Business visionary Richard Worzel shows the future to audiences and gives them the tools to embrace it. He is a strategic planner with a background in computer science, economics and world trade.
He worked as an institutional investor and received the industry’s Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1978. He started his consulting firm in 1979 and has helped companies and organizations prepare for the future ever since.
His clients include Coca Cola, FedEx, Lexus, Procter & Gamble, the U.S. Navy, the Clerk of the Canadian House of Commons, IBM, the TD Bank, John Hancock Insurance, Johnson & Johnson, and Microsoft, among many others.
As a science futurist, Richard knows how everyone’s jobs and lives can be affected by advances. It’s an intriguing topic and this best-selling author, and one-of-a-kind futurist and innovation specialist, is in demand as a keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, and consultant.
He leads stimulating workshops that range from a couple of hours, to days or even months of strategic planning. And he can help you plan and prepare to turn tomorrow’s uncertainty into a competitive advantage.
Richard is frequently asked what keynote topics he speaks on, often by a conference organizer who wants to know what to put in a conference brochure or propose to a conference committee. The future is a broad, complex subject, and there’s always a lot to discuss, so the real question is: what aspects of the future will be of most value to your conference or workshop, and the people who are sitting in the audience? And how do we deliver that value to them?
Having said that, chances are Richard has spoken to your industry. Accordingly, here are some past keynotes, If you have a topic not listed please let us know.
Farming & Food Production
Risk Management and the Family Farm: The Future of Farms and Farming
The individual farmer faces both more challenges, and more opportunities than any time since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Richard Worzel is a strategic planner, one of today’s leading futurists, and a frequent speaker on agricultural trends and the changes we face. In this focused overview of the world in which individual farmers must compete, Richard assess both the risks to be managed, and offers a set of tools for increasing your success in doing so. Among the topics he covers are:
- The rise of global, corporate, and factory farms, plus the emergence of agricultural producers in emerging countries increases the pressure of competition in virtually all agricultural commodities. Yet, that very pressure opens niches that can be very valuable, and much harder for commodity producers to address.
- Climate change is affecting all aspects of farming, introducing new pests that need to be fought, changed growing seasons to be managed, dramatically increasing the need to husband water resources, and affecting markets here and around the world. This can devastate the unwary, but allows the nimble producer to exploit the lesser foresight of his competitors.
- Farmers have traditionally made their money from the Three Fs: Food, Feed, and Fiber. But now there are three additional Fs that can provide completely new revenue streams to farmers willing to step outside traditional boundaries, and exploit these new ways of cashing in.
- Meanwhile, the rise of nutriceuticals, and the rapidly rising knowledge and awareness of individual differences among consumers is pushing the marketplace towards customized food. This is a problem for corporate producers, but can be a tremendous opportunity for the individual farmer who exploits it.
- There’s an African saying that ‘When the waterhole shrinks, the animals look at each other differently.’ Our governments are in difficult financial positions, and are looking for new revenue streams and scapegoats to blame. One of the tools they love to use is regulation, because it costs them little to legislate them, even if it costs those regulated disproportionate amounts. Being aware of the potential changes to regulation can make the difference between profit and disaster.
- And increasingly, farmers need to consider their end-game. There’s a generational change going on as boomer farmers are looking towards retirement, yet their children, while the love the lifestyle, aren’t keen to step into the furrows. At the same time, there’s a trend towards agricultural imperialism, with sovereign and pension funds buying up farmland around the world as investments, and for food security. Being aware of these developments gives farmers additional alternatives.
Richard not only uncovers the changes ahead, and surveys the possibilities and problems, but provides a toolkit of strategic planning tools that allows you to capture uncertainty, and turn it to advantage. You’ll walk away with a greater awareness of what’s ahead, and better prepared to profit from the changes to come.
Technology on the Farm: The Future of Farmers, Farm Equipment, and Farming Methods
The recent rise in agricultural prices is not a short-term blip, but a long-term development that is creating a shift in the economics of farming not seen since the end of World War II. Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a strategic planner, and one of today’s leading futurists. In this overview of what’s ahead for farmers and their suppliers, he touches on:
- The three new sources of revenue emerging for farmers as a result of the biotech revolution, changing the Three F’s of farming (‘Food, Feed, and Fiber’) into the Six F’s;
- What’s happening to the global demand for food, and why it’s permanent, not temporary;
- Why the technological advances of the past 20 years will seem tame in comparison to the changes to come over the next 10, and what this implies for farming methods and farm equipment;
- Why water is going to be a major stumbling block and issue for everyone, but especially for farmers, and why equipment manufacturers and dealers will need to get involved in the issue; and
- What are the ‘black swans’ on our horizon, and what risks they pose to government, corporations, and farmers.
You’ll come away from Richard’s presentation with a much better idea of the landscape of the future for farmers and those who support and supply them, plus a set of planning tools that will help you capture the uncertainties of the future, and turn them to your advantage.
Sunrise: The Dawn of a New Era in Agriculture
The world has changed, and the effects on the future of farmers, their suppliers, and agricultural communities generally will be profound. Richard Worzel is one of today’s leading futurists, and in this far-reaching overview of tomorrow’s landscape, he focuses on the factors that are going to create a new era in agriculture, including:
- The emergence of huge new middle classes in developing countries like China, India, Brazil, and elsewhere, that will drive up the demand for food well beyond anything we’ve seen in decades;
- New market niches for specialty foods arising from our ever-expanding knowledge of human genetics;
- Biotechnology, which is creating three entirely new markets for agricultural products, initiating choices for producers that have never existed before, and generating new, incremental streams of revenue;
But not all new developments will be positive:
- Climate change and erratic weather patterns will complicate planning, and may wipe out crops in a given area in any given year;
- New competitors will emerge, such as suppliers from China or Israel for pesticides, or farmers in developing countries such as Brazil competing for the most lucrative markets;
- Global economic woes could, at their worst, derail growth and leave us with a slow growth future; and
- And aging boomers will be leaving the workforce, creating shortages in key skill-sets, and putting financial pressure on governments, pensions, and health care systems that will cause problems here at home.
The future offers both enormous opportunity and enormous dangers as well, and those who work in and serve agricultural communities need to be prepared for the unexpected. Richard will not only survey the opportunities and threats ahead, but will leave participants with a strategic planning toolkit that will enable them to harness the uncertainties before, and turn them to advantage.
Dark Clouds & Silver Linings: The Future of Food
Any organization involved in planning for the future of food will have to account for more changes in more different places than at any time in the past. Among these are:
- Rising food prices and their implications. Recall, for instance, that the popular uprising in Egypt started with a food riot in Tunisia. Rising food prices are going to cause problems in developed as well as developing countries.
- The emergence of ‘water neutrality.’ Like carbon neutrality, water neutrality will mean that commercial organizations will need to manage the water they use, and how they discharge it back into the community, with unprecedented care. Water scarcity is going to become an economic and political, as well as a meteorological, issue.
- The aging boomers. Although this trend is well-known and widely discussed, there are important nuances that aren’t as immediately obvious, including the rising importance of health factors in dietary decisions, and the implications on the workforce.
- Customized nutrition. As we learn more about human genetics, we are finding that the old saying that ‘one man’s food is another man’s poison’ is literally true. Foodservice providers encounter this on a daily basis with the rapid rise of allergies and food intolerances, like celiac disease. Most foodservice companies view this as an annoyance, when it can, instead, become a potent competitive advantage.
- The lingering implications of the Great Recession and related issues. America’s governments, at all levels, are under almost historic financial pressures. This is going to lead to less predictable politics, the potential for higher taxes and user fees, and a hunt for scapegoats, all of which may affect corporations who are unprepared or unwary.
- The increasing importance of the global economy. The world is a more complex place today, and events in one part of the world can trigger consequences everywhere. As a result, unknown new competitors with deep pockets can emerge overnight and change the dynamics of an entire industry without warning.
- The next phase of the technological revolution. Over the next 10 years, computers are going to increase in power by a factor of 1,000 times. As a result, we will finally see the emergence of what might be called ‘everyday robots’ and computer intelligences. This, and related developments in communications, will have far-reaching consequences in every industry, and in everyday life
Richard Worzel is a strategic planner, a Chartered Financial Analyst, and one of today’s leading futurists. He offers audiences not only a fascinating view of tomorrow’s world, but practical tools for dealing with the uncertainties ahead. You’ll walk away not only with a better appreciation of what’s to come, but also with better tools for managing the challenges to come.
Sunrise or Sunset Industry? The Future of Farms and Farmers
It’s been a long, long time since the American farmer experienced so many changes in so many areas, with the result that agriculture, and the industries that support and work with it, are about to experience the most dramatic revolution since the end of World War II. Richard Worzel is a strategic planner and one of today’s leading futurists. In this keynote presentation he talks about:
- Climate change – what is actually happening, and its possible impact on agriculture;
- New revenue streams that will become available to agricultural producers, and the effects that will have on those industries that depend on agricultural products;
- The emergence of new markets and new competitors at home and abroad for food, and what it implies for producers;
- The Green Economy – has it vanished with the recession, or will it re-emerge? And how could it affect producers’ use of fertilizers, water, and genetically-modified crops and animals?
- Technology; what next? Why the IT revolution is just beginning, and how it will affect agriculture;
- The coming economic recovery, and why there’s bad news mixed with the good.
Beyond describing how these trends will affect agriculture and related industries and communities, Richard will also provide tools to help participants prepare for the uncertainties ahead. ‘The future will catch us by surprise,’ Richard comments, ‘and those people who profit most from the changes ahead will be those who can recover fastest, and respond most constructively to change.’
How Food Producers Can Contribute to a Greener Society: Breaking the Carbon Habit Without Breaking the Bank
With the dramatic fall in the price of oil, it would be tempting to assume that the pressure to go green has disappeared. That would be a mistake, as the facts of climate change are still very much in evidence. This leaves the question: how can we, as individuals as well as producers, contribute to a greener society? Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a strategic planner, best-selling author, and one of today’s leading futurists. In this presentation, he:
- Outlines the critical issues relating to climate change, and humanity’s part in it;
- Identifies the ways in which we are contributing to climate change; and
- Talks about the ways in which we can change the harm we do without destroying our businesses, of ways of going green while making it a profit-contributing process instead of a profit-draining one.
To finish off, Richard will outline a technique for identifying concrete new ways of improving efficiency, in order to benefit both profits and the environment.
Tools for Taming the Future (Workshop)
Farming and the business of food production is changing more quickly than at any time in the last century. The steady rise of foreign competition is driving farmers out of straight commodity products like wheat, and will sooner or later drive them out of even protected sectors like dairy production. For those who plan to stay in the business of agriculture and involved in the food chain, new approaches will be necessary, taking account of the greater information flows available both ways between consumer and producer, the targeting of individuals as opposed to groups, and an understanding of the importance of our growing genetic knowledge of the unique nutritional needs of each individual. Likewise, the marketplace is changing. Boomers are getting older, more aware of their health needs and the role nutrition plays in it, and more determined to avoid getting old. And they are approaching retirement age, when the patterns of their lives and demand will change. Their children, the echo boom or echoes, will become the next generation in the food industry – but only if farmers and processors can demonstrate that there’s a valuable future waiting for them. Finally, there’s the promise of industrial biotechnology – entirely new ways in which plants and animals can be bred and used to produce feedstock and products that are greener and more efficient than those produced by traditional industrial means.
With the future so much in flux, food growers, processors, and marketers will have to adopt new, more sophisticated approaches to planning for uncertainty. In this half-day workshop, strategic planner and professional futurist Richard Worzel offers a toolbox for those who intend to find new niches, and new ways to market in this fluid, rapidly changing world.
Nourishing Tomorrow: The Future of Farms and Farmers
The Green Revolution has been going on for more than a century, as technological advances in managing and encouraging food production have produced dramatic increases in productivity. Yet, what has come before will pale into insignificance with what is yet to come. The fruits of genetic research, the use of computers in exploring genetics and molecular biology, and the emerging field of nanotechnology are going to dramatically accelerate developments in the field. But with new advances will come novel problems, as the European reaction to genetically modified foods demonstrates. Strategic planner and professional futurist Richard Worzel surveys the field in this upbeat, intriguing, yet down-to-earth presentation on the future of agriculture and food production, identifying both the opportunities, and the lurking dangers ahead. You’ll leave with a greater appreciation of the choices available to farmers, and the kinds of tools that can help you select the most profitable fields to pursue.
The Transformation Century: – Confronting the Forces that are Changing Agriculture
The unprecedented convergence of change in demographics, science, technology, government, and public attitudes is radically changing life on Earth, in Canada, and in the farm community. In this fast-paced and entertaining presentation, futurist and strategic planner Richard Worzel explores the topics that will affect our lives, our businesses, and our society, including:
Biosciences – New advances, especially in bioinformatics, genetics, and proteomics, offer new opportunities, as well as new threats and challenges in the physical world, in competition, and in the expectations of the public.
The ecology and environmentalism – As we learn more about how the Earth’s ecology works, we have a greater responsibility to measure and monitor our actions. The rise of the anti-globalization movement has raised the stakes for anyone interested in science-based policy. What can the industry do to anticipate and forestall the dangers of junk science attacks, as well as real world problems?
Governments are going to be more erratic and less predictable. How can you prepare for this, and how can you work successfully with unpredictable regulators?
To prosper, you need to prepare intelligently for the changes ahead. Richard will hand you a road map of the future to help you navigate the difficult times ahead.
Energy, Oil, & Electricity
Our Shocking Future: What’s Ahead for Electric Power Utilities
Electricity is the often-overlooked central pivot on which the economy turns. And because electricity is at the center of our economy, electric utilities are buffeted by changes and prone to systemic and political shocks from many different directions. Richard Worzel is a business visionary, a Chartered Financial Analyst, and today’s leading futurist. In this presentation, he focuses on the trends that will affect the industry, and the forces that drive them, including:
- The climate change debate – It’s clear that climate is changing, and whether it’s humanity’s fault or not is of less importance than the public’s expectations that corporations – especially utilities – will do something about it. Moreover, weird weather presents its own challenges. including more violent storms and shifting patterns of peak demand. Where is this leading, and how do you get in front of the issue?
- Capital market mayhem – The series of crises in Europe are really one big, related crisis that has major implications for the economy, consumption patterns, borrowing costs, and stock values. How might this play out, and how do you prepare for the uncertainties ahead?
- Technology: the predictable wildcard – The technological changes of the next 10 years will exceed the changes of the past 25 years in importance, and will present enormous challenges to the basic business model of electric power utilities. Both within the industry, and within society as a whole, the next 10 years in technology will be earth-shaking.
- Planning for uncertainty – The only thing that is certain is that the future will catch us by surprise. No matter how smart we are, no matter how hard we work, we will be caught flat-footed over and over again by the unexpected. Fukushima’s experience following the March, 2011 earthquake and tsunami proved that. But since the future is inherently unpredictable, the companies that will prosper are those that can recover fastest from surprise, and respond most constructively when it hits, and there are serious tools that can dramatically boost your ability to make the future work for you.
You’ll leave with both a better understanding of what’s ahead, and a toolset that will help you improve your ability to prepare for tomorrow.
The Future Breaks Wide Open: What’s Ahead for Energy & Energy Companies
Conventional wisdom has been saying that the incremental demand from the Rapidly Developing Countries (RDCs) like China and India, added to the steady, but slower growth in demand from the developed countries, must inevitably push the price of oil substantially higher, even to $200/bbl. This, in turn, would help push renewable energy and more efficient uses of energy for heating, production, transport, and cars.
But there are several issues on the horizon that may shatter this conventionally accepted complacency. First is the potential that shale oil could do to the oil industry what shale gas did to the natural gas industry. The United States is already expected to become first self-sufficient, then a net exporter of oil, and has shale oil reserves in excess of 1.5 trillion barrels.
Next, consumer behavior is changing because of demographics, technology, and peer pressure. The boomer generation is approaching retirement – gradually – with the result that they won’t be commuting to work, and will be driving less, potentially much less. Young people are demonstrably less likely to own a car and drive that their parents. This is partly due to a switch in social perception from one where owning a car was cool, to one where owning smartphones and iPads is cool, and owning a car is damaging to the environment. Shared ownership, through companies like Zipcars, makes is easy to have access to a car without the expenses of ownership, and given that young people are more likely to live in urban areas, and less likely to have well-established, and well-paying, jobs, the economics of owning a car are much reduced.
And, of course, as goes oil so goes the energy industry as a whole. Cheap oil changes the economics of sustainable and renewable energy, and makes the reduction of greenhouse gases
Richard Worzel is a business visionary, a Chartered Financial Analyst, and one of today’s leading futurists. In this overview of the seismic shifts coming to the energy industries, he lays out what’s possible, what’s probable, and how energy companies should prepare for what’s to come.
Innovation and Strategic Thinking: Winning the Race for the Future of Energy
The broad outlines of the future of energy are clear: demand from Rapidly Developing Countries (RDCs) has been and will continue to push up the price of energy, especially oil. Meanwhile, the price of finding and developing new oil reserves is rising as the inexpensive pools have largely been found. Yet, there are unprecedented elements of uncertainty ahead as well. Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a strategic planner, and Canada’s leading futurist. In this overview of the future he discusses the future of energy in the context of the rising uncertainties ahead, including:
- Climate change, which is pushing consumers and, reluctantly, governments to change energy consuming and producing habits, as well as increasing the number of natural disasters.
- A chancier economic and financial environment threatens growth and stability, making it more difficult to gauge which investments offer the best risk-adjusted returns.
- Technology continues to change the rules of society, business, and even warfare. It opens up new potentials that have never existed before, and creates new threats as well.
In this environment, those who exploit the tools of foresight and creativity stand to reap the greatest rewards. This is not an environment for the faint of heart, but one that can offer great rewards to those prepared to plan carefully, and turn uncertainty into an advantage. Richard offers not only an assessment of where we are going, but a tool set that can be used to exploit the unsettled nature of events, and turn them to advantage.
Peak Oil & the Future of Energy
Was Hubbert right? Are we running out of oil? And if so, can we find energy alternatives fast enough to prevent an economic crash? According to Richard Worzel, a Chartered Financial Analyst, strategic planner, and one of today’s leading futurists, the subject of peak oil and the future of energy is a ‘yes, but…’ subject. Every time someone makes a relevant statement, the immediate comeback is ‘yes, but…’. To assess the future of energy, the energy industries, and our economic prospects, Richard looks at:
- Where will tomorrow’s oil come from, and what will it cost;
- What are the major energy alternatives, and how quickly are they likely to come online;
- How energy use will change, and the effects that will have on the balance between production and consumption; and
Together, these four topics outline our future based on energy’s role. Finally, Richard outlines how organizations can capture and harness the uncertainties in tomorrow’s energy equations, and turn them to competitive advantage.
Tomorrow’s Power, Tomorrow’s Promise
The energy industries don’t exist in a vacuum. Indeed, because of their central position in our life and industries, the energy industries are affected by a wide range of factors. In this fast-paced and intriguing ‘big picture’ look at tomorrow, futurist Richard Worzel will explore some of the major factors surrounding electricity generation, petroleum, renewable energy sources, and the highly-hyped hydrogen economy of tomorrow to examine how they will affect the industry and its major players, including the future of environmental issues, demographics, and government behaviour. This is a provocative and lively keynote, exploring both the opportunities and pitfalls ahead for the industry.
These Fuelish Things: The Future of Energy and Society
Are we running out of oil? Is the price headed to the moon and beyond? Will our economy be crippled by skyrocketing energy prices on the one hand, and government-imposed emission controls on the other? In this wide-angled look at the pivotal energy industry, you will learn about the future of petroleum reserves, consumer usage of energy, how corporations will shift their behaviors, and what is likely to happen in both the immediate future, and further out. If you’re a producer, a consumer, or an investor, this provocative and unconventional look at the energy sources of tomorrow, and petroleum’s place in it, will provide you fuel for thought, and tools to prepare for the future of energy.
Not Good Enough: The Future of Big Data & Analytics
It’s tempting to face a screen-full of real-time business statistics, complete with graphs, dials, and summaries, and believe that you’ve got a handle on what’s happening with your data stream. And it’s true that without good analytics, contemporary businesses, most notably those that work in cyberspace, retail sales, and credit risk, couldn’t function effectively against sophisticated competition without analytics. Yet, as Richard Worzel, today’s leading futurist, points out, all of this reflects today’s marketplace, not tomorrow’s. In this overview of the future of business analytics, he discusses:
- Why statistical analysis will be relegated to a poor relation among analytical tools;
- How astonishing advances in technology are changing both what can be done, and how it can be done most effectively;
- How new tools are emerging that will produce a fundamental change in the interaction between the human looking at a screen, and the analysis going on behind it;
- The Achilles’ heel of analytics, and suggestions on how to deal with it effectively; and
- The critical element that does now, and probably always will, determine how business analytics can be used most effectively.
The field is changing with astonishing rapidity, yet knowing how it will change is not clear. To help participants deal with these unknowns, Richard will leave conferees with a toolkit designed to capture the uncertainties ahead, and turn them to your advantage.
Dark Clouds & Silver Linings: Tomorrow’s Prospects and the Future of Accounting
It’s as if the skies are starting to clear following a major storm; the economy is beginning to look better, and people are once again more hopeful about the future. So, do we return to “business as usual”, or will tomorrow’s economy and tomorrow’s world be different? Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a strategic planner, and one of today’s leading futurists.
In this presentation he assesses the future of business with an eye towards the future of accounting, covering: the outlook for the economy, plus wild cards for which you should prepare; technology, and how it will continue to reshape business; why we are leaving a period of demographic calm, and what we are headed towards; and how globalization and governments are going to change the economic landscape ahead of us.
Life & IT: The Revolution Begins
You have only to look at the changes that IT have wrought in the world over the last 10 years to see how changes in technology can produce significant changes in business, social, psychographic, governmental, and interpersonal relationships. Now, if you consider that Moore’s Law has been shown to be too conservative, and that the pace of change is not only accelerating, but the rate of acceleration is increasing, it becomes clear that the non-technological changes ahead of us due to IT will be even more startling. In a very real sense, the IT revolution so far has merely achieved lift-off.
The consequences will be far reaching. Business will continue to experience steadily rising competition, and the only successful response will require both innovation and far-seeing forward planning. Individual life will be affected in the way people interact – and fail to interact – with each other, coupled with the accelerating erosion of privacy and community. Governments will continue to lag, both in their use of technology, and in their regulation of it, leaving embarrassing and potentially dangerous gaps for groups seeking to exploit and distort social and economic activity. The biosciences will experience a significant acceleration of discovery, leading to remarkable advances in medical diagnosis, treatment, and cures, while biotechnology will transform industry into a greener, more productive offshoot of agriculture. Computer companions, acting as smart butlers or avatars will become commonplace, as will genuine robots, in both functional forms, and as human simulacra. And the rapid advance of technology will cause a further spreading of the bell-curve of human ability, producing significant winners and losers along the way. The results will be exalting, humbling, dangerous, and enlightening.
Richard Worzel holds a degree in computer science, is a Chartered Financial Analyst with broad experience as an institutional investor, a strategic planner, and one of North America’s leading futurists (as well as a comprehensive professional member of the World Future Society). In this far-ranging presentation he will draw on his IT, business, planning, and futurist credentials to outline the vast potential for the constructive and disruptive impact of the future of IT in our daily lives.
Lethal or Liberating: Corporate Financial Management and The Gale Winds of Tomorrow
The winds of change are reaching gale proportions in business and society, and organizations that are not prepared could face disastrous consequences. Among the forces driving change are:
- Climate change, the Green Economy and sustainability, and the shifting public expectations of corporate behaviour;
- Governments are facing enormous challenges, both from the growing importance of international agreements, agencies, and markets, but also from the looming financial pressures of an aging society;
- Technology is changing all the rules of how business – and social interactions – are conducted, with significant risks consequences for everyone; and
- Globalization is raising the stakes, both by offering more opportunities, and heightening competition.
Richard Worzel is a strategic planner, best-selling author, a Chartered Financial Analyst, and one of today’s leading futurists. In this broad-ranging overview of the future, he will outline the perils and possibilities of tomorrow, and how financial executives can prepare for what’s ahead..
Things You and Your Clients Need to Know to Survive in Business Now
Many of us feel that the pace of change is accelerating. This isn’t quite true: the pace of change is accelerating, but the rate of acceleration is also rising, which means we keep being caught off guard by change. This creates a quandary for many organizations, because they already feel that they are working as fast as they can, and as hard as they can, so that the prospect of needing to do more fills them with dread. Yet, forcing the rate of change, if properly managed, can be a competitive weapon of immense value. In this far-ranging and upbeat presentation, futurist and strategic planner Richard Worzel talks about the nature of change and where change is coming from. Building on this, you will get a range of strategies, both for coping with change on your own behalf, and how you can turn change into an asset rather than a liability. Among the topics covered are emerging technologies and their effects; the changing nature, composition, and behavior of consumers and the companies that serve them; how globalization is shifting gears and altering playbooks; and the sometimes paranoid and irrational behavior of governments.
When Does the Future Begin?
Following the events that have shaken the accounting industry over the past five years, those who plan to prosper in the future need to consider the forces that are going to shape the future for them and their clients. From the pace of technological change to the shifting priorities of government, to the threats and opportunities of globalization, the future will be distinctly different from the recent past. This keynote will not only give you a road map of the perils ahead for you and your clients, but help you prepare and implement plans to make change an ally instead of a threat.
Banking & Credit Unions
Beyond This Horizon: The Future of Credit Unions
Everyone can see that change is on our horizon; but what’s beyond? In this wide-ranging and challenging keynote, strategic planner, Chartered Financial Analyst, and global futurist Richard Worzel surveys the possible tomorrows of the credit union movement, and offers specific insights as to the forces that are changing the landscape within which credit unions operate, as well as suggesting ways in which they can capitalize on these changes. Among the forces discussed will be:
- Technology, and how it will surprise us further;
- 3D printing, and its implications for society, the economy, and your community;
- Demographics, how tomorrow’s member will be different from today’s, and how your offerings need to change; and
- The financial problems of some of our governments, and how they will affect us.
Richard will end with a discussion of futurist tools, and how they can help in your planning for, and thinking about, the future.
Taming the Wild Blue Future: What’s Next in Finance and Lending
The rate of change in business is not only accelerating, but the rate of acceleration is increasing. This creates the threat of falling behind a rapidly mutating marketplace, as well as the opportunity of grabbing a valuable edge over less nimble competitors. But to gain this requires the exercise of foresight, the ability to size up coming changes and prepare for them, an aptitude to innovate new solutions to both current and future needs, and the capacity to respond rapidly as the marketplace changes.
Richard Worzel is a business visionary, a Chartered Financial Analyst, and one of today’s leading futurists. In this presentation, he both describes the astonishing changes coming to the lending markets, and addresses the ways in which participants can steal a march on their competitors, including:
- How IT is changing qualitatively as well as quantitatively, with important implications in Big Data, customer relations, risk management, and speed-to-market. In particular, new techniques such as evolutionary algorithms combined with increasingly sophisticated applications of rule-based computing, mean that risk assessment of borrowers, risk management relating to loan documentation, and due diligence may all move to a human/computer hybrid model that can respond to client needs and market shifts far faster than traditional approaches.
- Given the increasing acceleration of change in business & technology, and the wide-ranging uncertainties relating to national politics that is driving change in regulation, no one player has a complete view of how the marketplace is evolving. This increases the value of cooperation and collaboration up and down the supply chain so that all parties can respond more rapidly as new developments emerge. There is well-established precedent for this: car manufacturers, which have much longer lead times owing to the nature of their product lines, have had to coordinate their actions with their suppliers, and to share more information about their own future intentions in order to slash the length of the product development cycle.
- Rapid-fire changes, and novel market conditions demand greater innovation, both in products and in internal processes. Yet, despite motherhood declarations of the importance of innovation, most organizations are quite reluctant to actually innovate. Not only does innovation require them to take significant risks and to do things they are not good at, but it forces professionals into a position of asymmetric risk: the potential rewards of a successful innovation are normally far less than the personal costs of failure and dismissal. But there are ways of flipping this asymmetric risk, and creating an environment of consistent, persistent innovation that can lead to major gains in market share if managed well.
- Given the uncertainties of the future, with the political, economic, market, and technological risks ahead, it is foolish to attempt a point forecast of the future and to gamble everything on it, no matter how macho that might seem. Instead, an approach using structured foresight to produce alternative possibilities or scenarios, and the consideration of potential contingency plans, is a more nuanced approach that brings a higher likelihood of success. The well-established techniques of scenario planning bring these advantages, and Richard will close with an overview of how they might be applied to the future of the lending business. He will also provide a toolkit to help participants improve their application of scenario planning to their businesses.
Wonderful and Terrible Times: What’s Ahead for the Financial Industry
America is in the midst of several major transitions that will offer wonderful opportunities, and carry terrible risks, over the next 5-10 years. Those who are prepared for the shocks and potential triumphs ahead will gain disproportionate advantages. Futurist Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a business visionary. In this overview of the future for financial companies, he will cover:
- The economic environment – Why America is doing well, and should do even better. What’s slowing the growth of developing countries like China and India, and what does that mean for us? How long will this expansion last, and what might bring it down?
- Technology – Not only is the rate of technological change accelerating, but the rate of acceleration is increasing. And disruptive technologies are appearing in a broader range of industries, such as manufacturing, than ever before, widening the problems and potential of disruption. How will this play in finance?
- Shifting demographics – There are three age cohorts that are shifting into new phases of their lifecycles, which means their needs and demands will change. And there are two additional groups that are rapidly emerging as critical markets. Who are these people, and what will they want in the future?
- Black swans aren’t that rare – The shocks of the last financial cycle were partly caused by faulty – wishful – thinking. What are the potential shocks ahead of us, and what can you do to prepare for them?
- Innovation beyond motherhood – Everyone talks a good game when it comes to innovation. What does it take to make it a real part of your everyday business plan?
Richard will provide a roadmap of what’s ahead for financial institutions and their customers, allowing conferees to prepare to capitalize on tomorrow’s business. And he’ll leave conferees with a set of future planning tools that can help them develop a marketplace edge for the future.
Capitalizing on Tomorrow: Wealth Management and Your Future
The future of wealth management is going to be very different from the past, so the needs for high-performance are going to change.
Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst, and today’s leading financial futurist. In this presentation, he will lay out a roadmap of the future for those high performance wealth managers who want to continue their winning ways. To do so, they’ll first need to understand how the future of banking & wealth management will change. Such changes include:
- A baby boom generation with many things on their minds: how much they need to save in order to retire; how to generate income from investments without running too much risk; how to help their rapidly aging parents through the ends of their lives; how to help boomer children find meaningful careers and find affordable homes; how to help their grandchildren into successful education; and how to successfully fend off the tax man.
- Economic growth will be slower, so investment returns will be lower. Thus, the challenges of wealth management will be investment selection and asset allocation, a much more difficult task that buying index funds and riding the general rise in the market.
- An aging population will steadily increase the stresses on the health care & pension systems, on government finances, and on the physical well-being of those who are aging. In such a situation, new financial vehicles will be needed to achieve tax efficiency in an environment of rising taxation, and make it easier for those who are aging to manage their financial affairs with a minimum of time and attention.
- Meanwhile, younger generations will be facing a more difficult work environment. Foreign competition for jobs will continue, but the pressures from automation will dramatically increase as massively more powerful and more sophisticated technologies enter the workplace, replacing any worker doing routine work, regardless of pay level or nature of the work. In such an environment, more people will become entrepreneurs, inventing their own jobs. In all eventualities, they will need bankers who can help facilitate their professional ends while helping them secure their personal objectives.
- And as technology advances, social and economic structures will change as well. Think of how much banking has changed over the last 20 years because of technology. The next 10 years will see changes which are much more dramatic than those of the last 20.
All told, retail clients, high net worth individuals, and high achievers will all need a different kind of banker and wealth management partner, capable of looking at their financial picture, professional as well as personal, holistically, and not just in terms of products and services.
The future is going to see a polarization of service providers: those who sell products and services, and compete with everyone else in the market; and those who become trusted advisors through customization, attention to detail, awareness of all the customer’s needs, and an ability to deal with them all instead of just selling off-the-shelf products and services. It is by following this way that this year’s winners can put multiple Oscars on their mantelpieces.
Finally, Richard will provide a set of future-oriented tools for personal and corporate goal-setting and extraordinary achievement.
Focus on the Future: What’s Ahead for the Economy, Consumers, Banking, and Investing
Our future is going to be significantly different that the environment of the past 10-20 years, and those who are not prepared for these changes may not survive. Richard Worzel is one of today’s leading futurists, a Chartered Financial Analyst, and a strategic planner. In this presentation, he deals with several of the major factors that are driving change, including:
- The prospects for both the domestic and international economies, along with the critical turning points to come;
- The future of the labor markets, and how they will affect consumers, business, investors, and the economy;
- What factors are likely to affect investments and corporate finance over the next 3-5 years;
- How the pace of technology is accelerating, and the pace of acceleration is increasing so that we are now entering the second era of technology. As a result, it is fundamentally changing the economy, the workplace, the conduct of business, politics, and society itself.
- How the American consumer is shifting with the changes in demographics ahead, with associated changes in demand, and changing the customers that will be most desirable to the banking community.
To end his overview of tomorrow’s landscape, Richard will also provide a futurist’s toolkit that will allow bankers to capture the uncertainties ahead, and turn them to advantage.
Decision Time: The Future of Credit Unions (Keynote and Workshop)
Credit unions have long agreed that they have several natural advantages in the financial field. Despite this, progress towards capitalizing on these advantages seems to be very slow. Now, with technology offering new avenues of service and member support, it is decision time: do credit unions finally get their act together, or stand by and watch as the growth in their traditional constituencies stagnates? In this wide-ranging and challenging keynote and workshop, strategic planner and futurist Richard Worzel surveys the possible tomorrows of the credit union movement, and offers strategic tools for creating a step-by-step plan to expand the benefits of the credit union movement, both to existing members, and to new constituents.
Can’t See the Future for the Fees
The major fault with many financial service providers today is that everyone is busy selling their own in-house products, and no one is providing a complete picture for the consumer. As a result, individuals get pieces of the financial solutions they need, but don’t know how the pieces relate to each other. Will I be nearer my financial goals if I pay down my mortgage, or put money into an RSP? Should I buy a credit card that has an annual fee but offers benefits, or a no-fee, no-frills card? How much insurance do I need to protect my family, and how will it affect my ability to retire?
These kinds of problems represent the leading edge of the financial industry: the need to present a clear, integrated complete financial solution to help individuals reach their goals. And with the emergence of the Internet, and the consumer-friendly image of credit unions compared to other service providers, this offers a real opportunity to win the hearts and minds of new and existing members.
Branches are still the lifeblood of consumer banking – yet everyone in the industry knows that the ground has shifted with the advent of the Internet, wireless technology, and the major shifts in marketing and advertising. How are the techniques of identifying the desired customer, and then attracting and retaining her changing in a world where technology keeps changing the rules? How do you decide what should be in cyberspace, and what in the real world? How are the demographics and psychographics of the marketplace shifting, and how will that affect the products and services you offer? How should your marketing reflect these changes, and how are all these changes affecting your brand identity and value proposition? In this wide-ranging survey of the future of banking, futurist Richard Worzel will not only address these specific issues, but offer a set of tools that will help you reach key decisions in a world of uncertainty and dramatic change.
The Future of Nursing: Choosing the Tomorrow We Want
Surprisingly to some, nurses may be the pivotal players in helping to turn health care away from looming disaster, and towards a more effective and more affordable future. In this overview of the possible and probable futures of health care, practical visionary and futurist Richard Worzel provides an overview of how the future of health care is likely to unfold – and how nurses can change it for the better. Among the subjects Richard covers are:
- The three forces that are driving health care off a cliff;
- Why nurses may be the best positioned group in society to change perceptions and alter the future of health care;
- The ways in which nurses can shift the way things are done for the better – and how these actions will improve the career prospects and working conditions of nurses in the process;
- How nurses can improve the health of the general public and raise their profile at the same time; and
- Futurist tools that nursing organizations can use to map out where we want to go, and develop plans on how to get there.
You’ll walk away with a fresh perspective and a new hope about the future of health care, and a clear sense of what can – and should be done.
The Unsettled Healthcare Supply Chain: An Opportunity Waiting to Happen
‘Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics.’- Gen. Robert H. Barrow, USMC (Commandant of the Marine Corps), 1980
The health care supply chain is a critical, pivotal issue in the future of health care in America, yet exhibits the fragmentation and flux characteristic of a market undergoing widespread change. Futurist Richard Worzel is a business visionary with a broad view of why change is happening, and what can be done to capitalize on it. In this presentation, he provides an overview of what’s ahead for healthcare, why the supply chain is in moderate disarray, and where the opportunities will lie, including:
- Technology – Computing power and rapidly increasing sophistication in evolutionary algorithms and Big Data Analytic techniques are developing far faster than they are being applied in health care generally, and supply chains specifically. The increasing gaps that emerge each represent opportunities for those with the ability to plan incisively, act decisively, develop long-term relationships up and downstream, and possess the staying power to make the necessary capital investments.
- Collaboration – Working up and down the supply chain, integrating with suppliers upstream, and clients and their customers downstream, is a way of moving the entire supply chain into the future, making it more responsive, flexible, and enhancing the ability to respond faster and more constructively than competitors.
- Wrangling the billing process – As difficult as the science involved in medical research is, the increasingly complex and arcane sets of rules affecting billing, invoicing, and repayment are as difficult to handle. Managing these rules directly, and assisting clients and end customers in doing so, therefore becomes a competitive advantage.
- Combining common sense and Big Data – There is a natural tendency for players in the supply chain to lean towards the behaviors they are most comfortable with, whether it’s on the technology side, the human management side, or institutional procedures. Yet, the real winners will be those who can do it all by digging into the idiosyncrasies of widely varying institutional rules, applying common sense to analyzing and streamlining processes and procedures, and applying emerging IT solutions in a carefully thought-out manner.
In this presentation, Richard will provide a roadmap to the future of health care, along with the three major forces that are driving change within it, then focus in on the specifics of the healthcare supply chain, and help participants identify the greatest opportunities ahead.
An Eye on Tomorrow: What the Future Holds for Optometry
Society in general, and health care in particular, are on the verge of dramatic changes that will have significant implications for optometry businesses, and optometrists.
Richard Worzel is a business visionary, and today’s leading futurist. In this broad-based presentation, he deals with some of the critical issues that will affect the business of optometry, including:
- Demographic shifts, as the baby boomers move towards retirement and start experiencing the consequences of advanced aging. This will have consequences for government finances, and put increasing pressure on health care providers. It will also imply steadily increasing demand for help for eye care professionals. Meanwhile, there will also be a changing of the guard in business, as boomers gradually move out of top executive positions, and are replaced by younger generations with different capabilities, values, and orientations. Managed badly, this can lead to internal culture clashes. Managed well, it can lead to cultural synergies.
- Technology – All of the technological advances we’ve seen in the past, remarkable though they have been, are merely table-setters for the advances we will see in future. For instance, it’s been estimated that over the next 10 years, computers will become 1,000 times more powerful. As our ability to use this power becomes more sophisticated, we will be able to do things that would, today, seem like magic. This is going to change the workplace, social interactions, politics, and, most notably, health care. In the field of eye care, it may lead to radically new solutions for dealing with degrading eyesight.
- The global economy – From the outsourcing of diagnostics and technical reports to places like India, to the invasion of the domestic marketplace by foreign suppliers, the global economy has radically reshaped business at home and around the world. We’re not done with these changes, and the effects will be widespread, and felt in everything from food prices and general inflation, to new competitors appearing overnight to fight for marketshare in previously well-established markets.
- Financial markets – As the events in America in 2008 and Europe over the past several years have shown, developments in the financial markets can affect consumer attitudes and spending in markets that seem to be completely unrelated. And the potential exists for even greater upheavals over the next 10 years and beyond. This is clearly a situation where being forewarned means being forearmed.
Innovation and Leadership: Solutions for the Troubled Future of Health Care in America
With the aging of America, the demands for health care are going to rise almost exponentially, giving rise to difficulties – and opportunities – that are without precedent. At the same time, the faster-than-exponential changes in technologies, techniques, and treatments will mean that health care professionals will be able to do things we couldn’t even think of doing in the past.
Richard Worzel is a strategic planner, and one of today’s leading futurists. In this presentation, he identifies some of the issues ahead for the health care field, then turns to the issue of innovation, and how it can both be applied to the field, and how an organization’s dedication to innovation can improve its leadership, and vice-versa. Among the topics discussed will be:
- The financial, economic, and political consequences of the aging of the population, and how they will affect health care professionals.
- How the pace of technological change is accelerating, how it will affect management of health care, and how different professions within health care will be affected by it.
- Why the application of computer intelligences to health care issues will lead to new kinds of tools and solutions.
- Why most organizations pledge allegiance to innovation, but really don’t like it, and avoid practicing it, and what your organization can do to change that.
- Why innovation and leadership are two complementary virtues that reinforce and support each other, and how to institutionalize them in your organization.
Along with this overview of tomorrow’s landscape, Richard will provide conferees with an electronic handbook titled ‘Leadership and Innovation: Techniques to Lead Creativity’.
Making I.T. Happen: Using Information Technology as the Force Multiplier in Health Care
The government of Ontario projects that, left unchanged, about 70% of program spending will be devoted to health care by the early years of the 2020’s decade, leaving only 30% for all other government responsibilities. This is clearly unsustainable, so a revolution in health care is a must. Richard Worzel, a strategic planner and Canada’s leading futurist, surveys the landscape of healthcare’s future, and I.T.’s place in it to:
- Identify the components of tomorrow’s health care system;
- Outline the ways in which the different participants will work together in an integrated approach to health care;
- Describe the end result of a global health care mechanism that will supply the greatest health care tool humanity may ever have; and
- Illustrate the possibilities open to individual professionals working in IT that can lead us to these future breakthroughs.
Richard will bring the big picture down to the individual level, and talk about how the distant future can be incorporated in the day-to-day thinking and operations of everyone involved. You’ll walk away with a clearer idea of where we are headed, how we will get there, and what you can do to make it happen.
How Risk Management Affects Health Care: Managing Risk in an Uncertain World
The events of the past 24 months have tested the abilities of risk managers to exercise strategic foresight, and adequately prepare for a world where greater uncertainties will be the norm. How, then, can risk managers prepare for what’s to come, especially in a fast-changing field like health care? Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a strategic planner, and one of today’s leading futurists. In this presentation, he will explore some of the critical challenges ahead, and offer suggestions on how to cope. In particular, he will deal with:
- A futurist’s view of risk management is much broader than that of the traditional risk management literature, because it includes a broader range of potential risks. Accordingly, what are the three principal kinds of risks, and how do organizations classically respond to them? (Hint: not as well as they should.)
- What’s ahead for the Canadian, American, and world economies? What are the outlooks for inflation and renewed recession? And what nasty surprises could yet be lurking, buried in the urgent, but less important details of the recent panic?
- How is demographics changing society, health care, and government funding? What should hospitals prepare for? And what are the gradually developing risks that are largely being overlooked?
- Technology offers risks both positive and negative, yet risk managers often overlook the importance of positive risks. And technology will wreak twice as many changes on organizations and society over the next 10 years than over the past 10. Such changes include better understanding of the genome, nutrition, the rapid change in the pharmaceutical industry, and the rising expectations of patients and their families.
In addition to exploring these topics, Richard also supplies conferees, free of charge, an electronic copy of the handbook he developed for his consulting clients, Risk Management and Scenario Planning: How to Avoid Problems and Spot Opportunities. Risk managers will walk away both with a better understanding of what they are facing, and with new tools for improving future results.
Strange Days: The Future of Health Care & Pharmaceuticals
Ever since the Human Genome Project showed the value of using computers in medical research, research is starting to move at in silico speeds instead of in vitro speeds. Richard Worzel, best-selling author and Canada’s leading futurist, surveys the health care landscape of the next 25 years, and highlights:
- How health care will change, and why it must;
- How a global medical warning system will gather instant-by-instant reports on the health status of close to 5 billion people, and what the implications for future research and data mining;
- The new kinds of research tools that must be used to deal with data overload that is rising by orders of magnitude every five years or so;
- How drug research will change because of these new tools, and why such tools will force a complete change in the way pharmaceuticals are marketed.
- How the power of the Internet is re-shaping the pharma industry into a demand-pull model instead of a supply-push model.
- What demographics means to drug sales and marketing, and why it will require a new approach to provincial formularies.
Richard compares the advances of the next 25 years with the advances in medicine made over the 150 years from 1860 to today. ‘We will look back on the way we practice health management today, and compare it to the use of leeches and blood-letting of earlier eras,’ he says, ‘A
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