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Gerd Leonhard        

Futurist, Humanist, Author, CEO The Futures Agency & Filmmaker

“People, Planet, Purpose and Prosperity.” - That is Gerd Leonhard’s motto. Over the past two decades, he has risen to one of the top 10 futurist keynote speakers worldwide, and has recently become the #1 virtual speaker in the age of Corona. With nearly 2,000 engagements in 60+ countries since 2004, and a combined audience of over 2.5 million people, Leonhard has been listed by Wired magazine as one of the Top 100 Most-Influential People in Europe, and as ‘one of the leading media futurists in the World’ by The Wall Street Journal.

Leonhard focuses on the intersections of humanity, science / technology, business, and culture. He promotes sustainable, human-centric values, and emphasizes the importance of foresight, future-ready leadership, and resilience in the face of uncertainty. He is also known for speaking out against the pitfalls of unbridled extractionist capitalism. His acclaimed keynotes (both live and virtual) are renowned for their hard-hitting and provocative style - inspiring, humorous, motivational, and always personal. Using cutting-edge creative motion design and immersive backdrops, Leonhard’s performances (both in-person and for online events) have reinvented the very definition of ‘presentation.’

Leonhard is highly regarded as a global influencer and has advised business leaders and government officials around the globe. His diverse list of clients include countless governments, NGOs and Fortune 500 companies such as SAP, Microsoft, Google, VISA, Accenture, Deloitte, Motorola, KPMG, Sony, UBS, Tetrapak, Mastercard, BBC, Unilever, Lloyds Bank, WWF, Sony, The Guardian, PwC, Siemens, RTL,The Financial Times, Ogilvy, Omnicom, The EU Commission, Audi and many others. A true thought leader in the futurist space, Leonhard is above all a dedicated humanist who believes that all technological progress should further collective human flourishing.

Leonhard uses his keynotes, presentations, workshops and advisory sessions to deep-dive on complex topics. Recurring themes include business in the post-Covid-19 world, the need for a sustainable, equitable reform to conventional capitalism, addressing existential risks like climate change and uncontrolled technological proliferation, the future of work and of the human-machine relationship, exploring what it means to be human in a world of machines and algorithms, and the ethics of technology and tech regulation in an interconnected world. As Leonhard likes to say, humanity will change more in the next 10 years than in the previous 100 years – so let’s embrace technology but also maintain, protect and nurture what makes us human!

Speech Topics

10 things you need to know about the future


The future belongs to those who can hear it coming!

In this fast-paced talk, I cut to the chase. Only my most important future-observations make it into this presentation. Culled from my firehose-like-mix of recent reads, news, reports, research, videos and films, and influenced by the many brilliant people I meet and speak to, this constantly updated keynote lays out the top-10 things I find most relevant for our immediate future. This talk is highly customisable and can cover almost any desired segment within business, society, technology and humanity.

The future of work, jobs and education

The automation of everything, the rise of smart machines and AI: what is the future work, jobs / employment… and education? 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.

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

How To Get Future-Ready

I often start my talks by stating that the future is already here but that we’re just not paying enough attention. I also suggest that the future is no longer a mere extension of the present because the changes that are now impacting every aspect of our lives are exponential, combinatorial and interdependent. The future is no longer a time-frame, it’s a mindset.

‘Tomorrow’ is happening increasingly faster than we think, and it is therefore vitally important to boost our future-readiness, to nurture a future-mindset, and to ‘futurize’ ourselves as well as our organisations.

In this talk, I share my approach to observing, understanding and imagining the future, both on a personal as well as on an organisational level. The future is not something that just happens us – it is something we create!

Understanding the Megashifts: Transforming your organisation

The top 20 global technology brands and digital platforms are growing exponentially while many incumbent enterprises and former household-name-brands are forced to ‘pivot’ and dramatically reinvent themselves, or face sudden disintermediation and irrelevance. Witness the media industry, or recently, the incumbent car industry giants in Europe.

In this eye-opening session, Gerd looks at how to evolve into a future-ready organisation based on understanding and exploiting The Megashifts, a key meme first presented in Gerd’s recent book Technology vs. Humanity. The Megashifts include digitisation, automation, datafication, virtualisation, robotisation, and others (for a total of 11), and understanding them is the ticket to future success.

In this riveting talk, Gerd depicts the key trends, reveals the likely minefields and identifies the key opportunities, dishing up a mixture of future-shock and awesomeness to stimulate some serious thinking. Watch this related video.

Practical Wisdom

Practical wisdom (Phronesis) is what I aspire to in my work. Practical wisdom is about a specific kind of knowledge, foresight and wisdom that ties directly into action and immediate human benefit. Aristotle puts it this way: “Practical wisdom is not concerned with the universals alone, but must also be acquainted with the particulars: it is bound up with action, and action concerns the particulars” Unchanged: In this spirit, this impactful presentation features my key memes and statements such as ‘gradually, then suddenly is the new normal’ (exponential and combinatorial thinking), ‘technology is not what we seek but how we seek’ (human-centric progress), or ‘societies are driven by their technology but defined by their humanity’ (the importance of digital ethics). In each scene of this talk, I set forth a key realization and provide examples on what that means for business and society.

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