Richard Worzel - Futurist - Speaker - Consultant
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Keynote & Workshop Topics
Keynote & Workshop Topics
Governance

How to Think About the Future

The biggest problem most people have in thinking about the future is that it is too big, too broad, and too poorly defined. It’s like drinking the ocean; there’s just too much to take in. As a result, we tend to oversimplify how we think and plan for the future. Indeed, we talk about ‘the future’ as if there is just one future that’s possible. Moreover, the future is inherently unpredictable, which means that whatever we predict will be wrong to at least some degree.

In this pair of complementary workshops, we will approach the question of how to think practically about the future without being able to predict it. This will include introducing the concepts of scenario planning, the Desired Future, Backcasting, and environmental scanning as tools that can help you break the future into smaller, more manageable parts, and lead you to the creation of specific plans for a range of possible tomorrows. Participants will walk away with a broader understanding of how to cope with the future, as well as a handbook they can take away that will help them put these concepts to work for themselves



Workshop 1:

Scenario Planning: A Strategic Approach to Preparing for the Future


This is a top-down approach to preparing for the future, where participants learn how to created structured alternative futures that are relevant to their businesses that then allow them to prepare contingency plans for the uncertainties ahead. Once these futures and plans have been created, they can then move to the creation of a Desired Future, which is the future that they really want to have happen, as opposed to the random future that would otherwise emerge. Once a Desired Future has been defined, we will move into Backcasting, which is a way of walking backwards from the Desired Future to the present that creates a step-by-step plan to move from today to the future they want to create. This workshop covers a lot of ground, and while we can introduce the concepts, and start all of the processes involved, participants will have to complete the work once they are back home. They will take with them a handbook on the subject of scenario planning.



Workshop 2:

Inventing the Future: A Structured Approach to Innovation


This is a bottom-up, grass-roots approach to the future, where participants focus down to the intimate aspects of daily routine as a way of coming up with fresh ideas on how to improve their businesses. This is a structured form of brainstorming that aims to produce dozens of new ideas for small improvements, and then selecting the most interesting, attractive, and rewarding of these ideas for further development. By focusing down in this way, participants can learn how to create a recurring, continuous stream of new ideas. And by producing a steady flow of small improvements, participants can overcome the two greatest barriers to innovation: fear of failure, and lack of good ideas. At the same time, occasionally this process will turn up a radical new idea that can lead to a quantum leap forward, or into a completely new way of doing things.



The Future of Work and the Challenges for Governments

The prospects for jobs for the next generation of workers is decidedly mixed: there are going to be lots of jobs begging for people, and simultaneously lots of people desperate for work. This seeming paradox is the result of a wide range of forces coming together to create a fluid and perplexing job market: the aging and retirement of the baby boomers; the different work ethic of their children, the echo boomers; the rising importance of the global economy, with its dramatic increase in trade and export on the one hand, and the outsourcing of jobs on the other; and the acceleration of the pace of business because of the effects of technology. The net result is a workplace that can't get enough of certain trades, but seems to freeze out many workers. In this wide-ranging and immediately practical presentation on the future of work and the workplace, futurist Richard Worzel examines the challenges ahead for governments concerned about their citizens and the economy, how it will treat those preparing for tomorrow's jobs, and what they must do to respond.

Cities of Tomorrow: Where Will the Future Come to Live?

Municipalities are caught in a strange situation: citizens are intensely interested and concerned about local issues, yet municipal governments have little or no influence over issues like globalization or technology that affect voters. In this environment, how do elected officials and civil servants shape the towns and cities of tomorrow? What will an increasingly mobile population want, and how do you offer it? What kinds of infrastructure should you build, and what should you avoid? Futurist and strategic planner Richard Worzel offers a tour of tomorrow's landscape, describing the forces that are affecting our towns and cities, and offers tools to help create attractive, vibrant places to live and work.

Innovative Government: Oxymoron or Inevitable?

The increasing speed and complexity of decisions, combined with the growing importance of events and actors outside of governmental jurisdiction, is making good government progressively more difficult. This begs the question of whether governments are going to allow themselves to become largely irrelevant, or create new ways of fulfilling their mandates. In this intriguing and wide-ranging presentation, strategic planner and professional futurist Richard Worzel surveys the threats and problems of the future of government, including demographics, the global economy, and rapidly changing technologies, and assesses the potential tools government can use to turn threats into innovative, responsive, and relevant government.

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