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Greg Lindsay    

Expert on Globalization, Cities & Innovation

Greg Lindsay is the director of applied research at NewCities and director of strategy at its mobility offshoot CoMotion. He is also a non-resident senior fellow of the Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative, a senior fellow of MIT’s Future Urban Collectives Lab, and a visiting scholar at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management.

He’s a partner at FutureMap, a geo-strategic advisory firm based in Singapore, and has advised Intel, Samsung, Starbucks, IKEA, Audi, Chrysler, Hyundai, Tishman Speyer, British Land, André Balazs Properties, Aldar, Emaar, and Expo 2020, among many other organizations. He was the inaugural urbanist-in-residence at URBAN-X — BMW MINI’s urban tech accelerator.

Greg is a two-time Jeopardy! champion (and the only human to go undefeated against IBM’s Watson).

Speech Topics


Engineering Serendipity

Innovation can’t be scheduled but it can be designed. Greg Lindsay tells how innovative organizations such as Google, Facebook, Zappos, and MIT are engineering serendipity, harnessing social networks and new ways of working to cultivate the discovery of new ideas, inspire collaboration and creativity, and to spur employee engagement, learning and innovation. How, where, and who we work with will never be the same.

The New Geography of Trade, Talent, and Innovation

How did China become the “world’s factory?” Why are Americans checking into Bangkok for heart surgery? How did Africa become a breadbasket for the Middle East? What all of these things have in common is that they were made possible by the world’s explosive growth in air travel. The combination of the Internet and jet engine is redrawing the world map, creating new winners and losers among countries, cities, companies, and all of us. Greg Lindsay, author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next, explores the rules, threats, and vast opportunities afforded by the new highways in the sky.

Big, Smart, and Green — How Cities Define Our Future

Humans are an urban species — more than half of us now live in cities. And our numbers will double by 2050 to more than 7 billion people, equal to the number alive on Earth right now. Every challenge we face will by definition become an urban one, whether solving poverty, adapting to climate change, finding homes and opportunities for immigrants, creating jobs and growth, and simply how to get around.

Greg Lindsay speaks frequently about the future of cities, most recently at the Atlantic Council, the Urban Land Institute, and the New America Foundation. He directs the Emergent Cities Project at the World Policy Institute, exploring what lessons struggling cities like Detroit can learn from dynamic ones such as Nairobi. His work with Studio Gang Architects on the future of suburbia was displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2012, and he is currently working with OMA/AMO to explore the intersection of the office with the city, the cloud, and Big Data. Popular topics include “smart cities;” urban mobility; cities and immigration; making cities more resilient to climate change, and how work is changing in cities.

The Future of the Future

The future isn’t what it used to be. As the pace of social, technological, and environmental change accelerates, organizations are struggling just to make sense of the present, let alone spot threats and opportunities looming just over the horizon. The ability to anticipate, understand, plan for, and innovate around uncertainty has become a critical skill for designers, innovators, and strategists everywhere. As the computing pioneer Alan Kay once said, “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Futurist, journalist, author and scholar Greg Lindsay will teach a crash course in exactly that. The practice of creating futures, or “foresight,” offers a toolkit and framework for detecting signals of change, organizing insights, synthesizing possible futures, identifying potential barriers and opportunities, and designing innovative products, services or ideas that satisfy emerging needs. In addition to lecturing on possible futures, Greg is available to lead participants through a fun, fast-paced workshop in which they create futures of their own.

The Future of Urban Transportation

Where is Uber, Lyft, autonomous cars, etc. all headed? This talk is drawn from Greg's work at New York University and with the New Cities Foundation in Paris. He has recently given talks on this subject to the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the Automotive Fleet Leasing Association, the Canadian Automobile Association, Audi, Chrysler, Element Fleet Management, MIT, and others.

The Future of Work, Cities, and Serendipity

How will we discover new collaborators and ideas in a world where no one works in the same office anymore? Why is WeWork a $10 billion company? Greg has spoken about these trends at Microsoft, Intel, Ericsson, the U.S. State Department, the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Institute for the Future, and many others.

The Future of Travel, Trade, and Cities

This talk is about how air travel, the Internet, and the urban world are disrupting traditional ways of living and working. This comes out of Greg's 2011 book, "Aerotropolis," and can be taken in any number of directions. Greg has spoken about this subject at length to commercial real estate groups (e.g. CoreNet, NAIOP, the Urban Land Institute), travel groups (Association of Corporate Travel Executives, the Texas Travel Industry Association, the International Luxury Travel Meetings), aviation (Emirates, Boeing, FedEx), and many more.

Inoculating the planet: life after COVID-19

While the world awaits a vaccine, how will we inoculate our cities, workplaces, homes, and families against another pandemic? For example, how will fluid organizations balance the mental- and physical health of employees with new remote/office work hybrids? Will social distancing kill mass transit and ridehailing in favor of driving alone — or will cities turn streets over to cyclists, scooters, and pedestrians? How will deliveries, “dark kitchen,” and automation threaten to turn retailing and restaurants inside-out, threatening main streets, mom-and-pops, and real estate as we know it? And where will millennials — now the victims of a second financial crash — choose to raise their children, “Generation C?”

Drawing on his research and foresight work for NewCities, the Atlantic Council, MIT’s Future Urban Collectives Lab, the Bloomberg Philanthropies, and dozens of recent interviews, Greg Lindsay delivers a sweeping view of how the pandemic and resulting economic crash will alter the trajectory of our lives for decades to come.

Length: 45 minutes speaking + 15 minutes Q&A (Tailored to client’s needs)

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