Amy Webb

Inquire About This Speaker

World-Renowned Futurist and Leading Authority on Forecasting and Strategic Foresight for Business; Founder, Future Today Institute; NYU Stern School of Business Professor; Nonresident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council; Visiting Fellow, Oxford University Säid School of Business; Fellow, US-Japan Leadership Program; Named Among the Top 50 Management Thinkers in the World in 2021, Thinkers50; 3x Bestselling Author, “The Signals Are Talking,” “The Big Nine” and “Data, A Love Story”; Co-author, “The Genesis Machine” (February 2022)

Biography

The coming years will determine how well organizations can adapt to a post-Covid economy, workplace culture and customer base so they can ensure sustainable long-term growth. While the stakes are high and each decision can feel like a gamble, world-renowned futurist, technology guru and bestselling author Amy Webb has been developing and teaching proven methodologies for mitigating risk and strategically planning forward for years – which is why leaders from the most prestigious organizations in the world seek out her guidance.

A leading authority on technology, forecasting and strategic foresight for business, and founder of the Future Today Institute (FTI), Webb is a sought-after advisor, speaker and executive educator who works closely with key decision makers, including Fortune 100 CEOs, three-star admirals and generals, and the senior leadership of central banks and intergovernmental agencies. In addition to sharing customized foresight tools, open-source frameworks and curated research and insights, Webb provides timely updates on emerging trends and technologies that are poised to disrupt tomorrow.

“As a quantitative futurist, my job is to investigate the future, and that process is anchored by intentionally confronting internal and external uncertainties,” Webb explained in an interview with  Rotman Management Magazine. “I have developed a framework called Future Forces Theory which shows that disruption usually stems from 11 influential sources of macro change. These sources broadly affect business, governing and society. Our world is now so interdependent that a change in, for example, geopolitics can have a significant downstream impact on media, telecommunications or public health. If you don’t connect what you are working on to forces of disruption in other areas, you can miss both the risks and opportunities on the horizon.”

Named by Forbes “one of five women changing the world” and “50 leading female futurists,” Webb is a bestselling author who has written several books, including “The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity” (2019), “The Signals Are Talking” (2016) and “Data, A Love Story” (2013). In 2021, she was shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Digital Thinking Award and ranked among the top 50 management thinkers in the world.

Webb’s powerful new book, “The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology” (Public Affairs, February 2022), co-authored with fellow futurist and pioneering geneticist Andrew Hessel, examines how every area of business, government and society will be transformed by synthetic biology. Through vivid storytelling and personal anecdotes, the authors – who are firmly committed to the responsible development and use of science and technology – reveal fascinating, previously unimaginable innovations that loom on the horizon, and some that are already in play. Many offer hope for the future as we face a new age of unique challenges. Kirkus Reviews called the book “a wrinkle on the near future that many readers will not have pondered — and should.”

Wherever Webb speaks or advises, her contagious enthusiasm lights up a room, as evidenced in her 2021 SXSW pandemic-era virtual talk and her 2019 live SXSW talk. Many of her meetings and presentations draw on her Annual FTI Tech Trends Report, which serves as an indispensable guide for leaders in every sector. Her rigorous method for finding, tracking and monitoring trends is used by hundreds of organizations and is taught in MBA programs worldwide. Now in its 15th year, FTI’s report is downloaded more than 1 million times annually and her trend talks are a mainstay on the world’s largest and most prestigious stages.

“Cataloging signals is a practice I’ve refined and honed for the past decade,” says Webb. “Far from being a nostalgic look back at what was or might have been, or a list of predictions that might not be any more accurate than the local weather forecast, my annual FTI Trends reports are something entirely different: a way to think about the evolution of technology, science and humanity as part of a long continuum.”

# # #

Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute, advises CEOs of the world’s most-admired companies, three-star admirals and generals, and the senior leadership of central banks and intergovernmental organizations. She was honored as one of the BBC’s 100 Most Inspirational and Influential Women of 2020, and in 2021 she was shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Digital Thinking Award. She was also ranked among the top 50 management thinkers in the world in 2021 and in 2017 she received the Thinkers50’s Radar Award.

Her academic roles are also far-reaching. In addition to teaching a strategic foresight course she developed to MBA students as a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, Webb is also a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University’s Säid School of Business, a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech Center, a Fellow in the United States-Japan Leadership Program, a Foresight Fellow in the U.S. Government Accountability Office Center for Strategic Foresight and a Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where her research received a national Sigma Delta Chi award. She previously served as a Delegate on the former U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, where she worked on the future of technology, media and international diplomacy. And recently, she was named a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

A lifelong science fiction fan, Webb collaborates closely with Hollywood writers and producers on films, TV shows and commercials about science, technology and the future. She regularly contributes to several publications including the Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, New York Times, Wired, Fortune and Nikkei (Japan). She is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and has served as a Blue-Ribbon Emmy Award judge.

Amy Webb is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Headshot photo by Elena Seibert.

Videos

Media

Amy Webb's Medium Column

Genesis Machine: Synthetic Biology Will Allow Us to Program Living Organisms Like Computers

January 20, 2022

Futurist Amy Webb on Why Scenario Planning Is Key to Creating a More Resilient World

January 19, 2022

Futurist Amy Webb Says Babymaking Could Get Crazy and the Smartphone Could Die

January 10, 2022

A Glimpse Into The Future (Audio)

December 17, 2021

The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology

December 15, 2021

Wall Street Journal

Charting Disruption (Video)

December 8, 2021

Semipublic Intellectual Sessions: “What Comes After CRISPR?”

December 6, 2021

Welcome to the (Synthetic) Meatspace

December 1, 2021

The Future Is More Synthetic Than Virtual

October 21, 2021

Amy Webb: Thinking Like A Futurist (Audio)

September 6, 2021

Amy Webb Launches 2021 Emerging Tech Trend Report (Audio)

April 12, 2021

FDA-Approved Gaming is Already Here, Pointing To Its Therapeutic Potential

March 16, 2021

One Result of One Year Into the Pandemic: Privacy Might Be Dead (Audio)

March 15, 2021

Responsible Tech and The Synthetic Decade with Amy Webb, Founder of the Future Today Institute and NYU Professo‪r‬ (Audio)

March 5, 2021

50 Leading Female Futurists

March 5, 2021

11 Sources of Disruption

January 2021

Futurist Reviews Futuristic Movies, from 'The Matrix' to 'WALL-E' (Video)

August 18, 2020

How (and Why) to Budget Now for Strategic Foresight in 2021

July 15, 2020

Privacy, Technology and Foresight (Audio)

May 21, 2020

Fortune logo

How Businesses Should Balance Risk and Opportunity During the Coronavirus Crisis

May 18, 2020

Lessons On How Futurists, Like Amy Webb, Cope with Uncertainty

May 4, 2020

Quantitative Futurist on Healthcare in the Age of AI and COVID-19 (Audio)

April 21, 2020

The Best Buisiness Books to Get You Through the Lockdown

April 10, 2020

Fortune logo

How Event Planners Can Avoid Coronavirus Conflicts This Fall

April 9, 2020

The Unexpected Consequences of the Pandemic

April 1, 2020

Amy Webb is a Quantitative Futurist (Audio)

March 31, 2020

We Need to Start Modeling Alternative Futures

March 31, 2020

A Futurist on Navigating Change Forced by the Pandemic: Fight the Fear (Audio)

March 27, 2020

This is How a Futurist Copes with Uncertainty

March 19, 2020

MIT Sloan Management Review logo

How to Spot Disruption Before It Strikes (Audio)

March 17, 2020

Cope with Uncertainty Using These Tools from Renowned Futurist Amy Webb

March 17, 2020

How Futurists Cope With Uncertainty

March 11, 2020

The 11 Sources of Disruption Every Company Must Monitor

March 10, 2020

50 Leading Female Futurists

March 5, 2020

Combating Misinformation in the 2020s (Video)

December 29, 2019

How to Do Strategic Planning Like a Futurist

July 30, 2019

Thinking Machines and the Future of Humanity (With Video)

July, 2019

Los Angeles Times logo

Meet the 'Westworld'Panel Moderator Who Showed Comic-Con How It's Done

July 24, 2019

The Atlantic logo

The Problem With Diversity in Computing

June 25, 2019

Book Review: The Big Nine by Amy Webb ($)

June, 2019

NBC News Logo

The Future of A.I. is in the Hands of Nine Companies. It's Time to Take It Back (Video)

June 21, 2019

How a Futurist Sees AOC's Video " A Message From the Future"

April 19, 2019

Nine Companies Are Shaping the Future of Artificial Intelligence

April 10, 2019

Inside Higher Ed logo

Higher Ed and 'The Big Nine'

March 24, 2019

Amazon Could Soon Force You To Go On A Diet, According To One Futurist

March 21, 2019

Build Democracy Into AI

March 15, 2019

Privacy in 2034: A Corporation Owns Your DNA (and Maybe Your Body)

March 14, 2019

Are You an Amazon or an Apple Family?

March 9, 2019

Linkedin Logo

The U.S. and China are Vying for AI Dominance. Here's How We Can Avoid Disaster

March 8, 2019

Deus Ex…Artificial Intelligence?

March 5, 2019

Nieman Reports logo

China and the AI Edge

March 5, 2019

How Can We Design AI for the Best Long-Term Interests of Humanity?

March 4, 2019

MIT Technology Review logo

Why AI Is A Threat To Democracy—And What We Can Do To Stop It

February 26, 2019

An NYU Professor Explains Why It's So Dangerous That Silicon Valley Is Building AI To Make Decisions Without Human Values

February 23, 2019

Wired logo

The Pentagon Needs to Woo AI Experts Away From Big Tech

February 16, 2019

China Vs. The US: How Governments And Markets Influence Tech Innovations

January 15, 2019

Inc

Apple, Google, and Amazon Already Play Huge Roles in Our Lives. Here's Why They're About to Get Even Bigger

May 9, 2018

How Will Tech Trends Impact Your Business? Here’s a Guide to Surviving 2018

April 12, 2018

Minds Worth Meeting

Minds Worth Meeting Episode 15: How to Make Informed Decisions About the Future with Amy Webb (Audio)

February 27, 2018

A-Z Name

Webb, Amy

Biography

The coming years will determine how well organizations can adapt to a post-Covid economy, workplace culture and customer base so they can ensure sustainable long-term growth. While the stakes are high and each decision can feel like a gamble, world-renowned futurist, technology guru and bestselling author Amy Webb has been developing and teaching proven methodologies for mitigating risk and strategically planning forward for years – which is why leaders from the most prestigious organizations in the world seek out her guidance.

A leading authority on technology, forecasting and strategic foresight for business, and founder of the Future Today Institute (FTI), Webb is a sought-after advisor, speaker and executive educator who works closely with key decision makers, including Fortune 100 CEOs, three-star admirals and generals, and the senior leadership of central banks and intergovernmental agencies. In addition to sharing customized foresight tools, open-source frameworks and curated research and insights, Webb provides timely updates on emerging trends and technologies that are poised to disrupt tomorrow.

“As a quantitative futurist, my job is to investigate the future, and that process is anchored by intentionally confronting internal and external uncertainties,” Webb explained in an interview with  Rotman Management Magazine. “I have developed a framework called Future Forces Theory which shows that disruption usually stems from 11 influential sources of macro change. These sources broadly affect business, governing and society. Our world is now so interdependent that a change in, for example, geopolitics can have a significant downstream impact on media, telecommunications or public health. If you don’t connect what you are working on to forces of disruption in other areas, you can miss both the risks and opportunities on the horizon.”

Named by Forbes “one of five women changing the world” and “50 leading female futurists,” Webb is a bestselling author who has written several books, including “The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity” (2019), “The Signals Are Talking” (2016) and “Data, A Love Story” (2013). In 2021, she was shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Digital Thinking Award and ranked among the top 50 management thinkers in the world.

Webb’s powerful new book, “The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology” (Public Affairs, February 2022), co-authored with fellow futurist and pioneering geneticist Andrew Hessel, examines how every area of business, government and society will be transformed by synthetic biology. Through vivid storytelling and personal anecdotes, the authors – who are firmly committed to the responsible development and use of science and technology – reveal fascinating, previously unimaginable innovations that loom on the horizon, and some that are already in play. Many offer hope for the future as we face a new age of unique challenges. Kirkus Reviews called the book “a wrinkle on the near future that many readers will not have pondered — and should.”

Wherever Webb speaks or advises, her contagious enthusiasm lights up a room, as evidenced in her 2021 SXSW pandemic-era virtual talk and her 2019 live SXSW talk. Many of her meetings and presentations draw on her Annual FTI Tech Trends Report, which serves as an indispensable guide for leaders in every sector. Her rigorous method for finding, tracking and monitoring trends is used by hundreds of organizations and is taught in MBA programs worldwide. Now in its 15th year, FTI’s report is downloaded more than 1 million times annually and her trend talks are a mainstay on the world’s largest and most prestigious stages.

“Cataloging signals is a practice I’ve refined and honed for the past decade,” says Webb. “Far from being a nostalgic look back at what was or might have been, or a list of predictions that might not be any more accurate than the local weather forecast, my annual FTI Trends reports are something entirely different: a way to think about the evolution of technology, science and humanity as part of a long continuum.”

# # #

Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute, advises CEOs of the world’s most-admired companies, three-star admirals and generals, and the senior leadership of central banks and intergovernmental organizations. She was honored as one of the BBC’s 100 Most Inspirational and Influential Women of 2020, and in 2021 she was shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Digital Thinking Award. She was also ranked among the top 50 management thinkers in the world in 2021 and in 2017 she received the Thinkers50’s Radar Award.

Her academic roles are also far-reaching. In addition to teaching a strategic foresight course she developed to MBA students as a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, Webb is also a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University’s Säid School of Business, a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech Center, a Fellow in the United States-Japan Leadership Program, a Foresight Fellow in the U.S. Government Accountability Office Center for Strategic Foresight and a Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where her research received a national Sigma Delta Chi award. She previously served as a Delegate on the former U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, where she worked on the future of technology, media and international diplomacy. And recently, she was named a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

A lifelong science fiction fan, Webb collaborates closely with Hollywood writers and producers on films, TV shows and commercials about science, technology and the future. She regularly contributes to several publications including the Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, New York Times, Wired, Fortune and Nikkei (Japan). She is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and has served as a Blue-Ribbon Emmy Award judge.

Amy Webb is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Headshot photo by Elena Seibert.

Speech Topics

Amy Webb’s presentations are customized to address the specific needs and challenges of your organization or industry. Please contact your Stern agent or email us here to explore virtual or in-person advisory meetings, interactive workshops, fireside chats or keynotes.

The Future Impact of Synthetic Biology on Business and Society: Opportunities, Risks and Ethics

What if the miracle that created mRNA vaccines is less a once-in-lifetime event and more the harbinger of the emerging age of synthetic biology? This fusion of biology and computers has a singular goal: to gain access to cells in order to write new – and possibly better – biological code, says world-renowned futurist, technology guru and bestselling author Amy Webb. Drawing from her powerful new book, “The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology” (Public Affairs, February 2022), co-authored with fellow futurist and pioneering geneticist Andrew Hessel, Webb explores the promises and perils of synthetic biology. How life is created and can be re-created. How synthetic biology enables scientists to rewrite the rules of our reality. How it can help us heal without medications, grow meat without harvesting animals or confront our looming climate catastrophe. How it will determine the ways in which we conceive future generations and how we define family, how we identify disease and treat aging, where we make our homes and how we nourish ourselves. But who should decide how to engineer living organisms? Whether engineered organisms should be planted, farmed and released into the wild? Should there be limits to human enhancements? This riveting examination of synthetic biology, related ethics and the bioeconomy introduces audiences to the most important technology they’ve never heard of — and provides the background for thinking through the upcoming economic growth, business ecosystem and governing challenges posed by redesigning life, as well as the vast opportunities waiting for all of humanity on the horizon.

Beyond Covid-19: A Bespoke Plan for Moving Your Organization Forward

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve experienced social, economic and political shocks unlike any other generation. What we’re living through is less like a war and more like an alien invasion: attacks are difficult to understand and seem indiscriminate, and the enemy continues to find vulnerabilities in us we never saw ourselves. The virus has challenged our critical systems: global supply chains, communications infrastructure, health care, education, transportation and even our ways of governing. It is reshaping our economies in real time, and it is shifting the geopolitical balance to create new tensions and alliances. The global coronavirus pandemic will lead to downstream implications we’re only beginning to see. Now is the time to create recovery scenarios for your company and industry, says world-renowned futurist, technology guru and bestselling author Amy Webb. In this bespoke session, Webb, a leading authority on technology, business forecasting and strategic foresight, offers essential advice specific to the challenges and goals of your organization. Drawing from nearly two decades of modeling next-order risks, Webb shares two practical, accessible foresight tools you can use now to model Covid-19’s next-order impacts on your organization, mitigate near-future risk and thrive in a post-Covid world. In real time, she researches and develops data-driven scenarios describing your organization’s plausible futures and challenges your teams to act on their preferred futures, today.

How to Think Like a Futurist

The world’s most successful leaders must manage the present and innovate for the future. This requires a new kind of strategic thinking. Drawing from her bestselling, award-winning book, “The Signals Are Talking,” world-renowned futurist, technology guru and bestselling author Amy Webb, a leading authority on technology, business forecasting and strategic foresight, explains how leaders can harness a futurist’s strategic tools for the benefit of their organizations. In this presentation, participants learn how to think like a futurist, how to rethink risk and how to know when to act. As a backdrop, Webb shares future scenarios of emerging technologies relative to specific industries, helping participants discover their own ability to not only forecast what’s on the horizon, but how to create their own preferred future today.

While Amy Webb’s work is relevant to any sector, below is a sampling of related topics she covers.

  • The Future of a Covid-19 World
  • The Futures of the Metaverse
  • The Futures of Artificial Intelligence
  • The Futures of Synthetic Biology
  • How to Think Like a Futurist
  • Emerging Technology Trends
  • The Futures of Decentralization (DeFi, blockchain, cryptos)

Scenes from the Year 2032 (10-year forecast) or 2042 (20-year forecast)

Soon, technology will begin to intersect with our daily lives in weird and wonderful ways. We don’t often think about that intersection, and yet emerging technology will be used to design the future of humanity. In this mind-bending session, world-renowned futurist, technology guru and bestselling author Amy Webb – founder of the Future Today Institute (FTI) and a leading authority on technology, business forecasting and strategic foresight – offers a provocative series of snapshots from our near and far future. How will we communicate? Where will we live? Will sophisticated algorithms and artificially intelligent systems replace the relationships we have with other humans? What will our technology do for us? To us? The possibilities are exciting, inspiring – and a little scary. In this customized session, Webb draws from FTI’s research to develop a set of optimistic, neutral and catastrophic scenarios specific to an organization or industry, outline plausible outcomes for 2032 or 2042 and offer insights on how participants can achieve their preferred futures.

Emerging Tech Trends: What’s Relevant to Your Organization? What’s Not?

What tech trends should you monitor? How can you distinguish between “trend” and “trendy,” and determine which long-term trends should your business be following? More importantly, how can you prepare yourself and your organization for what’s next in a world of constant disruption, and when do you act? In this customized, provocative presentation, technology guru and bestselling author Amy Webb – founder of the Future Today Institute (FTI) and a leading authority on technology, business forecasting and strategic foresight – shares FTI’s data-driven longitudinal tech trends to reveal the forces shaping your future. She will connect trends from within and from outside your industry, showing a chain reaction of events and how they could result in different scenarios. Her rigorous method for finding, tracking and monitoring trends is used by hundreds of organizations and is taught in MBA programs worldwide. Now in its 15th year, FTI’s report is downloaded more than 1 million times annually and her trend talks are a mainstay on the world’s largest and most prestigious stages, including the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival.

Our Metaverse Future: Potential Realities for Business, Government and Society

Once a niche concept beloved by tech enthusiasts, the idea of a centralized virtual world, a “place” parallel to the physical world, seemed like an impractical utopian dream. Then, in 2021, Facebook changed its name to Meta, the payments platform Square changed its name to Block (as in blockchain), and suddenly everyone was talking about mixed realities. The City of Seoul announced it was building the first city-scale metaverse, while NVIDIA’s CEO gave a keynote to shareholders inside a metaverse built for the occasion. “It might feel like the metaverse is yet another trendy flash in the pan,” says world-renowned futurist, technology guru and bestselling author Amy WebbBut what if beyond the hype, the underlying foundations of the metaverse are real?” If a new digital realm is being built today, what does that mean for business, governing, education and society in the future? And what happens when there are multiple, competing multiverses? Will some of us get locked out – or worse, potentially locked inside by a new breed of hacker? In this imaginative and provocative discussion, Webb – founder of the Future Today Institute (FTI) and a leading authority on technology, business forecasting and strategic foresight – leads participants through an exploration of our metaverse future.

AI and Our Future: How Artificial Intelligence Will Shape Our World

One of the most powerful technologies of our lifetimes is now in the hands of just nine big corporations, says world-renowned futurist and technology guru Amy Webb. That technology — artificial intelligence — is reshaping business, privacy, commerce, agriculture, warfare, health care, education and even our relationships with each other, and the companies responsible for our futures are driven by competing forces. The American portion of the Big Nine – Amazon, Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft and Facebook – have big ideas about how to solve some of humanity’s most wicked problems, but their shareholders prioritize short-term returns over long-term challenges. The speed of technology dramatically outpaces the speed of policy, so lawmakers often find themselves in an antagonistic position as they try to play catchup. Meanwhile, China’s Big Nine members – Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent – are tethered to Beijing and the demands of the Chinese Communist Party. What about businesses, nonprofits and everyday people caught in the middle, as our data are mined and refined in service to building the future of artificial intelligence? Drawing from her bestselling book, “The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity” – which was longlisted for the Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year, shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Digital Thinking Award, and won the 2020 Gold Axiom Medal – Webb explains what your business needs to know now about AI. She helps participants develop customized optimistic and catastrophic scenarios for their organization’s future as we advance from artificial narrow intelligence to artificial general intelligence, to artificial superintelligence. Most importantly, she shows you that you still have agency in deciding what comes next. The future of AI doesn’t have to be bleak. You can set a different course for your preferred future.

The Future Impacts of Decentralization on Your Organization and Industry

Established, recognized authorities – financial institutions, government agencies, market regulators and more – are being disrupted by technology innovators. Welcome to the era of decentralization. Meme stocks, NFTs, decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and new forms of authority are challenging everything. But this is just the beginning. What’s on the horizon? In this riveting discussion, world-renowned futurist, technology guru and bestselling author Amy Webb – founder of the Future Today Institute (FTI) and a leading authority on technology, business forecasting and strategic foresight – explains how decentralization trends across different sectors will soon influence every industry where transactions are involved, including real estate, banking and insurance.

Media

Array

Books & Research

Array

Workshops

Masterclass in Foresight – Introductory Session

With so much uncertainty and disruption, every organization must develop future forecasting capabilities. Learn how to use Amy Webb’s data-driven, rigorous foresight tools to create a state of readiness within your team or broader organization. In this session, you will gain a clear understanding of what strategic foresight is, how it can be used to think about the future, and how your team can begin to develop your approach to planning for the future. You will learn two foundational foresight tools that can be put to immediate use.

Masterclass in Foresight – Full Program

Using your own organization as a live case study, we offer cutting-edge insights for your industry, recorded seminars for use within your organization, customized workbooks and toolkits for your team, and one-on-one advising with FTI’s foresight associates. Courses are adapted from Amy Webb’s graduate MBA class on strategic foresight at New York University Stern School of Business. This program has been successfully deployed within a wide range of industries in the public and private sectors. It produces measurable outcomes for organizations of all sizes.

The Thinking Like a Futurist Program includes six 75-minute workshops, and each session includes a deep dive in a key area of emerging technology:

  1. Finding the Future: Introduction to strategic foresight and the foundational strategic foresight tools you will use going forward.
  2. Signals of Disruption: How to think broadly about disruption. We will use the 11 Sources of Macro Disruption framework to connect external changes and developments in key areas to your organization’s future.
  3. Monitoring Signals: How to calculate and track the velocity of change. Using a simple evaluation tool, you will learn how to track emerging trends as they develop and determine when to take action on them.
  4. Scenario Mapping: How to develop effective and actionable scenarios describing future states. We’ll start using the Axes of Uncertainty to develop first-generation scenarios. Using a two-by-two matrix, we combine uncertainties to discover four possible outcomes. At the end, we label each resulting quadrant for action. Then we map our findings back to the Time Cone and to our stakeholders.
  5. Creating Your Preferred Future State: How can your organization create a plausible, preferred vision for the future? We will build on your first-generation scenarios to develop provocative scenarios that describe your organization’s optimistic and catastrophic future states. We will challenge your assumptions, help you see new opportunities where previously you only saw constraints and detect emerging threats you never considered. Ultimately we will reveal your preferred future state.
  6. Backcasting the Future: How to take action on the future, today. Backcasting is a process futurists use to reverse-engineer preferred future states. We will empower you to discover and take the steps you need to achieve your desired outcomes.

Participants receive:

Digital and hard copies of FTI’s 365-page 2020 Tech Trends Report, now in its 13th annual edition

  • Custom workbooks for each participant (digital and hard copy)
  • A copy of “The Signals Are Talking,” Amy Webb’s award-winning book about strategic foresight

Scenario Mapping

Scenario mapping workshops use data from an organization and adjacent industries, as well as trend insights, to build narratives describing plausible futures. Participants learn how to map scenarios to understand next-order impacts, develop new product and service ideas, and create strategic visions for organizations. Scenario workshops are also used to test theories for strategic change within organizations, industries and on the geopolitical stage.

This workshop isn’t like other scenario mapping activities. Participants learn the Future Today Institute’s unique, proven methods for creating data-driven scenarios across different emotive framings. As a last step, they apply a probabilistic model to help them make decisions.

Signals and Trends

How can you distinguish between “trend” and “trendy,” and which long-term trends should your business be following? FTI’s rigorous, data-driven method for finding, tracking and monitoring signals and trends is used by hundreds of organizations worldwide. We work with your team to surface relevant trends and develop an escalation system so you know when to take actions on them.

In this workshop, participants learn the critically important first two steps of FTI’s forecasting methodology: listening for weak signals at the fringe, and applying the CIPHER pattern recognition tool to surface emerging trends.

Future Worlds

What might a post-coronavirus world look like? How will we live, work and do business in the future? Discover multiple future states for your organization. The purpose of this workshop is to help your team have strategic conversations that spark new ideas, potential threats, and generate discussion on topics related to social change, geopolitical shifts, and quality of life.

For organizations that have been directly impacted by the global Covid-19 pandemic, or for teams that are working on longer-range projects––those having to do with artificial intelligence, climate change, warfare, global population shifts, agriculture––a worldbuilding workshop offers rich strategic insights.

Available as a virtual or in-person half or full-day workshop. Organizations learn a set of tools to help them construct a world of the future, so that they can visualize and experience it as a team, in the present.

Risk and Threat Mapping

This hands-on risk and threat mapping workshop teaches participants how to understand plausible threats using data-driven frameworks.

Before you can plan for the next disruption, you must radically rethink your approach to risk. Using a transdisciplinary approach, you and your team will consider adjacent and theoretical influences on your organization, find next-order risks, and know when to take action. If you can spot risk early enough, you mitigate it — or even use it as a catalyst for innovation.

Available as a virtual or in-person half or full-day session. During the workshop, we will introduce a series of strategic foresight tools to help you identify plausible future risks and threats, as well as how to assess their seriousness. Participants will develop a system to make decisions given the associated risks, and to take incremental actions.

Strategic Backcasting

How can you plan for an uncertain future? Futurists use a process called “backcasting,” a strategic process leaders can use to reverse-engineer their preferred future states. Participants will use backcasting to offset current challenges like the coronavirus. They will also use backcasting to make critical immediate, near and longer-term decisions.

In this session, we will use key FTI frameworks to analyzing new business opportunities and threats, calculate their likely demand in the marketplace, and determining potential risks.

Available as a virtual or in-person half-day or full-day workshop.

Recommendations

“When you listen closely to Amy Webb, you hear how the future might unfold for us humans. It’s worth listening. Amy’s at the forefront of understanding how technology continues to permeate every aspect of our lives and how those interactions — with each other, with the world, with our things — inform what we care about and who or what we should follow and use and embrace. Nobody else is doing what the Future Today Institute does for brands. Amy and her team have both unusual discernment and healthy skepticism. What sets their work apart is how adeptly they use research, peppered with trademark humor and candor, to offer insights we can all use. Like right now. If you’re looking for help solving the puzzle of what’s next (and what to do about it), there’s no better guide than Amy Webb.”

– Matt Mansfield, VP-Product Innovation, CQ Roll Call

“Once every three months, Amy walked into a room of Time Inc’s top editors and told us about the future. These are among the most cynical, seen-it-all-before people in the media world but for two hours they sat spellbound as Amy told us what was coming around the bend, how it would affect us, and, most important, how we could capitalize on it. Nobody missed these sessions. Ever. An incredibly engaging and efficient speaker, Amy shares big ideas quickly and in a way that made sense to those of us who weren’t digital first thinkers. I would walk out feeling like I did after my best college seminars: My brain sparked with new ideas, paradigm shifts, and opportunities.”

– Bill Shapiro, Director of Editorial and New Business Enterprises, Fast Company

“Amy Webb’s foresight in the technology space is both inspiring and extremely valuable for businesses. She distills complex concepts into relevant digestible tidbits that provide insight to subject matter experts and newbies alike. Beyond mere encyclopedic knowledge of digital products and services, Amy Webb’s most valuable asset is her mystical awareness of which strategies and concepts are on the cusp of transforming consumer and enterprise life as we know it.”

– Bill McBain, Associate Director of Finance, Huge

“What Amy Webb does better than anyone else: She stays on top of complex technical innovations, information and geek-speak and distills them into relatively simple concepts and practical applications. This last is particularly significant – Amy helps you grasp what the semantic web or mobile broadband, for example, mean to you and your world, why you should care, and how you can use it.  I’ve seen her present several times in the past few years and each session has been forward-looking and highly relevant to media and tech professionals. She’s a terrific communicator, direct, smart and honest.”

– Katharine Fong, Editor in Chief, California Educator

Praise for “The Genesis Machine”

“A look at the coming revolution in biotechnology, with all its possible goods and evils. ‘A great transformation of life is underway,’ write futurist Webb and geneticist Hessel. The rising field of synthetic biology, with its underlying technology of gene editing, will allow for numerous things that do not yet exist, including the ability to sequence the genome of a virus nearly immediately, affording scientists a vast library of viruses that will provide the wherewithal to “cure any genetic disease in humankind.” That revolution, the authors write, will remake food, energy, transportation, the supply chain, and commerce as a whole. Granted, write Webb and Hessel, this is a vast Pandora’s box. Synthetic biology is largely the province of corporations and governments in the developed world, and it is not outside the realm of reason to think that a corporation might maximize profit or a government, political gain through its ability to control the food supply and indeed the genetic library of the planet. The problem, as the authors note in deeply researched but accessible prose, is that there is little in the way of coherence in terms of international agreements or “consensus on the acceptable circumstances under which humans should manipulate human, animal, or plant life.” Part of that problem is the generally laissez faire attitude of some governments, especially the U.S., to develop regulations that “don’t intervene until there’s a problem, so as not to stifle innovations.” Because the current regulatory climate isn’t well structured for future-proofing, one important step is the development of a body of law and convention acknowledging that “this new approach to biology warrants a new approach to regulation,” balancing the public good with scientific and commercial interests. The authors propose planks of a platform to this end while noting the difficulty of reining in tech-driven countries such as China to honor international licensing systems and other controls.

A wrinkle on the near future that many readers will not have pondered—and should.”

Kirkus Reviews

“In this thought-provoking introduction to synthetic biology, hope and worry go hand-in-hand when considering the vast potential of biotechnologies (DNA synthesis, genome editing) restyling life and even creating new organisms. And while the ability to transform life at its most fundamental level promises wonderful benefits (the elimination of diseases, an abundant global food supply, environmental assistance), the power to reprogram life raises multiple ethical and moral concerns. Who controls this awesome skill (scientists, governments, or entrepreneurs?) and how? What about cost and equitable accessibility to its medical use, the rush to enhancements, and the specter of eugenics? Genetically engineered twin babies in China, the making of a super rice, a ‘gene drive’ that modifies the genetics of disease-carrying mosquitoes are examples of synthetic biology’s recent feats. Webb and Hessel recount landmark biotech moments, such as bioengineering bacterial cells to produce human insulin, and discuss a variety of molecular biology tools and methodologies, from CRISPR to bioreactors, modern DNA synthesizers, and a digital-to-biological converter. Synthetic biology is breathtaking science, but it is also scary. Who’s in charge, and where are the brakes?”

– Booklist

Advance Praise for “The Big Nine”

“The Big Nine is provocative, readable, and relatable. Amy Webb demonstrates her extensive knowledge of the science driving AI and the geopolitical tensions that could result between the US and China in particular. She offers deep insights into how AI could reshape our economies and the current world order, and she details a plan to help humanity chart a better course.”

— Anja Manuel, Stanford University, co-founder and partner RiceHadleyGates

“The Big Nine is an important and intellectually crisp work that illuminates the promise and peril of AI. Will AI serve its three current American masters in Washington, Silicon Valley and Wall Street or will it serve the interests of the broader public? Will it concentrate or disperse economic and geopolitical power? We can thank Amy Webb for helping us understand the questions and how to arrive at answers that will better serve humanity than our current path. The Big Nine should be discussed in classrooms and boardrooms around the world.”

— Alec Ross, author of The Industries of the Future

The Big Nine makes bold predictions regarding the future of AI. But unlike many other prognosticators, Webb sets sensationalism aside in favor of careful arguments, deep historical context, and a frightening degree of plausibility.”

— Jonathan Zittrain, George Bemis Professor of International Law and professor of Computer Science, Harvard University

The Big Nine is thoughtful and provocative, taking the long view and most of all raising the right issues around AI and providing a road map for an optimistic future with AI.”

— Peter Schwartz, senior vice president, Salesforce.com, and author of The Art of the Long View

“Webb’s potential scenarios for specific futures are superb, providing detailed visions for society to avoid as well as achieve.”

— John C. Havens, executive director, IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems

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