Richard Worzel - Futurist - Speaker - Consultant
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Articles & Books
Articles by Richard Worzel

This area includes a collection of articles on various topics, as well as information on some of my other books and publications. You can subscribe to the Futurist-News Mailing List to recieve occassional updates and new feature articles of note by email.

If you have any questions or comments about any of the material available here - please contact me.



“I’m Mad as Hell…”
December 10th, 2014
Topics: Economy, Geopolitics, Society, General

Society has reached three important tipping points on different, but possibly related, issues. We will never be the same.

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How Technology Will Affect Real Estate Brokers: A Day in the Life of Broker in 2024
October 20th, 2014
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, Technology, General

How will technology affect the way real estate brokers and agents conduct business ten years from now? Here's one look.

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Deadly Shock: The Coming Devastation of Power Utilities
August 31st, 2014
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General, Environment, Technology

Power utilities are about to get a nasty shock, and if they don't adapt, they will go bankrupt.

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I Dream of (a) Genie
August 14th, 2014
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General, Technology

Wearable computers with seemingly intelligent software will change our lives in ways we may not expect.

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Scary Superbugs: Your Money, or Your Life
22 July 2014
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Economy, Society, Technology, General

What will our world be like as antibiotic-resistant bacteria spread? And what can we do about it?

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The Greediest Generation
July 7th, 2014
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Environment, Society, General

The boomers want to have it all – no matter who it belongs to!

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Should Robots Have Rights?
June 9th, 2014
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, General, Technology

What constitutes a person? How do we decide who has the rights that go with being a person? Pretty soon we're going to have to decide.

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Towards an Immortal Brain
April 28th, 2014
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Demographics, Economy, General, Society, Technology

We may be able to repair the body and keep it going indefinitely (see previous article), but what about the mind?

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5 Things You Need to Know About Living Forever
March 17th, 2014
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, General, Technology

How long will you live? How long can you live? The answers to both these questions are changing rapidly. Here's why.

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Climate Change, Part III: What We Will Do About It
February 17th, 2014
Topics: Business, Economy, Environment, Geopolitics, Society, Technology, General

Humanity will – reluctantly – finally decide that it has no choice but to act on climate change. When that happens, what will we do? Here's an exploration of the issues.

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Climate Change, Part II: Risk Management
November 22nd, 2013
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General, Environment

This is the second of three parts in an overview of the future of climate change. The first part can be found here.

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What’s Truly Important In Today’s News
October 3rd, 2013
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General, Environment

The biggest headlines often don't indicate what's truly important, and the disconnect now is about as big as I can remember. Here are the three most important issues that I think should be dominating the news.

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The Boy Who Cried “Bear!”
September 26th, 2013
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Society, General

U.S. House Republicans seem determined to commit suicide – and take us all with them.

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The 5th Principle of Leadership
May 16th, 2013
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General

The one, remaining principle of leadership: foresight, and how to exercise it.

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The 5 Principles of Leadership, Part II
March 22nd, 2013
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General

This is a continuation of an earlier blog, in which the fundamental basis of leadership is examined. That earlier blog can be read here.

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The Future of Food: Farming It, Processing It, Packaging It, Selling It, Eating It
23 January 2013
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Economy, Environment, Society, Technology, General

Almost everything about food is going to change, and in ways we don't expect. Here's why.

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13 Trends for 2013
December 26th, 2012
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Economy, Environment, Society, Technology, Geopolitics, General

Here are some of the key trends that are going to shape the year ahead.

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4 Wild Cards for Utilities in 2013: Risks & Opportunities
December 11th, 2012
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Environment, Technology, General

The year ahead holds significant risks and opportunities for the utility industries.

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A Futurist’s View of Risk & Risk Management
November 8th, 2012
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Geopolitics, General

I was recently asked to write about how my views on risk and risk management differ from conventional management views. This is the result.

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Is American Still the Greatest Country in the World?
October 12th, 2012
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Education, Geopolitics, Society, Technology, General

Is America still the greatest? And, if so, can it remain the greatest?

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Stalking the Specter
June 25, 2012
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Geopolitics, General

In my last blog, 'A Specter Is Haunting Europe', I described the running crisis that threatens Europe's financial markets and economy with potentially severe knock-on effects for the global markets and global economy. I got a very swift reaction from a number of readers: You say this global crisis is a matter of when not if; so what should we do to protect ourselves?

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A Spectre Is Haunting Europe
June 15th, 2012
Topics: Business, Economy, Geopolitics, Society, General

There's a spectre haunting Europe, threatening to rip the heart out of its financial markets and economy. And if Europe goes, the global markets and global economy won't be far behind.

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The Future of Work: How the 1% and the 99% Will Become Aristocrats & Peons
May 15th, 2012
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Education, Society, General

Building on our previous blog, the future of work can lead us to a better world – or one where today's wealthy become aristocrats, and the poor and middle class become peasants.

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‘The Boomers Have Colonized Our Future, and Aren't Leaving…’
April 25th, 2012
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Education, Geopolitics, Society, Technology, General

I don’t often give my blog over to guests, but this essay gave me pause. I commissioned Chris Ritchie to research certain aspects of social developments, and what you’re about to read was part of his report.

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Six Things to Know About the Robots in Your Future
March 29th, 2012
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, Technology, General

We grew up with robots, but the robots in our future are both much closer than we realize, and will be very different from what we expect. The implications of the robots in your future are profound.

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The Innovation Revolution
March 6th, 2012
Topics: Business, Biosciences, General, Economy, Technology, Society

Change is happening faster than we believe, and it is about to shake up the corporate world in ways that will catch us by surprise. The innovation revolution is entering an entirely new phase.

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Freshwater Crisis, Farming Opportunity
February 2nd, 2012
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Economy, General

Everybody knows there's a crisis coming in freshwater supplies, but forward-thinking farmers can turn that to their advantage!

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12 Trends for 2012
December 27th, 2011
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Demographics, Economy, Environment, Geopolitics, General, Society, Technology

Although there are more than 12 things going on in the world, I believe these are the most significant trends for the year ahead.

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It Can’t Happen Here: What Happens After Occupy Wall Street
November 21st, 2011
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Education, Geopolitics, Society, Technology, General

The Occupy movement is most significant not for what the protestors say, but rather that the movement is happening at all. It demonstrates significant unrest, and the greatest dissatisfaction with the capitalist system that we've witnessed since the fall of the Soviet Union. But where is it headed? That's a much more worrisome question.

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The Second Era of Technology
October 10th, 2011
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, Technology, General

We are entering the Second Era of Technology, and it is being ushered in by software available on the new iPhone 4S.

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9 Trends in Innovation
September 19th, 2011
Topics: Business, Economy, Technology, General

There are innovations even in the field of innovation. Here are 9 trends in innovation that you should be aware of.

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It’s Not Just Stocks that Are at Risk
August 10th, 2011
Topics: Business, Economy, Geopolitics, General

What are the risks in the stock market right now? And are those the risks we should really be worried about?

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Danger Is Rising Rapidly in Debt Ceiling Issue
July 19th, 2011
Topics: Business, Economy, Geopolitics, Society, General

Are we in the countdown to a US government default? It certainly looks that way.

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Why the World Really May End on August 2nd, 2011
July 5th, 2011
Topics: Business, Economy, Geopolitics, Society, General

Using the U.S. government's debt ceiling as a negotiating ploy is indefensible, and may lead to a financial and economic disaster comparable to the 1930s.

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More on Inflation, Deflation, & Double-Dips
June 9th, 2011
Topics: Business, Economy, Geopolitics, General

Are we headed for inflation or deflation? Recession or recovery? How about all of the above!

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An Old Nemesis Returns
April 4th, 2011
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General, Technology, Geopolitics

Inflation is back, and we won't be happy about it, especially as it's not going to go away any time soon.

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Tomorrow's Missing Technologies
March 15, 2011
Topics: Business, Biosciences, General, Economy, Technology, Society

Southwest Airlines' in-flight magazine recently contacted me with an interesting question: What things, of the everyday items we use today, are most likely to disappear? They wanted to ask me 'about a few technologies or tools that are popular today, and are on their way out.' It sounded like a different, but useful, way to think about the future, which I always appreciate, so I took a swing at a small number of things that I think are likely to disappear. Here's what I told them:

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Revolting Civil Servants
February 25, 2011
Topics: Economy, Geopolitics, Business, Education, Society, Demographics

What follows is an excerpt from a chapter of the book I'm currently writing. This section is quite topical right now because of what's happening in Wisconsin and elsewhere, so rather than wait for the book to appear, I'm publishing this excerpt. The book should be out in the late Spring or early Summer of 2011.

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Why There Will Be More Earthquakes
February 18, 2011
Topics: Business, Society, Economy, Environment, General

The Earth is a complex system. Indeed, it is a series of interlocking, overlapping, complex systems, and such systems often affect each other in surprising ways. Accordingly, although at first it may seem strange to say that climate change will increase both the number of earthquakes and volcanoes, that actually is the case. Here's how it works:

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Things to watch through 2011 and through the decade
Jan. 28, 2011
Topics: Biosciences, Economy, Business, Demographics, Environment, Technology, General

Like all years, there will be good news and bad in 2011. Because of the bad planning, bad judgment, and bad behavior of previous years and decades, some of the potential bad news is very scary indeed, as I'll get to in a moment. The odds are that 2011 will be a not bad year, but the risks are higher than normal for economies emerging from a recession. I'm going to deal with the scarier parts first, and then move on to happier things, so bear with me.

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The True Nature of Risk & the Value of Risk Management
Jan. 3, 2011
Topics: Business,Economy,General,Demographics,Society

An unusual report was just published by an insurance company: RSA, which essentially stands for 'Royal and Sun Alliance', based in London, England. RSA is celebrating their 300th anniversary, and decided to do a report on the past 300 years of dealing with risk (which is what an insurance company does), and look into the future of risk as well. There are some interesting insights on modern society and the world in this report, and it also inspired some further thoughts on the true nature of risk that seem worth pursuing. But first, let me draw some highlights from the report.

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What do tough people do when tough times DO last? The future of sales & selling
November 24th, 2010
Topics: Business, Economy, General, Society

What works in selling, and why, is changing, both because the environment has changed, and because prospects and their mindsets are changing. To succeed in tomorrow’s world, a successful approach to sales & selling must change as well.

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Inflation and Deflation at the same time? Economic straws in the wind
October 25, 2010
Topics: Business, Economy, geopolitics, Society, General

Indicators for both inflation and deflation indicate that the probability of both is rising. Since, in theory, this can't happen, it raises interesting questions. Here's what this might mean.

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Food Allergies & the Future of the Foodservice Industry
October 7th, 2010
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Demographics, Society, General, Economy

Organizations in the foodservice industry should be planning for the day when all of their clients require special meals. Here's why.

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10 Things You Need to Know About the Next 10 Years
August 4th, 2010
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Demographics, Economy, Environment, Society, Technology, General

This is a summary of a presentation I delivered to the World Education Congress of Meeting Planners International in Vancouver, Canada at the end of July, 2010. It was part of a series of “Flash” presentations, each limited to 15 minutes, which didn’t leave a lot of time to elaborate. I’ve fleshed some of the points out here, but the most important reason for approaching the future in this way is that it is never shaped by just one thing, but rather by a confluence of forces, many of which are conflicting.

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The Destruction of America
March 29th, 2010
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Geopolitics, Society, General

Unless America and Americans force a drastic change in the country’s direction, the American dream is dead, and America’s place as the leader of the world is over.

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The End of Pizza? The Spreading Celiac Epidemic
16 February 2010
Topics: Business, Society, Demographics, Economy, Society

There's an epidemic of an unknown disease that can not only force you to change the way you eat for the rest of your life, but may have dramatic consequences for grain farmers and food retailers.

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Outlook 2020: The Economy
December 21st, 2009
Topics: Business, Economy, General

The economies of America, Canada, and the other developed countries are going to be more fragile, and growth will be slower, over the next 10 years that we would like. Meanwhile, there are other problems on the horizon – and a shift in the global economy that has the potential to be explosive.

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Outlook 2020: The Environment
December 14th, 2009
Topics: Business, Economy, Environment, Geopolitics, Society, Technology, General

The next 10 years will effectively settle the climate change debate, but not much else. What's more, we may be making policy in precisely the wrong way. Here's why.

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Techniques for Foresight & Risk Management
December 4th, 2009
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, Technology, General

In the last article I examined the field of risk management, and did a partial environmental scan to assess some of the current risks that are out there. In this conclusion to the set on risk management and foresight, I look at some tools that can help you ask the right questions, and assess the importance of the answers, then come up with plans to prepare for them.

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Risk Management in 2009 and Beyond
November 27th, 2009
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Economy, General

What follows is an amalgam of presentations I made to two risk management groups in very different sectors: one in health care, and the other in insurance. The principles are the same, even though the immediate concerns may be different. This article is in two parts. This first part deals with a futurist's approach to risk management, and some of the potential risks on the horizon. Next week, I'll present some of the tools and techniques for anticipating and managing risk.

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Innovation & Leadership
November 6th, 2009
Topics: Business, Economy, General

Leadership and innovation are two perennial hot buttons in the corporate world, but their relationship is not widely understood. And the happy truth is that they complement each other. Here's how.

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Where the economy goes from here
August 14th, 2009
Topics: Business, Economy, General

We're probably past the worst – but there are bumps still to come.

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WILD CARD WARNING: Is America too Big to Fail?
June 6th, 2009
Topics: Business, Economy, Geopolitics, General

The unfortunate possibility now exists that America will fail, financially, precipitating a renewed financial crisis, and plunging the global economy into an even worse recession.

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The Future of Food: Not Just for Body Fuel and Fun Anymore
March 12, 2009
Topics: Business, Demographics, Environment, Economy, Society, General

What follows is a summary of a presentation I gave to a symposium on the future of food. In attendance were farm producers, food processors, food retailers, and research scientists.

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What Happens Next? The Problems and Opportunities Ahead
December 30th, 2008
Topics: Business, Economy, Geopolitics, General

What follows is a summary of a presentation I gave to a Canadian manufacturing group concerned about the financial and economic effects of the current crisis. I found it particularly interesting that I had just spoken to this same group eight months earlier, and the presentation was hastily arranged and held just seven days before Christmas, 2008.

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The Third Horseman of the Apocalypse
September 18th, 2008
Topics: Economy, Business, Society, General

The risks of a possible collapse of the financial markets, and a resulting panic, continue to rise. Now is the time to devise a Plan B.

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Back to the '70s
July 8th, 2008
Topics: Business, Economy, General

We may be condemned to repeat some of the less enjoyable aspects of the 1970s – and we won't like it.

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The Future Grows on Trees: Climate Change, Sustainability, and Tomorrow's Pulp & Paper Industry
April 25th, 2008
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Economy, Environment, Technology, General

What follows is a summary of a presentation that I made for the international “Pulp and Paper Strategies” conference in Miami, Florida, in mid-February of 2008. In it, I outline the major changes in our society’s use of paper, and the very positive forces at work that can benefit pulp & paper producers, particularly the emergence of the green economy.

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Hi, robot! - revisited
April 17th, 2008
Topics: Business, Economy, Education, Society, Technology, General

In June of 2000 I wrote an article called “Hi, robot!” in which I said, among other things, that a robot vacuum cleaner for households would be among the first robots available, that a general-purpose robot housekeeper might be available within 7-10 years, and that human-like commercial robots would be generally available within 20 years, and probably sooner. Roomba and Scooba have proven the first prognostication, and Toyota’s work on a household robot, to be brought to market sometime in 2010, looks likely to make the second come true. Accordingly, I thought it was time I revisited the subject, and wrote the following article on a recent plane ride.

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The Second Horseman of the Apocalypse
April 11th, 2008
Topics: General, Business, Economy

The credit crisis unfolding in the U.S. is not over, nor have we seen the worst of what may be to come. Indeed, I would argue that we have seen two of the four Horsemen of the (financial) Apocalypse, and should keep our eyes out for the other two.

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The Next Crash?
January 8th, 2008
Topics: Economy, Geopolitics, General

The credit crisis in the United States is by no means over, nor will the consequences be limited to America and Americans. And it could get really, really scary.

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The Green Economy and the Future of Energy
November 2007
Topics: Economy, Business, Environment, General

Energy is at the center of our society and economy, so the future of energy is pretty close our future. Yet, with climate change emerging as both a physical and political imperative, energy's future must and will also change.

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'Great Scott, Marty!' – What to Bring Back from the Future
February 2007
Topics: Business, Technology, General, Economy

Technology is changing all the rules for the future of media and audience measurement – but that's not the important part.

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Signs and Portents for 2007
January 2007
Topics: General, Technology, Geopolitics, Economy

What's ahead for 2007?

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The View from 2030: The Future of the Life Sciences
June 2006
Topics: Biosciences, Economy, Society, Technology

This is a summary of a presentation I recently made for the “2006 Life Sciences Industry Summit,” co-hosted by the Long Island Life Sciences Initiative, and the Center for Biotechnology.

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The Future of Farming: Sunset or Sunrise?
April 2006
Topics: General, Business, Environment, Economy

Traditional farming is dying, and will not recover. However, those farmers who can adapt face a remarkably properous future.

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Why the iPod is more than an icon
March 2006
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, Technology, General

The implications of technology often go far beyond the immediate or the obvious. Although much has been made of the Apple iPod, the implications are even more far reaching than most commentators realize.

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When Tomorrow Meets the American Health Care Professional
January 2006
Topics: Biosciences, General, Demographics, Economy, Technology

The American health care system is about to experience enormous changes, fraught with both possibilities and dangers. Here's a summary.

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Signs & Portents for 2006
January 2006
Topics: General, Geopolitics, Technology, Business, Demographics, Economy

What's ahead for 2006?

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How to Avoid Giving Service that Sucks
December 2005
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General

In an earlier article ('Why Service Sucks'), I described the effect of Darwin’s theory of natural selection on service industries as being the extinction of the worst rather than the survival of the fittest. This article describes how to give great service and lower costs simultaneously. But be warned: it's not easy.

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Why Service Sucks
September 2005
Topics: Business, Economy, General

Ever wonder why you get such dreadful service? Blame Darwin - here's why.

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A student in the year 2015
September 2005
Topics: Education, Society, General, Economy, Technology

The way students think, and the tools that they use are changing much faster than our education system can adapt. This will result in a clash of cultures between parents and teachers on the one hand, and students and Netizens on the other.

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Preparing for the Biobased Economy: Part II
May 2005
Topics: Biosciences, Economy, Technology, Society, General

What are some of the potential problems and obstacles biotechnology must overcome if it is to fulfill its promise?

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Preparing for the Biobased Economy: Part I
May 2005
Topics: Biosciences, Technology, Economy, Society, General

A look at how biotechnology will change business and society over the next 20 years.

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Why Biotechnology Will Be Big
May 2005
Topics: Biosciences, Technology, Business, Economy, General

Biotechnology is getting a great deal of press, but it's not always clear to people outside the field why it is important.

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Signs and Portents for 2005
January 2005
Topics: Biosciences, Economy, Geopolitics, General, Technology

The outlook for 2005 in a range of areas.

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Innovation, Survival, and Success
August 2004
Topics: Business, Economy, General

Innovation has become the corporate religion of the 2000s. Yet, crucial as it is, too many companies pay lip-service to innovation without really understanding or committing to it.

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Killer Memes: How toxic ideas infect lives and disrupt organizations
April 2004
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General

Toxic ideas seem to emerge from nowhere, capture the attention and imagination of the general public, and leave destruction in their wake. Here's why - and what you can do if one infects your operation.

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A Strategic Approach to Investing in 2004: An Upbeat Assessment
January 2004.
Topics: Business, Economy, General

The pieces are falling into place for a solid year of positive investment gains. Preparing for this prospect – and for the major contingencies – is the best way to profit in 2004.

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The Elusive Echoes: Marketing to the Next Generation
January 2004
Topics: Business, Economy, Demographics, Society

The Echo Boomers, children of the Baby Boomers, are the Next Big Thing demographically for marketers. Unfortunately, they think and behave differently than earlier generations, so the old ways of marketing don't work. Here's what to do instead.

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Signs & Portents for 2004
December 2003
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Economy, Geopolitics, General, Technology

The outlook for 2004 is generally very good. However, there are some really nasty land mines ahead of us that could produce disaster.

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Coping with Chaos: How to Navigate Accelerating Change and Complexity
November 2003
Topics: General, Business, Economy

The number of decisions we have to make and the amount of information we have to wade through is steadily climbing. Too often the result is increasing complexity and chaos. To manage these successfully requires a change in approach.

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A New Great Depression?
November 2003
Topics: Economy, Geopolitics, General

America's wrong-headed stance over steel tarrifs is just the kind of sticky, foolish issue that could trigger a global trade war - and precipitate a new Great Depression.

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Retailing and the Watching World of Tomorrow
October 2003
Topics: Business, Economy, Technology

The changes that technology will impose on retailing have only just begun, and the most astonishing ones are yet to come.

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Standing at the Edge of Exciting Times
October 2003
Topics: Business, Economy, General

We're standing at the edge of an exciting period of times, with good times in prospects for years to come. Here's why.

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Tomorrow's Car and the Environment
September 2003
Topics: Environment,Economy

The car you'll drive 10 years from now will be significantly different than the one you're driving today, in large part because of environmental concerns. But it may not be the eco-car environmentalists are talking about, either.

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Demographics and the Future of the Investment Industry
September 2003
Topics: Economy, Demographics

The demographic calm of the last 15 years or so is about to be shattered by significant transitions in the three principle cohorts in society. This has major implications for the investment industry.

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How Far Is Down?
October 2001
Topics: Economy

This economic slowdown will not be like earlier ones, and won't end quickly. Here's why.

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The backlash against the brand
May 2000
Topics: Economy

The protests in Seattle and Washington, D.C. were not an aberration, they are straws in the wind pointing to a new development that corporations and governments ignore to their great peril.

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Straws in the Wind: Spring 2000
May 2000
Topics: Economy

Straws in the Wind is a 'gossip column of the future' published from time to time. It comments on small items that may have big implications down the road.

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The anti-gravity economy
April 2000
Topics: Economy

The anti-gravity economy: Are recessions a thing of the past?

There are three major structural changes in the U.S. and global economies that will change the patterns of recession and recovery, and that have significant implications for you and your business.

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Nothing exceeds like success
April 2000
Topics: Economy

'It wasn't the airplanes that killed the beast; 'twas beauty killed the beast.' – from the movie, King Kong.

North America is in the grasp of the longest, strongest, greatest economic expansion in its history. Such strength always leads to speculation that the economic cycle has been banished, that somehow, this time, everything is different.

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Stock Markets: What's a Prudent Investor to do in an Uncertain World?
September 1999
Topics: Economy

What are the signs and portents for the stock markets? As a futurist who started his career as a stock market research analyst, I see a number of things of significance going on. But first, a word of caution: I'm writing this in early August, you're probably reading it in the autumn. Stock markets have a habit of making fools of the even the wisest - and me, too!

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