What futurists (or “futurologists”) do is to help people plan and prepare for the future, as opposed to offer predictions about the future. This can involve looking at future trends, notably about new technologies and technology trends, and a lot more besides.

If you’re looking for a conference speaker, a keynote speaker, or a workshop presenter or facilitator on this topic, the examples below represent some of the keynote speeches or workshop presentations I’ve given as a futurist speaker in the past. But each presentation is created specifically to suit your needs. If you don’t see a presentation about the future that would work for your conference, by all means contact me, and we’ll see if we can create one specifically for you.

The Fall and Rise of Retailing:
The Perils and Potential of Retailing in Tomorrow’s World

Of all the many sectors disrupted by technology and the Internet, retailing has perhaps been hit hardest. And the 800-pound gorilla that typifies this trend is, of course, Amazon  has decimated all major American retailers, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Yet, although Amazon and other successful online retailers have undoubted advantages, the history of business, and especially the history of technological disruption, is very clear: no one is unbeatable.

Futurist Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst as well as a business visionary who has helped organizations develop strategic plans for a better future. In this presentation, he looks at the threats and opportunities ahead for retailing, covering such topics as:

• Technologies that will (continue to) disrupt the industry– Artificial Intelligence and both Virtual and Augmented Reality are going to create new, more immersive forms of media that will not only entertain and inform, but engage and immerse. Because they will not only display items for sale, but allow consumers interact with them, these emergent technologies have the potential to be as disruptive to the retail marketplace as the Internet was in the 2000s. But how will the consumer want to use them? And how do you prepare for the uncertainties this will create?

• Shifting demographics are leading to confusion– Depending on whom you listen to, Millennials are the only cohort worth targeting. Others insist that the Boomers may be retiring, but they have the money. The truth is more complex: consumers are becoming more eccentric, and acting less like groups, in part because retailing is able to target and customize down to an individual level. Avoiding clever clichés that sound like horoscopes, and focusing on the individual is the path through this maze. But you need to know your customer to do so.

• The possibilities and potentials of new and traditional retailing– In a continually shifting marketplace, each retail organization needs to contemplate whom they serve, what their strengths are, and what the real potentials of their market position are. It’s not technology that will determine the future, nor is it retailers or even consumers, but the interaction of all three. This creates possibilities that have never existed before – but only for those agile and farsighted enough to identify and embrace them.

• Innovation ain’t easy, merely vital– Every major organization swears it is dedicated to innovation. Yet, there are hidden barriers that block innovation, even in those organizations that have an established track record as ground-breakers. Identifying these barriers, and finding methods for overcoming, or even turning them to advantage, may make the difference between struggling and soaring profitability.

“Think of the future of retailing as a rapidly expanding balloon,” says Richard. “New territories are opening up, while the revenue available in any given market segment is stretched and thinned out. Defining your role in tomorrow’s world becomes a matter of anticipating change, and the figuring out how to turn it to advantage.”

“The only thing you can’t do is maintain the status quo.”

The Upgrade Society & the Future of Luxury Automobiles

If we learned anything from the Great Recession and its aftermath, it’s that while money sometimes goes into hiding, it’s always around, and the demand for luxury cars tends to persist and rebound faster than for most other kinds of automobiles.

But what’s ahead? With slowing growth both at home and in many parts of the world, with new technologies bursting onto the scene, and with a growing interest in alternative fuels and energy sources, the future seems more uncertain than at any time in the recent past.

Richard Worzel, a Chartered Financial Analyst, strategic planner, and one of today’s leading futurists, covers this and more in a provocative overview of tomorrow, including:

  • The nature and prospects for the Upgrade Society, and how to aim for its heart;
  • The coming switch in demographics: Where’s the money going, and how do you play for position?
  • The technological surprises ahead, and what they mean for the luxury car market;
  • Social media: why it’s not just for college kids any more, how to address it, and where it’s going; and
  • What climate change means for the driving experience, alternative propulsion systems, and customer preferences.

You’ll come away not only with a better appreciation for the world of tomorrow, but with a toolkit for coping with, and capturing, the uncertainties of the future.

Demographics Is Destiny:
How Population Trends Affect the Economy

It’s easy to forget that people are the basis of everything relating to economic trends, including consumer demand, housing, tourism, and potentially even inflation and deflation. Or, to put it another way, without people, there is no economy.

That being the case, how are national and global demographic trends shaping the destiny of tomorrow’s economy?

  • As America’s population ages, its labor force growth falls, which leads to lower, slower GDP growth.
  • An aging population buys replacements rather than increasing demand, hence an aging consumer force leads to lower economic growth and lower demand.
  • Aging boomers will look to sell their family homes, but those who can afford to may wind up with two domiciles instead: one for winter down south, the other for the rest of the year up north. Or one in an urban center, the other in a calmer, more rural setting.
  • Meanwhile, younger consumers, especially Millennials, are finally starting their long-delayed move into their household formation years. This will goose demand for housing, cars (somewhat – younger consumers are less interested in car ownership than earlier generations), baby clothes, insurance, and even the beginnings of retirement planning.
  • Globally, the developed countries will face significant financial problems because of aging populations, established developing countries (except China, which is aging faster than almost anyone else) are burning through into their “demographic dividends”, and newly developing countries, notably in Africa, with their still-growing populations will win their place in the spotlight as quickly as they can develop stable governments and legal systems that protect property rights.

All told then, at every level, demographics is signaling a changing of the guard, with some groups losing influence, and others gaining them.

Critical Care: The Future of Local Pharmacies in Today’s Economy

The economic environment we are facing today is dramatically different than any we have experienced in the last decade – and is, in some ways, different from the environment our society has faced in the last 80 years. This means that the ways of responding to it must also be different.

Richard Worzel is a strategic planner, Chartered Financial Analyst, and one of today’s leading futurists. In this presentation, he will provide a road map of the future for the local pharmacy/retailer, which will cover:

  • What’s happened to the economy, the financial markets, and the consumer, and what’s going to happen next?
  • The prospects for the next 10 years in retailing;
  • How the shifts in demographics are going to affect health care, and how that will affect the role of the local pharmacist;
  • Tuning in on what’s going through the minds of your customers, and how to develop new ideas to support and improve your retail prospects in a tough market.

Pharmacies, especially those associated with larger retail outlets, fill a special niche in our society – and one that is, in some ways, one of the most competitive in the economy. Turbulent times are times when market share is up for grabs, and they play to the strengths of those who anticipate the future properly, and plan well for the changes ahead.

Changing an Uncertain Tomorrow into a Profitable Present: The Future of the Gift and Tableware Industry

The giftware industry is undergoing significant changes, and individual retailers who do not prepare for them may find themselves pushed out of business. Among the forces driving change are:

  • Demographics – Three key groups are entering new phases of their lifecycles, which means that their interests and buying habits will change. You will need to anticipate these changes, or kiss your customers good-bye.
  • The economy – Global and local growth is slowing, with significant implications for retailing. Here’s what to expect, and what to do about it.
  • Changes in the retailing industry – The world of retailing has shifted, and you need to pick and choose from among these changes to keep your business interesting to your clients, and profitable for you.

Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a strategic planner, and one of North America’s leading futurists. ‘Turbulent times are times when market share is up for grabs,’ he notes, ‘You can either take advantage of the changes as they happen, or be flattened by them.’

Managing for More: How the Future Will Affect Your Operations – and Your Profits!

As fast as consumer products are changing, the business model necessary you need for success is changing at least as quickly. As the competition you face mounts, and your customers become more sophisticated and more demanding, your future profitability will depend on acquiring new skills and greater foresight.

Richard Worzel, a strategic planner and futurist, will give you a blueprint on how to manage for more, turning today’s success into tomorrow’s greatest hits.

To survive and thrive the challenges of the future, you will need to:

  • Stay abreast of global pressures that are driving up competition;
  • Anticipate the shifting desires of increasingly sophisticated consumers;
  • Steadily upgrade your skills in marketing, sales, and operations management as well as your technical expertise; and
  • Watch for new opportunities that will appear with new technologies.

‘Turbulent times are times when market share is up for grabs,’ Richard comments. ‘Our future will be both more exciting, and less forgiving. Those who are not prepared for the times ahead will suffer, and may fail.’

Creating Tomorrow’s Products and Services Today (Workshop)

Using tools developed specifically for strategic planning in business and the military, futurist and strategic planner Richard Worzel leads a workshop to help you and your people identify important new opportunities in tomorrow’s marketplace.

You will start with a survey of the major forces shaping the future for your products and services, including the most important uncertainties, then use a carefully structured approach to project the specific needs of individual clients and prospects.

With a detailed look at the texture and nature of tomorrow’s markets, you can uncover changing needs and outline ways of filling them ahead of the market, and before your competitors.

By the end of this process, you will:

  • Identify coming changes in markets, competitors, suppliers, and customers;
  • Consider the range of possibilities that may develop;
  • Specify the most likely needs of your most important clients;
  • Clarify the ways you can use your particular strengths to position your company for the future; and
  • Outline distinctive products to fill emerging needs, and be ready to supply them when demand develops.