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Olaf Groth    

Global Futurist & Strategist for AI & Emerging Technology Disruption & Transformation; Founder & CEO of Cambrian Futures & Business Professor at UC Berkeley

Olaf Groth has 30 years of experience as an executive and adviser building strategies, capabilities, programs, and ventures across 35+ countries across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia with multinationals (e.g., AirTouch, Boeing, Chevron, GE, Qualcomm, Q-Cells, Vodafone, Volkswagen, etc.), consultancies, startups, VCs, foundations, governments, and academia.

Groth is the founding CEO of advisory thinktank Cambrian Futures and of solution development studio Cambrian Designs. He is a Professor of Practice for Global Foresight, Strategy, Innovation and Policy at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and Adjunct at Hult International Business School. He serves as Faculty Director for the Berkeley Executive Education program Future of Technology, Sr. Adviser and Executive-in-Residence at Berkeley’s Institute for Business Innovation, Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley’s Roundtable on the International Economy (BRIE), and a Venture Adviser at Berkeley Skydeck. He is a member of the Global Expert Network for the 4th Industrial Revolution and of the Global Alliance for AI Governance at the World Economic Forum and a contributor to IEEE’s Global Initiative on Ethics for Autonomous & Intelligent Systems

Groth is lead co-author of a recent book on the Cognitive Economy, "The Great Remobilization: Strategies & Designs For A Smarter Future," and of the AI book "Solomon’s Code: Humanity in a World of Thinking Machines" and its 2021 paperback version "The AI Generation: Shaping Our Global Future With Thinking Machines." He is a frequent commentator on ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, NPR and Bloomberg TV (USA), Deutsche Welle, ARD and ZDF (Germany), CAN (Singapore), and CGTN (China) and contributor for outlets like WIRED, Financial Times, Straits Times, The Hill, Harvard Business Review (USA, Germany, France, Italia, Spain, Arabia), among others.

Groth holds PhD and MALD degrees in global affairs with a focus on business, economics, and technology from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, MAIPS and BA degrees with an economics focus from the Middlebury Institute at Monterey, and studied negotiation at Harvard, economics at Georgetown, finance at Berkeley, and strategic leadership at the Center for Creative Leadership.

Speech Topics

The Trillion Dollar Data Frontier and the Future of Trust-Driven Growth

It has been said that data is the new oil in the age of AI and machine learning. Indeed, as the 4th Industrial Revolution unfolds, we will generate immense amounts of data, north of 175 Zetabytes a year. AI and other smart digital tools will help us sort through, label and make sense of this data. Much of the data and the insights we generate from it will be deeply personal to individuals or highly confidential to enterprises. How do we balance the productivity promise, profit potential, and public benefit of those data-driven insights with the need to respect privacy and confidentiality? How will this natural tension evolve in future? How can we design use cases and business models that allow us to navigate this well and responsibly? What types of governance do we need to put in place to be trustworthy and achieve greater, not less, customer and stakeholder intimacy?

A Climate Cataclysm? A Techno-Optimist’s View from the Valley

In this talk global technology and economy speaker Olaf Groth will explore several reasons for optimism on climate change, provided we act fast. Among them are new models for climate accords, a reframe of carbon as a toxic substance, new methodologies and applications from carbon capture, sequestration to monitoring, packaging and trading that employ AI, quantum computing and advanced data science, the role of cities around the world, a new generation of visionary young change makers, and structural changes in the global energy economy brought about by geopolitics and global supply change economics.

In his typical accessible, high-energy style, Dr. Groth will take us on an intensely packed tour de force that demonstrates how we can support these trends to ensure they are the dominant ones and why that can indeed be a path to higher and more integrated human and economic growth and prosperity.

The Future of Work: Human-Machine Symbiosis

As we adapt to changing structures and dynamics in our economic, political, and social environments driven by the pandemic, the question of how the future of work will shake out is more paramount than ever. Uncertainties are abound: Will we see a de-emphasizing of physical presence? What shape will virtual interaction take and how will that work for human needs? How great will the pressure be to shed cost through automation? How valuable and defensible are human skills and capabilities? What role will data play and how will smart machines and humans collaborate to generate, collect, process, curate, interpret, sell, buy, and critique it? Will our digital twins be the virtual workers of the future? In this talk, Dr. Groth will give an overview of the current state of thinking in the field and then paint a thought-provoking picture of a plausible and highly disruptive future for work and productivity that is ours to shape to our advantage. This future rests on two powerful driving forces for the next growth horizon of the digital economy: humans as creators and curators; and data as labor in a $3 trillion market.

Coronomics: Resilience in the Global Pandemic Economy

Beyond the flattening of the initial curve of COVID-19 infections in coming years, we will likely see a period of continued patchworks of restrictions by governments and behaviors by consumers for the next 18-24 months as populations grapple with the fallout and attain more stable levels of immunity. This, in conjunction with stimulus and innovation responses to the crisis will create waves of volatility and uncertainty on both macro- and micro-economic levels of our economies. Yet, in Albert Einstein’s words: “In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity.” If we manage to harness it, we might in fact experience a period of higher growth and renewed prosperity coming out of the crisis.

In this talk, Dr. Groth will explore the different dimensions of resilient business leadership and opportunity framing as we navigate to those new horizons of strengthening personal leadership resilience, practicing how to motivate virtual teams, foreseeing emerging business growth opportunities, increasing agility of supply chains, and decentralizing and innovating on business models.

AI and You: Power and Position in the Cognitive Era

As machines and tools are getting smarter through the application of AI and data science at the dawn of the 4th Industrial Revolution, we will see significant shifts in three dimensions of our lives as business and community leaders: power, people, and positions.

In this talk Dr. Groth will explore how that is happening, how the cognitive economy is unfolding, and what the promises and perils are for your roles within it. Time is of the essence, as code proliferates to hundreds of millions of people in split seconds. As a former executive, a think tank founder, an author, and professor for strategic futures, innovation, and economics, Dr. Groth will outline what you can do to prepare, how you can secure agency, defensibility, and prosperity as we embark on this journey.

The Great Remobilization toward Globalization 2.0

In this talk, Olaf Groth identifies tectonic shifts in the architecture of the global economy. The 6Cs (COVID-like pandemics, cognitive technologies, crypto & web 3, cybersecurity, climate & carbon, China) converge to create the new global architecture. This paradigm sparks political, societal, and economic turmoil, which in turn creates new patterns in the operating infrastructure for executives and policy makers alike. Through a new FLP-IT framework that leverages scenario planning, zeroth principles thinking and portfolio theory we can chart a path into this future, taking us to new growth horizons while enhancing trust and anti-fragility in societal systems and strategies for our economies and ventures.

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  • Global Strategy/Innovation Strategy
  • Global Economy, De-Globalization & Decoupling
  • Global Supply Chains/Smart Supply Chains
  • Crypto, Blockchain & Tokenomics
  • AI, Automation & Robotics
  • Climate & Cleantech
  • Global Disruption Trends, Futures & Foresight
  • Data Valuation & Markets
  • 4th Industrial Revolution
  • Emerging Technology Management
  • Ecosystem Dynamics Mapping
  • Strategic Leadership & Strategy Execution
  • Intrapreneurship Organizations & Management
  • Ethics & Governance Design
  • Global Market & Venture Development

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