:

“In the screen a man was sitting before a chess table. The pieces were in mid-game. Across the board stood a beautifully machined robotic.
The man reached out a hand, thoughtfully played a knight. The robotic clicked and chuckled. It moved a pawn…
“Mr. Benton hasn’t won a game in the past ten years…”
“… Benton must have known, when he had Oscar fabricated, that Oscar would beat him,” Sutton pointed out. “A human simply can’t beat a robotic expert.”

Simak’s early sci-fi reference of robots or computers being unbeatable at chess occurred four decades before futurist Ray Kurzweil predicted in The Age of Intelligent Machines that a computer would beat the best human chess players by 2000. In 1997, sure enough, IBM’s “Deep Blue” beat Garry Kasparov.

18. iPad: Arthur C. Clarke, 1968

18 newspad us vs themThe “newspad” conceived in Arthur C. Clarke’s novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey has been realized in the iPad, albeit with a greater variety of functions. Clarke wrote:

“When he tired of official reports and memoranda and minutes, he would plug in his foolscap-size newspad into the ship’s information circuit and scan the latest reports from Earth. One by one he would conjure up the world’s major electronic papers…Switching to the display unit’s short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he quickly searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him. Each had its own two-digit reference; when he punched that, the postage-stamp-size rectangle would expand until it neatly filled the screen and he could read it with comfort. When he had finished, he would flash back to the complete page and select a new subject for detailed examination…”

19. Electric cars: John Brunner, 1969

Perhaps one of the most prophetic novels ever, John Brunner’s novel Stand on Zanzibar, set in 2010, creates an America under the leadership of President Obomi, plagued by school shootings and terrorist attacks. The EU is in existence, major cities like Detroit become impoverished, tobacco faces backlash but marijuana is decriminalised, and gay and bisexual lifestyles have gone mainstream. The inventions used in society include on-demand TV, laser printers, and electric cars. Brunner believed these cars would be powered by rechargeable electric fuel cells, much as they are today, and that Honda would be a leading manufacturer. Recently, Honda has affirmed that its electric vehicles are a “core technology”.

20. Real-time translation: Douglas Adams, 1979

The amusing little Babel Fish in Adams’ renowned The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy brings real-time translation to Arthur Dent and his fellow characters. Several apps now on the market for Android or iOS mimic the Babel Fish’s abilities. One of these apps is Lexifone, which translates from one language to another when someone speaks during a call. Microsoft has also been developing real-time translation for Skype.

21. The ubiquity of the World Wide Web: David Brin, 1990

21. world wide web SEOBrin’s famous book Earth made several remarkable predictions, inspiring fans to monitor its success rate. One of the most prominent and important of these predictions was the ubiquity of the World Wide Web, in a decade where the Web was still new and uncertain. “In EARTH, I portrayed my 21st-century characters using screen displays filled with clickable links—in other words, Web pages,” Brin told PopMech. “As it turned out, Marc Andreessen and Tim Berners-Lee had similar ideas at the same time and were plugging away at changing the real world, making possibilities come true for everyone.”

The ongoing role of sci-fi

As futurist Ross Dawson has observed, “Fiction about the future whets our appetite for new technologies. It is how we discover what it is we truly want, driving new developments.”

As the pace of change continues to increase, a statement by scientist and sci-fi author Isaac Asimov rings truer than ever: “It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.”

Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable. They inspire us to turn fiction into reality, but they also remind us to reflect on the consequences of our actions and remember what is most important to humanity.

Image sources: Steve Jurvetson, Gallica Bibliothèque Numérique, Hannah Banner, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, George Boyce, Sebastian Dooris, us vs th3m, and SEO

List of the world’s top female futurists (Update #2)


[UPDATE: February, 2017: We have added an additional 15 futurists to the list for a total of 158. Thank you for your help building out the list!]

I find I am frequently asked where all the female futurists are. The discussion on why the profession of futurist appears to be so male-dominated has grown in recent years.

I know many outstanding female futurists, so whenever I am asked I point to a range of exceptional futurists to show that there are indeed many women in the field. However it is true that many are not as well known as they should be.

As such I thought it would be useful to compile a list of the world’s top female futurists, for those who are looking for diversity in their insights into the future. The following list, compiled with the help of my team member Vanessa Cartwright, provides a brief profile of 158 fabulous female futurists [up from 78 in the original list of September 2015, and 143 in the update of November 2015].

It is tricky defining a futurist, so while we have largely selected those who describe themselves as working in this space, we have also included others whose work is largely that of exploring the future.

We have limited this list to those who have a significant profile and impact, but I’m sure we have missed some who should be included. If you would like to suggest other prominent female futurists we should consider for updates to this list, please complete the form at the end of this page.

Summary list

Detailed list – in alphabetical order




1. Tanja Hichert

Location: Somerset West, South Africa

Serving a wide range of clients in South Africa and across the world, Tanja Hichert and her consulting firm Hichert & Associates specialize in scenario planning and strategic risk management. Hichert’s public sector work, in association with Africa’s top-rated think tank, the South African Institute for International Affairs, includes projects on the future of sub-Saharan trade agreements and the future of agriculture in Africa. Hichert also conducts workshops on topics such as the future of transport and the future of migration, and she has trained the Joint Command of the South African National Defence Force on applying complexity thinking to decision-making. Hichert is a director of the Southern African node of the Millennium Project and helped organize the first African Futures Conference. As a Board member of the Association of Professional Futurists, she co-organized the APF’s first Africa gathering on the theme of “Anticipation, complexity and future”.
Twitter: @TanjaHichert

2. Geci Karuri-Sebina

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

“Africa needs to come to grips with owning her future.” This insight from futures thinker Dr. Geci Karuri-Sebina is pivotal to her work and sense of purpose. Karuri-Sebina wants to see deliberate futures thinking integrated into every level of African society. She is hopeful that the right amount of planning can glean positive results for her native South Africa and the broader African continent. With a PhD in Planning and Innovation Studies, and a Master’s degree in Architecture, Urban Design and Urban Planning, Karuri-Sebina has a sound knowledge base for her work as Executive Manager of programs at the South African Cities Network. Karuri-Sebina also serves as a director for the Southern Africa node of the Millennium Project and an associate of the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation. She finds the futures field “important and pervasive” and believes that her research, publications and advice are contributing to “something bigger: long-term change and benefit for humanity”.
Twitter: @geci

3. Nisreen Lahham

Nisreen-LahhamLocation: Cairo, Egypt

Dr. Nisreen Lahham enjoys the trans-disciplinary nature of futurism. She has worked on projects about diverse issues such as water security, the future of energy, the future of youth, intelligent buildings, the development of cities over the next few decades, and planning for Egypt in 2030. She has particular knowledge of architecture and urban planning, including a PhD which applied Delphi technique to predict the impacts of introducing tourism to heritage areas. Lahham’s career includes founding the Future Studies Forum to promote strategic ties between sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, and working as the Executive Manager of the Center for Future Studies at the Information and Decision Support Center in Cairo. Her Foresight for Development profile profile reveals one of her favorite quotes: “If you don’t create your future, the others will do, according to their own agenda.”

4. Katindi Sivi Njonjo

Katindi-Sivi-NjonjoLocation: Kenya

Katindi Sivi Njonjo is a futurist from Kenya who is a passionate believer in the power of foresight. In an interview with Foresight for Development, Njonjo discusses the many benefits that foresight methodologies can bring to African governments, including “proactive policies and legislation”, “better solutions to complex problems”, “reducing the number of catastrophes”, and “better use of resources”. Njonjo works as Lead Consultant for LongView Consult, a socio-economic research and policy analysis firm that she founded in 2014. Previously she served as Programme Director for the Society for International Development, and, before that, Futures Programme Officer at the Institute of Economic Affairs. Njonjo has pioneered research in youth demographics and inequality, including conducting workshops across Kenya to ask young people directly what they feel their future might look like. She contributed her knowledge of the needs of youth, gender, and vulnerable groups to Kenya’s Vision 2030 team.
Twitter: @Katindisivi

5. Merle O’Brien

Merle-OBrienLocation: Cape Town, South Africa

Merle O’Brien leads foresight and innovation for Lacuna, a global boutique innovation management firm with clients such as Porsche, Distell and Nedbank. During her Masters of Philosophy in Future Studies, O’Brien explored “what the world would be like in 2030 when we reach human-machine intelligence parity in a world of unbridled creativity”. She defied the scepticism of her male classmates by persisting in her research and starting Creation iLab as an outlet for her ideas. In an article for the Cape Times about why the world needs more women futurists, O’Brien writes, “We have to evolve ourselves out of the story which history wrote for today’s women. If we want products and services to meet our growing unmet needs, more women will need to become futurists, design innovators, scientists and inventors. Being a futurist is not a nine to five job, but a lifestyle rooted in a deep and abiding commitment to create a preferable future for the world.”
Twitter: @merleobrien




1. Puruesh Chaudhary

Location: Islamabad, Pakistan

Puruesh Chaudhary is a futures researcher and strategic narrative professional who specializes in knowledge collaboration and content intelligence pertaining to human security. She is Founder and President of AGAHI, an NGO that promotes interactive learning, collaborative thinking, and knowledge sharing. Chaudhary founded AGAHI’s Foresight Lab to engage legislators, strategists, academics and the community to optimize policymaking and implementation. A champion of the future of journalism, Chaudhary has co-founded Pakistan’s annual AGAHI Awards for journalism; developed the Media Credibility Index and Ethical Media Audit; written a chapter for the book The Future of Business; and enabled foresight research fellowships on “Peace and Technology”. She is a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, a Co-founder of Media Development Trust, and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Center for International Media Ethics. Recognized as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, Chaudhary has chaired the Pakistan Node of the Millennium Project and volunteered as a Youth Fund Mentor for UN-Habitat. She holds a BBA, a National Security Certification, and a Master of International Negotiation and Policymaking.
Twitter: @puruesh

2. Cheryl Chung

Cheryl-ChungLocation: Singapore

Cheryl Chung is a Lead Strategist in the Futures Division of Singapore’s Ministry of Transport. Her work focuses on the intersection of technology, economic policy, and regulatory policy. She has led foresight and strategy initiatives across several departments of the Government of Singapore over the past decade. Chung developed the curriculum and conducted training for the government’s in-house futures course, Futurecraft. She led a research project on the Future of Data and investigated topics such as 3D printing, social enterprise, and the evolving role of the state. She co-led the public service’s Emerging Strategic Issues exercise, which was recognized as “most innovative project” at the PS21 ExCEL Awards 2013. Chung has been a Co-Curator of TEDxSingapore, and she continues to advise teams of undergraduate students about their management consulting projects for clients in the social sector.

3. Reyhan Huseynova

Reyhan-HuseynovaLocation: Azerbaijan

Reyhan Huseynova is a futures thinker who in 2006 established the Azerbaijan Future Studies Society and opened the Azerbaijan Node of the Millennium Project. She is the Chair of both the Society and the Node and has been nominated as an Ambassador for Peace for her work in the non-profit space. Over the years Huseynova has participated in international conferences and workshops, led the UNFPA project “Combating Gender Based Violence, and taught Azerbaijan’s adolescents about safe and responsible sexual and reproductive behavior. She has worked at Western University in Baku in the disciplines of Political Science, Western Studies and Western Languages. Huseynova has also managed the online course on Azerbaijan Foresight at the Azerbaijan State Economic University, computed the first Azerbaijan State of the Future Index, and overseen a national youth contest on Global Challenges Facing Humanity. One of her focuses is building networks between Azerbaijani people and researchers across the world.

4. Zhouying Jin

Zhouying-JinLocation: Beijing, China

Professor Zhouying Jin holds a variety of prominent positions in the futures field. She is a senior researcher and professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, where she is the Director of the Center for Technology Innovation and Strategy Studies. She is also the President and founder of the Beijing Academy of Soft Technology, and the author of Global Technological Change: From Hard Technology to Soft Technology (2005; 2011). In 2012, Jin founded the first-ever China chapter of the World Future Society. She is working to promote foresight thinking in China’s public sector, business circles, and local communities. As part of this aim, Jin founded the Future 500 China. In an interview with The Futurist magazine, Jin observed, “The important thing is how society—from the top leadership to the local officers—changes the thinking model from the traditional development model that everybody is pursuing, based on money, to green development. And it’s not just an environmental perspective. There are also the social and economic components that we must include if we are to have a harmonious society of smart growth.”

5. Ayesha Khanna

Location: Singapore

Ayesha Khanna is an entrepreneur and expert on the future of education, technology, and urbanization. As the CEO and Co-Founder of The Keys Academy, Khanna has developed an “externships” model where secondary school students can apply their skills to critical twenty-first century industries. Khanna is also the Chairman and Founder of e-learning platform and digital provider Applied Skills, and the Chairman and Co-Founder of Factotum, a content marketing agency that creates thought leadership branding. In addition, Khanna co-founded the research and advisory group Hybrid Reality Institute, and she founded 21C GIRLS, a non-profit that provides free coding and robotics classes for girls in Singapore. She has directed the Future Cities Group at the London School of Economics, where she is currently completing her PhD on urban information infrastructures. Khanna is often quoted in leading business publications and her latest book is titled Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization.
Twitter: @ayeshakhanna1

6. Ivana Milojević

Ivana-MilojevicLocation: Taipei in Taiwan, the Sunshine Coast in Australia, and Novi Sad in Serbia

Professor Ivana Milojević is a researcher and educator who specializes in futures studies, as well as sociology, gender studies, and peace studies. She has authored over 60 journal articles and book chapters, many with a focus on educational futures. Some of her related topics include feminism, globalization, poverty, conflict in Serbia, and the impact of gender issues on western education and schooling. Milojević works closely with Professor Sohail Inayatullah, one of the world’s most prominent futures scholars, to compile “cybraries of articles” from futurists across Australia.

7. Joan Moh

Joan-MohLocation: Singapore

Joan Moh heads the Center for Strategic Futures (CSF) in the Prime Minister’s Office of Singapore’s Public Division. She has an important role to play in assisting the Singapore Government to navigate strategic challenges and opportunities. Moh shared her experience, insights and findings at the Asia Pacific Region Futures Studies Forum. In CSF’s Foresight 2015 publication, Moh writes of the increasing role of foresight in the Singapore Public Service: “There is a growing pool of futurists in other government agencies, who, like CSF, are on the same quest to use futures to inform the present.” With a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from Stanford University, Moh has a multi-skilled background that includes electrical engineering, policy analysis, industry development, national development, and social strategy.

8. Youngsook Park

Youngsook-ParkLocation: Seoul, South Korea

Youngsook Park uses her foresight skills to promote social justice and human development. She is the Chair and President of the South Korean Node of the Millennium Project and the author of the 2018 UN State of the Future report, Korean edition. Park has represented South Korea in future-themed events such as the World Future Conference and has spoken at TedxYonsei. She assists South Korean universities with research and teaching on future housing and interior design, social welfare, and future prediction. According to the KNU Times, Park established the Korean Foster Care Association because “Korea is facing a low birth rate and an aging population, which will produce many social problems, and I don’t want my home country to suffer in that way.” Having a keen awareness of the value of foresight, Park advised the students at Kyungpook National University that “studying the future is not an option but a prerequisite for us to survive”.

9. Mei-Mei Song

Mei-Mei-SongLocation: New Taipei City, Taiwan

Mei-Mei Song is Assistant Professor at the Graduate Institute of Future Studies, Tamkang University. Song specializes in the future of education and the future of globalization. She studied her Doctor of Education at Columbia University, with a focus on leadership. Song has written a wide variety of publications on topics such as future teachers, sustainability in universities, and students exploring futurology. At a Futures Research, Education and Action Meet in Finland during June 2015, Song presented on Three floors for the six pillars of futures thinking: Pedagogical suggestions for futures education”. She also co-presented on “The Futures of artificial companions: Scenarios of human-artificial companions relationship”.

10. Ufuk Tarhan

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

As Turkey’s first woman futurist keynote speaker, Ufuk Tarhan is in high demand in her home country and internationally. Tarhan founded M-GEN Future Planning Center in 2006 to consult to individuals and businesses and, more recently, to provide digital agency services. A recurring theme in Tarhan’s conferences and lectures is “creating a better future”. She has helped to design courses on futurism at several universities in Turkey, as well as being President of the Turkish Futurists Association from 2009 to 2012. With a background in economics and IT, as well as experience in sectors as diverse as telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and agriculture, Tarhan is well placed to advise a variety of stakeholders. She has written for Harvard Business Review, Turkey and published her own books on shaping the future through strategy. As a designer and curator for Future Day, Tarhan would like the 1st of March each year to be an international public holiday dedicated to the future.
Twitter: @futuristufuk




1. Kristin Alford

KristinAlford_200Location: Adelaide, Australia

A futurist who combines academic rigour with hands-on action is Dr. Kristin Alford. As the founding director of foresight agency Bridge8, Alford develops both big picture foresight and detailed implementation strategies for a wide variety of desired futures. Alford came to futurism following careers in engineering, human resources, product development and strategy for prominent companies in sectors as diverse as aviation and nanotechnology. One of her passions is exploring realistic visions for a sustainable environment, economy, and society. As part of this mission, Alford co-organized and facilitated the Australia 2050 workshop with the Australian Academy of Sciences, as well as leading a forum on smart cities and developing frameworks for science engagement in South Australia. The organizer for TEDxAdelaide, Alford helps to grow and disseminate big ideas around the world.
Twitter: @kristinalford

2. Rachel Botsman

RachelBotsman_200Location: Sydney, Australia

Rachel Botsman is one of the world’s most influential thought leaders on the power of collaboration and sharing to transform the way we live, work and consume. She helped inspire the “sharing economy” with her book “What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption”, named by TIME as “An Idea that Will Change the World”. Botsman is a Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum. She was named by Fast Company as one of the “Most Creative People in Business” and featured by Monocle as one of the top 20 conference speakers in the world. Botsman has spoken to and advised many high-profile organizations, including Google, Microsoft, Lend Lease and PwC. Her writings and research have featured in the Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, New York Times, The Guardian, and Financial Times, among other publications. She is currently teaching the first MBA course on the collaborative economy at Oxford University, Saïd School of Business. Botsman is a fan of “clear frameworks that make complex theories simple”, and she believes that “we are at the start of a collaborative revolution that will be as significant as the industrial revolution”.
Twitter: @rachelbotsman

3. Janine Cahill

JanineCahill_200Location: Sydney, Australia

According to Strategy, Innovation and Foresight Consultant Janine Cahill, “Everyone’s got talent—it’s how we tease it out of them that counts.” This philosophy inspired her to found Teazl, a mobile learning platform that helps companies educate their employees. Teazl aims to do for eLearning what teazels did for textiles back in the Industrial Revolution: revolutionize an already strong industry. Cahill’s background in psychology, app creation and change management has seen her develop experiential learning and simulations for over 20 years. Her experience in a variety of industries from banking to consulting to energy has led her to teach futures thinking, design award-winning employee engagement strategies for large corporates, and build a number of organizations. She currently heads the Future Journeys strategic foresight consultancy and works as a director for the app maker Game Gurlz in addition to being the CEO of Teazl.
Twitter: @j9j

4. Maree Conway

MareeConway_200Location: Melbourne, Australia

Understanding the inner workings of universities and their management structures has helped foresight practitioner Maree Conway to consult on the future of universities, among other topics. A life-changing moment for Conway was when she was asked in 1999 to integrate foresight approaches into the planning framework of Swinburne University of Technology. This role inspired her passion for futures work, and she hasn’t looked back. With qualifications in Strategic Foresight, Education Management, Media Studies and History, including a PhD on university management in progress, Conway is well positioned as a futures researcher. She is the founder of Thinking Futures, an organization that assists professionals, non-profits, and people in education and government to plan for the future. Changing how clients think, moving them beyond the status quo, and immersing them in meaningful and adaptable strategies are key aspects of Conway’s craft.
Twitter: @MareeConway

5. Kristina Dryža

Kristina-DryzaLocation: Sydney, Australia

Kristina Dryža is a trend forecaster, keynote speaker and published author who advises major international companies on how to express their visions for the future. She has worked on branding strategies, event management, innovation, new product development, scenario planning and more with organizations including Sony Ericsson, The Body Shop, Vodafone, and Unilever. Dryža attributes her skill at identifying consumer trends to her “international lifestyle, global networks, strategic visioning skills, and embrace of creative and intellectual diversity”. Although Dryža identifies as a futurist, she confesses on her Twitter profile that she is “really a nowist”. The theme of living in the now and listening to nature’s rhythms is explored in her allegorical novel, Grace and the Wind (2014). The past, the present and the possible are all important aspects that Dryža synthesizes to help her clients create “contextually relevant futures”.
Twitter: @KristinaDryza

6. Wendy Elford

WendyElford_200Location: Canberra, Australia

Dr. Wendy Elford enjoys investigating the latest developments in the world of work. She collects stories of success and failure to help design good working environments, habits, and strategies. Elford firmly believes that “better work means more engaged, healthier and more productive people and more successful businesses”. To this end, Elford works as an organizational design consultant and academic. She assists business leaders to adapt job design and workspaces to new ways of working. Elford has a background as a physiotherapist and has worked as a Director of the consultancy Ergonomics by Design. This position has seen her develop astute change management skills while working on some unusual projects, including how to handle and lift patients in healthcare, prevent reversing accidents, and make supermarket checkouts more efficient. Elford holds a PhD in Environmental Design, and the title of her dissertation was “Emerging issues in ergonomics: A methodological framework for foresight and sensemaking”.
Twitter: @DrWendyDE

7. Shara Evans

SharaEvans_200Location: Sydney, Australia

Shara Evans is a futurist, keynote speaker, technologist and trend forecaster. As the founder and CEO of Market Clarity, an award-winning telecommunications analyst firm, Evans develops advanced tools for tracking, analyzing and presenting information on Australian telecommunications infrastructure and services. Evans’s involvement in the telecoms industry began with her work as a software engineer in the early 1980s. In order to start her own data services and market research company, Telsyte, in 1997, she fused her engineering background with her “intuitive understanding of how society is likely to respond to new technologies”. This powerful combination has helped her become one of Australia’s leading futurists in the telecommunications space. Evans is currently researching the theme of Future Tech 2025, which sees her interview thought leaders on a wide array of topics, from holograms to drones to wearables. Her keynote speaking topics range from Cyber Crime to Flying Robots and Inspiring Women in Technology.
Twitter: @shara_evans

8. Jennifer Gidley

Jennifer-GidleyLocation: Melbourne, Australia

As a postformal psychologist, futures researcher and leading international thinker, Jennifer Gidley is committed to promoting global change. She dedicates her writing and research to raising awareness about “the urgency for ‘new thinking’ to navigate the complexity of increasingly urbanised global futures”. Gidley’s specialties include educational and youth futures and sustainable urban development. Having worked closely with many universities around the world and having published over 50 academic papers, Gidley has a solid knowledge base that helps her to develop courses and curriculums. Her innovations in education have positively influenced hundreds of women, children, and young people. As President of the World Futures Studies Federation, Gidley represents the world’s leading futures academics from over 60 countries.
Twitter: @WFSFPres

9. Jeanne Hoffman

Jeanne-HoffmanLocation: Brisbane, Australia

Jeanne Hoffman is completing her PhD on the futures of China. Her research on “Alternative Images of China, 2035” and “Unpacking Images of China Using Causal Layered Analysis” won awards from the Association of Professional Futurists. Hoffman worked in the Queensland government for over 10 years in a variety of fields: economic modeling, strategic planning, scenario planning, development and analysis of transport surveys, project management, policy development, performance management, and business planning. She has significant experience in training other people, conducting workshops, and writing reports about the future. Originally from Hawaii and Colorado, she has lived in South Korea, Taiwan, and England, and now resides in Queensland, Australia.

10. Dominique Jaurola

Location: Sydney, Australia

Dominique Jaurola is a digital transformation business founder, incubator and futurist. In the 1990s, she led change and innovation for massive market growth in mobile devices at Nokia and was instrumental in instituting futures thinking at the company. She drove new approaches for human-centric thinking by founding SocialWare; a team delivering human and market insights from 30+ countries in order to help Nokia design its strategy, product, design and marketing. Jaurola then spent the early 2000s building experience at a range of companies, including Computer Sciences Corporation, before founding Hunome in 2008. Hunome is an online application and tool for thought networking. As CEO of Hunome, Jaurola looks “to make a difference to how we humans can bring together the various ways in which we understand ourselves”.
Twitter: @dojau

11. Patricia Kelly

Patricia-KellyLocation: Adelaide, Australia

Dr. Patricia Kelly is a Senior Lecturer at the University of South Australia who specializes in sustainable futures and futures thinking, education methodology, and engineering education. She is also a Consulting Editor of the Journal of Futures Studies from Tamkang University, Taiwan. One of Kelly’s research focuses is “Globo Sapiens”, a conception of 21st century graduates as “wise, global citizens willing to think critically and to assume responsibility for their impact on communities and the planet”. She has also focused on the sustainability of higher education, staff development, and embedding communication and teamwork skills into engineering and ICT education. In 2014 Kelly was awarded a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. She believes that the “embedded approach” of her trans-disciplinary team of university staff has improved “not only teamwork and communication skills, but also intercultural skills and global competencies”.

12. Janelle Marr

Janelle-MarrLocation: Western Australia

Janelle Marr worked in business advisory services at both KPMG and Ernst & Young before taking the leap of starting her own management consultancy, StepBeyond Business Advisors. She had identified a need for high-quality strategic advisory services in Perth, especially across the health and community services sectors. Her work at StepBeyond spans futures, strategy, sustainability, governance and risk management, operational performance improvement, leadership development, and change management. Marr has held a variety of Board positions and is currently on the Board of ScreenWest and Diabetes Western Australia. She is also a Non-Executive Director of the Ability Centre that supports people with disabilities, and has previously contributed to WA’s Community Arts Network, Mosaic Community Care, and the Sustainability Practitioners Association. In 2012 Marr was awarded a 40Under40 WA Business News Award for her contribution to community services and her entrepreneurial achievements.
Twitter: @Janelle_Marr

13. Wendy McGuinness

Wendy-McGuinnessLocation: Wellington, New Zealand

Wendy McGuinness is a futurist fascinated by public policy. As the founder and Chief Executive of the McGuinness Institute., a non-partisan think tank working towards a sustainable future, McGuinness is interested in exploring how New Zealand might secure its long-term future and become an exemplar for the world. She is a Fellow Chartered Accountant who specializes in risk management, public sector reporting, and future studies. She has attended five World Future Society conferences, co-authored the book Nation Dates: Significant events that have shaped the nation of New Zealand, and, with her team, published a range of reports under the title Project 2058. McGuinness also sits on the board of Katherine Mansfield Birthplace—the home of New Zealand’s most famous author—and is a member of Women’s Leaders Lunches.
Twitter: @McGInstitute

14. Rowena Morrow

Location: Melbourne, Australia

After a decade of working as a consultant, Rowena Morrow discovered that organizations from a wide variety of industries had a common craving: they wanted “to investigate what might be possible rather than to settle for what is presently available or delivered”. Morrow now works as the Innovation Leader at the City of Boroondara municipality, a role that combines her experience in consulting and educating people about the future. With a Master of Science in Strategic Foresight and several years of teaching and designing foresight programs, Morrow co-founded Prospective Services Consulting with fellow consultant and educator Peter Hayward. They focus on building futures thinking capacity, foresight literacy and anticipatory leadership in individuals, who can then apply their skills in group and organizational contexts.
Twitter: @prospective

15. Stephanie Pride

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

Stephanie Pride is a professional futurist who leads the StratEDGY Strategic Foresight consultancy. She started her career in Oxford, England, where she advocated for welfare rights and led responses to youth homelessness after studying her BA (Honours) in English. Then came work as a lecturer, a women’s employment coordinator, and a policy manager for the New Zealand Department of Labour. For nearly 11 years, Pride designed and led the New Zealand State Service Commission’s Futures Program. She also completed a PhD on literary theory and colonialism, and advised secondary educators on systems change in education. Pride has been a Board member of Shaping Tomorrow’s Foresight Network and the New Zealand Futures Trust. She helped to found FutureMakers Network (New Zealand) and Foresight Network (International).
Twitter: @StephaniePride

16. Elizabeth Rudd

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Elizabeth Rudd is a consultant with strong capabilities in strategic thinking, planning and foresight. She is the Director of the FutureNous consultancy, and also the Director of Milestone Learning, which specializes in leadership development, sales, and personal development solutions. Rudd has lectured for the Master of Strategic Foresight Program at Swinburne University of Technology. She has a solid understanding of technology and its ability to deliver business outcomes. She also has experience in project management that has seen her work for Ernst & Young and Sensis. Rudd is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists, the World Future Society, and Women on Boards.

17. Anita Sykes-Kelleher

Location: Perth, Australia

Leaving a better world for future generations is important to Dr. Anita Sykes-Kelleher, a futurist and strategist who leads her own consultancy network, Designer Futures. The name of her business was inspired by Edward de Bono’s quote, “You can analyze the past but you need to design the future.” Sykes-Kelleher has worked on a wide variety of projects, including the Future of Manufacturing for CSIRO, World Water Scenarios for UNESCO, and industries mapping and analysis for creative practitioners in Perth, Western Australia. She has been a contributing author for the Millennium Project’s State of the Future publication and for Kosmos journal. She wrote her PhD on the Future of Global Governance and presented her recommendations for reform before the UN.
Twitter: @anita_kelleher




1. Rachel Armstrong

Rachel-ArmstrongLocation: London, UK

Dr. Rachel Armstrong is a futures thinker, materials scientist and sustainability innovator who investigates “living architecture”, a concept based on the capacity for buildings to share some of the properties of living systems. Armstrong is Professor of Experimental Architecture at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at the University of Newcastle, England. She works collaboratively across disciplines to build prototypes of future architectural innovations. Armstrong is also the pioneer of “Black Sky Thinking”, which involves bringing the unknown into the present in a way that has immediate effects and engages others. Her awards include mentions in the 2014 Citizens of the Next Century List, the 2013 Icon Magazine Future 50, and Director Magazine’s 2012 list of ten people who may shape the UK’s recovery.
Twitter: @livingarchitect

2. Eleonora Barbieri Masini

Eleonora-Barbieri-MasiniLocation: Rome, Italy

Eleonora Barbieri Masini has been actively involved in futures studies since the 1970s. She taught futures studies at Gregorian University in Rome from 1976 to 2004 and spent a decade as President of the World Futures Studies Federation from 1980 to 1990. Her major interests include changes in values, the role of women in the future, and the principles and methodologies of future studies. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Barbieri Masini coordinated projects for UNESCO that focused on networking and solidarity among women, and the futures of cultures. She has authored an impressive variety of publications over the last three decades. Her involvement in Boards and Councils has spanned the Editorial Board of the professional journal Futures, the Scientific Council of the Italian World Wildlife Fund, and the Social Sciences Committee, UNESCO Italian Commission.

3. Jessica Bland

jessica_blandLocation: London, UK

Futures researcher Jessica Bland works at UK-based innovation charity Nesta. She explores how to best support the responsible development of disruptive technology. This includes organizing events on new technologies such as drones and DIY biology, working on foresight methodology, and advising others on horizon scanning, science and policy. Bland was previously Senior Policy Adviser at the Royal Society, the UK’s National Academy of Science, where she led insights into science as an open enterprise. She is active in the public arena as a guest speaker and a blogger on political science for The Guardian.
Twitter: @pesska

4. Elaine Cameron

Elaine-CameronLocation: London, UK

Elaine Cameron is the resident futurist of Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations and communications firm. She leads the firm’s FUTURE Perspective Group across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Cameron examines the mega trends that influence consumer behaviours, delivers trendspotting master classes, and writes and speaks on a broad range of future-related topics. Some of Cameron’s writings can be found on SlideShare and Storify. She is a member of the World Future Society and London Futurists, and a regular participant at future-themed conferences. In a reflection on the future of communications, Cameron writes of the importance of challenging traditional thinking and practice in public relations, and transitioning towards knowledge sharing and effective storytelling.
Twitter: @FUTUREPersp

5. Laura Clèries

Laura-CleriesLocation: Barcelona, Spain

A self-styled “future lifestyles detective”, Laura Clèries works as a freelance consultant, designer and university lecturer. She aims to inspire individuals and organizations and to help them innovate. Her clients have included Panasonic, FINSA and PBP Home Textiles. With both scientific and design backgrounds, Clèries works at the intersections between technology, trends, future products, textiles, colour and materials, and innovation. She holds 20 years of international professional experience in a wide range of organizations, including forecasting publications firms, fashion designers, libraries, and materials companies. Clèries has a “sustained passion for innovation, materials, colours, people and languages”, which drives her to experience life in different settings and to blend scientific analysis with creative intuition.
Twitter: @lcleries

6. Cornelia Daheim

Cornelia-DaheimLocation: Cologne, Germany

Over the past 15 years, Cornelia Daheim has led foresight projects for renowned companies and institutions in Germany and internationally. Before founding Future Impacts Consulting, Daheim worked for Z-punkt The Foresight Company, where she developed a new quantification and modelling approach to corporate foresight. In 2003 she founded—and has since chaired—the German Node of the Millennium Project. Daheim also contributes her foresight skills as Vice President of the Foresight Europe Network, as a member of the Scientific Committee for the Futures-Oriented Technology Analysis Conference, and as part of the Association of Professional Futurists’ Professionalization Expert Task Force. Recently, her focus areas have included the future of work, mobility, energy, food, and societal change.
Twitter: @CorneliaDaheim

7. Anne-Marie Dahl

Anne-Marie-DahlLocation: Denmark

Futurist, author and speaker Anne-Marie Dahl is the founder and director of Futuria, a service that focuses on “creative and strategic ways to handle the possibilities and challenges of the future”. Dahl gives talks and workshops to public and private organizations across Europe. Some of her presentations have included “The emotion society – the new marketplace”, “The popstars generation (youth culture)” and “The labour market of the future”. Before founding Futuria, Dahl was the futurist and chief consultant at consulting firm NIRAS A/S, and before that position she was the project manager at the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies. Her other experience spans agriculture, politics, economics, psychology, and the social sciences. Dahl’s latest book investigates the younger generation’s dreams and expectations for the future.
Twitter: @FuturiaDK

8. Marie-Anne Delahaut

Marie-Anne-DelahautLocation: Namur, Belgium

Equality between women and men, respect for human rights, and empowering women through digital solidarity are some of the core tenets of Marie-Anne Delahaut’s work. As the Director of Research at the Destrée Institute, and the President, CEO, and Founder of Millennia2015 Women and Innovation Foundation, Delahaut applies foresight research to create fairer and more ethical futures. Millennia2015 is now known as Millennia2025 for its focus on using foresight and information technology to empower more women over the next decade. The theme of women’s full participation in political, economic, and social decisions has been explored at three international conferences arranged by Delahaut’s organizations. In 2012, Delahaut was named one of the “Women Inspiring Europe” by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE).
Twitter: @Millennia2015

9. Cécile Désaunay

CecileDesaunay_200Location: Paris and Rennes, France

Cécile Désaunay is the Director of Foresight Studies at Futuribles, an independent organization that surveys and studies the future, publishes insights, and facilitates debates and roundtable discussions. Désaunay specializes in consumer foresight and lifestyle-based foresight, investigating changes in homes, transport, attitudes towards companies and the environment, and much more. She assists businesses and public organizations with scenario planning and analysis. Previously, Désaunay was in charge of the Futuribles journal. Her research has been published in Le Monde and Alternatives économiques.
Twitter: @CcilDesaunay

10. Natalie Dian

Natalie-DianLocation: Sweden

Natalie Dian is the owner and director of Visionscentret Framtidsbygget, a consulting firm with substantial experience in futures studies project design. She is also the creator and manager of Foresight Styles Assessment, a certification tool for consultants that identifies the way in which individuals and organizations handle change. Dian contributes to the operations and strategic directions of the World Futures Studies Federation as an Executive Board Member and supports the Small Business Association. Her interests include global megatrends, social innovations, and ecological living. In a values statement on her website, Dian writes, “People are systems that are always trying to come into balance. I gravitate toward people that help me create balance…I am drawn to differences in cultures and similarities in values…I value reflection in a world where doing is dominant and too often without meaning.”
Twitter: @Fstyles

11. Lidewij Edelkoort

LidewijEdelkoort_200Location: Paris, France

In the world of fashion and product design, the pronouncements of respected trend forecaster Lidewij “Li” Edelkoort sometimes become self-fulfilling prophecies. Edelkoort uses both research and intuition to peer beyond the myopia of the present and help her clients prepare for the future. As the founder of the consultancies Trend Union and Studio Edelkoort, based in Paris, New York and Tokyo, Edelkoort has worked with high-profile companies from Coca-Cola to Nissan to Gucci. The fashion and design futurist explores future consumer attitudes, lifestyles, and economic trends, as well as fashion specifics such as the next most popular colours and fabrics. She is well known for her biannual General Trend Book and Colour Forecast as well as her social media platform Trend Tablet. One of Edelkoort’s insights which has inspired many an exhibition is that “society at large is longing for a more intimate relation with nature and natural materials and animals”.
Twitter: @edelkoort

12. Kaat Exterbille

KaatExterbille_200Location: Brussels, Belgium

Kaat Exterbille is the Managing Director and Strategic Foresight Advisor of Kate Thomas & Kleyn, a futures management consultancy. She is also involved in overseeing creative events and festivals held in Brussels, Belgium, and she sits on the Board of Directors for the IWT agency for Innovation by Science and Technology. Exterbille helps to prevent organizations from getting bogged down in their routines and losing sight of critical issues. She leads strategic planning workshops, creative innovation sessions and business process revisions by engaging with the latest research and market insights. In September 2015, Exterbille will be involved with the Future Thinking in High Schools project that will teach students about disruptive thinking and help them to develop innovative ideas for their personal life and environment.

13. Joanna Feeley

Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Joanna Feeley is the Founder and Managing Director of Trend Bible, a trend forecasting agency based in the UK. Feeley advises some of the world’s best retailers, brands, architects and design agencies, helping them to use future trend insights to inform their strategic, design and marketing decisions. Feeley founded Trend Bible in 2011, building on her experience in strategic insight and trend forecasting for global blue-chip companies including Tesco, Calvin Klein, and Nokia, and on her expertise as a panelist for the International Colour Authority and Crown Paints. Honoured by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) think-tank in 2011 as “one of the new generation of female entrepreneurs”, Feeley was also named Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2010 Entrepreneur’s Forum IfWeCanYouCan Awards. She is deeply committed to a results-driven approach, helping her clients “be responsive, not reactive, to change affecting their future market or audience”.
Twitter: @FeeleyJoanna

14. Tracey Follows

Tracey-FollowsLocation: London, UK

Tracey Follows is a professional futurist who specializes in the futures of brands, communications, and media. During her 20 years in marketing and advertising, Follows realized the importance of using her strategic skills to plan for the future. Described by others as a “future-stalker”, a “pattern-breaker”, and “the perfect chief culture officer”, Follows founded futures agency AnyDayNow to help brands and companies organize their futures. She has worked with Google, Telefonica, startups, and agencies and has spoken spoken at, chaired, and judged a variety of events. Follow is a regular futures columnist for Marketing Magazine and a monthly columnist at the Media and Tech Network of The Guardian. She holds a Professional Certificate in Foresight from the University of Houston and she is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists and the World Future Society.
Twitter: @tracey_lou

15. Louise Fredbo-Nielsen

LouiseFredbo-Nielsen_200Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Louise Fredbo-Nielsen credits her “inner child” with inspiring her to convey complicated issues about the future in a fun, easy-to-grasp way. Creating visualizations, drawings and games helps Fredbo-Nielsen to communicate “cool educations” in her capacity as futurist at Future Navigator and Associate Professor at Roskilde University. While still in grad school, she won a national prize for a paper on the future of the Danish innovation system. Soon after graduating, Fredbo-Nielsen lived out her innovation theories as an entrepreneur with the company Art District. One of her specializations is creating “body, mind and soul in businesses of the future”. She “would love to plant a seed in young people that the future is so bright and full of possibilities if we focus on making things better today”.
Twitter: @LouiseFredbo

16. Morgaine Gaye

MorgaineGaye_200Location: London, UK

“As a food futurologist, I don’t look into crystal balls and predict that the future is filled with tall, dark handsome waiters but I do get to talk about food in all different contexts and capacities,” writes food futurologist Dr Morgaine Gaye on her website. Gaye is the director of Bellwether Food Trends, a London-based team that produces a bi-annual compendium of food trends. She investigates food by applying modern scientific research to history, nature, geopolitics, cultural theory, branding, marketing, fashion, and consumer behavior. She also helps ad agencies, PR companies and brands to think about the future and to use trends and foresight to revamp their product offerings. This involves giving keynote speeches, public and private seminars, academic research and publications, and journalistic insights all revolving around food. Gaye is also a food entrepreneur who has developed a line of healthy products under the Dr Gaye label, which includes the Super-Porridge, the Super-Blend, the Super-Spoonful, and the Super-Shake. Despite her expertise with food, Gaye isn’t afraid to admit that she is “not the world’s best cook”.
Twitter: @morgainegaye

17. Fabienne Goux-Baudiment

Location: Paris, France

Fabienne Goux-Baudiment is passionate about futures education. She has decades of experience in developing and teaching foresight courses, and she was President of the World Futures Studies Federation from 2005 to 2009. Goux-Baudiment also has direct involvement in futures strategy for both the public and private sectors. As the CEO of proGective, she consults widely on topics as diverse as managerial foresight, urban futures, climate change, theory of change, robots, and education. She is also the President of the French Society for Foresight and a key advisor on the future of the Ile de France region. An active speaker and advisor for international conferences and a member of many think tanks, Goux-Baudiment’s insights are widely published. In an article for World Future Review, she combines foresight and macro-history with evolutionary anthropology, and concludes: “evolution is no longer a mere game of speculation. We have acquired the means to change it by ourselves.”
Twitter: @proGective

18. Noreena Hertz

Location: London, UK

Strategist, bestselling author and commentator Noreena Hertz has a background in economics that has helped her to advise some of the biggest organizations and most senior figures in the world. Hertz graduated from university at the age of 19. By the age of 23 she was advising investors on mergers and acquisitions and assisting the Russian government with its economic reforms. At 29 she was working with the governments of Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Palestine on the Middle East Peace Process. Hertz is well known for her forward-thinking books and publications. She warned of the serious and widespread repercussions of unregulated markets and massive financial institutions in her 2003 book The Silent Takeover. Her 2005 book The Debt Threat famously predicted the Global Financial Crisis. Fast Company has named her as “one of the most influential economists on the international stage”, observing that her “economic predictions have been accurate and ahead of the curve” for more than two decades. Hertz’s writings were the inspiration for the development of Bono’s RED project, an innovative commercial model to raise money for people with AIDS in Africa.
Twitter: @noreenahertz

19. Elina Hiltunen

Location: Finland

Elina Hiltunen is the founder and CEO of What’s Next Consulting, a firm that focuses on anticipating the future through weak signals. Hiltunen is known for co-inventing the TrendWiki tool for crowdsourcing organizational futures, as well as creating the “Futures Window” and “Strategic Serendipity” tools. She has been Chairperson of the Future Infinite Conference and has written a book on how companies are coping with the future, and also a book about the Future of Technology in 2035. Previously, Hiltunen worked as a futurist at Nokia and Finland Futures Research Centre, and wrote for publications including Blue Wings (Finnair) magazine and Talouselämä business magazine. She is the founder of Tiedettä Tytöille, an initiative to encourage STEM for girls.
Twitter: @elinafuturist

20. Jennifer Hinton

Jennifer-HintonLocation: Athens, Greece

Jennifer Hinton is a sustainability expert and consultant who uses systems thinking to link diverse fields, sectors and stakeholder groups in multicultural and international settings. Hinton is the co-director of the Post Growth Institute, which aims to inspire and support the shift from a growth-based paradigm to a post-growth paradigm—one that changes mindsets and respects cultural values and the natural limits of our planet. She is the co-author of How on Earth: Flourishing in a Not-for-Profit World (2015) and was involved in the documentary GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth (2011). Hinton speaks an impressive number of languages, and she has experience in teaching English, environmental management, sustainability, systems thinking, and holistic thinking.
Twitter: @Hintojen

21. Euvie Ivanova

Location: Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Euvie Ivanova is applying her skills in future thinking, entrepreneurship and podcasting in order to address emerging issues for humanity and open up our hearts and minds to the depths of the possible. She is the Co-founder of Plovdiv.Digital, an innovation hub and startup incubator for technologies including blockchain, VR and AI. She is also the Co-host of the Future Thinkers Podcast and the Co-founder of multimedia production company Giant Supernova. A self-described “consciousness explorer”, “artist” and “digital nomad”, Ivanova is on a mission to investigate technology, society and consciousness in ways that promote successful adaption to the future. “We want to be active participants in building the kind of future where all of us get to work less, learn more, play more, explore more, express ourselves more…in a way that is sustainable for the rest of humanity and our planet,” she says in a video on
Twitter: @euvieivanova

22. Anab Jain

Anab-JainLocation: London, UK and Ahmedabad, India

As the Co-founder and Director of Superflux, Anab Jain envisages “the studio as a new kind of design practice, responsive to the challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century”. She has led multidisciplinary design, strategy and foresight projects for think-tanks, businesses and research organizations, from Sony to the Qatar Foundation to the BBC. Jain is a TED Fellow and the recipient of awards including the UNESCO Digital Arts Award and the Award of Excellence, ICSID and Apply Computers. As a keynote speaker, Jain has presented to organizations such as MIT Media Lab, the Global Design Forum, and FuturEverything. With an MA in Interaction Design from the Royal College of Art, Jain’s work has been widely exhibited at leading museums and festivals. Previously, Jain held senior positions at Microsoft Research Cambridge, the Helen Hamlyn Centre, and Nokia Design London.
Twitter: @anabjain

23. Tamar Kasriel

Location: London, UK

Tamar Kasriel is the Founder of Futureal, a London-based strategic agency that uses research, logic and creativity to help clients prepare for the uncertainties of the future. Kasriel worked at the Medialab of The Guardian newspaper back in the early days of the Internet, before leading the Knowledge Venturing team at the Henley Centre consultancy for a decade, and then founding Futureal. Listed by Wired Magazine as one of the world’s top futurists, Kasriel has spoken for many international audiences, including events for The Economist. She has written a book called Futurescaping: Using Business Insight to Plan Your Life. Kasriel firmly believes that planning can have a liberating effect on our personal futures, not simply our careers. “There’s no good reason not to use the same kind of smartness we all deploy at work to manage certain elements of our personal lives,” she says in an interview for The Next Women business magazine.
Twitter: @TamarKasriel

24. Anne Lise Kjaer

Location: London, UK

Nearly 28 years ago, Anne Lise Kjaer founded a futures consultancy, Kjaer Global Ltd, where she applied her knowledge of design and trend forecasting. Gradually, Kjaer Global has developed into an international trend management consultancy focusing on business, management, communication, and innovation strategies for global corporations. Clients of Kjaer’s firm include Ikea, Sony, McKinsey & Co. and Unilever. Kjaer uses “whole brain methodology” to bridge the rational and emotional components of decision-making. Her most recent book, The Trend Management Toolkit – A Practical Guide to the Future, has been praised by futures thinkers and business leaders around the world. At the Mindful Leadership Symposium in Zurich during May 2015, Kjaer contributed to the discussion on “Enoughism”—imposing reasonable limits on consumption and living patterns. According to Kjaer, the mindful leader of today “will consider how we can achieve a more inclusive economy—one where people, planet and purpose are placed at the center of our moral compass”.
Twitter: @kjaerglobal

25. Jacqueline (Jackie) Kothbauer

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Jackie Kothbauer is one of Sweden’s leading speakers on personal branding, social media, and digital content marketing. She is a corporate advisor, media futurist and author with the business name Mediababe, which was the title of her book about building an exciting career, a successful personal brand, and new customers. Kothbauer launched the first web portal in Sweden in 1995, and she was quick to introduce e-commerce to the public sector. Strategy is key to Kothbauer’s work, as is keeping up to date with the latest trends and working with high-profile clients, such as McDonalds, NIKE, PWC, and Women in Film. Kothbauer believes that Kendall Jenner and the Kardashians “are just early adopters” of personal branding, and that the future will see everyone adopt a social media strategy for maximum impact.
Twitter: @JackieKothbauer

26. Yesim Kunter

Location: London, UK

Trained toy designer, play expert and futurist Yesim Kunter uses her knowledge of play methodologies, interior architecture, and environmental and industrial design to help companies, professionals and children to redesign their thinking. Her deep understanding of human behaviour and her experience working for Hasbro, Toys R Us and LEGO Group led her to become an independent consultant and creative strategist registered under Play to Innovate®. Kunter writes, “I realized being a futurist is like having the mind of a child…you need to have fun playing with the ideas, be curious, open minded, but also realistic, explore new meanings but also communicate them to be able to translate the knowledge into the needs of others.” Her work as a “play-futurist” is inspired by her belief in a maxim from George Bernard Shaw: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
Twitter: @miseyk

27. Helene Lavoix

Location: Paris, France and London, UK

Dr. Helene Lavoix is the Founder and Director of the Red (Team) Analysis Society, a think tank focused on security issues, anticipatory intelligence, strategic foresight and warning, and risk management. She previously worked for the Global Futures Forum, the European Commission, and the US Department of Energy. Lavoix also managed an NGO in Cambodia during the early 1990s to contribute to the country’s development and political relations. She holds a PhD in politics, government and international relations, and her thesis topic was nationalism and genocide in Cambodia. Lavoix has published a variety of papers for governments and high profile organizations. She has also taught Strategic Foresight and Warning for university students and executives, and she is included on the list of Soc Sci Academic Tweeters.
Twitter: @HLavoix

28. Chrissie Lightfoot

Location: Leeds and London, UK, and Mazarron, Spain

The future of law is the specialty of Chrissie Lightfoot, an “entrepreneur-turned solicitor turned entrepreneur and CEO of EntrepreneurLawyer”. Lightfoot is highly acclaimed for her publications, business models, pioneering and forward-thinking advice. Her writing, speaking and consulting capacities as a futurist on the subjects of “SocialHuman”, AI and robotics in the law, have seen her publish the groundbreaking Naked Lawyer series and develop the ROAR Experience Sales Programme. A prize-winning researcher, Lightfoot writes many articles for both the legal and business press. She has also founded three startups across the sectors of leisure, new media and law. In 2013 she was nominated and honoured as Legal Professional of the Year and a Top 100 International Executive, as published in the International Top 100 Business Magazine. The Times rated Lightfoot as a Top 10 Legal Tweeter and in 2015 she topped LinkedIn’s list of the most engaged and best-connected women in the legal sector.
Twitter: @TheNakedLawyer

29. Patricia (Tricia) Lustig

Location: Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK

As CEO of international strategic foresight consultancy LASA Insight Ltd., Patricia Lustig specializes in change design and “helping customers perform due diligence on their futures”. Having spent the past three decades working in Europe, Asia and the United States across the corporate, not-for-profit and public sectors, Lustig has garnered a wealth of experience from the factory floor to academia to Board-level leadership. Translating that experience into tactics that help clients exercise their “foresight muscles” and think out of the box, Lustig is a big believer in the power of examining multiple possible futures. She is the author of Strategic Foresight: Learning from the Future (Triarchy Press: 2015) and a co-author of Beyond Crisis: Achieving Renewal in a Turbulent World (John Wiley & Sons: 2010) and Here Be Dragons: Navigating an Uncertain World (Choir Press: 2012).
Twitter: @PatriciaLustig

30. Liselotte Lyngsø

Liselotte-LyngsoLocation: Copenhagen, Denmark

As Managing Partner and Chief of Future Navigator, Liselotte Lyngsø is passionate about building a better tomorrow. She works extensively on scenarios about future consumers, future co-workers, and new technologies. She has spent over 15 years as a keynote speaker in Europe and the United States and has authored many books and articles on working families, storytelling, the quest for originality, and meaningful technology. With her colleague and fellow futurist Anne Skare Nielsen, she co-authored Don’t be a bore, explore!, a humorous guide to future success. Before working at Future Navigator, Lyngsø was the Director at Fahrenheit 212, an ideas company owned by Saatchi. She was also the Director of Research at the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies for eight years. Lyngsø is a founding member of the Global Future forum.
Twitter: @LiselotteLyngso

31. Sophie Maxwell

Location: London, UK

As the Futures Director at Pearlfisher, an independent creative business that combines futures, strategy and design, Sophie Maxwell helps shape the future of both challenger and iconic brands. She and her team anticipate macro-cultural changes and define their implications for brands to innovate and sustain future growth. With a background in the fashion industry, consumer trends, and visual strategy, Maxwell has taken the stage for leading global platforms including TEDx, the V&A museum of art and design, Food Matters, Marketing Magazine and Cosmoprof to share her perspective on harnessing the power of change. She has also written for Luxury Society, Popsop, Beauty Packaging, Elle, PSFK and Branding Magazine. For her, “Future thinking means we futurists are ‘always on’ – and no form of media goes unturned without thinking about how it can inspire the bigger picture.”
Twitter: @pearlfisherlive

32. Nicola Millard

Location: Ipswich and Bath, UK

Dr. Nicola Millard is the Customer Experience Futurologist and head of the customer insight and futures team at BT Technology. Despite working for a technology company, Millard is not a technologist. Instead, she combines psychology with futurology to anticipate the next challenges facing customers and organizations. Millard “likes nothing better than to challenge conventional business thinking”. She has appeared on several television channels and she also judges a number of award panels, including the Institute of Customer Service awards. After writing her PhD on the psychology of motivation and technology acceptance in call centers, Millard published a book on designing motivational user interfaces for call center employees. She spends most of her time working on blogs, articles, and white papers, but this does not stop her from practicing judo, weights, tai chi and karate in her spare time.
Twitter: @DocNicola

33. Gill Ringland

Gill-RinglandLocation: Newbury, Berkshire, UK

Chief Executive and Director of SAMI Consulting, Gill Ringland, has an impressive career history that has spanned physics, software, information technology, strategy, and future thinking. She has been active in five startups, and was instrumental to building ICL Fujitsu into a £3bn business. Drawing from her strategy work at ICL, Ringland wrote the bestseller Scenario Planning. Her other books on scenarios, crises, and uncertainty are also “why, what, when, how” guides to using futures in organizations. Ringland is a Liveryman of the City of London through the Information Technologists. She is a graduate of Stanford University’s Senior Executive Program, an ICL Fellow, and a Fellow of the World Academy of Art & Science. She is also a member of the Research, Innovation, and Science Policy Expert (RISE) group of the European Commission, and the Chairman of Knowledge Insights.

34. Lucy Esperanza Rojas

Lucy-Esperanza-RojasLocation: Barcelona, Spain

Lucy Esperanza Rojas is a trend consultant passionate about understanding the disruption of new technologies and emerging cultural behaviors. In 2008, she co-founded wabi.sabi lab, a strategic foresight company that specializes in seizing future opportunities in new media and internet culture. In 2014, she co-founded Internet Age Media, an initiative that “cultivates the open ecosystem emerging from the evolution of internet as culture”. Over the past decade, Rojas has explored sectors as diverse as advertising, luxury brands marketing, digital strategy, psychology, and trend research.
Twitter: @lucy8688

35. Elisabet Sahtouris

Elisabet-SahtourisLocation: Mallorca, Spain

Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris is a futurist, evolutionary biologist, professor, author, and consultant on Living Systems Design. She shows the relevance of biological systems to organizational design, with an emphasis on evolutionary trends towards collaboration and global family. By applying the principles of nature to the corporate world, global politics and economics, Sahtouris works to promote sustainable health and wellbeing for humanity within the larger living systems of Earth. She is the Chair of Living Economies at the World Business Academy, an advisor to, and an affiliate of university programs in sustainable business. Sahtouris has contributed widely to international dialogues, including working as a consultant on indigenous peoples for the United Nations, and participating in the Humanity 3000 dialogues of the Foundation for the Future. She travels across the globe to present speeches and lead workshops. Her latest book is Gaia’s Dance (2014), a story which traces the human evolutionary trajectory from the ancient past into the future.
Twitter: @sahtouris

36. Anne Skare Nielsen

Anne-Skare-NielsenLocation: Copenhagen, Denmark

Anne Skare Nielsen is one of Scandinavia’s leading futurists. She works at Future Navigator and shares her vision of the future through keynotes, writings, radio shows, and television. Skare Nielsen is a “provocateur” with “a penchant for science fiction movies, deep conversations with visionary leaders, and champagne”. Her aim is to transform journalism, politics, and education for the cause of peace. In September 2015, Skare Nielsen became a News Anchor for NewScience on Denmark’s TV2 News. Like her colleague Liselotte Lyngsø, Skare Nielsen used to work at Fahrenheit 212 and the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies. Her diverse educational background spans biology, political science, and business.
Twitter: @anneskare

37. Tamira Snell

Tamira-SnellLocation: Copenhagen, Denmark

Tamira Snell analyzes consumer and behavioral mega trends to develop strategy and innovation advice for a variety of industries and sectors. As the Senior Consultant and Futurist at the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies, Snell is an experienced futurist with a people-centric approach. Throughout her career she has worked on topics such as healthcare innovation, public-private innovation models, ethnographic research, and design and lifestyle trends. Snell has also studied and worked in fashion, engaging with the inter-development of socio-cultural tendencies and fashion trends. She has applied her knowledge of cultural sociology and cultural production to roles including Lead Insight Analyst at KPMG, Trend Researcher at Kjaer Global, and Innovation Consultant at Sundhedsinnovation Sjælland (Health Innovation Zealand).
Twitter: @TamiraSnell

38. Melissa Sterry

Location: London, UK

Melissa Sterry is a futurist, design scientist and transformational change strategist to industries including construction, utilities, manufacturing, design, publishing, media and communications. A PhD researcher at the Advanced Virtual and Technological Architecture Research (AVATAR) laboratory at the University of Greenwich, she is developing The Bionic City™: a blueprint for a smart, sustainable metropolis that transfers knowledge from Earth’s ecosystems to create resilience to extreme meteorological and geological events, thereby reducing structural damage and loss of life. “I believe we could evolve a far more harmonious relationship with Earth Systems,” Sterry says in an interview for Urbantimes. Her philosophy centers on the premise that “what humankind considers a force for destruction, nature considers a force for creation”. A regular advisor of sustainability and social enterprise groups, Boards, and non-profits, Sterry has received the Mensa International Award for Benefit to Society. She has been published in over 60 international titles and features in the Global Women Investors and Innovators Network Hall of Fame.
Twitter: @MelissaSterry

39. Jaana Tapanainen

Location: Finland

Jaana Tapanainen is an expert in strategic foresight. She has managed and led strategy and scenario projects across the public and private sectors, spanning the environmental policy, banking, chemical, energy, metals and mining industries. Her specialty is integrating foresight into the strategy and business positioning of organizations at various stages of the business cycle, from startup to expansion to internationalization and improving market share. Tapanainen is a member of the Government Foresight Group appointed by the Finnish Prime Minister’s Office and chaired by the State Secretary. A proficient speaker of English, Finnish, German and Swedish, Tapanainen has lived abroad in Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Belgium, Spain, Israel, the USA, and Hong Kong.
Twitter: @JaanaTapanainen

40. Mariana Todorova

Location: Bulgaria

Dr. Mariana Todorova conducts research in future studies and strategic planning. She is an analyst, futurist, strategist and trend tracker who works at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences as an Assistant Professor. Her PhD combined counterfactual analysis and the influence of the past on the future to develop a new methodology for scenario building. She presented to the World Future Society Forum in 2014 on the influence of construed facts, such as hypotheses, suppositions, rumors, and gossip, on future realities. Todorova is also a Member of Parliament at the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria. She has completed an Executive Program in Political leadership at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the International Visitors Leadership Program at the US State Department.

41. Catarina (Cat) Tully

Location: London, UK

Catarina Tully is a long-time futurist who co-founded the School of International Futures (SOIF), a not-for-profit institution that supports the use of strategic foresight by international policy officials, business leaders, analysts and activists. Tully championed the application of strategic foresight to British foreign policy while working as a project director in the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Strategy Unit and Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. She is passionate about social justice, international affairs and helping a long-term view prevail over shortermism. Tully and her team equip people with the foresight tools and techniques to fulfill objectives such as establishing a foresight unit, improving anticipatory governance, and fostering public participation in strategy development.
Twitter: @CatTullyFOH

42. Kristel Van der Elst

Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Kristel Van der Elst is an experienced foresight practitioner with a career centered on forward-looking strategy and policy advisory roles. As Co-founder and CEO of The Global Foresight Group, she works with senior executives and policymakers including heads of state, ministers, CEOs, and leaders of international think tanks, providing them with the insights, resources and processes to turn long-term strategic thinking into actions and impacts. Van der Elst is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Strategic Foresight Community, the OECD Governmental Foresight Community, the Independent Advisory Committee to the Global Burden of Disease initiative, and Strategic Foresight for Research & Innovation Policy (SFRI) within the Horizon 2020 European Commission Expert Group. She is an established speaker, moderator and facilitator at high-level events, a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe, a HuffPost blogger, and the author of numerous foresight-related reports and articles.
Twitter: @Kristelvde

43. Freija van Duijne

Location: The Hague Area, The Netherlands

As the inaugural President of the Dutch Future Society, Dr. Freija van Duijne oversees a large network of professional futurists, trendwatchers and strategy experts. She is a strategic foresight practitioner affiliated with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, and also runs her own professional practice, Future Motions. Previously, van Duijne was the foresight studies project leader for the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, and the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture. Recently, van Duijne prepared a Scenario Based Policy Discussion session for the OECD. She blogs and writes short articles about the future, with her interests ranging from fraud research to intelligence to sustainable development. Van Duijne holds an MA in cognitive psychology from Leiden University, and a PhD in applied ergonomics and design from Delft University of Technology, specializing in risk perception.
Twitter: @FreijavanDuijne

44. Angela Wilkinson

Angela-WilkinsonLocation: France

Dr. Angela Wilkinson is Counsellor for Strategic Foresight at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Her interests lie in helping groups and organizations to resolve global 21st century problems. She has directed several important public-private initiatives to this effect, including AIDS in Africa: Three Scenarios for the Future, for UNAIDS, and The Future of Water: Navigating a Sustainable Course, for the World Business Council on Sustainable Development. Wilkinson holds over 20 years of experience in consulting, management, analytics and leadership. She previously worked as Director of Scenario Planning and Futures research at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, as well as spending a decade investigating global scenarios for Royal Dutch Shell. Wilkinson says in a short video for the Dutch Future Society, “…we know that we have a culture of prediction…but what we haven’t got really is a culture of use of foresight among the policymakers…we have to address the cognitive, institutional and other barriers that there are to helping decision makers engage with foresight.”



North America

1. Liz Alexander

Location: Austin, TX, USA

As Leading Thought’s co-founder and futurist-in-residence, Dr. Liz Alexander combines futures thinking, thought leadership methodology, and over 30 years’ communications expertise to help international organizations discover, develop and deliver insights that future-proof them and their clients. Her specialty is the future of leadership, including how automation, new organizational structures and social trends are impacting the C-suite. In addition to writing for Fast Company, Psychology Today, and journals such as Knowledge Futures and World Futures Review, Dr. Alexander has written or co-authored 20 nonfiction books, including Transform Tomorrow: Awakening the Supersaver in Pursuit of Retirement Readiness. Drawing on her background in journalism, she publishes e-books that bring together the advice of renowned futurists on the future of work and education, and how businesses can benefit from working with the futures community. Dr. Alexander has a PhD in Educational Psychology and is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists and the World Future Society.
Twitter: @LeadThought

2. Maria Andersen

Maria-AndersenLocation: Sandy, UT, USA

Dr. Maria H. Andersen is the Director of Learning and Innovation at Area9, where she designs and develops adaptive learning software. She has previously worked as the Learning Futurist of the LIFT Institute, and she continues to work as a learning futurist, author, speaker, blogger and game designer. Her career has also seen her teach mathematics, chemistry and social media, useful backgrounds for learning futurism. “I believe that self-directed learning and engagement are now the most important issues in education. When content begins to teach itself (and it will), instructors will need to be ready to shift into the role of learning coaches,” Andersen writes. A self-described voracious learner, Andersen sees the future of learning as one that will be much more personalized and yet more social, with an emphasis on continuous learning.”
Twitter: @busynessgirl

3. Katie Aquino

KatieAquino_200Location: New York, NY, USA

Katie Aquino, also known as “Miss Metaverse”, is the owner of the Futurista trademark that sees her legally recognized as “the world’s first FuturistaTM”. Aquino is building on her background in filmmaking to mastermind a diverse mix of future-themed entertainment, consulting and mentoring as the CEO of the new Futurista Agency in New York. Her areas of expertise include technology, fashion, innovation, and the future of feminism, but Aquino shares her fascination for a wide array of future trends by managing The Futurist Daily and Awesome Future TV. A self-described “techno-optimist” and “ultra-visionary”, Aquino doesn’t hesitate to be proactive and provocative in her marketing and social media. She lives and breathes her Miss Metaverse identity, declaring in an interview, “Today, we accept that artists like Lady Gaga and rappers Yeezy, 2 Chainz, and Eminem build empires under their alias’, so why can’t hackers, makers, and futurists?”
Twitter: @missmetaverse

4. Madeline Ashby

Madeline-AshbyLocation: Toronto, ON, Canada

Science fiction writer, futurist and speaker Madeline Ashby has written narrative scenarios and science fiction prototypes for diverse organizations including the Institute for the Future, Intel Labs, SciFutures, Nesta, and Data & Society. She has published a wide range of future-thinking books, short fiction, essays, and criticism. Her focus is on talking about the future by telling stories. “The first step to changing anything in this life, whether it’s a relationship or a republic, is to imagine that there could be something different. Not better. Not worse. Just different,” Ashby writes on her website. A graduate of the Masters of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation program at OCAD University, Ashby wrote her thesis on the future of border security. Other topics she has explored include the future of warfare, the future of gameplay and the future of intelligent systems in relation to smart cities.
Twitter: @MadelineAshby

5. Miriam Lueck Avery

Miriam-Lueck-AveryLocation: San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA

Miriam Lueck Avery is a research director, foresight practitioner and anthropologist at the Institute for the Future (IFTF). She writes on her blog, “…while I lament that Robert Textor’s turn of phrase, ‘anticipatory anthropology’ has just too many syllables, I’m very fond of it.” Some of Avery’s recent projects cover the intersection of food and agriculture, health and wellbeing, and sustainability and resilience. She is also interested in topics such as work-life integration, urban issues, retail alternatives, participatory foresight, and youth leadership. Avery presents forecasts in strategic roadmaps, conferences, panel discussions, and keynotes. Part of her role is teaching and training innovators in foresight skills, including by designing group processes that facilitate the anticipation of the future and enable strategic decisions in the present.
Twitter: @myravery

6. Ayelet Baron

AyeletBaron_200Location: Toronto, ON, Canada, and San Francisco, CA, USA

Ayelet Baron believes that this century is about living and breathing abundant possibilities. As a futurist, keynote speaker and entrepreneur, Baron investigates how technology, collaboration and co-creation can improve our wellbeing. Her extensive experience in online networking, strategy development, and leadership has seen her climb the corporate ladder and deliver over 300 keynote presentations and workshops. Baron is keen to give back to people and organizations, a mission that has inspired her to write Social Media for Social Good and to co-found Creatingis, a movement to help a new generation of leaders to make a difference in their communities. Baron’s admirable volunteer work includes mentoring youth at a technology center in Nairobi, helping launch the global mHealth Alliance, supporting NGOs at NetHope, and joining the Board of One Heart Worldwide.
Twitter: @ayeletb

7. Genevieve Bell

GenevieveBell_200Location: Portland, OR, USA, and Sydney, Australia

A background in anthropology helps future thinker Dr. Genevieve Bell to develop new products and technologies based on people’s evolving needs and desires. Bell is Vice President of the Corporate Strategy Office at Intel, a career role that has seen her develop several patents for consumer electronics. Bell told the New York Times that her mandate at Intel “has always been to bring the stories of everyone outside the building inside the building—and make them count”. She considers herself among the “outsiders”, a position which gives her an edge in understanding how consumers use and perceive technology. Bell is a highly regarded industry expert, speaker and commentator on the intersection of culture and technology. Her accolades include a mention in Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” and an induction into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame. Bell has been a mentor for future thinker Danah Boyd and she continues to inspire women in the fields of science and technology.
Twitter: @feraldata

8. Alisha Bhagat

Alisha-BhagatLocation: New York, NY, USA

Futures thinker Alisha Bhagat is fascinated by complex systems. She has devoted her career to understanding how systems work in order to tackle problems in society. After studying anthropology and a Masters in Foreign Service, Bhagat worked as a research analyst for the US government, engaging with scenario models. Her interest in the future developed during a fellowship in Hawaii’s East-West Center. She went on to co-found the Myanmar Futures Exchange, a summit in Yangon on sustainable economic development attended by leaders in business, government, and non-government organizations. Bhagat now works as Sustainability Advisor at Forum for the Future, where she focuses on creating positive long-term change.
Twitter: @AlishaBhagat

9. Francesca Birks

Francesca-BirksLocation: New York, NY, USA

Francesca Birks is the Americas Foresight + Research + Innovation Leader at Arup Foresight. In this role, she promotes strategic foresight and innovation in the design development process of client projects. Branching out from her strategic planning background in media and advertising, Birks has developed expertise in design strategy. She has recently focused on design and innovation for the built environment, including human-centered design. Birk’s interests also include social sustainability, social media, and social innovation. She brings her understanding of ethnography, storytelling, and strategic planning to her team at Arup, and has helped the company to develop programs on the future of hospitality and the future of education. She is the editor of Arup’s first digital magazine for the Americas, Doggerel.
Twitter: @francescabirks

10. Lisa Bodell

LisaBodell_200Location: New York, NY, USA

Futurist, teacher, and entrepreneur Lisa Bodell cherishes the belief that every person has the power to innovate. This premise inspired her to found futurethink, an internationally recognized innovation research and training firm that helps businesses to embrace change. Bodell is known for writing the groundbreaking book Kill the Company and for creating the SIPC Innovation Framework (STRATEGY, IDEAS, PROCESS, CLIMATE), which has become widely adopted by innovators around the world. She writes for prominent publications such as The Futurist, Investor’s Business Daily and Bloomberg Businessweek. Bodell is also a university lecturer and a cognitive learning expert who serves on the Boards of several institutions including The Women’s Congress and the Triple Helix Innovation think tank.
Twitter: @LisaBodell

11. Michele Bowman

MicheleBowman_200Location: Boston, MA, USA

Michele Bowman is the Executive Director of software engineering firm Innovation Foundry and the Curator of 10 Conference, which she calls “an annual fix for idea junkies”. Previously, Bowman founded Global Foresight Associates, a futures research and consulting firm. A member of the first Board of the Association of Professional Futurists and previously its Chairman, Bowman holds a BA in Political Science and a Masters in Futures Studies. Back in 2000, Bowman predicted that in the future, “Cybership will vie for importance with citizenship. Companies will need to increase their tolerance for change, and view boundaries—whether national, corporate, or divisional—as more and more nebulous.”
Twitter: @michelebowman

12. Danah Boyd

DanahBoyd_200Location: New York, NY, USA

danah boyd is a leading expert on the intersection of technology and society. Her impressive list of accolades includes recognition by Fast Company, Fortune and Foreign Policy for her influence in the technology sphere and her research on youth Internet usage, Big Data, and innovation. boyd discovered the potential of computers while still in high school, and her college undergraduate thesis investigated how the cues in 3D computer systems were “inherently sexist”. She now works at Data & Society, a company she founded and heads, as well as researching for Microsoft and Harvard. boyd is also on the Board of support service Crisis Text Line and was interviewed in the 2015 web documentary about internet privacy, Do Not Track. Openly queer and quirky, boyd began writing her name in lowercase long before the practice became a popular marketing tactic. Perhaps this was an early sign of boyd’s promise as a futurist, even though she rarely chooses the term futurist to describe her role.
Twitter: @zephoria

13. Nicole Anne Boyer

NicoleAnneBoyer_200Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Nicole-Anne Boyer is a future thinker, strategist, and facilitator of complex change projects across systems and sectors. She founded Adaptive Edge in 2004 to create cutting-edge, collaborative responses to the long-term challenges facing Fortune 100 companies, as well as governments and civil society organizations. “My practice is devoted to improving people’s adaptive capabilities, ingenuity and resilience in a time of flux and transition,” Boyer writes on She attributes her skills in this craft partly to her six years as a scenario practitioner for the Global Business Network think-tank. Boyer’s projects span a wide range of topics, from the future of famine to clean energy to fashion. As a social entrepreneur, she is an active part of the Hub community and helped found its counterpart in Paris. Over the last 15 years, Nicole has worked in over a dozen industries and sectors across the globe. She is also a teacher and a writer who believes that “we need to co-create better stories for our collective future”.
Twitter: @nabula

14. Anne Boysen

AnneBoysen_200Location: Austin, TX, USA

Anne Boysen is the founder of After the Millennials, the first consultant service and blog designated specifically to the next generation. Her interest in this emerging generation—what Boysen calls the “Homelanders”—was conceived from her future-oriented market research for Nestlé, focusing on infant care, child rearing and buying habits in the next five to 25 years. Boysen also works as an Alliance Partner for the Pearson Strategy Group, LLC and a Council Member for consulting firm Gerson Lehrman Group. She is the Vice President of the Central Texas chapter of the World Future Society and holds a Masters in Future Studies from the University of Houston Clear Lake.
Twitter: @aftermillennial

15. Gayemarie Brown

GayemarieBrown_200Location: Toronto, Canada

As National Innovation Leader at Deloitte Canada, Gayemarie Brown leverages emerging technologies with business models to drive the transformation agenda for Deloitte and its clients. She has over 25 years of experience in keeping pace with change through innovation, corporate strategy, global transformation, and digital technologies. Despite facing “non-believers” throughout her career, such a those who doubt that “innovation leader” is a real job, Brown has become a sought-after speaker on the subject of digital transformation and disruption. In 2008, she founded the DGroup to design strategies and transformation programs to leverage disruptive technologies, focusing on artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, and cognitive computing. She has delivered results for Fortune 500 companies and startups, especially in the fields of financial services, software/tech, media and telecommunications.
Twitter: @GayemarieBrown

16. Sandra (Sandy) Burchsted

SandraBurchsted_200Location: Austin, TX, USA

Sandra Burchsted was one of the first Board members of the Association of Professional Futurists upon its formation in 2002. She holds a Masters in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston Clear Lake and was an Adjunct Instructor in the university’s Studies of the Future program. Burchsted founded strategic consulting firm Prospectiva in 1998 and worked there for nearly 10 years. She also co-founded a future ideas media project, FringeHog, with fellow futurist Michele Bowman. Since then, Burchsted has spoken on topics including emerging trends, social media, and podcasting, and she has volunteered her strategy experience to improve animal welfare.
Twitter: @sburchsted

17. Daniela Busse

Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

As Director, Office of the Chief Innovation Officer for Citi Ventures, Daniela Busse focuses on researching and implementing design-led innovation and future experiences. Prior to working for Citi, she held positions including Design Futurist/Innovation Director at Samsung Research America, UX Director at SAP’s Office of the CEO, and Design Researcher at the Microsoft Office Design Group. Through her award-winning work, Busse defines groundbreaking new designs and uses for technologies, future roadmap ideation, and product experience incubation. She studied a PhD in human-computer interaction and complex systems analysis and design from Glasgow University and also summa cum laude degrees in both computing science and psychology. She holds multiple patents, is a sought-after speaker, and has published frequently in the fields of UX, research, design and innovation.
Twitter: @DesignFuturing

18. Sheryl Connelly

SherylConnelly_200Location: Detroit, MI, USA

Auto company Ford benefits from the insights of its resident futurist, Sheryl Connelly, who helps the organization to align its priorities, investments and products with the latest industry research. Connelly immerses herself in ever-evolving social, cultural, environmental, technological and economic ideas to imagine what consumers might want in future decades. Her trends research and collaboration within Ford prompted the company to invest in compact utility vehicles during the early 2000s, ahead of many other automakers. From 2005 to 2012, sales of small utilities rose 155%. Connelly’s work also contributed to Ford’s pioneering SYNC® infotainment system, introduced in 2007. Fast Company magazine named Connelly the 24th Most Creative Person in Business in 2013. “It’s thrilling that a more than 100-year-old company, in a very mature and extremely complex industry, is on the cutting-edge of innovation and creativity,” Connelly said of Ford. “It’s about being nimble enough to anticipate or create change.”
Twitter: @sherylconnelly

19. Leigh Cook

Location: Atlanta, GA, USA

Futurist, innovator and strategist Leigh Cook leads the Futures practice at Sparks Grove, an experience design firm within the North Highland global management consultancy. Cook is passionate about using futures thinking and design thinking to help companies unlock their potential, maximize their purpose and achieve sustainable growth. In her view, exploring the future is vital to “help people become better, more fulfilled versions of themselves” in order to grow their decision-making capabilities and create better experiences today. Cook is a member of the World Future Society and the Association of Professional Futurists, and has co-authored white papers including ‘Anticipating Futures through Narratives’ and ‘Story Making: Essential to Designing & Delivering Human Experiences’.
Twitter: @leighbcook

20. Catherine Cosgrove

Catherine-CosgroveLocation: Montréal, QC, Canada

Catherine Cosgrove is Chief of Staff at RES PUBLICA Consulting in Montreal. Prior to joining RES PUBLICA Consulting, she spent five years as an independent consultant and futurist, when she investigated sustainable development issues for UNISFÉRA International Centre and co-authored reports for the United Nations. Some of the topics she has researched include the dynamics of global water futures, measures to combat desertification, and integrated financing strategy for sustainable land management. A member of the Québec Bar, Cosgrove holds a law degree from the University of Montréal and a Masters in Strategic Foresight from the University of Houston.
Twitter: @catcosgrove

21. Rebecca Costa

RebeccaCosta_200Location: Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA, USA

Sociology and biology have been pivotal to shaping the insights of Rebecca Costa, whose website describes her as “a thought leader and provocative new voice in the mold of Thomas Friedman, Malcolm Gladwell, and Jared Diamond”. Costa explores emerging trends and their relationships with human evolution, global markets, and new technologies. She is one of many futures thinkers whose breakthrough has come with the publication of a groundbreaking book, in her case The Watchman’s Rattle: A Radical New Theory of Collapse. Her book uses the principles of evolution to explain modern paralysis in solving major world problems, as well as suggesting methods to reduce inadequate problem solving. The success of her first book led to a weekly radio program called The Costa Report, which has been airing since 2010. Costa’s expertise is in part due to her experience as founder and CEO of one of the largest marketing firms in Silicon Valley during the 1990s, Dazai Advertising. During this period, Costa worked with high-profile clients, such as Apple and HP, and marketed new technologies, including the world’s first computer-aided design and manufacturing systems (CAD/CAM).
Twitter: @rebeccacosta

22. Emily Empel

EmilyEmpel_200Location: Toronto, ON, Canada

Emily Empel is convinced that “foresight is only effective when it’s matched with delivery methods that create customized, sticky and actionable insights”. To this end, Empel uses immersive foresight methods to help large organizations build their future visions and internal foresight strategies. She co-heads Strategic Foresight at Idea Couture, a global innovation and design firm. Before joining Idea couture, Empel was the resident Workforce Futurist for The Walt Disney Company. She developed fresh ways to deliver insights and reconfigure strategies for business and human capital, including future artifact design, strategy games and immersive theater. Empel has also worked in government and consumer foresight, including the future of emergency management. She holds a Masters in Future Studies from the University of Houston and speaks regularly at events for the World Future Society and the Association of Professional Futurists.
Twitter: @localrat

23. Tessa Finlev

Tessa-FinlevLocation: Oakland, CA, USA

Tessa Finlev works at the intersection of futures thinking, civic engagement, and social change. According to Finlev, “Participatory foresight should be a regular tool for all social change movements.” As a Research Director of the Ten-Year Forecast for the Institute for the Future (IFTF), Finlev focuses on “prototyping and implementing new systems-level approaches to building sustainable and equitable livelihoods”. She believes that information technology, immigration patterns, and grassroots campaigning are raising diversity and distributed power to new heights that could promote equitable and sustainable livelihoods. One of Finlev’s major projects is the Peace Lab, an endeavour to facilitate dialogue, discovery and unity through a participatory futures model that empowers communities from within.
Twitter: @futressa

24. Cindy Frewen

CindyFrewen_200Location: Kansas City, MO, USA

The buildings of the future will interact with us, adapt and grow, says futurist, architect and urban designer Dr. Cindy Frewen. The integration of architecture with technology is Frewen’s specialty that has seen her merge her own architecture firm with a design firm, write books and consult on the future of cities, and teach Futures Studies at the University of Houston. Frewen is interested in how the roles of architects will change in the future, and how buildings can learn to “talk”, adapt, and shape future experiences. She chairs the Association of Professional Futurists and has served on an impressive range of Boards and committees, including several that promote women’s entrepreneurship. Her contributions to shaping the future of Kansas City are particularly significant, but so is her influence on her peers in the broader architecture industry. Frewen’s diverse architectural and planning projects have received awards for design, sustainability, and community development.
Twitter: @Urbanverse

25. Julie Friedman Steele

Location: Chicago, IL, USA

Chair of the Board of Directors for the World Future Society, Julie Friedman Steele thrives at transforming disruption into opportunity. A social entrepreneur and futurist with experience spanning entertainment, science, technology and structured finance, Friedman Steele is working to unlock the world-changing potential of digital manufacturing. As the Founder and CEO of the 3D Printer Experience (3DPX), she has been named a top 100 innovator in Chicago for her storefront venue that offers custom 3D printing services, education, and a community-oriented futurist perspective. Friedman Steele is also known for having produced and directed the documentary Best Friend Forgotten, and for developing an MPEG standard to make film and television video content searchable and indexable on the Internet. She is a regular keynote speaker and panelist who serves on the Board of Advisors of the UN Women for Peace Association.
Twitter: @MetaJulie1

26. Katherine Fulton

Katherine-FultonLocation: San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA

As a change agent, Katherine Fulton “loves playing with complicated puzzles: seeing the possibilities and then putting the pieces together in new ways, across sectors, disciplines and cultures”. It comes as no surprise, then, that Fulton’s career has been a multifaceted jigsaw, spanning journalism, teaching, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, strategy advising and more. Fulton is currently a Director at Monitor Deloitte and President of Monitor Institute, a part of Deloitte Consulting. She is known for her expertise on the evolution of philanthropy and the rise of impact investing, topics featured in her co-authored books What’s Next for Philanthropy and Investing for Social and Environmental Impact. During her career, Fulton has worked with world-class futurists, mastered scenario planning, and advised leaders in more than a dozen industries on how to adapt more skillfully to rapid change.
Twitter: @knfulton

27. Eri Gentry

Eri-GentryLocation: Palo Alto, CA, USA

Eri Gentry is a Research Manager at the Palo Alto think tank the Institute for the Future. A proponent of technology democratization, citizen science, and “hacking medicine”, she is also the co-founder of BioCurious, the first hackerspace for biology. Gentry studies the future of science, technology, behavioral economics, and being human. Her work has been shared by the New York Times, Forbes, Wired, The Atlantic, and in the books Regenesis, Biopunk, and The Nature of the Future. Gentry gained experience in the medical field through working for startups including Scanadu, a Silicon Valley startup bringing medical tools for the people to the people, and Genomera, a startup putting crowdsourced clinical trials online. In 2013 she was included on Techonomy’s Top Ten list and named as a White House Champion of Change for Citizen Science.
Twitter: @erigentry

28. Joyce Gioia

JoyceGioia_200Location: Austin, TX, and Greensboro, NC, USA

Joyce Gioia is a strategic business futurist and the President of The Herman Group of futurists, management consultants and speakers. She has served clients on six continents and she is a Director on the Board of the World Future Society. A founding member of the Association of Professional Futurists, Gioia is also an active Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. Her speciality is relationship aspects of the future, such as workforce and workplace trends, and she prioritizes practical tactics and strategies that her clients can apply right away. With fellow futurist Roger Herman, Gioia has co-authored five books on employment and employees. She has written for publications including The Future magazine, Hotel Business Review, and Delta Airlines’ Sky magazine. Gioia has been listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the East, and the International Who’s Who of Business Executives. Joyce’s career has covered a wide variety of industries and fields, including wholesale, retail, hard and soft consumer goods, direct marketing, and management consulting.
Twitter: @JoyceGioia

29. Nancy Giordano

NancyGiordano_200Location: Austin, TX, USA

Described as endlessly optimistic, Nancy Giordano is a strategic futurist with a drive to help organizations and leaders transform and succeed. With a portfolio of more than $50 billion worth of experience with clients such as Nestlé, The Coca Cola Company, Safeway, Tourism Australia and more, Giordano is passionate about helping leaders update make the right changes to increase their salience and momentum. One of her core beliefs is that big enterprise has the potential to make our lives better. Consequently, Giordano assists leaders to redirect their aims and resources to greater societal benefit, and thereby boost internal company sustainability. As the founder of consultancy firm Play Big Inc. and online ideas platform, Giordano is regularly asked to speak about her insights into the economy and future trends. Giordano was the first TEDx licensee, and she currently leads one of the largest TEDx youth events in the world.
Twitter: @nancygiordano

30. Marina Gorbis

Location: Palo Alto, CA, USA

Marina Gorbis is a futurist and social scientist who serves as executive director to the Institute for the Future (IFTF), a Silicon Valley non-profit research and consulting firm. In her 17 years with IFTF, Gorbis has worked with hundreds of organizations in business, education, government, and philanthropy to improve innovation capacity, develop strategies, and design new products and services. Gorbis’s recent research focuses on how social production is changing the face of major industries, a topic detailed in her book, The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World. In an interview on the IFTF website, Gorbis says of the “socialstructed world”: “It’s a world of amazing opportunities for individuals to not ask permission, to pursue their passion, and to create amazing things with others.” Gorbis has written for major media such as Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, and A native of Odessa, Ukraine, yet equally at home in Silicon Valley, Europe, India, and Kazakhstan, Marina is well positioned to explore the future from a global viewpoint. She has keynoted international events such as the World Economic Forum, The Next Web Conference, and the World Business Forum.
Twitter: @mgorbis

31. Jan Gordon

Location: New York, NY, USA

Entrepreneur Jan Gordon realized that others shared her overwhelm from information overload when fellow Twitter users were relating to her tweets, needs and interests on this theme. Gordon started to accumulate a large Twitter following and discovered a year or so after joining that she “had become a curator, thriving in a world of ambiguity and disruption”. She decided to continue cultivating a voice that many others would find engaging. This voice has found its expression in Curatti, an online content hub aimed at small to medium sized businesses to keep them informed on trends, strategies, people to watch, cases studies, and more. Curatti’s mission is “to help businesses navigate change by bringing order to chaos through information and direction so they can make better decisions, save time and money and act on this to stay relevant today and in the future”. Before her content curation role as founder and Chief Editor of Curatti, Gordon applied her keen eye for blending cultural trends, the right people, and emergent industries to create new businesses in publishing, television, and the Internet. She remains passionate about helping people to understand and successfully engage in the new digital, social world.
Twitter: @janlgordon

32. Terry Grim

Location: Houston, TX, USA

Moving “knowing” into “doing” is the passion of Terry Grim, a futurist with an impressive career history in the fields of technology, foresight, strategy, operations, and project management. Grim’s experience includes holding senior positions at IBM, which saw her work on the space program software development team as well as develop skills in Corporate Strategy and international management. After IBM, Grim became a consultant in foresight and strategy with Social Technologies (now Innovaro) and an adjunct professor for the Masters program in Futures Studies at the University of Houston. She is known for authoring the Foresight Maturity Model (FMM), a results-oriented approach to evaluating an organization’s foresight capacities based on best practices in the field. Grim is the founder of Foresight Alliance, a consulting firm that works with Fortune 500 companies, large businesses and non-profits.
Twitter: @ForesightAlianz

33. Rachel Hatch

Rachel-HatchLocation: Redding, CA, USA

Rachel Hatch is a futurist inspired by religion, poetry, and emotional and spiritual wellbeing. One of her favorite poems is “Song of the Open Road” by Walt Whitman, a poem that embraces travelling the road into the future. As a Research Director of the Ten-Year Forecast for the Institute for the Future (IFTF), Hatch customizes and interprets futures research for clients. Her focus areas include affective technologies and the intersection between new media and religion. Hatch co-founded Woven Capital, a financial planning and investment management firm that offers video call appointments and adopts automation technologies to use “the right mix of humans and machines to get the job done”. She was a co-curator of TEDxRedding for three years. Hatch believes that “champions of change exist within every organization regardless of the sector or industry”. She works to equip future-oriented leaders with the skills and mindsets to “make the future”.
Twitter: @rachelkeas

34. Barbara Heinzen

Barbara-HeinzenLocation: New Baltimore, NY, USA

Dr. Barbara Heinzen is a trained geographer with extensive experience in long range scenarios and planning, exploring societies in transition, and integrating ecological principles into everyday life. Her book Feeling for Stones mentions the important “need to create societies which support the natural world so that the natural world will continue to support us”. Heinzen has been involved in the Global Business Network since 1995, and in 2006 she began working on the Barbets’ Duet ecological collaboration initiative in East Africa. Heinzen is also a regular speaker on the challenges of management in a time of systemic transition.

35. Hazel Henderson

Location: St Augustine, FL, USA

One futurist who has overcome opposition and achieved remarkable results is Hazel Henderson. As one of the pioneers of twentieth century futurism—and still going strong today in her eighties—Henderson committed herself to investigating economic and environmental problems. Her activism to improve air quality in New York during the 1960s successfully fought bureaucratic denial and helped bring about the New York Air Pollution Index. Inspired by the outcome, Henderson embarked upon a journey of self-education in economics. She criticized economic theories for justifying selfish behaviors, environmental destruction, and human suffering from inequalities. Although her ideas were unwelcome to traditional economists, Henderson’s concern for the future gradually gained currency. Since the 1970s, she has advised more than 30 governments on their economic policies. Her columns have been printed in some 400 newspapers in 27 countries. Highlights of Henderson’s research include the case for ethical investing, the causes and characteristics of unpaid labor, and a well-rounded index that measures quality of life. Henderson expects that the special talents of many women as harmonizers and communicators will be vital for a future based on systems and services.
Twitter: @ethicalmarkets

36. Jean Houston

Jean-HoustonLocation: Ashland, OR, USA

Dr. Jean Houston is a scholar, philosopher, and researcher who uses a trans-disciplinary approach to explore human potential. Her writings and keynote addresses combine history, culture, new science, spirituality and human development to teach others about aligning human capacities with the needs of our time. According to Houston’s website, her lifetime passion is “to encourage the inherent possibilities, visions and capacities that lie within each person and/or group, and translate them into positive action”. Houston has authored over two dozen books, including Myths for the Future (1995), and she assisted Hillary Clinton with the book It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us (1996). Having advised UNICEF on human and cultural development and helped to implement education programs, Houston started the Jean Houston Foundation to build leadership capacities and drive global change.
Twitter: @JeanHouston

37. Jennifer Jarratt

Location: Washington, DC, USA

Since the early 1980s, Jennifer Jarratt has been working on a wide range of futures activities, especially consulting, writing, and keynote speaking. Jarratt was a founding member of the Association of Professional Futurists. Her field of specialization is human resources and social and demographic change, topics which have inspired her to write many books, including The Future at Work and Future Work. Jarratt is the owner of Leading Futurists, LLC. She leads seminars and courses on scenario building, thinking like a futurist, and practical tools for working with the future. Jarratt has been a visiting instructor in Studies of the Future at the University of Houston. She shared in a Pulitzer Prize in her earlier career as a journalist in the United States and Britain.
Twitter: @jenjarratt

38. Regina Joseph

Regina-JosephLocation: Greater New York City Area, NY, USA

Regina Joseph specializes in the nexus of strategic foresight analysis and information design. An entrepreneur and pioneering digital thought leader, Joseph founded Sibylink, a foresight consultancy based in The Hague and New York City. She also co-founded Super-Powered, a consultancy that trains people to hone their skills to produce robust forecasts and use foresight tools effectively. A faculty member at New York University Center for Global Affairs, Joseph leads NYU’s Futures Lab and has taught forecasting techniques to private sector executives, intelligence analysts, and officials in governments and international organizations including the United Nations and NATO. Prior to launching her own consultancies and becoming a “Superforecaster” for Good Judgment, Inc., Joseph led the Future Security Foresight initiative at the Clingendael Institute. She has particular experience in envisioning future security conditions and the future of media and technology companies.
Twitter: @Superforecastr

39. Claudia Juech

Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA

Horizon scanning and trend monitoring are crucial to the work of Claudia Juech, Associate Vice President and Managing Director for Strategic Research at The Rockefeller Foundation. A well-known philanthropic organization, the Foundation aims to build “greater resilience and more inclusive economies”. In order to help achieve this mission, Juech applies her skills in idea generation and strategy to assess the impact potential of new opportunities and initiatives. She leads the Foundation’s Strategic Research team and has created a global “Searchlight” network of trend monitoring to boost the idea generation process. Prior to joining The Rockefeller Foundation, Juech was Vice President at DB Research, Deutsche Bank’s think tank for trends in business, society, and financial markets.
Twitter: @cjjuech

40. Jess Kimball Leslie

Location: New York, NY, USA

Freelance futurist, trend-spotter and tech commentator Jess Kimball Leslie has led global product engineering projects for companies including American Express, Johnson & Johnson, Samsung, and Spotify. Kimball Leslie writes widely on the future, and has been featured in Wired, The Atlantic, TechCrunch, and several other news sources. Her articles include “Is YouTube the Yahoo of 2015?” and Sympler: Video Editing, from the Future”. She was a contributor thanked in Clive Thompson’s 2013 book on the future of digital tools, Smarter Than You Think. Kimball Leslie has been interviewed by Fox Business about the Apple watch and “Google Glass and other possible tech flops”.
Twitter: @jesskimball

41. Rita King

Rita-KingLocation: New York, NY, USA and Isola d’Ischia, Italy

A passion for business, science, culture, design, and technology sees Rita J. King co-direct Science House, a strategic consultancy specializing in the science of organizational culture. She is one of the world’s top experts in collaborative culture, helping organizations to shape business strategies aligned with all components of their ecosystems, from employees and managers to customers and vendors. King is also a futurist at the Science and Entertainment Exchange of the National Academy of Sciences. She is a Salzburg Global fellow and has served as futurist at NASA Langley’s think tank. King’s views on the future have been widely featured in the media, from Fox News to Psychology Today and The Design Observer. Known for coining the concept of the “Imagination Age”, King is also the creator of Mystery Jars and Treasure of the Sirens, containers designed to capture the imagination.
Twitter: @RitaJKing

42. Maria Konovalenko

Maria-KonovalenkoLocation: San Francisco, CA, USA

Maria Konovalenko’s goal is “to make people live as long and as healthy as possible using the advances of science and technology”. Konovalenko has been fighting aging since 2008, when she joined the team of the Science for Life Extension Foundation, a Moscow-based non-profit. With a background in molecular biophysics, Konovalenko is studying the biology of aging in a joint PhD program between the University of Southern California and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. She is one of the organizers of the Genetics of Aging and Longevity Conference series. Konovalenko blogs on aging-related topics on her website, such as artificial intelligence, cell therapy, and regenerative medicine.
Twitter: @mkonovalenko

43. Sotiria (Iman) Kouvalis

Location: Ontario, Canada

International strategy and foresight advisor Iman Kouvalis specializes in sectors that have social and economic impact 15 to 50 years ahead. As CEO of Shaping 2100, she assists private, public and non-profit organizations with growth strategies, business foresight, and building sustainable competitive advantage in disruptive environments. Her clients include the Dubai government, Thomson Reuters, and organizations funded by the Bill Gates Foundation. She holds an MBA with Strategic Planning specialization from Edinburgh Business School, and a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Windsor, Canada. Prior to working in foresight, Kouvalis was an educator in Canada and an engineer for Ford Motor Company in the United States.
Twitter: @imankouvalis

44. Liza Lichtinger

Liza-LichtingerLocation: San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA

Liza Lichtinger is a Research Psychologist and endogenous regeneration pioneer who expands recognition of optimal performance through her futurist interventions. She has previously worked in Human Resources for Pfizer and consulted with various companies and individuals apart from her Psychotherapy private practice. Presentations and projects find her speaking to her interests, the importance of safe equanimity and its impact on the nexus of biotechnology and cultural design. Her prior research studies combined immersive techniques to address personality traits and decision making, while studying a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Philosophy. Lichtinger holds a Masters in Counseling Psychology, a degree in Labor Law and Human Resources through the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and has facilitated Wellness and Strategic Programs at universities, hospitals and recovery centers. When mentoring graduate students she uses gamification models while encouraging students to allow creativity to run the engines of their vital life.

45. Brie Linkenhoker

Brie-LinkenhokerLocation: San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA

After training in neuroscience, Dr. Brie Linkenhoker transitioned into strategy consulting with the Global Business Network and Monitor. Linkenhoker learnt how to help governments, companies and non-profits with their decision-making, scenario planning, and game theory-based simulations of the future—skills that she now applies as Director of Worldview Stanford. Linkenhoker founded Worldview Stanford in 2012 with the aim of delivering new knowledge from academia into the hands of the decision-makers who need it most. She is a futures thinker who is also passionate about science, wildlife photography and Giants baseball.

46. Rachel Maguire

Rachel-MaguireLocation: Austin, TX, USA

The future of healthcare delivery, life sciences innovation, and information technologies are integral to the work of Rachel Maguire, a Research Director at the Institute for the Future (IFTF). As a principal healthcare researcher for IFTF’s health program, Maguire investigates health finance and the impacts of mobile personal technologies and new media upon health practices. With over 10 years of experience in strategic consulting, long-term forecasting, global research, and quantitative research methods, Maguire is also a public speaker and a facilitator of client workshops. She contributes to the forecasts and annual retreats of the Health Horizons program and serves on the Henry Ford Hospital and the Medical Group National Advisory Council.

47. Barbara Marx Hubbard

Location: Santa Barbara, CA, USA

Barbara Marx Hubbard is a prolific author, educator and futurist who helped introduce the concept of futurism to society. A global ambassador for change, Marx Hubbard has spent decades investigating, speaking and writing about all facets of “Conscious Evolution”: a theory that examines the role of crises, transformation, and the greater good of humanity. She is also known for co-producing “Birth 2012”, a landmark worldwide multimedia event that exposed the social, spiritual, scientific, and technological potential in humanity. Some of her books include: The Hunger of Eve: One Woman’s Odyssey toward the Future; The Evolutionary Journey: Your Guide to a Positive Future; Conscious Evolution: Awakening the Power of our Social Potential; Emergence: The Shift from Ego to Essence; and Birth 2012 and Beyond: Humanity’s Great Shift to the Age of Conscious Evolution.
Twitter: @BarbaraHubbard

48. Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigalLocation: San Francisco, CA, USA

Jane McGonigal is a future forecaster and a world-renowned designer of games that aim to improve people’s lives and solve real problems. In line with her belief that games can have humanitarian value, McGonigal invented and co-founded SuperBetter, a game that has helped nearly half a million people cope with real-life health challenges such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and traumatic brain injury. Other notable games developed by McGonigal include World Without Oil, Find the Future, and Evoke. As Director of Games research & Development at the Institute for the Future, McGonigal investigates how games are transforming our lives and how they can increase wellbeing and resilience. She also speaks to global audiences and conducts workshops for Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies. Fast Company has named McGonigal one of the Top 100 Creative People in Business, Businessweek has called her one of the Top 10 Innovators to Watch, and the Association of Professional Futurists has given her an annual award for Most Important Futures Work.
Twitter: @avantgame

49. Jeanne Meister

Jeanne-MeisterLocation: New York City, NY, USA

Re-thinking, re-imagining, and re-inventing the workplace is the specialty of Jeanne Meister, Partner of consulting firm Future Workplace. Meister is well known for her successful books Corporate Universities, Corporate Quality Universities, and The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop & Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today. She is an award-winning future thinker who has been named one of Glassdoor’s top 50 Influencers in Corporate Human Resources and Recruiting. Meister and her firm have launched the 2020 Workplace Network, a consortium of organizations who convene twice a year to discuss, debate and share “next” practices in corporate learning and talent acquisition. Meister’s insights are widely published in leading business media such as Financial Times, HR Executive, and Forbes. She is also a volunteer for Columbia County Land Conservancy and sits on the Board of Directors of the Mahaiwe Center for Performing Arts.
Twitter: @jcmeister

50. Nilofer Merchant

Location: Silicon Valley, CA, USA and Paris, France

Nilofer Merchant likes to be called “The Jane Bond of Innovation”. She is a future thinker who specializes in the field of management and has launched more than 100 products, netting $18 billion in sales. During her journey from administrative assistant to division leader to Board member of a NASDAQ-traded company, Merchant has developed leading insights into marketplace and workplace collaboration. Her two books on collaboration have received widespread recognition, as have her keynote presentations and her columns for BusinessWeek and Forbes. Merchant was ranked number 1 Thinker on the Future by the Thinkers50 awards for management in 2013, and made Fast Company’s list of the 25 Smartest Women on Twitter in the same year. She is currently a Fellow at The Martin Prosperity Institute where she is studying society’s emerging power infrastructure, as well as methods to improve social, political and financial systems.
Twitter: @nilofer

51. Venessa Miemis

Location: Encinitas, CA, USA

Venessa Miemis is a futurist and “creative muse” who raises awareness about changes in social patterns and cultural paradigms, as well as the impacts of technology and new models of collaboration. “I am scouting the edges of technology and innovation, right where the magic happens,” Miemis writes on her company website and blog, Emergent by Design. Some of her projects include analysing the future of Facebook, the future of money, and keynote speaking on strategic change management. Miemis holds a Master of Arts in Media Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and has assisted with intensive foresight education programs. She hopes that society is “reaching the tipping point where a critical mass of people on this planet are waking up to our true potential as a globally networked consciousness”.
Twitter: @VenessaMiemis

52. Yvette Montero Salvatico

Location: Orlando, FL, USA

“Many people consider futurism a bit of a Mickey Mouse profession. Yvette Montero Salvatico isn’t one of them,” writes BOSS deputy editor Patrick Durkin in an article for the Australian Financial Review. Montero Salvatico was the Manager of Future Workforce Insights at The Walt Disney Company before joining the Kedge futures consultancy. She has also worked in finance and speaks for large audiences on topics such as foresight, business policy, talent, work, and diversity. Montero Salvatico believes that exposure to ideas and people from different industries is crucial for gaining a clearer picture of the future. She is critical of many executives’ reliance upon trends-based forecasting, reminding us that “Trends can be our worst enemy because they hold us to what is happening today rather than looking at the underlying causes. Nothing happens in isolation.”
Twitter: @ymsalvatico

53. Alexandra Montgomery Whittington

Alexandra-Montgomery-WhittingtonLocation: Houston, TX, USA

Alexandra Montgomery Whittington is an Adjunct Professor who teaches Forecasting for Technology Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston. Since graduating with a Master of Science in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston Clear Lake in 2003, she has developed a versatile range of skills as a professional futurist. Whittington has worked in a futurist capacity for non-profit, community organizations, corporate clients, and small futurist consulting groups. She has also been a guest on several radio programs and has been published in The Futurist magazine, the Futures journal, and the young adult book series Tackling Tomorrow Today. Building on her previous studies in anthropology, Whittington researches the future of social issues including education, gender roles, families, and communities.
Twitter: @alexandra4casts

54. Nancy Murphy

Nancy-MurphyLocation: San Francisco, CA, USA

Nancy Murphy is the Director of Experience Design and Communications at Worldview Stanford. She is a writer, strategist, consultant and “network evangelist” who focuses on creating interdisciplinary learning experiences about the future. During her two decades at Global Business Network, Murphy co-created dozens of conferences and learning experiences for executives, edited and promoted multiple books, and helped the organization to grow from a startup to a global brand. For the past few years, Murphy has been mentoring young women from Rwanda in her volunteer work for the Open A Door Foundation.
Twitter: @nmurphysf

55. Kristin Nauth

Kristin-NauthLocation: Charlottesville, VA, USA

Kristin Nauth describes herself as an “infomaniac”. She works at Foresight Alliance, where she uses research and creative analysis to help clients transform threats and opportunities into new value and competitive advantage. During her time as house editor, senior analyst, and program manager at Social Technologies, Nauth wrote or edited briefs, reports, presentations, and scenarios for global 1000 clients including Kellogg’s, Procter & Gamble, Univision, and Shell. Before becoming a futurist, Nauth worked as a business journalist and editor in Washington, DC. Her articles were featured in publications ranging from the Washington Post to Knowledge Management to MacWorld. Nauth belongs to the Association of Professional Futurists, American Independent Writers, and The Foresight Network.
Twitter: @knauth2015

56. Claire Nelson

Location: Washington, DC, USA

International development and social innovation are crucial to the work of futurist speaker and sustainability engineer, Dr. Claire Nelson. “As a trained engineer with artistic leanings, I have combined my love for dreaming with my systems thinking, bent to carve out a niche as a futurist, and social entrepreneur,” Nelson writes. She believes that everyone has the innate capacity to achieve more by mastering change. Nelson’s passion for empowering others has seen her found the Institute of Caribbean Studies, speak widely on human rights, leadership, and racial diversity, and establish the Annual Congressional Forum on US/Caribbean relations. She spent over thirty years at the InterAmerican Development Bank before establishing the Futures Forum “to bring the power of strategic foresight to communities around the world”. Nelson has been named a White House Champion of Change for Connecting the Americas. She serves on the Board of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, Sustainability Division, and the International Editorial Advisory Board for the World Future Society. Nelson’s ideal future would be “a Sustainable Shared Future based on development with identity, empowerment, equality and equity”.
Twitter: @DrClaireNelson

57. Erica Orange

Location: New York, NY, USA

Erica Orange is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of The Future Hunters, a futurist consulting firm. She evaluates emerging trends and identifies their strategic implications for Fortune 500 companies, trade associations, and public sector clients. Before joining the foresight industry, Orange studied a Bachelor of Arts, Political Science and Psychology, and worked in politics and communications. She is now a keynote speaker and published author who has written on topics such as “Understanding the Human-Machine Interface in a Time of Change”, 4D printing, Millennials, and the emergence of a global “She-conomy”.
Twitter: @ErOrange

58. Isabel Pedersen

Location: Toronto, ON, Canada

Dr. Isabel Pedersen is a Canada Research Chair, Associate Professor, and the Director of Decimal Lab, a digital culture and media collective affiliated with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Her work explores the emergence of wearable, implantable, and ingestible digital technologies, tracking the potential social, political and cultural consequences of this evolution. She is the author of Ready to Wear: A Rhetoric of Wearable Computers and Reality-Shifting Media (Parlor Press: 2013) and writes for international journals such as Semiotica, Social Semiotics, Biography, and Continuum. Her research interests include critical dystopian film, transhumanism, and brain interfaces that promise us dramatically divergent futures. “Technology will create a sophisticated lifestyle that will make us healthier, more efficient and more focused,” she says in a short video for UOIT. “Will that future also diminish our creativity, our privacy, and our sense of self?”
Twitter: @isabel_pedersen

59. Faith Popcorn

Location: New York, NY, USA

According to futurist and marketing expert Faith Popcorn, the increasing power of women will make the next decade “The SheCade”. In 2012, Popcorn predicted the “SHE-change”, a new era of female power and influence in our world. She prides herself on being an early identifier of many key trends, from the demand for fresh food to the explosive growth of home delivery, home shopping and home businesses. Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve consults to Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, American Express, and Campbell’s Soup. Known for her charisma, sharp wits and humour, as well as her spot-on forecasting of consumer patterns, Popcorn has been called “The Trend Oracle” by The New York Times and “The Nostradamus of Marketing” by Fortune Magazine. Her FutureView presentation has been watched by thousands of people across the globe. The author of four books on the future, Popcorn continues to make her mark in the media and the realm of trends and brand repositioning.
Twitter: @FaithPopcorn

60. Joanne Pransky

Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Have you ever heard of a robotic psychiatrist? Dr. Joanne Pransky is the World’s First Robotic Psychiatrist®, a noted expert on human-robot relationships who consults for top robotic and entertainment organizations. Pransky’s career highlights include being the robotics futurist at SciFutures and co-founding and editing the International Journal of Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery. Inspired by renowned author, futurist and robotics thinker Isaac Asimov, Pransky’s lifelong mission has been “to prepare the world for living and working with robots on a daily basis by humorously discussing these social issues at national and international conferences, and by appearing on numerous television shows and film documentaries with her robot ‘patients’”. Pransky’s enthusiasm for robopsychology has seen her alluded to as “the real life Susan Calvin”, the chief psychologist in Asimov’s Robot series. Pransky’s media appearances and publications have helped to catalyze the surge in robotic activity at Silicon Valley. Her ultimate goal is “to help people understand their emotional, social and psychological responses to robotic technologies, which are bound to proliferate in the coming years, impacting every aspect of their lives”.
Twitter: @roboshrink

61. Katherine Prince

Katherine-PrinceLocation: San Francisco, CA, USA

Katherine Prince is the Senior Director of Strategic Foresight at KnowledgeWorks. She speaks and writes about the trends shaping education over the coming decade, helping education stakeholders to challenge their assumptions about how education functions, and actively pursue their visions for the future of learning. Before joining KnowledgeWorks in 2006, Prince supported large-scale changes in working practice at Britain’s Open University, introducing an online portal and an online student feedback system for thousands of tutors across the UK. When she studied her MBA, Prince focused on change and knowledge management, creativity, and innovation. Her 2014 TedxColumbus talk offers a glimpse of her vision for a radically personalized future of learning.
Twitter: @katprince

62. Marsha Rhea

Location: Alexandria, VA, USA

As the President of Signature i, LLC, Marsha Rhea helps leaders to discover, plan and perform their signature work in the world. Her specialties include association management, environmental scanning, change management, and innovation. Rhea previously worked as Senior Futurist for the Institute of Alternative Futures. She holds a BA in English and History and a Masters in Public Administration, and she is studying a course on Leading Strategic Innovation in Organizations. Rhea believes that in order to prepare for the future, we need to challenge our assumptions, pay attention to other perspectives, and see change as an opportunity.
Twitter: @mlrhea

63. Sara Robinson

Sara-RobinsonLocation: Seattle, WA, USA

Sara Robinson is an experienced futurist who also describes herself as a “designer, writer, investor, time traveler” and “incorrigible collector of change theories”. With a background in political futures, Robinson’s areas of expertise include the baby boomer generation; millennials; and the intersection of religion, culture and politics. As a writer and journalist, she has contributed her thoughts on the American political and cultural landscape to several publications, including The Huffington Post,, and AlterNet. Earlier in her career, Robinson spent a decade writing copy for major Silicon Valley companies. She is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists and has been actively involved in panels for the World Future Society. As a frontrunner and mentor, Robinson has inspired many of her fellow futurists to pursue studies and careers in foresight.
Twitter: @SaraRobinson

64. Juliana Rotich

Location: Chicago, IL, USA

“No matter the industry…Make, fix, help others.” This philosophy is embraced by technologist, strategic advisor and entrepreneur Juliana Rotich. Born in Kenya, Rotich moved to America where she studied computer science. After working her way up the corporate ladder in the technology world, Rotich co-founded Ushahidi, an open-source software platform that crowdsources crisis information. The software was first used during the Kenyan presidential election crisis in 2008 and has since assisted with diverse crisis situations in Japan, Chile, Australia, Tanzania, Pakistan and Haiti. Rotich also co-founded Kenyan hardware company BRCK Inc., which makes a self-powered mobile WiFi router. In 2011, Rotich was named Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year in Africa by the World Economic Forum (WEF). She currently serves as a member of WEF’s Global Agenda Council on Data Driven Development, as well as the advisory councils of Microsoft 4Afrika, Waabeh Ltd and BASF. As a blogger, keynote speaker, and Senior TED Fellow, Rotich is known for her commentary on the loss of native forest and water catchments in Kenya, as well as the future of technology in Africa.
Twitter: @afromusing

65. Rebecca Ryan

Location: Madison, WI, USA

Rebecca Ryan likes to be known as a “human sparkplug”. She is an engaging futurist, speaker, author, and strategist, with a background in economics and international relations. As the founder and co-owner of Next Generation Consulting, Ryan leads a team that helps leaders “to attract and retain the next generation of creative workers”. She is also the Resident Futurist at the Alliance for Innovation, a Senior Fellow at CEOs for Cities, and an advisor for the Accounting Fly job platform and the OwnForce platform for contractors. Her accolades include being named among Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People and being awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by the US Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
Twitter: @ngcrebecca

66. Marian Salzman

Marian-SalzmanLocation: Silvermine, CT and Tucson, AZ, USA

As one of the world’s top trendspotters, Marian Salzman creates successful consumer campaigns and reaches global audiences with her insights on diverse topics, from trends to personal branding to consumer differences. Salzman’s annual trends forecasts attract widespread interest and commentary. She is the CEO of Havas PR North America, an agency which has received awards under her leadership for innovation, digital prowess, media relations and more. Salzman blogs for the Huffington Post, and CNBC, and she has authored or co-authored 16 books. She has appeared on prominent television channels such as CNN, the BBC, and Bloomberg TV. Her accolades include being named in PRWeek’s Power List in 2014 and Business Insider’s 25 Most Powerful People in PR in 2012. Salzman has contributed her PR expertise to major awards and programs, including the future entrepreneurs initiative Venture for America, and the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
Twitter: @mariansalzman

67. Heather Schlegel

Location: West Hollywood, CA

Futurist, strategist and filmmaker Heather Schlegel, also known as “heathervescent”, is excited by technology’s capacity “to positively impact the lives of billions of people”. Schlegel founded The Purple Tornado company to streamline her speaking and consulting, research, design fictions, and media productions. As the producer of five short films, and the host of the Future of Wearables Podcast, Schlegel enjoys the creative side of futures work. She is also a keen social scientist who has helped to launch more than 50 Internet products at over 30 startups in Silicon valley and Los Angeles. As a graduate student in 2013, Schlegel was awarded 1st place by the Association of Professional Futurists for her work on “The Human Problem”. Schlegel is now best known for her research on the Future of Money and Transactions.
Twitter: @heathervescent

68. Wendy Schultz

Location: Oxford, UK, and USA

Dr. Wendy Schultz has over thirty years of experience in foresight research, planning, and facilitation. She holds an MA and PhD in Alternative Futures from the University of Hawaii and has directed her own foresight business, Infinite Futures, for over 27 years. Her broad range of projects includes environmental futures, food futures, nanotechnology, transhumanism, and the future of philanthropy. She currently holds an impressive number of positions, including Principal of SAMI Consulting, Senior Fellow at the Center for Postnormal Policy and Futures Studies, and Emergentista and Specialist in Gear Change at LASA Development U.K.
Twitter: @wendyinfutures

69. Cynthia Selin

Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA

Dr. Cynthia Selin investigates and writes extensively on the future, including the nature of future-orientation, how prospective analysis contributes to scientific and technologic outcomes, strategies to handle uncertainty, and the intersections between sustainability and innovation. An Associate Fellow of Oxford University’s Saïd Business School and an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University, Selin’s research focuses on the ethical, social, and political dimensions of emerging technologies. In addition to leading a research program at ASU’s Center for Nanotechnology in Society, she explores topics related to renewable energy systems, medical diagnostics, cities, nuclear energy, and synthetic biology. Selin is professionally trained in scenario planning, facilitation and conflict mediation, and has designed and facilitated numerous scenario and strategic planning exercises across the public and private sectors, especially in the field of energy.
Twitter: @CynthiaSelin

70. Cecily Sommers

Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA

An unorthodox background in medicine and dance has helped Cecily Sommers to bring fresh insights into the world of futures. For the past 17 years, Sommers has been speaking and consulting on strategic foresight and innovation, especially positive topics like the art of reinvention and finding new industry opportunities. In the year 2000 she founded the Push Institute, a non-profit think tank that tracks significant global trends and their implications over the next five to fifty years. Sommers made a career breakthrough with the publication of her book Think Like a Futurist: Know what changes, what doesn’t, and what’s next, in 2012. Her book shares some of the tools and techniques she uses with individuals and organizations to help them break free from the “Permanent Present”—the bias for projecting current conditions into the future.
Twitter: @cecilysommers

71. Suzanne Stein

Suzanne-SteinLocation: Toronto, ON, Canada

Professor Suzanne Stein is a foresight analyst, educator, and mentor. She currently holds three main positions: Associate Professor, Strategic Foresight & Innovation at OCAD University; Workshop Leader at the Institute Without Boundaries; and Lead Mentor at IdeaBoost, Canadian Film Center. Stein’s focus is the domain of new technologies and its relationships with business strategy, organizational change, and experience design. She is a leader in foresight and ethnographic techniques who is “on the prowl for more mechanisms for positive change”. At OCAD, Stein works on the Digital Futures Initiative. One of her key projects has been “The Future of Carbon Information about Consumer Products”, which applied the foresight process known as the “Cone of Plausibility” to create scenarios for product carbon life-cycles. Other project highlights have included the DesignJam service for young startups and aspiring entrepreneurs, and OCAD’s Advanced Digital Training initiative.
Twitter: @Suzzle

72. Melanie Swan

Location: CA, USA

Melanie Swan is “passionate about innovation and technologies with extensive world-changing power”. In September 2014, she founded the Institute for Blockchain Studies, and in 2010 she founded DIYgenomics to make personal genome information useful through crowdsourced clinical trials. Swan’s career has spanned philosophy, research, finance, and entrepreneurship, including founding a technology startup company, GroupPurchase. She served as Director of Research at Telecoms Consultancy Ovum RHK, and previously held management and finance positions at iPass in Silicon Valley, JPMorgan in New York, Fidelity in Boston, and Arthur Andersen in Los Angeles. Swan has advised many organizations and government agencies, and she is an active promoter of science, technology, and opportunities for women. She contributes to the nonprofit space as a member of several Boards, and she also volunteers her blockchain knowledge to help develop blockchain-based credit bureaus in emerging markets countries.
Twitter: @LaBlogga

73. Jody Turner

Location: West Coast, USA

A dynamic social researcher, cultural narrator, future trend hunter and strategic designer, Jody Turner works and speaks globally via her company Turner’s clients have included Apple, BMW, StyleVision France, and Unilever Istanbul. Her keynote speaking engagements have seen her travel to places as diverse as Ghana, Finland, Brazil and Italy to talk about entrepreneurship, human branding, new media, emotional design, and more. Turner’s specialty is “Business Innovation Insight—Future Brand Anthropology”, a field that has seen her investigate Digital Natives and blog for publications including Fast Company and Stanford Social Innovation Review. Empowering women and girls is important to Turner, and she has worked on the Nike Foundation Girl Effect, the Forbes Girl Quake project, and the Empowerment Plan to help homeless women and disaster relief efforts.
Twitter: @CultureofFuture

74. Kathi Vian

Kathi-VianLocation: New York City, NY, USA

Kathi Vian has extensive experience in applying new methodologies and frameworks to cutting-edge issues in technology and society. For over a decade, Vian led the Ten-Year Forecast Program at the Institute for the Future (IFTF). She is now a Distinguished Fellow at IFTF, where she examines the future through three intersecting lenses: the innovators in open economies, the evolution of smart networking and social media, and the extreme environments in which human communities will evolve in the next 100 years. Vian’s research centers on the urgent futures that will challenge us in the coming decade. She is particularly interested in the tools and social innovations that will reshape responses to issues such as stark global inequalities, an uncertain climate, changes in the nature of work, and redefinitions of human biology.
Twitter: @kathivian

75. Carmen Villadar

Location: Toronto, ON, Canada

Carmen Villadar is a digital strategist, futurist, and startup advocate who enjoys blogging and helping others to innovate. She works as Digital Communications Manager for health research company Phenomenome Discoveries Inc. and Digital Relations Activist for Big Data firm ExB Group. She also works with BrandPR to help brands “build people relationships” and “find their human side”. For Villadar, PR stands for Personal Relevance. She asks herself why someone would want to personally connect with a brand and what aspects of a brand they would find personally relevant to them. Villadar credits her earlier career as a nurse with honing her skills in strategy, negotiating and empathy. Nonetheless, her drive to “cultivate game changers” means that she has turned down “clients that still have their heads operating inside their industry’s box”.
Twitter: @digitalfemme

76. Cynthia Wagner

Location: Bethesda, MD, USA

Writing, editing, communications, and journalism are crucial skills that helped Cynthia Wagner to find a foothold in the futures industry. Wagner started her career at the World Future Society in 1981 as an editorial assistant for The Futurist magazine. In 1992, Wagner became the publication’s managing editor and in 2011 she became its editor. Wagner has been instrumental to many World Future Society initiatives, including the launch of the Society’s free monthly electronic newsletter, Futurist Update, in 2000, and preparing the anthologies of futures essays reviewed at Society meetings. Wagner has produced the popular Outlook Top 10 Forecast videos on YouTube, and she has edited videos and photos from futures conferences. She is currently Senior Editor of Scrap, the magazine of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, and a Consulting Editor for AAI Foresight.
Twitter: @CynWag1

77. Amy Webb

Location: Baltimore, MD, USA

Digital media futurist Amy Webb founded the aptly named Webbmedia Group, a digital strategy consulting firm that researches near-future trends in digital media and emerging technology. Forbes named Webb one of the “Women Changing the World” due to her many publications and her influence on university education, the arts and the sciences. She is a Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and a regular contributor on the future of technology, lifestyles, Big Data, and business for Inc. Magazine and Slate Magazine. Webb has co-founded Knowledgewebb Training to teach high-profile clients about digital media, and Spark Camp to gather together thought leaders from diverse industries. In 2013, Webb published Data, A Love Story, a bestselling memoir about the world of online dating and finding love via algorithms.
Twitter: @amywebb

78. Edie Weiner

Location: New York, NY, USA

Back in 1970, Edie Weiner joined the Institute of Life Insurance in New York City, at a time of massive change in the insurance industry due to the tumultuous events of the 1960s. She worked on the Trend Analysis Program under the leadership of Arnold Brown, who recognized her “amazing gift for futurism”. In 1977, Weiner, Brown, and Hal Edrich decided to start their own consulting firm to help organizations with horizon scanning, a field which was gaining increasing acceptance. As well as helping to pioneer trend analysis, Weiner has been widely published and has co-authored four books with Brown. Her latest book, FutureThink, was a global bestseller. Weiner’s career has seen her lecture at universities such as Harvard and Wharton, found a mentoring program for at risk young women, and serve on numerous Boards and Advisory Boards. In 2011 she received the World Future Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Twitter: @WEBfuturetrends

79. Amy Zalman

Location: Washington, DC, USA

Dr. Amy Zalman has been a CEO and President of the World Future Society, the world’s first and largest membership organization for futurists, foresight, and advocacy on future-critical issues. Zalman has worked in sectors as diverse as national security, communications, and business development in science and technology. She is the founder and Principal of Strategic Narrative, a consultancy that helps governments and the private sector use insights from storytelling to guide strategy and communications. Zalman’s interest in narratives harks back to her undergraduate studies in English literature and poetry. She also holds a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from New York University and is proficient in Arabic and Hebrew. Zalman’s articles have been widely published, and include titles such as “The Global War on Terror: A Narrative in Need of a Rewrite” and “How Power Really Works in the 21st Century: Beyond Soft, Hard and Smart”. She is on the Board of Directors of the Council for Emerging National Security Affairs (CENSA) and she has spoken for high-profile organizations such as US Congress, NATO and the EastWest Institute Worldwide Security Conference.
Twitter: @StratNarrative



Central and South America

1. Rosa Alegría

RosaAlegria_200Location: Saõ Paulo, Brazil

Rosa Alegría is a futures consultant and facilitator of innovation and change who is passionate about making a difference. She is the director of the Brazilian node of the Millennium Project, which has seen her contribute to the Women Foresight Study white paper. Alegría is an advocate for women’s rights, economic empowerment, and responsible media, which has seen her co-found the Media for Peace movement. Her interests range from the future of consumerism to new frontiers of economic development. She represents Latin America in the IFG International Foresight Group based in Germany and is the Latin American research associate of the Kairos Institute based in Sweden. As a contributing author for Latinoamérica 2030: Estudio Delphi y Escenarios, Alegría has significant expertise in scenario planning. Her extensive career has seen her work as a Research Director and Co-Chair for the Center of Future Studies at Saõ Paulo Catholic University. Alegría is the Executive Director of Mercado Etico, the Brazilian Version of Ethical Markets, which is a multimedia platform on sustainability and corporate social responsibility created by futurist Hazel Henderson.
Twitter: @rosaalegria

2. Guillermina Baena Paz

Guillermina-Baena-PazLocation: Mexico City, Mexico

Dr. Guillermina Baena Paz is a future-oriented professor who has published over 40 books and co-authored another 25. She has participated in diverse international events on the future and worked at educational institutions since 1968, including Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), the largest university in Latin America. Baena Paz has coordinated Prospective Studies at UNAM, and edited the e-magazine Prospective Constructing Futures, and the Working Papers Series in Political Prospective. She is a member of professional associations such as the World Future Society and the Executive Board of the World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF), where she founded the Ibero-American chapter and has been its General Secretary since its creation. Baena Paz is also the WFSF’s Vice-President, Latin America.

3. Claudia (Lala) Deheinzelin

Lala-DeheinzelinLocation: Saõ Paulo, Brazil

Claudia (Lala) Deheinzelin is a futurist who specializes in the Creative Economy and sustainable development. She coordinates the international movement Crie Futuros, which she founded to enable trans-disciplinary approaches to desired futures and innovation. The motto of Crie Futuros maintains that “the future is the fruit of the dreams of the past and the choices of the present”. Deheinzelin also coordinates Brazil’s first postgraduate program on the Creative and Collaborative Economy, as well as the CoLabs 4D initiative in Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. She is the Director of the international cooperative Instituto Pensarte, and has been involved in the future studies council of Núcleo de Estudos do Futuro for the UN Millennium Project. The P2P Foundation has named Deheinzelin as one of 100 Women Co-Creating a Collaborative Society, in the category of Pioneers and Defenders of Ethics in Business and Economics.
Twitter: @laladeheinzelin

Suggest other female futurists for inclusion

6 key insights into the flow of innovation: Creating value in an open world


Embedding innovation into business structures is widely seen as vital for the future success of organizations. Innovation is enabling an extraordinary pace of change in the whole structure of who we are, how business works, and how society functions. “Innovation has become a flow, and must be a flow,” observes leading futurist Ross Dawson.

By learning about the flow of innovation, organizations can turn the realization that we are living in a world of innovation into a positive impetus for change. Here are six key insights into the flow of innovation, drawn from a keynote speech that Dawson gave at the 2015 APIdays Sydney conference.

1. Networks are at the heart of everything

“In a world in which we are moving towards a truly fluid economy, driven partly by powerful twin technological and social trends towards openness, networks are at the heart of everything,” Dawson says. In his book Living Networks, the futurist notes that we have shifted to a society where “value is created by the network, not by the organization”. Rich connectivity makes networks more pervasive, and it is in this connectivity that innovation becomes a flow.

The present decade is full of exciting possibilities because the networks in which we are participating are “coming to life”, Dawson says, and mimicking the workings of our biological networks. What conditions are allowing networks to come to life? Our ability to “enable the connection, enable the flow, enable the innovation, enable that diversity of things coming together”, the futurist observes.

2. Connections are most valuable when they are diverse

The value of diversity is becoming increasingly evident in today’s world. Diversity is key because innovation is all about bringing together different directions and perspectives that have not been connected before. The 1993 Nobel Prize Winner for Chemistry, Kary Mullis, pointed out the value of innovation by recombination, stating, “I put together elements that were already there, but that’s what inventors always do. You can’t make up new elements, usually. The new element, if any, was the combination, the way they were used.” The moral of the story: a team with a broader range of experiences is more likely to challenge conventional wisdom and appreciate the innovation potential of new developments.

3. Innovation with the most important impact occurs at the levels of the organization and the business model

Dawson distinguishes five main domains in which business innovation can be applied: the product or service, marketing, processes, the organization, and the business model. While innovating at each level is required, higher-order innovation is more likely to be repeated and to reap the biggest returns. This is partly because traditional, inflexible organizational structures depend on habits that reinforce the existing business model, as Rita Gunther McGrath observes in Harvard Business Review. Therefore, many organizations need to revise their structures and business models if they want to keep pace with change and reinforce innovation.

4. External networks should mirror internal networks

Klein bottle orangePicture an organization as a Klein bottle (left), an object whose inside and outside have the same surface. In a similar way, an organization’s internal and external networks must be integrated. This analogy shows that the dividing line between the outside and inside of an organization is increasingly fluid. Part of this fluidity is due to open data, says Dawson. He cites Amazon as a prime example of a company that harnesses platform thinking to open up its organizational boundaries. Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, gave all of his teams a mandate: to expose their data and to ensure that their interfaces are externalizable. Employees were told anyone caught breaking these rules or communicating outside the interfaces would be fired.

5. Open data creates value

Business is being shaped by a fundamental, ongoing trend towards openness. This trend is derived from a virtuous cycle where social attitudes shape technology, which in turn shapes social attitudes. Dawson explains that today’s leaders must manage three layers of information inside organizations: proprietary data, information shared with trusted partners, and information thrown open to the world. “There are massive risks to not taking action, not exposing information,” he warns. Organizations who cannot decide what information should be available and what should not are being left behind.

6. Value creation occurs most beyond the organization, across ecosystems

One of the most important messages from Dawson’s APIdays keynote was that “Organizations cannot stand alone. They must be able to create value across systems.” The notion of the business “ecosystem” is signalling a change in strategy: a movement from value creation inside the organization to value creation across a broader space. To succeed in this transition, leaders must realize that they cannot capture all the value for themselves, or their organizations will erode. This is because today’s networks are created not only for the creators, but also for the broader community. The only organizations that will fully develop the flow of innovation will be those that allow sufficient value creation for other participants.

Ecosystem web2
Image sources: Micah Elizabeth Scott and Rosmarie Voegtli

How do you become a futurist? 10 key elements of a career thinking about the future


Many people are curious about the steps that futurists take to build a name for themselves in the futures industry. As a result, futures thinkers are often asked, “How do you become a futurist?” While there is no single career path that all futurists follow, here are several common threads that connect the learning and career history of leading futurists.

Backgrounds in diverse domains

What is striking about the backgrounds of prominent futurists is their individual and collective diversity. The education, industries, and geographical locations of today’s futurists are wide-ranging and sometimes surprising.

Exposure to variety in study, work and society

From film to writing to technology and more, futures thinkers across the globe engage with manifold domains. Some eventual futurists, including leading futurist Ross Dawson, intend to develop a well-rounded career history before adopting the futurist label. Dawson writes in a blog post, “When people ask me what is my background that prepared me for being a futurist, my response is ‘varied’. I worked across six distinct careers in several countries before engaging in my current path.”

Other futurists start their careers without necessarily intending to become futurists. Instead, they gain exposure to a variety of disciplines and gradually discover that being a futurist would be an interesting career suited to their strengths.

Mastering systems thinking

For those who aspire to become futurists, it is important to develop a deep understanding of systems thinking. In the experience of futurists from Genevieve Bell to Amy Webb to Rebecca Costa, travelling and living in diverse countries and cultures can help to form a systemic worldview. Costa attributes her ability to see the “big picture” to her cross-cultural upbringing and education in Japan, Laos and the United States.

Lego globe_640x640

Building capability and credibility

Futurists sometimes face skepticism from members of the public who misunderstand the real role of a futurist, thinking, for example, that futurists are like astrologists! Consequently, for people who decide to build a name for themselves as futurists, credibility is key. Futurists also need to be credible so that the people they work with are engaged and receptive.

Education and self-education

One way to gain credibility is to complete a tertiary futures studies program. The Acceleration Studies Foundation provides a helpful list of futures studies courses from around the world. For futurist Maree Conway, studying the Masters of Strategic Foresight course at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, was a life-changing experience. Conway reflects on her website that “The concept of responsibility for future generations and being a good ancestor struck a real chord with me, and by the end of the two years of the course, I had decided that I wanted to work in the futures field.”

While study can help to boost credibility and define one’s career direction, a large part of the capabilities of a futurist is often self-taught. The path of self-education can involve building experience in one or more careers, seeking out professional development, and maximizing opportunities for mentoring and networking.

Career paths

Although increasing numbers of futurists are studying and teaching futures programs, the game changer for most futurists is their career development. Major fields that futurists emerge from include science and technology, marketing and trends, social studies, anthropology, and the environment and sustainability. Within these disciplines, there are three main pathways that futurists tend to follow:

1) working at a consulting firm
2) corporate roles as in-house consultants or futurists, and
3) founding their own consultancies or strategic foresight businesses.

Across all of these pathways, expertise in strategy and planning is crucial.


Several professionals have donned the “futurist” label after the publication of future-thinking articles or books that have become widely known and appreciated. For Ross Dawson, the “futurist” breakthrough came after the publication of his book, Living Networks, in 2002, where he outlined the upcoming explosion of social networks. Another example is futurist John Naisbitt, whose 1982 book Megatrends inspired millions of readers, including futurist David Houle.

Megatrends John Naisbitt cover

Social networking

Most futurists today harness the power of social media to improve public recognition of their work as a futurist or as a futurist by another name, such as a foresight practitioner or futurologist. Prominent futurists usually have thousands of followers on Twitter, as well as using Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ and other social networks for maximum effect, by sharing some of the fascinating and useful insights into the future they glean from their work.

Professional development

Professionals from a range of fields often develop their personal interest in the future by reading the latest literature on future trends, forecasting, organization and system change, science and technology, and other forward-thinking topics. They may also attend conferences and seminars about the future and join professional associations such as the World Future Society or the Association of Professional Futurists (APF). Candidates to join the APF must be recommended by a member and must meet two of the six selection criteria, which span employment as a consulting or organizational futurist, obtaining a postgraduate degree in futures studies, or demonstrating competence in teaching, writing or speaking on futures theory or methodology.

Mentoring and fostering connections

The process of learning about the future can be boosted by closely connecting with one or more professional futurists. Following them on social media is a starting point, but working for them or learning from them through direct mentoring can be a powerful asset. The benefits of mentoring for inspiration and know-how are vouched for by futurist danah boyd, who looks up to Genevieve Bell as a mentor in the technology space, and futurist Glen Hiemstra, who learnt from Ed Lindaman, an early member of the World Future Society.

The power of media

One way to solidify your education and expertise in particular fields is to develop a media presence. Most prominent futurists have their own websites that include links to their recent mentions in newspapers and their interviews on television or radio. If major media channels recognize your work and describe you as a futurist, this strongly supports your positioning and your ability to create value.

Creating value as a futurist

Becoming a futurist is not simply about forging a career, making money or acquiring fame. Futurist Ross Dawson believes that futurists have an important purpose: to create value for clients and the world around them. To achieve this goal, futurists must encourage leadership at all levels; that is, they must inspire other people to help create brighter futures.

Surian Soosay futurist pic

Image sources: dirkb86, bidorbuy, and Surian Soosay

The best futurists ever: how Buckminster Fuller anticipated today’s challenges over 50 years ago


220px-BuckminsterFuller1By Ross Dawson

When I’m asked who my favorite futurists are, usually the first person who springs to mind is Buckminster Fuller. He was an extraordinary inventor, a true visionary who had a massive impact on how we think, and was way ahead of his time.

You can discover more about his work from the Buckminster Fuller Institute.

Today I was looking again at some of his work, and was struck at how prescient his thinking was. Five decades ago he was talking about many of the issues that are today dominant in our considerations of the future. He brought deep and powerful insights that are exceptionally relevant to us today, not least to the future of work. His work remains powerful and useful.

I have taken a selection of quotes from his work (from WikiQuotes) below that are still highly relevant today. Let us learn from his wisdom.

Talking about Massive Open Online Courses and the pull of education:

Children, as well as grown-ups, in their individual, glorified, drudgery-proof homes of Labrador, the tropics, the Orient, or where you will, to which they can pass with pleasure and expedition by means of ever-improving transportation, will be able to tune in their television and radio to the moving picture lecture of, let us say, President Lowell of Harvard; the professor of Mathematics of Oxford; of the doctor of Indian antiquities of Delhi, etc. Education by choice, with its marvelous motivating psychology of desire for truth, will make life ever cleaner and happier, more rhythmical and artistic.
– 4D Timelock (1928)

Talking about the role of humans versus computers:

“Man is going to be displaced altogether as a specialist by the computer. Man himself is being forced to reestablish, employ, and enjoy his innate “comprehensivity.”
– Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (1963)
[Note: Fuller was an apostle of “comprehensive thinking” – thinking about the whole and not just the parts]

Talking about the very current debate on a basic living wage as automation replaces jobs:

We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.
– “The New York Magazine Environmental Teach-In” by Elizabeth Barlow in New York Magazine (30 March 1970), p. 30

Talking about the Circular Economy:

Pollution is nothing but resources we’re not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value.
– As quoted in “The View from the Year 2000” by Barry Farrell in LIFE magazine (26 February 1971)

Talking about augmentation and extension of our senses:

Up to the Twentieth Century, reality was everything humans could touch, smell, see, and hear. Since the initial publication of the chart of the electromagnetic spectrum, humans have learned that what they can touch, smell, see, and hear is less than one-millionth of reality. Ninety-nine percent of all that is going to affect our tomorrows is being developed by humans using instruments and working in ranges of reality that are nonhumanly sensible.
– R. Buckminster Fuller on Education (University of Massachusetts Press, 1979), p. 130

Describing the rise of the living networks:

The new human networks’ emergence represents the natural evolutionary expansion into the just completed, thirty-years-in-its-buildings world-embracing, physical communications network. The new reorienting of human networking constitutes the heart-and-mind-pumped flow of life and intellect into the world arteries.
– Grunch of Giants (1983)

Talking about applying technology to create better futures:

I do know that technologically humanity now has the opportunity, for the first time in its history, to operate our planet in such a manner as to support and accommodate all humanity at a substantially more advanced standard of living than any humans have ever experienced.
– Grunch of Giants (1983)

On everyone’s personal responsibility to shape a better future at a time when our capabilities are massively amplified:

I have to say, I think that we are in some kind of final examination as to whether human beings now, with this capability to acquire information and to communicate, whether we’re really qualified to take on the responsibility we’re designed to be entrusted with. And this is not a matter of an examination of the types of governments, nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with economic systems. It has to do with the individual. Does the individual have the courage to really go along with the truth?
– Only Integrity is Going to Count (1983)

These quotes just brush the surface of the depth of Buckminster Fuller’s work. I will come back later to some of his important themes and work.

The future of analogue people in a digital world


A little while ago, I gave the keynote at Bridge Point Forum on Future Directions in the Digital Age, the title riffing off the conference’s theme of The Rise of the Digital Age.

I opened by making the critical point that, while the digital world is rising around us at an extraordinary pace, humans are completely analogue. Nothing about humans is digital. While we can conceive of and enact digital processes and thoughts, these are created from fully analogue neural networks.

This means that one of the most important frames on our future is understanding the interface between analogue humans and our increasingly digital external environment.

I illustrated the idea with segments of this movie of three Geminoids – essentially robot replicas of humans – together with their human models.

There is obviously a long way to go, but digital (and some analogue) technologies are getting closer to replicating some aspects of what we understand to be human.

Our analogue nature is in fact at the heart of what makes humans so much better than computers at many things such as conceptualizing, synthesis, and relationships.

There are many capabilities that were long considered to be uniquely human, such as playing chess at the highest level, yet brute digital processing power beat us long ago. Other amazing capabilities built on our analogue structure, such as facial recognition, are now being matched or transcended by digital capabilities.

All of which means that human interfaces with digital machines must be a large part of our future. They may be simple, such as visual and gesture interfaces that play to our analogue strengths. Or they may be more direct, such as the thought interfaces shown in this movie.

Perhaps an increasing number of people will choose to make themselves partly digital, as Kevin Warwick of I Cyborg fame has done. Or perhaps we will simply create better interfaces.

I do not believe our human analogue richness can be fully captured in digital structures (which is a subject for another post). Which means that the interfaces between analogue humans and the digital world in which we are immersed will be absolutely central to our future.

Contact keynote speaker and futurist Contact
Energize your event with leading futurist and keynote speaker Ross Dawson’s compelling and inspirational presentations that leave audiences stimulated. Contact Ross Dawson’s office today to discuss the precise keynote topic and title that will best meet your requirements.

The future of travel and tourism: safe adventures, real-time guidance, and new frontiers


Recently, I spoke about the future of travel and tourism on the Morning Show.


Some of the things I talked about:

* The impact of the ageing developing world population, including the quest for “safe adventures” and the likely continued rise of cruise ships as a way to travel.

* The desire for greater experience in both travel and destination, resulting in the possibility of glass-topped aircraft to see the night skies as never before, and moving beyond the usual tourist itineraries to ever-more exotic locations.

* A massive rise in sustainable tourism, with low impact hotels and activities and the opportunity to observe rare species.

* Medical tourism continuing to grow, supported by ageing populations and soaring costs of medical attention in developed countries.

* Technology driving our pre-holiday and vacation experiences. We will be able to experience what it’s like being there before we go. We will get personalised recommendations based on our interests and profile on where we should go and what we should do.

* Real-time translation will allow conversations with people wherever we go.

* Space tourism is on the verge of reality, with Virgin Galactic already having sold 500 tickets at $200,000 a pop and many new competitors arising.

* The spaceships that allow space tourism could enable far faster global travel, including potentially 4 hour flights from Sydney to London.

Contact keynote speaker and futurist Contact
Energize your event with leading futurist and keynote speaker Ross Dawson’s compelling and inspirational presentations that leave audiences stimulated. Contact Ross Dawson’s office today to discuss the precise keynote topic and title that will best meet your requirements.

Futurist, futurologist, foresight practitioner, visionary, foresighteer: what’s in a name?


“By a name I know not how to tell thee who I am,” laments Romeo to Juliette in one of Shakespeare’s most memorable scenes. A similar complaint about the inadequacy of names is often uttered by today’s “futurists”. Be they futurologists, foresight consultants or futurist thinkers by any other name, of what import is their choice of one term over another?

Formerly fashionable futurologists

Name pic_futurologist_grey queue
Futurologists were all the rage back in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. In History and Futurology (1966), German professor Ossip Flechtheim saw futurologists as the future-thinking counterparts of historical sociologists. Little did he know that the role of a futurologist would soon burst the boundaries of sociology and become multi-disciplinary in scope.

Given that most “ologies” are specific, testable branches of knowledge, some futures thinkers dislike the name “futurologist”. In an article for Futures journal, futurist Ziaudinn Sardar writes, “The pretension that exploration of the future is, or can be, an exact field of inquiry is both naïve and dangerous.” He points out that people who study alternative futures may be more accurately termed mellontologists, from the Greek word for time, mellon. Unfortunately, the association of mellon with big, juicy fruits means that potential mellontologists might not be taken seriously.

Name pic_mellontologist
However, not all “ologies” are the precise fields of inquiry that Sardar envisages. One field in particular comes to mind: astrology. Let’s face it, the term “futurologist” has a whiff of the astrologist about it. Connotations of crystal balls and fortune telling render the term obscure for many people. Perhaps this impression of pseudo-science comes from blending the common term “future” with the formal term “ologist”.

Futurists gain momentum in the present

For some futures thinkers, “futurist” has similar flaws to “futurologist”. Maree Conway writes, “Futurist is an accepted title and many of my colleagues use it, but for me it brings with it connotations of certainty and predictability that are unhelpful.” Futurist Ross Dawson agrees with Conway that the future isn’t certain or predictable. Nonetheless, he states in a blog post, “I am completely comfortable with the term futurist, even if some perceive it as lacking credibility.” Both Dawson and Conway appreciate that “futurist” is less esoteric and academic than many equivalent terms. Plus it is easier to say and has overtaken “futurologist” in the popularity stakes.

However, some people dislike the label “futurist” because it evokes the Italian Futurists, radical artists of the Futurism movement in the early twentieth century. Futures thinker and author Andres Agostini wrote a complaint entitled “Why The Universal Usage Of The Terms ‘…Futurism…’ And ‘…Futurist…’ Is Unimpeachably Wrong As Per Three World-Class Dictionaries!” Nonetheless, the rising popularity of the term “futurist” has since prompted Agostini to style himself as a futurist. Yet the ongoing surfeit of words to describe futures thinkers implies that calling oneself a futurist still has its shortcomings.

Name pic_futurist scrapbook

Foresight and its practitioners, researchers and consultants

The question remains: can using an alternative name to “futurist” or “futurologist” provide a helpful distinction? Maree Conway believes that yes, to some extent, it can. “I call myself a strategic foresight practitioner and researcher rather than a futurist,” Conway writes. “This may seem like semantics, but for me it’s an important point.” Conway wants to distinguish herself from multi-disciplinary futurists who, like Ross Dawson, “are asked to talk about the future of x or y or z and they can put together an amazing presentation to do just that”. While she respects the work of these futurists, her chosen role is “more a guide than a facilitator, more a mentor than a speaker and more a critical friend than an expert with the answers”.

For one-on-one or small group contexts, the term “foresight practitioner” or “foresight consultant” may well be appropriate. But for large-scale international audiences, the broader term “futurist” seems more fitting. Within foresight agencies, adding “researcher”, “manager” or another such term to “foresight” can help to customize and clarify a person’s specific role. Nonetheless, it might be ironic for futures thinkers to cling onto rigid job titles if such titles continue to decline in the future.

Opting instead for a generalized name like “foresighter” or “foresighteer” is not without its setbacks. Most foresight-related names suggest “foreseeing something that is not too far and can be actually pinned down”, complains Ziauddin Sardar. For those like Sardar who stress the uncertainty of the future, it is worrying that foresighteers can create the “illusion” of providing a “product” that “comes wrapped with wisdom”. This perception stems from the fact that foresight lacks a plural in English, resulting in name derivatives with a singular focus. In contrast, names relating to “future” or “futures” can evoke open possibilities.

Name pic_flawed future_cropped

Zooming in versus zooming out

Having a specific focus can prove a double-edged sword for labels from “global trends consultant” to “future strategist” or “scenario planner”. Although these names are more precise than “futurist”, they can be restrictive. For example, the uptake of “scenario planners” is blinding many organizations to other methods of exploring the future. But do abstract alternatives—like “visionary” and “luminary”—take a pluralist vision too far?

A luminary is a broad term for someone who inspires or influences others, often outside a futures context. A visionary, however, can have a deceptively narrow definition. French consulting service proGective clarifies that “Unlike the futurist, the visionary has a strong bias—political or otherwise. He/she believes in a given vision of the future, seeks to convince the decision-makers of that vision, and empowers them to make informed decisions with that vision in mind.” This starkly contradicts the “alternative futures” approach of numerous futurist thinkers, including many “horizon scanners” who aim to resist hype and maintain objectivity.

Value in validity and variety

If the futures industry investigated its internal future of naming, it could clear up some widespread misperceptions and avoid an identity crisis. A futurist facing the public should not have to suffer the dilemma of Romeo that “My name…is hateful to myself, because it is an enemy to thee…” Nonetheless, diversity in approach can strengthen the futures field, especially when insights from different types of futurist thinkers are connected. As Dawson reminds us, “However you describe the role, there is clearly value in helping people to think usefully about the future.”

Image sources: David Kernohan, Boston Public Library, Sibe Kokke and Times Up Linz