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

Engineering Success: Winning in the Marketplace for Hi-Tech

The history of technology is full of companies that had great innovations, but were beaten out by second-rate companies that had great marketing. So, it’s not enough to have a great technology. You must also have a balanced and talented business team, the right financing, and a superior marketing plan. Futurist Richard Worzel is a business visionary with experience in venture capital and hi-tech. In this presentation, he will outline the tactics of achieving success in technology’s future. Included among the topics he’ll discuss are:

• Why most clients and customers don’t really want a great, new technology. Unless you approach them the right way, you may not even get a chance to explain what you’ve got.

• Why what the client needs is more important than what they want – and how that extends to personal matters as well as professional issues.

• The things you absolutely must – and must not – do with your technology that will make the difference between success and failure.

• And why marketing most frequently consists of asking people a question that is almost always overlooked but which can have profound consequences for your marketing success.

Richard will provide a roadmap of how emergent ventures succeed, and how the future of technology is likely to unfold. And he’ll end by providing a handbook that will allow you to assess the risks ahead, and have contingency plans prepared to deal with them.

How To Be the Next Hi-Tech Wonder: What’s Ahead for Technology – and How to Profit From It

Everyone knows that the opportunities in technology will, if anything, be greater in future than they have been in the past. But which technologies, and which applications will make it? And even more importantly, which entrepreneurs will carry their ventures across the finish line to success? Richard Worzel is a global futurist who also has a degree in computer science, 10 years experience in venture capital, and is the author of two best selling books on entrepreneurship. In this presentation, he parses the opportunities in hi-tech, and discusses what entrepreneurs will need to do to become ‘overnight sensations.’ Among the issues he’ll cover are:

• Why financing is the hardest problem – and what you can do to make it easier.

• There’s a rule of thumb that can tell you whether a technology is likely to be a success with corporate clients and consumers. It comes from the greatest management thinker of the 20th century, but it’s virtually unknown – yet can make the difference between success and failure for you.

• What will drive success in technology? Hi-tech doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and having a great technology isn’t enough – you also have to have the market, and a means of selling successfully into it. So, what are going to be the megatrends that drive consumer and corporate demand? What problems will people want solved?

• Everyone wants to have the next disruptive technology, but there are real problems associated with having one. What are these pitfalls, and what can you do to skirt them?

To close, Richard will introduce a set of future planning tools that can help you firm up and achieve your overall objectives. He’ll provide a brief outline of how they work, and then supply an electronic handbook that you can takeaway and use immediately in your operations. You’ll walk away with a greater understanding of the opportunities, and the business acumen you’ll need to achieve the success you want.

How High Is Up? The Maturation of Geekdom, the Increasing Acceleration in Disruption, and How CFOs Can Help Manage the Unmanageable

The job of a CFO in a technology company requires many skills. Foremost among them is to anticipate where technology is headed, and how it might affect your organization. Futurist Richard Worzel is a business visionary and a Chartered Financial Analyst who has successfully anticipated the future of technology for almost a quarter of a century. In this presentation, he outlines what’s ahead for technology, how it will affect business in general, and how it will affect the role of the technology CFO in particular. Among the issues he will discuss are:

• The maturation of geekdom – Silicon Valley and its imitators all believe that being a tech geek is a pathway to plenty. Individuals want to become the next Zukerberg, Brin, Page, or Jobs. Companies want to hire the next tech visionary. But what many companies, even in Silicon Valley, fail to see is that geekdom is maturing, and quantity is replacing quality. There are still geek stars, and will be new superstars emerge in new fields and with new disruptive technologies, but these come from people who are both highly creative, and have enormous drive. In this way, geekdom is becoming more like Hollywood or the NFL: there will be superstars who rocket to stardom, are paid obscene amounts of money, and for whom there will be bidding wars. There will also be journeyman who are valuable and paid handsomely. But increasingly there will be McTechies, who do the drudge work. Companies that fail to recognize this trend may wind up hiring the wrong people.

• The pace of technological advance is not only accelerating, but the rate of acceleration is increasing. This is Kurzweil’s Law, but it misses a critical issue: not only is the pace of acceleration increasing, but the breadth of the revolution is expanding, with disruptive technologies now emerging in manufacturing (3D printing and pantograph fabrication), über-computing (quantum and biological computing), and the intrusion of technology into everyday living (Google Glass and programmed materials). The critical question then becomes: How do you cope?

Is there an end-game? Or, to put it another way: How high is up? There’s a saying in the stock market that no tree grows all the way to the sky, which means that no stock can go up forever. But is there an end to the technological revolution that is forcing itself on us? And what are the social, economic, and managerial implications?

Managing the unmanageable – The CFO role has emerged as the strategic planner of the modern corporation, which means unscrewing the inscrutable. Yet there are futurist tools that can do just that, including ones that can help you anticipate the unexpected, and the prepare for performance beyond what people believe is possible.

Richard will not only describe the futurist tools he advocates, but will make such tools available in a handbook that conferees can take away and use immediately. You’ll walk away with a clearer view of the future of technology, and a better grasp on how to prepare for it.

The Corporate CIO: Curator or Researcher?

Corporate IT has undergone many changes since its inception. It started as the management of accounting machines, then became data processing, then Management Information Systems, and then finally (so far) Information Technology. At every stage, there’s a temptation to take a static view of the status quo, and act as if you are defending something. But as the history of IBM makes clear, that way lies disaster. In the late 1980s and into the early 1990s, IBM lost track of the speed with which computers, communications, and technology moves. If it hadn’t been for Louis Gerstner and the vibrant internal culture of the company, it could well have become just another corporate casualty. Instead, they reinvented themselves and the company, and are today once again an internationally known leader in the field. That difference in attitude about IT is crucial: As a CIO, are you going to be a curator, attempting to preserve the past, or a researcher, inventing the future?

Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst with a degree in computer science, makes his living as a strategic planner, and is one of today’s leading futurists. He will use the Boston Museum of Science as a metaphor for the challenges of facing CIOs in a world where the pace of technological change is not only accelerating, but the rate of acceleration is increasing. Among the topics he will discuss are:

• Why quantity has a quality all its own – and how it’s going to change society, business, and our lives all over again;

• Why the technology revolution has only just begun;

• Where science is taking technology, where technology is taking IT, and where IT is taking the corporation;

• Phase change: Why technology is going to be different, not just faster;

• Push-back: What society’s reaction to technological change will likely be, and how you should prepare.

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.

The Robots in Real Estate’s Future: How IT Will Change the Real Estate Industry

One of the most dramatic changes of the next 10 years will be the emergence of everyday robots and computer intelligences in our economy and everyday lives. And since the real estate industry is, at its core, a knowledge industry, the emergence of computer intelligences is going to affect all the players in the industry in a variety of ways. Richard Worzel is not only a Chartered Financial Analyst and best-selling author, but is Canada’s leading futurist. In this presentation, he provides an overview of how these developments, plus other tech-related matters, will change the industry and the way things are done, including:

• Crowdsourcing – The rating of houses, real estate companies, and legal services will move even more quickly in the directions pioneered by tripadvisor in travel, and Amazon in customer-rated books. This will include comments on neighbourhoods, brokers and agents, and home-builders, as well as alternative service providers and even times of the year when sellers can achieve the greatest success.

• Artificial intelligence – Computer intelligences will become power aids to those in the real estate industry, as well as potential threats to some. Such intelligences will be able to quickly assess industry, national, regional, and neighbour data to reveal trends not immediately apparent, gauge the strength of economic activity with special emphasis on shifts in sentiment and interest rates, and read body language to assess the seriousness or excitement of specific individuals about either buying or selling. Meanwhile, routine work, such as legal documentation, will increasingly be done by ever-more sophisticated computer software.

• Computer smartwear, running off of smartphones, will provide portable intelligence and information, allowing agents to counsel clients on the best strategies for buying and selling, and to shift strategies in real time as new developments emerge. Meanwhile, agents and brokers will work with the descendents of Siri and Watson, who will provide real-time information about all aspects of the markets, as well as new developments and strategies as they emerge. In effect, such smart software will become computer assistants, aiding and supporting the efforts of the real estate professional.

• Computer regulatory oversight – But computers won’t only work for real estate professionals, they will also oversee their actions, and report on marketplace developments to regulators, and highlight perceive infractions and abuses with lightening speed.

Overall, real estate professionals will find their future significantly changed by the dramatic changes in computer power and sophistication. Those who adapt proven developments will gain significant advantages, while those who are left behind will find it ever-harder to compete. Richard provides a roadmap of where IT is taking the industry, as well as warnings of what to look for and how to adapt.

Opportunity Pounds: The Future of I.T. in Health Care

Opportunity is not knocking in applications of IT to health care; it is pounding down the door. Ever since the Human Genome Project showed the value of using computers in medical research, new research techniques and new IT applications are starting to cause health care management and new breakthroughs to move at in silico speeds instead of in vitro speeds. Richard Worzel, best-selling author and one of today's leading futurists, surveys the landscape of tomorrow, and highlights:

• How health care will change over the next 25 years, and why it absolutely must;

• How a global medical warning system will gather instant-by-instant reports on the health status of close to 4 billions people, and what the implications for future research and data mining;

• The basic building block of such a system will be invisible in 25 years’ time, but is already in evidence today;

• 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;

• And the emergence of help from surprising, even unexpected sources.

Richard compares the advances of the next 25 years with the advances in medicine made between 1860 and 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, 'And this has major implications for all the players, including governments, patients, pharma companies, and health care practitioners.'

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.

Grabbing Change by the Horns: Will Transformation Mean Evolution, Revolution, or Annihilation?

Not only is the rate of technological change accelerating, but the rate of acceleration is increasing. Meanwhile, the ripple effects of technology in social, economic, political, and business affairs are making it harder to foresee and manage change. Richard Worzel, leading futurist and strategic planner, as well as a Chartered Financial Analyst and best-selling author, leads this exploration on the issues and impact of change in technology, including:
  • What are the discontinuities ahead in IT, and how will they affect governance?

  • How will IT have to change to cope with both new technologies, as well as rising expectations from the general public?

  • What non-IT factors will influence the changes ahead, and how will they feed-back into IT management?

  • How is government going to change, and how should policy makers prepare for these changes? and

  • How long will the recession last, what happens afterwards, and how will that affect both expectations and resources in IT management?
You will walk away with a roadmap of tomorrow's world, one that will help you make the unavoidable transformations ahead be constructive rather than detrimental.

Tracking the Downstream Effects of Technology

It's clear that technology is advancing with unprecedented speed, but what is less clear is what effects these advances will have on business, government, consumers, and society. Yet the downstream effects - the secondary, tertiary, quaternary effects and beyond - of technological developments are almost always more significant than the immediate impact of the technology itself. For instance, refrigeration extended life expectancy; the invention of air travel revolutionized warfare, helped produce McLuhan's Global Village, spread new diseases with unprecedented speed, and boosted global terrorism; computer games lead to childhood obesity and health problems and may be eroding the socialization skills the allow society to function; and the Internet is redefining the way business is conducted as well as revolutionizing politics.

In this intriguing and interactive look at advances yet to come, futurist Richard Worzel will outline the pivotal technologies, and involve participants in a series of structured exercises to identify not only what technological developments will be key, but what the downstream, ripple effects of these technologies will be.

'You cannot look at the future in vague, general terms and get useful results,' says Worzel. 'Accordingly, we will break the future down into well-defined, specific segments, and assess what changes may come in these segments, and what effects they will have. The introduction of these techniques will give conferees a tool box that they can take away with them and use repeatedly in assessing the future.'

The Future of IT: Are We Up to It?

Most technology professionals accept Moore's Law as gospel, yet it's actually too conservative. Not only is the rate of change in technology accelerating, but the rate of acceleration is increasing as well. Some analysts believe that 20 years from now, computers will be a billion times faster than they are today. Whether they're right or not, it is certain that the changes that will be wrought by information technologies over the next 20 years will be much more significant than the changes of the last 20 years. This raises the question: Are we up to the task?

Futurist and strategic planner Richard Worzel holds a degree in computer science, and wrote his first computer program in 1959. In this challenging keynote presentation, he assesses the changes we've experienced, looks out at the changes to come, and gauges the social, commercial, and personal implications of tomorrow's technology. Along the way he identifies the key, and unsuspected bottlenecks that will restrain our progress, the threats with which we'll have to deal, and weighs the effects of information processing in IT, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and new frontiers beyond this. This startling keynote will shake your preconceptions about the future ahead of us, and help you re-evaluate your strategy for tomorrow.

Numinous Technology: Lurking Hazards, Hidden Significance

Computers have shrunk from behemoths that filled entire buildings and cost millions of dollars to nifty toys that cost hundreds. And the sociological, commercial, and strategic implications of this revolution go 'way beyond the obvious technological impacts. The downstream effects on corporate organization, management, HR, purchasing, and most other organizational activities will be dramatic. The effects on culture and society will be pronounced, and of a nature that many will find threatening. And the consequences for the power structures of governments and organizations will be far-reaching. More than just a review of technology toys and trinkets, this keynote looks at the underlying implications of technology, and how it is changing our actions, our assumptions about the way the world works, the way we interact with each other, and even the way we think.

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