Richard Worzel - Futurist - Speaker - Consultant
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Keynote & Workshop Topics
Keynote & Workshop Topics
Communications, Telecommunications, & 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.



Telepresence, Telepathy, and Tyranny: The Future Potential of Social Media

Social media represent a technologically advanced set of tools that can be used to the benefit or the detriment of society. These tools allow enhanced communication between diverse sets of people, including friends, acquaintances, and total strangers. This communication can be used frivolously, for fun, and for social interaction, or can be focused towards a desired social objective. It can also be used in a way that can be strangled and manipulated by organizations, corporations, and groups with opposing agendas. Richard Worzel is a strategic planner, best-selling author, and one of today’s leading futurists. In this overview of the future of social media, he covers the potential and perils of social media in social interaction, including the recent unrest in the Middle East and China. Among the topics he covers will be:

• How technology will develop over the next 10-20 years, and what it will allow;

• The emergence of social multimedia, encompassing video, sound, images, and potentially even thoughts and sensations in a kaleidoscope of shared perception and consciousness;

• The choke points of media, being the means of propagation, and how they open the way for governments and other entities to choke, manage, and manipulate social media communications;

• The importance and difficulty of preserving integrity of content and identity in cyberspace, and the dangers of theft and deception; and

• Legal issues in cyberspace, including local laws intended to thwart protest and reveal the identities of protestors to oppressive regimes. Social media are emerging because of twin driving forces: the rapid acceleration of what’s possible through technology, and the emerging awareness of what’s fun, interesting, useful, and desirable among those who apply it.

This overview of the future encompasses these and related issues, and how they will shape future dialog from the trivial to the critical.

What CIO's Will Be Bringing to the Party: The Future of Technology, and How CIO's Will Contribute

Most of the world is both astonished and simultaneously surprisingly blasé about the technological advances of the past 10-20 years. Yet, as CIOs know, the changes behind us are merely table-setting for the changes to come over the next 10 years. More than ever, other C-Level officers will rely on CIOs to provide organizational leadership. Richard Worzel has a degree in computer science, is a best-selling author, a Chartered Financial Analyst, but is best known as Canada’s leading futurist. In this survey of what’s to come, he will talk about:

• The rise of ‘everyday robots’ and computer intelligences, and how they will change the workplace;

• The increases in productivity that will be possible for those organizations that can embrace the changes to come;

• The importance of foresight in a marketplace that is changing so rapidly;

• The interplay between the different C-Level positions, notably the rising importance of HR professionals, CFOs, executive officers, and how they can both feed off of, and support the work of CIOs;

• The rising importance of so-called ‘soft skills’ of teamwork, leadership, and interpersonal relationships as a direct result of the rising importance of technology.

All told, far-seeing CIOs will emphasize how C-Level officers will need to support and assist each other to take best advantage of the technologies to come. You’ll walk away with a better understanding of how to be ready for the challenges ahead, both in the rising technologies, and in how to help your organizations employ them.

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.

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.

Getting the Call: The Rapidly Mutating Future of Telecommunications

The telecommunications industry has experienced more rapid and more radical change than any other major industry over the past decade - and what's past is merely a warm-up for what's ahead. The principal components of the future of telecommunications are the ludicrous oversupply of optical fiber; the dramatic growth in broadband access to the Internet, especially through fixed wireless (including Wi-Fi, and Wi-Max), which will give new meaning to the term 'always on'; and the blurring and blending of computing and communications into consumer products and services. The future of telecommunications lies not in providing commodity services, dominated by razor-thin margins and excruciating competitive pressures, but the ability to look through the means of delivery, and to package up hardware, software, and service into seamless new consumer offerings. The possibilities for this are endless, from health-watch monitoring of the sick and elderly, to wearable computer companions used for outdoor computing, to virtual friend networks for the elusive echo generation, and much more. This keynote survey of tomorrow's world will shake up your people, and prepare you to cope with your rapidly mutating future.

Who Owns Tomorrow?™ The Future of Networks and Communications

Ten years ago, if you had asked the average person if they wanted email, you would probably have had to describe it to them, and they would probably have said no to it. Tomorrow, technology will offer consumers and businesses options and opportunities that have never existed before, and which they don't understand, let alone firm opinions about whether they'll want to use them or not. How will you decide where to place your bets in the fast-moving, swiftly-shifting world of communications? What are the 'Five-I's' of successful networks of the future? What did Peter Drucker say about identifying successful new technologies from those that won't make it, and how can you harness the uncertainty of the future and make it work for you? This keynote presentation is a challenging wake-up call for an industry that is often tempted to ask, 'When will the changes slow down?'

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