Futurist, Humanist, Strategic Advisor,
and Best-Selling Author
Gerd Leonhard is a widely-known and top-rated futurist, with over 1500 engagements in 50+ countries since 2004 and a combined audience of over 1 million people. Gerd focusses on near-future, ‘nowist’ observations and actionable foresights in the sectors of humanity, society, business and commerce, media, technology and communications.
Gerd is also an influential author, a sought-after executive ‘future trainer’ and a trusted strategic advisor. He is the co-author of the best-selling book The Future of Music and the author of 5 other books including Technology vs. Humanity: The Coming Clash Between Man and Machine. Gerd is also the host of the web-TV series TheFutureShow and the CEO of TheFuturesAgency, a global network of over 30 leading futurists.
Gerd is considered a leading voice on a wide range of topics including digital transformation and the opportunity-challenges of the coming exponential society, a sustainable business and cultural ecology, social media and communications, TV / film, radio and broadcasting futures, mobile content and commerce, innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship, ‘hard-future’ consumer trends, human-machine futures and AI, cognitive computing, the IoT, big data and automation, next-generation advertising, marketing and branding, as well as sustainability and related ‘green future’ topics.
In 2006, The Wall Street Journal called Gerd ‘one of the leading Media Futurists in the World’. In 2015, Wired Magazine listed Gerd as #88 of the top 100 influencers in Europe. He’s #21 on the global list of futurists.
Gerd’s keynotes, speeches and presentations are renowned for their hard-hitting and provocative yet inspiring, often humorous and always personal motivational style. Gerd is highly regarded as a global influencer and has advised many business leaders and government officials around the globe.
His diverse client list of over 300 companies includes UBS, Mastercard, Unilever, Lloyds Bank, WWF, Nokia, The Guardian, Google, Sony, Telkom Indonesia, Siemens, RTL, ITV, BBC, France Telecom, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, MTN, The Financial Times, DDB, Ogilvy, Omnicom, IPG, The EU Commission, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, VISA, and many others.
Virtual Presentations and Events
Top-rated Futurist, Keynote Speaker, Author and CEO Gerd Leonhard, can provide online events and conferences of any size. He offers turn-key solutions for agencies, brands, corporate clients, governments, organizations and individuals. He can put together entire programs for you, or he can take your existing event concepts and convert them to online formats, or he can just do remote keynotes for you. Integrate your own speakers and executives, as well. He can set up your event using the most suitable platform (such as zoom, goto meeting, or webinar jams etc), and he can run the entire event for you, including hosting, moderation and interactions with the participants.
SUSTAINABLE: THE NEW PROFITABLE
We must now face the fact that wide-ranging and disruptive carbon taxes are inevitable. Yet after the initial shock waves – and if done right – carbon taxes might not only inject Trillions of $/€ into climate change adaptation and mitigation measures (a huge opportunity in itself), but may also fund up to 100 Million new jobs in all sectors related to sustainability. In addition, the much debated shift to shareholder- (not just shareholder-) value is likely to reboot stock-markets around the world in the next 5-7 years, as we transition from the quickly outmoding, single bottom-line of PROFIT to what I call the quadruple bottom-line: People, Planet, Purpose and Prosperity (sustainable capitalism). Lastly, I think 2020 marks the beginning of a New Renaissance as responsible investing – and rapid divestment from fossil fuels, in particular – is quickly becoming a #1 topic with every fund and every family office, around the globe. In this talk, I often venture beyond climate and energy issues to also address related topics such as the humanly sustainable use of technology (if desired).
HAPPINESS IN THE DIGITAL AGE
I have spoken a lot about happiness in my talks since 2015, and it’s an important chapter in my book Technology vs Humanity. Trust isn’t digital. Machines don’t do relationships. Happiness is not a download, and it can’t be automated or digitized. Yes, technology is great at giving us more or less hedonic pleasures such as free phone calls, access to unlimited music, TV Shows & films, networking opportunities for business or shopping online. Yet at the same time, unhappiness appears to be rising around the world (as are mental health issues and opioid addiction), and the power-users of social networks are said to the highest suicide rate of any population segment. Is technology, done wrong, ‘bicycles for the mind but bullets for the soul’? Does ‘too much technology’ (#toomuchmagictech) lead to unhappiness? Does too-much-tech prevent us from being open to true happiness? If so, how will we balance technology and our need for real happiness? As big tech offers its hedonistic pleasure traps, how can we protect and pursue those deeper forms of happiness (eudaemonia) that involve what I all the ANDRORITHMS such as empathy, compassion, and consciousness? And what about digital well-being? Technology is very good at giving us what we want but very bad at giving us what we need. Technology is not what we seek but how we seek. We will not find real happiness on a screen or in VR, or in the cloud.
A NEW RENAISSANCE
The first Renaissance was a European movement away from feudal dogma to human artistry and independent thought, led by polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci. Today, the new dogmas – Technology, Data and Connectivity – are endangering human agency, threatening to literally reprogram us. Something must and can be done. Based on almost two decades of global experiences and insights as a Futurist, Gerd now outlines his vision of a new human renaissance – essentially an embrace of human sovereignty over medieval dogma – and how we can reassert the human being over its artificial substitution and replacement. For this bold new talk, Gerd rediscovers the spirit of the Renaissance to offer you a new vision based on human genius and human values. Instead of a tech-dominated dystopia full of bots and ‘thinking machines’, Gerd suggests that the future can be one of liberated expression and human mastery.
FROM TRANSFORMATION TO HUMANISATION: Culture still eats technology for breakfast!
We have reached peak ‘digital transformation’ – if you haven’t heard about why you and your business need to ‘go digital’ or ‘transform into a digital organization’ you just may have lived under a rock during the past 5 years:). But now that this initial “transform or die” hype is winding down we are entering an era where it is no longer just about upgrading your IT-systems or investigating new business models. Now it is all about making sense, staging experiences, and creating tangible human benefits. We must therefore TRANSCEND TECHNOLOGY so that we can focus on what really matters: human flourishing and (customer) happiness. We must invest as much in humanity as we invest in technology. Today’s unique opportunity is to re-humanize technology so that it serves a deeper purpose. When humans are treated like algorithms the loss of trust is pre-programmed – and losing trust is something no organization can afford. If you don’t want to end up like some of the global social media platforms who are now facing a jaw-dropping loss of trust, regulation and anti-trust legislation, put the HUMAN back into the center of everything you do, and the future will be yours!
THE FUTURE OF WORK
Automation is everywhere, already: from electronic bridge-tolls to connected cars with dash-cams and self-parking capabilities, to digital wallets and mobile payment platforms, to networked medical devices and quantified-self applications, to sensor networks for traffic control and robotic nurses for the elderly – and this is only the beginning. The next 5 years will bring rapid advancements in all areas of AI, robotics and the Internet of Things, and almost all of them will bring more automation to every sector of our society (and I am sure this will not always be a good thing, either). I believe that in the near future we need to focus on human-only jobs and non-routine tasks that only humans can undertake, focusing on creativity, design, tacit pattern recognition, negotiation and other ‘soft skills’, on right-brain capabilities or on emotional context (EQ). However, unemployment is very likely to soar, regardless, as ever smarter and cheaper machines increasingly automate all routines. So will we see the rise of a minimum guaranteed income (i.e. get paid without working) in some developed countries such as Switzerland? The very concept of work and ‘earning a living’ will need to be re-imagined, and soon. The end of routine is not the end of human work.
THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION: THE POST-CORONA FUTURE What to expect in the next 3-5 years
Our world has been dramatically rebooted by the covid19 crisis – and there is no ‘going back to normal’, anytime soon. This crisis feels devastating to many of us but I think it also creates a unique opportunity for what I call The Great Transformation! This keynote (remotely or in-person) will address topics such as: Impact of future of jobs, work, commerce and trade; The geopolitical impact: Europe, the U.S. and China; The future of capitalism: finally, sustainable?; The environmental impact and climate-change; The impact on medical & healthcare; The impact on technological domination; The personal impact: solidarity vs loneliness; The impact on investing: divestment in fossil fuels?
He talked about the future of advertising and media. The feedback of our guests was great. Gerd perfectly combined his knowledge and expertise with his unique talent to inspire and entertain the audience. The up front coordination went perfect.
- | BORIS CIESLAR - OMNICOM MEDIA GROUP
Gerd Leonhard wrote The Future of Music, which basically said that the record business was terminally ill. . . . He's shaped our thinking. None of us know what the future looks like, so we can invent it, be part of it.
- | GED DOHERTY - SONYBMG UK
Gerd was a keynote speaker at our recent Spark2020 Leadership Conference and was central to setting up the discussion about what the future might look like and importantly what that means for our industry, our business and the people in it. Gerd's opening session was a great outside in view of the future and what that means for us. His perspectives were excellent and thought provoking and it set the day up well.
- | ROD SNODGRASS, CEO - SPARK VENTURES NZ
WWF International staff had the pleasure of listening to Gerd as a keynote speaker during the 2013 Learning Week - when he addressed the topic of moving "From conversation to conservation action". I know that everyone in the audience found Gerd to be inspiring, informative and challenging, and wanting more. Delivered in a punchy and dynamic "TED" style, Gerd's talk catalyzed much discussion after the talk, and since, and generated a thirst for further interaction. I, for one, am looking forward to further opportunities to hear his thoughts on moving from ego to eco.
- | RICHARD MCLELLAN - WWF