Gerd Leonhard

Futurist, Author, CEO of The Futures Agency

  • Gerd Leonhard`s Keynote Speaker Fee This reflects Gerd Leonhard`s U.S. Speaking Fee

    $30,001 - $40,000

  • Languages Spoken

    English, German

  • Travels From

    Switzerland

  • Gerd Leonhard`s Keynote Speaker Fee This reflects Gerd Leonhard`s U.S. Speaking Fee

    $30,001 - $40,000

  • Languages Spoken

    English, German

  • Travels From

    Switzerland

Suggested Keynote Speaker Programs

Happiness in the Digital Age

I have spoken a lot about happiness in my talks since 2015, and it’s an important chapter in my book Technology vs Humanity. Trust isn’t digital. Machines don’t do relationships. Happiness is not a download, and it can’t be automated or digitized. Yes, ...

I have spoken a lot about happiness in my talks since 2015, and it’s an important chapter in my book Technology vs Humanity.

Trust isn’t digital. Machines don’t do relationships. Happiness is not a download, and it can’t be automated or digitized. Yes, technology is great at giving us more or less hedonic pleasures such as free phone calls, access to unlimited music, TV Shows & films, networking opportunities for business or shopping online. Yet at the same time, unhappiness appears to be rising around the world (as are mental health issues and opioid addiction), and the power-users of social networks are said to the highest suicide rate of any population segment. Is technology, done wrong, ‘bicycles for the mind but bullets for the soul’?

Does ‘too much technology’ (#toomuchmagictech) lead to unhappiness? Does too-much-tech prevent us from being open to true happiness? If so, how will we balance technology and our need for real happiness? As big tech offers its hedonistic pleasure traps, how can we protect and pursue those deeper forms of happiness (eudaemonia) that involve what I all the ANDRORITHMS such as empathy, compassion, and consciousness ? And what about digital well-being?

Technology is very good at giving us what we want but very bad at giving us what we need. Technology is not what we seek but how we seek. We will not find real happiness on a screen or in VR, or in the cloud.

Learn More

A New Renaissance

The first Renaissance was a European movement away from feudal dogma to human artistry and independent thought, led by polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci. Today, the new dogmas – Technology, Data and Connectivity – are endangering human agency, threatening to literally ...

The first Renaissance was a European movement away from feudal dogma to human artistry and independent thought, led by polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci. Today, the new dogmas – Technology, Data and Connectivity – are endangering human agency, threatening to literally reprogram us. Something must and can be done. Based on almost two decades of global experiences and insights as a Futurist, Gerd now outlines his vision of a new human renaissance – essentially an embrace of human sovereignty over medieval dogma – and how we can reassert the human being over its artificial substitution and replacement. For this bold new talk, Gerd rediscovers the spirit of the Renaissance to offer you a new vision based on human genius and human values. Instead of a tech-dominated dystopia full of bots and ‘thinking machines’, Gerd suggests that the future can be one of liberated expression and human mastery.

Learn More

Understanding the Megashifts: Transforming Your Organization

The top 20 global technology brands and digital platforms are growing exponentially while many incumbent enterprises and former household-name-brands are forced to ‘pivot’ and dramatically reinvent themselves, or face sudden disintermediation and irrelevance. Witness the ...

The top 20 global technology brands and digital platforms are growing exponentially while many incumbent enterprises and former household-name-brands are forced to ‘pivot’ and dramatically reinvent themselves, or face sudden disintermediation and irrelevance. Witness the media industry, or recently, the incumbent car industry giants in Europe. In this eye-opening session, Gerd looks at how to evolve into a future-ready organisation based on understanding and exploiting The Megashifts, a key meme first presented in Gerd’s recent book Technology vs. Humanity.

The Megashifts include digitisation, automation, datafication, virtualisation, robotisation, and others (for a total of 11), and understanding them is the ticket to future success. The Megashifts are fuelled by a multitude of game-changers such as The Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, deep learning and robotics, new human-machine interfaces (such as voice-control and intelligent bots). In this riveting talk, Gerd depicts the key trends, reveals the likely minefields and identifies the key opportunities, dishing up a mixture of future-shock and awesomeness to stimulate some serious thinking.

Learn More

Humanity and Technology: We are Defining Our Future, Today!

Scientific break-throughs, exponential technological progress, economic growth and jobs often dominate the discussions when we ponder the future. However, as the world is going rapidly digital, I believe it is our humanity that needs the most attention, and it is our humanity ...

Scientific break-throughs, exponential technological progress, economic growth and jobs often dominate the discussions when we ponder the future. However, as the world is going rapidly digital, I believe it is our humanity that needs the most attention, and it is our humanity that will make all the difference in a world dominated by algorithms and smart machines. Our future is to become more human, not less, and the biggest danger today is not that machines will eliminate us, but that we become too much like them!

Consider how quickly the world is changing: data is now really the new oil, artificial intelligence is becoming the new electricity, and the Internet of Things could well be the world’s new nervous system. Digital giants and social media platforms have replaced banks and energy conglomerates as the most powerful companies in the world. Algorithms, AI and bots are gearing up to run the show in every industry. What will happen to humans when machines become truly intelligent? What about privacy, secrets, mystery, serendipity, emotions, intuition, imagination, consciousness, and…free will?

Learn More

The Automation of Everything, the Rise of Smart Machines and AI: What is the Future Impact on Jobs and Employment?

Automation is everywhere, already: from electronic bridge-tolls to connected cars with dash-cams and selfparking capabilities, to digital wallets and mobile payment platforms, to networked medical devices and quantified-self applications, to sensor networks for traffic control...

Automation is everywhere, already: from electronic bridge-tolls to connected cars with dash-cams and selfparking capabilities, to digital wallets and mobile payment platforms, to networked medical devices and quantified-self applications, to sensor networks for traffic control and robotic nurses for the elderly – and this is only the beginning. The next 5 years will bring rapid advancements in all areas of AI, robotics and the Internet of Things, and almost all of them will bring more automation to every sector of our society (and I am sure this will not always be a good thing, either). I believe that in the near future we need to focus on human-only jobs and non-routine tasks that only humans can undertake, focusing on creativity, design, tacit pattern recognition, negotiation and other ‘soft skills’, on right-brain capabilities or on emotional context (EQ). However, unemployment is very likely to soar, regardless, as ever smarter and cheaper machines increasingly automate all routines. So will we see the rise of a minimum guaranteed income (i.e. get paid without working) in some developed countries such as Switzerland? The very concept of work and ‘earning a living’ will need to be reimagined, and soon. The end of routine is not the end of human work!

Learn More

Exponential Change: The Total Transformation of Business and Society

Successful businesses always maintain a constant conversation about the future: what lessons need to be operationalized today in order to avoid future irrelevance or worse, extinction? For one thing, it is essential to understand that everything that can be digitized, ...

Successful businesses always maintain a constant conversation about the future: what lessons need to be operationalized today in order to avoid future irrelevance or worse, extinction? For one thing, it is essential to understand that everything that can be digitized, automated or virtualised, will be. Cognification, automation, disintermediation and robotization and 7 other Megashifts are now taking place across all industries, globally, not just in B2C sectors like media, content and marketing. Digital transformation – going from an industrial society to a digitally-native world – is certain to be the #1 challenge-opportunity in the next 5-7 years. How can people and their organisations become better at understanding the new challenges and opportunities, and move faster to develop the mindset and implement the transformations that are required? How will a company prosper in a world that is quickly becoming hyper-connected and interdependent? What skills and mindsets will we need, and what should remain human even if it is inefficient?

Learn More

From Transformation to Humanization: Culture Still Eats Technology for Breakfast!

We have reached peak ‘digital transformation’ – if you haven’t heard about why you and your business need to ‘go digital’ or ‘transform into a digital organisation’ you just may have lived under a rock during the past 5 years:) But now that this initial...

We have reached peak ‘digital transformation’ – if you haven’t heard about why you and your business need to ‘go digital’ or ‘transform into a digital organisation’ you just may have lived under a rock during the past 5 years:)

But now that this initial “transform or die” hype is winding down we are entering an era where it is no longer just about upgrading your IT-systems or investigating new business models. Now it is all about making sense, staging experiences, and creating tangible human benefits.

We must therefore TRANSCEND TECHNOLOGYso that we can focus on what really matters: human flourishing and (customer) happiness. We must invest as much in humanity as we invest in technology. Today’s unique opportunity is to re-humanize technology so that it serves a deeper purpose.

When humans are treated like algorithms the loss of trust is pre-programmed – and losing trust is something no organisation can afford. If you don’t want to end up like some of the global social media platforms who are now facing a jaw-dropping loss of trust, regulation and anti-trust legislation, put the HUMAN back into the centre of everything you do, and the future will be yours!

Learn More

Digital Ethics: The Ethics of Exponential Technological Progress

Science fiction is increasingly becoming science fact. Witness the dramatic technological advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, human genome manipulation, autonomous vehicles and quantum computing. I reckon that in 10 years technology will be almost limitlessly ...

Science fiction is increasingly becoming science fact. Witness the dramatic technological advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, human genome manipulation, autonomous vehicles and quantum computing. I reckon that in 10 years technology will be almost limitlessly powerful! It is for these reasons that I believe that the ethical and humane use of technology can no longer be an afterthought, but that it is in fact an existential challenge. If we define ethics as “knowing the difference between having the right or the power to do something, and doing the right thing”, who, then will decide what is right, and who will be “mission control for humanity”? Technology is morally neutral until we use it (hat-tip to William Gibson) – and we will use it absolutely everywhere in the near future. Do we need a ‘Digital Ethics Council’?

Learn More

Artificial Intelligence: The Next Ten Years

AI has become a global buzz-phrase that hogs our attention everywhere – yet the very idea of AI is being frequently misinterpreted, misunderstood and misrepresented. Hopefully this presentation can clear up this confusion! From a nonacademic perspective I explain the ...

AI has become a global buzz-phrase that hogs our attention everywhere – yet the very idea of AI is being frequently misinterpreted, misunderstood and misrepresented. Hopefully this presentation can clear up this confusion! From a nonacademic perspective I explain the differences between what I call IA (intelligent assistance), AI and AGI (artificial general intelligence), and what each of them could mean for our near-future. I depict what is real and what’s not so real (yet), and where things are going in the next 5-7 years. Examples are usually drawn specifically from a client’s domain or industry. This talk also includes some elements from the Technology vs. Humanity talk, as outlined above, and often addresses the impact of AI on work, education and jobs, as well.

Learn More

The Top Ten Things You Must Know About the Future: The Future Belongs to Those Who Can Hear it Coming!

In this fast-paced talk, I cut to the chase. Only my most important future-observations make it into this presentation. Culled from my firehose-like-mix of recent reads, news, reports, research, videos and films, and influenced by the many brilliant people I meet and speak to...

In this fast-paced talk, I cut to the chase. Only my most important future-observations make it into this presentation. Culled from my firehose-like-mix of recent reads, news, reports, research, videos and films, and influenced by the many brilliant people I meet and speak to, this constantly updated keynote lays out the top10 things I find most relevant for our immediate future. This talk is highly customisable and can cover almost any desired segment within business, society, technology and humanity.

Learn More

Practical Wisdom

Practical wisdom (Phronesis) is what I aspire to in all my work. Practical wisdom is about a specific kind of knowledge, foresight and wisdom that ties directly into action and immediate human benefit. Aristotle put it this way: “Practical wisdom is not concerned with the ...

Practical wisdom (Phronesis) is what I aspire to in all my work. Practical wisdom is about a specific kind of knowledge, foresight and wisdom that ties directly into action and immediate human benefit. Aristotle put it this way: “Practical wisdom is not concerned with the universals alone, but must also be acquainted with the particulars: it is bound up with action, and action concerns the particulars”. In this spirit, this impactful presentation features my key memes and statements such as ‘gradually, then suddenly is the new normal’ (exponential and combinatorial thinking), ‘technology is not what we seek but how we seek’ (human-centric progress), or ‘societies are driven by their technology but defined by their humanity’ (the importance of digital ethics). In each scene of this talk, I set forth a key realization and provide examples on what that means for business and society. A very powerful talk!

Learn More

Understanding the Future: 9 Game-changers, 11 Megashifts and 6 Future-principles

In this brand-new talk I share my observations and foresights on three sectors: science & technology, business & society, and mindset & philosophy; customized for every specific client and their industry. Science and technology: We are confronted with 9 game...

In this brand-new talk I share my observations and foresights on three sectors: science & technology, business & society, and mindset & philosophy; customized for every specific client and their industry.

Science and technology: We are confronted with 9 game-changers: data, cloud, AI, quantum computing, the Internet of Things, blockchain technologies, 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality and genetic engineering (biotechnology).

Business and society: the game-changers above result in 11 Megashifts that impact how we live, across the board: digitization, datafication, personalization, cognification, augmentation, robotisation, automation, disintermediation, platformization, virtualization and simulation (see www.megashifts.digital for details).

Mindset and philosophy: In response, we need to adopt a future-ready mindset and philosophy based on the understanding that the future is exponential, convergent, combinatorial, circular, holistic and human-centric (the 6 future principles).

“You have to think about the future while doing the present so that the present is going in the right direction”

Learn More

About Keynote Speaker Gerd Leonhard

Gerd Leonhard’s Key Speaker Accomplishments Include . . . 

Gerd Leonhard is a widely-known and top-rated futurist, with over 1500 engagements in 50+ countries since 2004 and a combined audience of over 1 million people. Gerd focusses on near-future, ‘nowist’ observations and actionable foresights in the sectors of humanity, society, business and commerce, media, technology and communications.

Gerd is also an influential author, a sought-after executive ‘future trainer’ and a trusted strategic advisor. He is the co-author of the best-selling book The Future of Music and the author of 5 other books including The Humanity Challenge (June 2016). Gerd is also the host of the web-TV series TheFutureShow and the CEO of TheFuturesAgency, a global network of over 30 leading futurists.

Gerd is considered a leading voice on a wide range of topics including digital transformation and the opportunity-challenges of the coming exponential society, a sustainable business and cultural ecology, social media and communications, TV / film, radio and broadcasting futures, mobile content and commerce, innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship, ‘hard-future’ consumer trends, human-machine futures and AI, cognitive computing, the IoT, big data and automation, next-generation advertising, marketing and branding, as well as sustainability and related ‘green future’ topics. In 2006, The Wall Street Journal called Gerd ‘one of the leading Media Futurists in the World’. In 2015, Wired Magazine listed Gerd as #88 of the top 100 influencers in Europe. He’s #21 on the global list of futurists.

Gerd’s keynotes, speeches and presentations are renowned for their hard-hitting and provocative yet inspiring, often humorous and always personal motivational style. Gerd is highly regarded as a global influencer and has advised many business leaders and government officials around the globe. His diverse client list of over 300 companies includes UBS, Mastercard, Unilever, Lloyds Bank, WWF, Nokia, The Guardian, Google, Sony, Telkom Indonesia, Siemens, RTL, ITV, BBC, France Telecom, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, MTN, The Financial Times, DDB, Ogilvy, Omnicom, IPG, The EU Commission, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, VISA, and many others.

More About Gerd Leonhard…

Gerd’s background is in the music business; in 1985 he won Berklee College’s ‘Quincy Jones Award’ and subsequently spent 12 years working as a professional guitarist, composer and producer. He then caught the Internet-bug and became a digital music & media entrepreneur, serving as Founder/CEO of several Internet startups, based in San Francisco. In 2002, following the .com meltdown and the 9/11 crisis, Gerd returned to Europe and discovered his new calling as a futurist.

He now travels around the globe to speak at leading conferences and events, company retreats, seminars and in-house trainings, and offering his unique ‘FutureExperience’ trainings along with his colleagues at The Futures Agency, an international organization that Gerd founded in 2010 to meet client demand for tried-and-tested future-trainers, speakers and personalities.

Gerd is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts (London) and a member of the World Future Society. A native German, Gerd resides in Basel, Switzerland, and maintains an office in San Francisco. He presents both in English as well as in German.

Testimonials

“Gerd was a keynote speaker at our recent Spark2020 Leadership Conference and was central to setting up the discussion about what the future might look like and importantly what that means for our industry, our business and the people in it. Gerd’s opening session was a great outside in view of the future and what that means for us. His perspectives were excellent and thought provoking and it set the day up well.”

Rod Snodgrass

CEO Spark Ventures NZ

“Gerd was a real delight to have speak at this year’s Learning Technologies Conference. He took the time to visit the conference for the entire day before his own appearance, listen to the conversations and then went back and re-wrote his presentation. The effect was superb
– the audience loved what he had to say, and it really woke them up and made them start thinking about what they were doing. In short, it was the perfect start to day two of the conference.”

Donald H Taylor

Learning Technologies CEO

“By his extremely inspirational speech, Gerd did help our publishing clients to have an outlook to the future of their business. Trust is the new currency and in Gerd we trust.”

Rudy Van Halle

industry marketing manager, Bpost

“Gerd did a fantastic job at a recent global logistics conference, opening up the opportunities of the future, bringing in varied examples from a host of different industries to explore new ways of thinking – big impact with the team”

John Marsden

Unilever

“WWF International staff had the pleasure of listening to Gerd as a keynote speaker during the 2013 Learning Week this week – when he addressed the topic of moving “From conversation to conservation action”. I know that everyone in the audience found Gerd to be inspiring, informative and challenging, and wanting more. Delivered in a punchy and dynamic “TED” style, Gerd’s talk catalyzed much discussion after the talk, and since, and generated a thirst for further interaction. I, for one, am looking forward to further opportunities to hear his thoughts on moving from ego to eco”

Richard McLellan

WWF International

“Gerd is one of the futurists I genuinely respect and enjoy. We have appeared together on panels and at events and each time I come away thinking hard, feeling smarter, which is the ultimate compliment. I am especially intrigued by his take on intellectual property and what’s next; he’s way ahead of the curve.”

Marian Salzmann

Havas Worldwide

Close

COVID-19 special virtual keynote fees are available for webinars. Fees listed above are for a live keynote – Please ask your advisor for special pricing on virtual keynote / webinar fees.

The BigSpeak Team

Close

My Catalog

PDF



Clear All

You have not added any speakers yet.