Ari Wallach

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Applied Futurist and Social Systems Expert Who Teaches Leaders How to Understand, Create and Execute Strategies That Ensure Positive Long-Term Generational and Environmental Impacts; Founder and Executive Director, Longpath Labs; Founder and CEO, Synthesis Corp.; Former Adjunct Associate Professor, Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs

Biography

While society may seem divided in many respects, we can all agree that the need to solve some of the world’s biggest problems is urgent. And as more and more young people demand that organizations of all shapes and sizes focus on purpose and sustainability, how can leaders get everyone in an organization – from the C-suites to the front-lines – to think about the long-term effects of their decisions, not only to keep people happy today, but to ensure we all become great ancestors to future generations?

Applied futurist and social systems strategist Ari Wallach, founder and executive director of Longpath Labs, helps organizations and individuals discover and leverage a new version of “why” for  their work that leads to deeper and more meaningful motivations for all stakeholders – employees, customers, communities and future generations. By advocating for what he calls a “transgenerational ethic,” a big picture understanding of our place in the world and how we can contribute to future generations, Wallach helps leaders build strategic decision-making capabilities that go beyond the quarterly or annual review to ensure long-term impact.

“Transgenerational thinking, which is really transgenerational ethics, allows you to expand how you think about the bigger problems in the world and what role you can play in solving them,” says Wallach, former adjunct associate professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. “‘Longpath’ is a verb: to Longpath means to actively counter our instinct for short-termism by making decisions today that create far futures where humans, ecosystems and planet flourish.”

Wallach illuminates his ideas with clarity and eloquence in his latest TED Talk, “3 Ways to Plan for the (Very) Long Term,” which has been viewed more than 2.6 million times. He will expand upon the talk in his upcoming book, “Longpath: Becoming the Great Ancestors the Future Needs” (Harper Collins).

An expert strategist, Wallach has worked with clients as diverse as CNN, VW, Sephora, The U.S. State Department, The U.N. Refugee Agency and Deepak Chopra, among others. In 2008, he co-founded the presidential initiative, “The Great Schlep with Sarah Silverman,” whose eponymous video garnered more than 350 million global media impressions and started a national conversation about race, faith and democracy.

“Instead of operating with a short-term mindset, trying to beat our competitors to the future, we should first envision the best possible world for everyone and move humanistically in that direction,” says Wallach. “Being at the forefront of innovation means aligning practices with what’s good for the world at large. Together, we can become the ancestors the future needs.”

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Ari Wallach is a former adjunct associate professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs where he lectured on innovation, AI, and the future of governance and public policy. He is the creator and founding director of INFORUM at the Commonwealth Club, one of the nation’s largest non-partisan public affairs forums for young people, as well as founder of re:think media. Most recently, he served as Fast Company’s expert on emerging trends in business and culture.

Wallach sits on a number of advisory and non-profit boards across North America, including CNBC Disruptor 50, 70 Faces Media, blankonblank.org, the Racial Equity 2030 Challenge and the CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative at U.C. Berkeley. He is a former commissioner for the city of Berkeley in California and a Coro Fellow in New York City. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies from U.C. Berkeley.

Ari Wallach is available for virtual and in-person customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

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Wallach, Ari

Biography

While society may seem divided in many respects, we can all agree that the need to solve some of the world’s biggest problems is urgent. And as more and more young people demand that organizations of all shapes and sizes focus on purpose and sustainability, how can leaders get everyone in an organization – from the C-suites to the front-lines – to think about the long-term effects of their decisions, not only to keep people happy today, but to ensure we all become great ancestors to future generations?

Applied futurist and social systems strategist Ari Wallach, founder and executive director of Longpath Labs, helps organizations and individuals discover and leverage a new version of “why” for  their work that leads to deeper and more meaningful motivations for all stakeholders – employees, customers, communities and future generations. By advocating for what he calls a “transgenerational ethic,” a big picture understanding of our place in the world and how we can contribute to future generations, Wallach helps leaders build strategic decision-making capabilities that go beyond the quarterly or annual review to ensure long-term impact.

“Transgenerational thinking, which is really transgenerational ethics, allows you to expand how you think about the bigger problems in the world and what role you can play in solving them,” says Wallach, former adjunct associate professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. “‘Longpath’ is a verb: to Longpath means to actively counter our instinct for short-termism by making decisions today that create far futures where humans, ecosystems and planet flourish.”

Wallach illuminates his ideas with clarity and eloquence in his latest TED Talk, “3 Ways to Plan for the (Very) Long Term,” which has been viewed more than 2.6 million times. He will expand upon the talk in his upcoming book, “Longpath: Becoming the Great Ancestors the Future Needs” (Harper Collins).

An expert strategist, Wallach has worked with clients as diverse as CNN, VW, Sephora, The U.S. State Department, The U.N. Refugee Agency and Deepak Chopra, among others. In 2008, he co-founded the presidential initiative, “The Great Schlep with Sarah Silverman,” whose eponymous video garnered more than 350 million global media impressions and started a national conversation about race, faith and democracy.

“Instead of operating with a short-term mindset, trying to beat our competitors to the future, we should first envision the best possible world for everyone and move humanistically in that direction,” says Wallach. “Being at the forefront of innovation means aligning practices with what’s good for the world at large. Together, we can become the ancestors the future needs.”

# # #

Ari Wallach is a former adjunct associate professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs where he lectured on innovation, AI, and the future of governance and public policy. He is the creator and founding director of INFORUM at the Commonwealth Club, one of the nation’s largest non-partisan public affairs forums for young people, as well as founder of re:think media. Most recently, he served as Fast Company’s expert on emerging trends in business and culture.

Wallach sits on a number of advisory and non-profit boards across North America, including CNBC Disruptor 50, 70 Faces Media, blankonblank.org, the Racial Equity 2030 Challenge and the CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative at U.C. Berkeley. He is a former commissioner for the city of Berkeley in California and a Coro Fellow in New York City. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies from U.C. Berkeley.

Ari Wallach is available for virtual and in-person customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Speech Topics

Fostering Long-Term Thinking With the Longpath Mindset

The dizzying pace of technological and social change has leaders in every sector of business and government tasked with meeting short-term goals without thinking of the long-term impact of their decisions. This is highly detrimental to the future of business and society, says applied futurist and social systems strategist Ari Wallach, founder and executive director of Longpath Labs. In this presentation, Wallach introduces Longpath, a mindset that helps people consider the needs of coming generations when making decisions. Pointing to related research and case studies, he teaches leaders how to move beyond short-termism to instilling a deeper sense of meaning in their organizations and in their own work with the goal of positively impacting people and the planet for centuries to come.

Three Ways to Plan for the (Very) Long Term

Time and again, hindsight has shown us how decisions made too hastily or without concern for a future outcome lead to tragedy. Adapted from his TED Talk of the same name, this presentation by applied futurist and social systems strategist Ari Wallach, founder and executive director of Longpath Labs, outlines the dangers of “short-termism.” Pulling from real catastrophes where nearsighted approaches to planning and government resulted in underfunded infrastructure, broken safety protocols, environmental destruction or human casualties, Wallach shows that the impulse to sacrifice long-term good for immediate payoff often leads to negative outcomes. Along the way, he introduces three new models of long-term thinking that promote a new appreciation for all possible futures, including those we will pass on to our posterity.

Shaping Our Metaverse Futures

The potential benefits of the metaverse may be difficult to envision today, but renowned futurist Ari Wallach is certain about one thing: the metaverse is coming and leaders need to be ready. “Creating a just, fair and democratic metaverse will require a multipronged approach from business, civil society, and government,” says Wallach, founder and executive director of Longpath Labs and former adjunct associate professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. “Leaders from across society can and must play a central role in unifying that effort. But how?” In this talk, Wallach – who has spent years advising corporations, governments, and foundations – provides an accessible overview of Web3, crypto and the metaverse, and discusses the business and societal implications of these rapidly emerging technologies. He also explains why the metaverse has the potential to create a more just and equitable world — or its dystopian opposite – and how we can avert the latter outcome.

21 Transformational Megatrends Shaping Our Futures

We tend to think about the future as a noun, something we inherit, rather than a verb, something we act on.  Applied futurist and social systems strategist Ari Wallach – founder and executive director of Longpath Labs – says to “longpath” is to actively counter our instinct for short-termism by making decisions today that create far futures where humans, ecosystems and planet flourish. In this presentation, he encourages us to collectively create the future according to what we desire for ourselves, our organizations and our posterity. Pointing to 21 research-driven “megatrends,” Wallach outlines how human developments will affect the future of business, government and society. He then offers guidance on how organizations can stay relevant today while being accountable to the transforming communities and markets of tomorrow.

Cultivating Purpose-Driven, Empathetic Organizations and Leaders

With original frameworks, novel research and refreshing candor, applied futurist and social systems strategist Ari Wallach, founder and executive director of Longpath Labs, imparts a macroscopic view of world trends and how businesses will both impact and be impacted by them. Working with participants to identify opportunities for cultural and business realignment, Wallach shares insights about overcoming short-termism, instituting healthy long-term practices and weathering the world’s changes with grace. With a focus on locating meaning in work, Wallach’s workshop gives participants an opportunity to deconstruct and clarify the purpose behind the everyday in order to become better citizens of the world.

 

 

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Cultivating Purpose-Driven, Empathetic Organizations and Leaders

With original frameworks, novel research and refreshing candor, applied futurist and social systems strategist Ari Wallach, founder and executive director of Longpath Labs, imparts a macroscopic view of world trends and how businesses will both impact and be impacted by them. Working with participants to identify opportunities for cultural and business realignment, Wallach shares insights about overcoming short-termism, instituting healthy long-term practices and weathering the world’s changes with grace. With a focus on locating meaning in work, Wallach’s workshop gives participants an opportunity to deconstruct and clarify the purpose behind the everyday in order to become better citizens of the world.

Recommendations

Advance Praise for “Longpath”

“This perceptive book is an antidote to nearsightedness. Ari Wallach won’t just leave you planning months or years ahead—he challenges you to look generations ahead. Get ready to think and think again.”

Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of “Think Again” and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

“Reading this book is like joining hands across generations in order to find the hope, drive and imagination necessary for us to build the world we wish to manifest. A world built on justice, spirit and joy.”

– Ai-jen Poo, President, National Domestic Workers Alliance, author, “The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America,” MacArthur “Genius” Award

“Ari Wallach has written an essential guide to the 22nd century. You read that right. With the acumen of a futurist and the soul of a rabbi, Wallach shows us that the only effective antidote to the rampant now-ism of the present is to have an urgent conversation about reshaping the far-future. Longpath will make every conversation you have more meaningful. ”

– Bruce Feiler, New York Times-bestselling author of “Life Is in the Transitions”

“A brilliant futurist who sees with his whole heart, Wallach shows us how to co-create a future of dignity, justice, and love as daily practice. This book will ignite your agency and lift your gaze to the horizon of possibility. Longpath showed me how to feel future generations’ joy — that joy is now my North Star. Wise, practical, powerful, this is an essential handbook for how to birth the world we dream.”

– Valarie Kaur, bestselling author of “See No Stranger” and founder of the Revolutionary Love Project

“People who face great oppression – as Ari’s father did – are somehow best able to think beyond themselves, seeing ways forward just when every path seems blocked. Black people in America never had the luxury not to see ahead. We thank our ancestors at the same time we strive to become ancestors worth thanking. Longpath will help more people embrace this mindset and the behaviors that go with it. Changing our minds can transform our lives.”

Rashad Robinson, President, Color Of Change

“Like a prophet of old, Ari Wallach offers us an urgently-needed message: While we can’t thank those who came before us, our survival as a species relies on our paying their sacrifices forward. Wallach expertly combines evolutionary biology, psychology, and spiritual wisdom not just to remind us what we owe future generations, but to give us the tools we need to truly become better ancestors.”

– David DeSteno, author of “How God Works”

“Ari Wallach will change the way you look at time. Longpath offers a thought-provoking perspective on how we carry our ancestral history and how we can shift our thinking from short term reactions to long term responses. What actions will we take if we view it from the perspective of our great-great grandchildren?”

– Sharon Salzberg, author of “Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness” and “Real Happiness”

“Ari Wallach’s approach to being great ancestors is an antidote to the addled, unsustainable traps of short-term thinking. Philosophically deep and practical, timeless and urgent, Wallach’s message is one we need more than ever.  Take it in; your descendants will be glad you did.”

– Jamil Zaki, Ph.D., Director, Stanford Social Neuroscience Lab, author, “The War for Kindness”

“Longpath is a radical call to expand the window of our attention. In doing so, we shift our thinking and behavior, making us better, happier people.

– Amishi Jha, professor and author of “Peak Mind”

“By cultivating what Wallach designates the Longpath way of living, we have direction for how to get beyond short-term decision making rooted in myopic opportunism. A poetic master of creative metaphor, Wallach invites us all to join in the Longpath journey, for species survival yes, but no less because this is a joyful and fulfilling way of living our lives together!”

– Daniel Liechty, author of  “Transference and “Transcendence”

“I loved this book for its authenticity and audacity. Longpath not only helped me envision a brighter future, but also to improve how I can be a more effective leader in the present. This is a playbook that anyone can leverage right now to achieve world changing results. It’s an impressive feat and makes Longpath a must read.”

– Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director, Anti-Defamation League

“Ari Wallach challenges practices that incentivize harming our future. Providing helpful tools and anecdotes, Wallach wisely guides readers into making personal and professional decisions with awareness of long-term impact – decisions that will enrich our being and one day make our far off descendants proud. ”

– Ytasha L. Womack, Author of “Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi & Fantasy Culture”

“Like Victor E. Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning, Ari Wallach gives us a roadmap to finding meaning and hope in this moment between what was and what will be with the deep insights and provocations one would expect from not just a futurist, but a father who cares deeply about the world we will leave behind to our descendants.”

Alec Ross, NYT bestselling author of “The Industries of the Future” and “The Raging 2020s”

“Albert Einstein observed that we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Ari Wallach’s Longpath provides a clear way to think differently, so that we can better address the issues of our time.”

– Jonathan Rose, author, “The Well-Tempered City,” co-founder of the Garrison Institute and President of Rose Companies

“What kind of world do we want our children and grandchildren to inherit?  Ari Wallach refocuses us on this critical question, which our forebears once weighed more mightily than we do today.  Becoming a great ancestor requires not only navigating ever-present crises, but imagining the world as it could be through one’s everyday philosophy and choices.”

– Laurence C. Smith, author, “The World in 2050,” John Atwater and Diana Nelson University Professor of Environmental Studies and Professor of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Brown University

“In a turbulent world, Longpath offers a moving, trenchant guide for anyone seeking to close the gap between the world as it is and the world as it should be.”

– Hahrie Han, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Professor of Political Science, Director, SNF Agora Institute, Johns Hopkins University, author, “Prisms of the People: Power and Organizing in 21st Century America”

“Ari Wallach’s Longpath is a timely reminder that even as acute challenges draw our attention, it is essential to take the long view if we are to achieve the shared vision of a just and sustainable world. At a time when resilience is an imperative, and not just a buzzword, Longpath provides a pathway to making it a reality.”

– Aron Kramer, President and CEO, BSR

“In the context of a time that is hyperconnected, yet fractured, filled with both transformational change and anxiety, Ari Wallach gives us a compelling roadmap forward, a manifesto for shifting our mindset from the short to the long term—bringing us from the past to the present to a better future we still have the chance to co-create, with even our smallest decisions and interactions.”

– Asha Curran, CEO, GivingTuesday

“Brilliantly weaving together rationality and spirituality, Longpath offers a new lens through which we can all imagine and shape the future.”

– Adam Bly, Founder & CEO of System

“Ari Wallach has become our trusted guide to the future and Longpath is our roadmap. Longpath is not a “mindfulness time out,” but “a frame of mind” for living. Wallach’s storytelling gently and persistently moves us to realize that, like the butterfly whose flap of wings caused a storm miles away, our daily actions are building out the future for the generations to follow.”

– Sudhir Venkatesh, William B. Ransford Professor of Sociology & African-American Studies at Columbia University

“What if we took the time to extend empathy and care to the generations that came before us? And how about generations that will come after us? In this heart-stretching, time-bending invitation, futurist Ari Wallach pushes us to widen our circle of concern by seeing ourselves as links on an intergenerational chain. Longpathism is a clarion call: it’s on us to make sure the future of humankind is not characterized by the loneliness, alienation, and divisiveness we’re living amidst today.”

– Jenn Hoos Rothberg, Executive Director of Einhorn Collaborative

“Sometimes all it takes to change your life is to see it from a different perspective. Ari Wallach’s Longpath blows through conventional thinking and opens up a world where each and every one of us can carefully consider how the choices we make today can impact the future. If you are reconsidering your life choices, this book will illuminate the path forward.”

– Kathryn Murdoch, Co-Founder and President, Quadrivium Foundation

“When I hear the word ‘futurist,’ I expect jetpacks and meal-replacement pills. But Wallach isn’t that kind of futurist. In this striking and insightful book, Wallach takes us back in time to see the longer picture. We emerge liberated from our small sense of time and endowed with the responsibility of being a future ancestor.”

– Casper ter Kuile, author of “The Power of Ritual”

“A new framework for thinking about our decision-making patterns, with empathy at the center of all.”

– Chade-Meng Tan, author of “Search Inside Yourself”

“Short-term thinking is enticing and may even feel good up front, but more often than not, it ends up causing harm down the road. Wallach compellingly argues that our biggest challenges require playing the long game, and he shows us how to get started. We’ve got no time to waste.”

– Brad Stulberg, author of “The Practice of Groundedness”

“Longpath – blending psychological, emotional and even spiritual development – offers a crucial blueprint and inspirational call to action: to create the futures that we want for ourselves and our descendants.”

– Hollie Russon Gilman, Senior Fellow at New America and Affiliate Fellow at Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation

“Written with brilliance, beauty, and no shortage of soul, Longpath is the most important and hopeful guide to the future we can start building today.”

– David Sax , bestselling author of “The Revenge of Analog” and “The Future is Analog”

 

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