Futurist and Technology Expert
Erica is Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of The Future Hunters, one of the world’s leading futurist consulting firms. She evaluates emerging social, technological, economic, political, demographic and environmental trends – and identifies the strategic implications (the “So what?”) of those trends for several of the most influential Fortune 500 companies, trade associations and public sector clients. Erica’s ability to connect-the-dots, spot patterns, think critically and analytically, and translate that into actionable strategies is what has made her an invaluable asset to clients.
Erica frequently speaks to a wide range of audiences about global trends that are shaping the landscape today. She has also authored numerous articles, book chapters, and industry white papers on cutting-edge, future-focused topics. Erica is recognized in the industry as having a unique, innovative and fresh perspective.
From 4D printing to the reinvention of agriculture, Erica Orange pinpoints and explores future possibilities, translating the practical implications to Fortune 500’s, trade associations, and public sectors. She is the Executive Vice-President and COO of The Future Hunters, a boutique consulting firm that has been helping organizations prepare for the future for four decades.
Erica’s analytical insights, critical thinking skills, and stage presence are in demand worldwide. She’s spoken on four continents, leading audiences in multiple cultures and industries to connect the dots and plot out game-winning strategies.
Erica currently serves as a Board member on the Career Advisory Board presented by DeVry University. She also sits on the Advisory Board of the Young Luxury Marketers’ Council and the Junior Advisory Committee of OCNA (Ovarian Cancer National Alliance).
Our COVID-19 Reality
The world seems almost dystopian in nature, and understandably so. Specific predictions are almost always difficult (if not impossible) to get right. Even in a world of big data, unforeseen and disruptive events have the potential to change the trajectory of everything – the systems, careers, and lives – we have collectively grown accustomed to. Such is the case right now. Thus, for any enterprise operating in today’s complex environment, the need for foresight becomes not just a strategic priority, but one of strategic urgency. As we look to the future of work, some key questions to consider include: • How will COVID-19 speed up the use of robots to replace human workers? • How will companies expand how they use robots to increase social distancing? • How will COVID-19 change perceptions of trust? • How will the fast-tracking of digital transformations impact the future of work? What might some of the biggest lessons and takeaways be when the dust settles? • What are some of the “silver linings”/opportunities that may emerge from the first truly acute worldwide crisis in generations? • How do we begin to re-imagine our businesses, products, services and systems? Leaders across the board, but particularly those in innovation, face an important inflection point today. The urgency of COVID has unlocked human ingenuity…and institutional ingenuity as an extension of that. What once may have taken years of R&D, strategizing, planning, etc. is now being done in months. What once took months is now taking weeks. Long-delayed initiatives have suddenly been rolled out at scale overnight. Today, more than ever, we all face the pressing need to question all we do, how we do it, and how we survive, compete, and thrive individually and organizationally.
AI, Work & the Evolution of Human Labor
One particular area of focus has been the evolving role of humans in an age of artificial intelligence (AI). In the last couple of decades, the expectations, risks, challenges – all of these have greatly escalated. Almost overnight, global circumstances have changed to bring about an era that will usher in massive changes to human labor. The accelerated disintermediation of human labor across a wide range of sectors will be one of the most fundamentally important outcomes from the current pandemic. From this, one fundamental question emerges: How will humans be economically relevant in a world that is rapidly being disintermediated by advanced technology?
The Competency Tree
COVID, in particular, is changing what it is that we value in the workplace – and the skills and competencies that are required to future-proof your organization. As such, competitiveness will rely on the creation of an entirely new framework. To ensure that we have the thinking required to solve the big issues that will arise in the future, we need to start viewing and training for these skills and competencies as interconnected. Our proprietary Competency Tree is meant to serve as a modeling outline to help visualize potential arenas for future jobs – even ones we have yet to be able to imagine. How might we future-proof the human workforce to make them more innovative than ever? How can a business begin to rethink workforce strategy to effectively leverage The Competency Tree?
Generational Compression: Understanding Cybrids
Another area of focus is on generational trends – particularly from a values and attitudes perspective. Generations have long been grouped in birth year cohorts of 15-20 years. But generations are now seemingly refreshing every two-to-three years. Technology is changing so rapidly that kids only a few years apart struggle to have the same cultural and technological frames of reference. Today’s youth are not just “digital natives” – they are Cybrids – cyber hybrids, who have a fully symbiotic relationship with the digital world from the moment they were born. Understanding what makes this generation tick is critical for understanding retention & recruitment, advertising/marketing, education/learning, etc.
The 10 Growth Areas of the Metaspace Economy
This lecture builds upon the idea that we are currently undergoing a fundamental transformation and restructuring of the global economy. We outline the 10 growth areas of The Metaspace Economy, and what those mean for client businesses or lecture audiences.
The techniques that help you think about the future differently. This instructs audiences to permanently change their way of thinking about future trends and how best to develop actionable strategies to capitalize on those trends. This lecture includes real-world, practical examples of each of the thinking technologies.
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[Erica’s] talk was a hit. It really had our attendees thinking about the many possibilities ahead, and the talk sent them off to their professional development sessions with “eyes wide open”. [She] had a great command of the content and the research-based information earned our audience’s respect and attention right from the start. It worked out splendidly!
- CARRIE GRAPENTHIN | Director, Corporate Communications & Integrated Marketing, Navigant
Erica came beautifully prepared and discussed the importance of examining topics from a fresh and innovative perspective. She was creative, articulate, astute and was able to give the students examples that they could readily relate to. I would definitely use Erica again.
- MARY MANNING | President, Manning & Associates
[Erica’s] lively, engaging delivery was a great way to energize our first session.
- LORAINE KOEPENICK | Coordinator of Member Services, INPACT Americas (Int’l Alliance of Professional Accountants)