Azeem Azhar

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Award-winning Technology Writer, Investor and Futurist Whose Research and Practices Help Organizations Understand How Emerging Technologies Will Impact Their Business in the Coming Decade; Global Authority on AI, Sci-Fi Tech and Climate Tech; Founder, Exponential View; Founder, PeerIndex; Member, World Economic Forum’s Global Future Councils; Named to Thinkers50 Radar Class of 2022; Author, “The Exponential Age” (2021)

Biography

Organizational leaders and teams are doing everything in their power, both personally and professionally, to keep business moving forward during one of the most challenging periods in history. Well aware of the myriad problems the pandemic triggered, they are tapping into all the linear thinking they learned in business school to tackle new and seemingly endless problems. But linear thinking no longer applies in a world that is changing at an exponential rate, says futurist Azeem Azhar, an award-winning technology writer, investor, corporate advisor and creator of the increasingly popular “Exponential View” podcast and newsletter.

Since 2015, Azhar has been researching, interpreting and discussing how emerging technologies will dramatically change every aspect of our lives. His acclaimed 2021 book, “The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society,” lays out a framework for thinking about the future that business and government leaders have no choice but to embrace as they plan forward. Highly celebrated for its insights on technology’s impact on business, politics and society, the book was longlisted for the 2022 Management Book of the Year Award by the Chartered Management Institute.

“We’re in the midst of a rapid and radical societal shift, driven by a series of exponential technologies that are transforming how we live and interact with each other and the world around us. They are not just happening, they are taking off at the same time, launching us into a whole new world,” explains Azhar, who was named to the Thinkers50 Radar Class of 2022. “As artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, renewable energy, and other innovations in technology and science mature, they will challenge the economic and social fabric of business and society in chaotic ways, including how we work and learn. My work is focused on helping companies, governments and individuals understand and prepare for the future, leverage the best of what’s coming, and maintain their footing along the way.”

Azhar is particularly focused on how technology can address the climate crisis. Among other efforts, he initiated and co-authored a series of research reports with PwC called the State of Climate Tech. His Exponential View charts keep the world up to date on the status of decarbonization and other key trends, and he regularly discusses solutions with global experts during his podcast, mostly notably his “Tracking Climate Progress” post and his podcast episode about carbon removal offsets.

One of a handful of people who has been involved in emerging technology since the early 1990s as a founder, investor, corporate executive and regulator, Azhar’s eclectic experiences offer him a 360-degree perspective on what we can expect in the coming decades.

His approach to analyzing and explaining key trends is uniquely interdisciplinary, drawing on his training in economics and political science as well as his professional track record as a technologist. Both an analyst and a practitioner, he remains an active investor in early-stage technology companies, some of which have been acquired by such firms as Amazon and Microsoft.

“The Exponential Age” was named the best book of 2021 by the Financial Times, London Times, MIT Technology Review and Harvard Business Review. Azhar’s related weekly newsletter has more than 200,000 subscribers, and his chart-topping Exponential View podcast, which covers a range of topics, has featured such globally recognized visionaries as Yuval Noah Harari, Reid Hoffman and Demis Hassabis. Always ahead of the trends, Azhar’s January 2022 episode on Web 3.0, Sci-Fi Tech and the Metaverse was prescient and timely.

A sought-after advisor and an in-demand keynote speaker who is a particularly welcome addition at technology and equities conferences, Azhar continues to help leaders in every sector – from advertising, banking, engineering and professional services, to insurance, transportation, health care and consumer goods – understand the lifecycle of technologies that are driving or will drive their business.

“Decision makers need to understand the muscle they’ll need to exercise as they journey toward the future. There’s no magic pill,” says Azhar. “My core value is helping leaders see the big picture of what emerging technologies will do for their company over the next five to ten years. The old rule books and business books don’t necessarily apply. In the old days there were set formulas. Not anymore. The key principles now are experimentation, learning, forgiveness and self-restraint.”

# # #

During the last 20 years, Azeem Azhar has supported more than 30 companies in areas as diverse as artificial intelligence, remote work, blockchain, climate change and sustainability and agricultural technologies. Prior to launching Exponential View, he founded the venture-backed startup PeerIndex, which was acquired by Cision in 2014. In 2020 and 2021, he co-authored a major study on climate tech startups and venture capital in association with PwC. He has been a senior advisor to a number of blue-chip firms including McKinsey & Co, Accenture, Microsoft and Hong Kong’s mass transit authority MTR, and he has also run corporate innovation programs at large multinationals.

He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Councils, a senior advisor at PwC, and a contributor to major business and technology publications including the Financial Times, Prospect and MIT Technology Review. He served as the Economist’s first ever internet correspondent and is regularly quoted in the international media. He sat on the board of the AI Ethics Research Group, the Ada Lovelace Foundation, and has spoken, inter alia, at Oxford University, Harvard Business School, London Business School and University College London. He was a recipient of the Crunchies, Europe’s top startup award, and has been recognized as one of the Top Voices on LinkedIn, where he has more than 400,000 followers.

Azhar has a degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University.

Azeem Azhar 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®.

Videos

Media

Azeem Azhar's Exponential View Podcast

Azeem Azhar’s Exponential View Blog

The Unlimited Company

February 21, 2022

Reaction Podcast: Azheem Azhar (Audio)

February 11, 2022

We Have Entered the Exponential Age. What Does That Mean for Your Company’s Future?

February 2, 2022

A Green Ray of Hope in Surging Tech Investment

December 30, 2021

Slow Down to Speed Up: Harnessing the Power of Exponential Tech

December 3, 2021

‘The Exponential Age’ and Online Learning in 2030

November 28, 2021

How to Thrive in a World That’s Changing Faster Than Ever (Audio)

November 19, 2021

Closing the Exponential Gap

November 4, 2021

An Uber-Optimistic View of the Future

October 27, 2021

Hitting the Books: How Amazon’s Aggressive R&D Push Made It an E-commerce Behemoth

October 16, 2021

Exponential, Book Review: Technology Acceleration and Its Impact on Society

October 14, 2021

Tech’s Exponential Growth – and How to Solve the Problems It’s Created

October 12, 2021

Everything Is Accelerating in the Exponential Age

October 10, 2021

Exponential by Azeem Azhar — Tech’s Dizzying Acceleration

October 7, 2021

Hitting the Brakes on Tech’s Runaway Train

September 24, 2021

The World Is Spiky, Not Flat

September 20, 2021

Exponential by Azeem Azhar Review – Bridging the Technology Gap

September 15, 2021

The Age of Exponential Technology (Audio)

September 15, 2021

A Founder’s Exponential Toolset (Audio)

September 14, 2021

The Best Deep Tech Funds Are Heavily Oversubscribed (Audio)

September 8, 2021

Exponential by Azeem Azhar Review — Can We Stop the Tech Giants? ($)

August 29, 2021

If Technology Improves Exponentially, Can Society Keep Up?

July 15, 2021

Imagining Climate Futures (Audio)

July 7, 2021

The Exponential Age Will Transform Economics Forever

June 9, 2021

An Exponential View of the Future (Audio)

March 26, 2019

A-Z Name

Azhar, Azeem

Biography

Organizational leaders and teams are doing everything in their power, both personally and professionally, to keep business moving forward during one of the most challenging periods in history. Well aware of the myriad problems the pandemic triggered, they are tapping into all the linear thinking they learned in business school to tackle new and seemingly endless problems. But linear thinking no longer applies in a world that is changing at an exponential rate, says futurist Azeem Azhar, an award-winning technology writer, investor, corporate advisor and creator of the increasingly popular “Exponential View” podcast and newsletter.

Since 2015, Azhar has been researching, interpreting and discussing how emerging technologies will dramatically change every aspect of our lives. His acclaimed 2021 book, “The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society,” lays out a framework for thinking about the future that business and government leaders have no choice but to embrace as they plan forward. Highly celebrated for its insights on technology’s impact on business, politics and society, the book was longlisted for the 2022 Management Book of the Year Award by the Chartered Management Institute.

“We’re in the midst of a rapid and radical societal shift, driven by a series of exponential technologies that are transforming how we live and interact with each other and the world around us. They are not just happening, they are taking off at the same time, launching us into a whole new world,” explains Azhar, who was named to the Thinkers50 Radar Class of 2022. “As artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, renewable energy, and other innovations in technology and science mature, they will challenge the economic and social fabric of business and society in chaotic ways, including how we work and learn. My work is focused on helping companies, governments and individuals understand and prepare for the future, leverage the best of what’s coming, and maintain their footing along the way.”

Azhar is particularly focused on how technology can address the climate crisis. Among other efforts, he initiated and co-authored a series of research reports with PwC called the State of Climate Tech. His Exponential View charts keep the world up to date on the status of decarbonization and other key trends, and he regularly discusses solutions with global experts during his podcast, mostly notably his “Tracking Climate Progress” post and his podcast episode about carbon removal offsets.

One of a handful of people who has been involved in emerging technology since the early 1990s as a founder, investor, corporate executive and regulator, Azhar’s eclectic experiences offer him a 360-degree perspective on what we can expect in the coming decades.

His approach to analyzing and explaining key trends is uniquely interdisciplinary, drawing on his training in economics and political science as well as his professional track record as a technologist. Both an analyst and a practitioner, he remains an active investor in early-stage technology companies, some of which have been acquired by such firms as Amazon and Microsoft.

“The Exponential Age” was named the best book of 2021 by the Financial Times, London Times, MIT Technology Review and Harvard Business Review. Azhar’s related weekly newsletter has more than 200,000 subscribers, and his chart-topping Exponential View podcast, which covers a range of topics, has featured such globally recognized visionaries as Yuval Noah Harari, Reid Hoffman and Demis Hassabis. Always ahead of the trends, Azhar’s January 2022 episode on Web 3.0, Sci-Fi Tech and the Metaverse was prescient and timely.

A sought-after advisor and an in-demand keynote speaker who is a particularly welcome addition at technology and equities conferences, Azhar continues to help leaders in every sector – from advertising, banking, engineering and professional services, to insurance, transportation, health care and consumer goods – understand the lifecycle of technologies that are driving or will drive their business.

“Decision makers need to understand the muscle they’ll need to exercise as they journey toward the future. There’s no magic pill,” says Azhar. “My core value is helping leaders see the big picture of what emerging technologies will do for their company over the next five to ten years. The old rule books and business books don’t necessarily apply. In the old days there were set formulas. Not anymore. The key principles now are experimentation, learning, forgiveness and self-restraint.”

# # #

During the last 20 years, Azeem Azhar has supported more than 30 companies in areas as diverse as artificial intelligence, remote work, blockchain, climate change and sustainability and agricultural technologies. Prior to launching Exponential View, he founded the venture-backed startup PeerIndex, which was acquired by Cision in 2014. In 2020 and 2021, he co-authored a major study on climate tech startups and venture capital in association with PwC. He has been a senior advisor to a number of blue-chip firms including McKinsey & Co, Accenture, Microsoft and Hong Kong’s mass transit authority MTR, and he has also run corporate innovation programs at large multinationals.

He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Councils, a senior advisor at PwC, and a contributor to major business and technology publications including the Financial Times, Prospect and MIT Technology Review. He served as the Economist’s first ever internet correspondent and is regularly quoted in the international media. He sat on the board of the AI Ethics Research Group, the Ada Lovelace Foundation, and has spoken, inter alia, at Oxford University, Harvard Business School, London Business School and University College London. He was a recipient of the Crunchies, Europe’s top startup award, and has been recognized as one of the Top Voices on LinkedIn, where he has more than 400,000 followers.

Azhar has a degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University.

Azeem Azhar 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®.

Speech Topics

The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society

High-tech innovations are created at dazzling speeds; technological forces we barely understand remake our homes and workplaces; centuries-old tenets of politics and economics are upturned by new technologies. It all points to a world that is getting faster at a dizzying pace. In this talk, drawn from his award-winning 2021 book, renowned technology writer, investor and corporate advisor Azeem Azhar explains how and why new technologies are fundamentally altering the world, what we can expect in the future, and how we can navigate. He delves into how the exponential gap created by these changes has inevitably resulted in the rise of AI, automation, and other technologies – such as renewable energy, 3D printing and synthetic biology – and offers a whole new way to think about technology, one that will transform our understanding of the economy, politics and the future.

Frameworks for Determining How Emerging Technologies Will Impact Your Business

New technologies continue to emerge each day, impacting how businesses and society live, learn, socialize and operate. Many of these changes are causing disruption and unexpected pivots in organizational and consumer behavior. How can companies determine which technologies will be relevant to their business and customers in the next five to ten years, and which ones can be ignored? In this talk, renowned technology writer, investor and corporate advisor Azeem Azhar provides practical frameworks for examining how emerging technologies will positively or negatively impact your company’s operations, leadership, employees and customers.

Investing in Our Future: Decarbonization Technologies for Addressing the Climate Crisis

The climate crisis has presented humanity with its greatest challenge yet. The good news is, emerging technologies are offering us a powerful path to reaching net zero by 2050, and investment in climate tech is ramping up. In this talk, renowned technology writer, investor and corporate advisor Azeem Azhar, author of “The Exponential Age,” gives audiences an inside look at the promising technologies that are our best hope for addressing the climate crisis. He also highlights related research he conducted with PwC, discusses investment opportunities, and shares insights from experts at the forefront of climate tech, many of whom he has personally interviewed.

Media

Array

Books & Research

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Advisory & Consulting

Preparing Leaders and Teams for the Future Impacts of Technology

Exponential changes driven by a rapid onslaught of new technologies are transforming how we live, do business and interact with each other. “These changes are not just happening, they are taking off at the same time, launching us into a whole new world,” explains renowned technology writer, investor and corporate advisor Azeem Azhar. “As AI, synthetic biology, renewable energy and other innovations in technology and science mature, they will challenge the economic and social fabric of business and society in chaotic ways, including how we work and learn.” In one-on-one or small group advisory sessions, which can be customized to address specific industries or challenges, Azhar helps leaders in any sector – from advertising, banking, engineering and professional services to insurance, transportation, health care and consumer goods – understand the lifecycle of technologies that are driving or will drive their business. By guiding participants through a series of scenarios, he helps them better understand and prepare for the future so they can leverage the best of what’s coming, focus only on technologies that will be relevant to their business, and maintain their footing as they journey toward the future.

Recommendations

Praise for “The Exponential Age”

“The world is in the midst of [an exponential] transformation, argues Azeem Azhar….With his experience as a startup entrepreneur, tech investor, innovation executive at big companies and journalist, Mr. Azhar is well-placed to decrypt these digital trends. He has a knack for interrogating and inverting conventional thinking, for example in making the case that the adoption of exponential technology leads to job increases, not cuts—witness the rising headcounts of expanding businesses such as Amazon or Ocado, a British online grocer. The unemployment that results, he says, is down to the firms that fail to adapt, not those that do.”

— The Economist

“Azeem Azhar is one of the best-regarded thought leaders in the industry. But more importantly, he has a broad understanding of the exponential ways technology can be used to solve our biggest problems, shape our society, and bridge cultural divides.”

— Daniel Ek, Founder and CEO of Spotify 

“As high-tech innovation accelerates in ways that deliver huge benefits to society but also create unique challenges, Azeem delivers a comprehensive but lively take on the key issues informing what he calls the Exponential Age. It’s an essential addition to the ongoing discourse about where these remarkable new technologies can take us, and where we should be aiming to go. Highly recommended!”

                                                     — Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and co-author of “Blitzscaling”

“While many talk about the rate of innovation, too few talk about its direction. Azeem’s new book helps bring that directionality to the surface through a dynamic understanding of the connections between economic, social and technological forces. Read this book if you are interested in how we can design a more inclusive and sustainable system with a redirection of technological change at its center.” 

— Mariana Mazzucato, Professor at University College London, and author of “Mission Economy”

“Every generation fears technology is changing frighteningly fast. Usually, it is hyperbole, the fear of the unknown, but today technological shifts are posing challenges to our security, our democracies, our way of life, and our sanity. Azeem Azhar’s brilliant book demystifies these exponentially fast changes and — importantly — shows how the chronic volatility can be harnessed for good. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how to reclaim a good society from the snapping jaws of looming chaos.”

Robert Peston, ITV News’ political editor and presenter of ITV’s show “Peston”

“Azeem is a master at interpreting a dazzling array of trends and illuminating the future. ‘Exponential’ is a must-read to understand the problems, promises and paths forward on the exponential journey ahead for us as individuals, businesses, and society.”

Paul Daugherty, Group Chief Executive Officer, Technology, Accenture

“Most businesses and business leaders measure and think in linear terms. Azeem Azhar understands and writes about how the truly important breakthroughs take the form of exponential functions. In ‘The Exponential Age,’ Azeem builds the case for exponential thinking through insightful examples of technologies that have made possible discontinuous leaps forward.”

— Tom Glocer, Former CEO of Thomson Reuters, and Executive Chairman at BlueVoyant LLC and Capitolis Inc 

“Azeem Azhar’s ‘The Exponential Age’ presents an audacious spectrum of interconnecting trends, which already profoundly impact our lives. In the book, the risks and challenges arising out of the exponentially leaping technologies are masterfully balanced with opportunities and proposed policy actions. The book is an essential read for leaders and enthusiasts who care about the better future for all.”

Giedrimas Jeglinskas, Assistant Secretary General at NATO

“Using countless stories and insightful analysis, Azeem Azhar guides us from the industrial assumptions we grew up with to the exponential realities that define our future.”

Tom Wheeler, Brookings Institution, author of “From Gutenberg to Google”

“Azeem Azhar is that rare thing: a thought-leader who has also been a tech founder. The combination of big-picture vision and real tech experience shines through in this unmissable book.”

Stian Westlake, Chief Executive, Royal Statistical Society

“Azeem’s new book charts a clear path through an uncertain and complex future, one shaped by technology and one which accelerates at an exponential rate. He takes us on a journey into our collective future, asks the hard questions and provides a compelling possible future for all of us. A must-read for anyone who wants to actively shape the decades ahead.”

Pascal Finette, Founder, be radical

“Azeem Azhar is a globally recognized voice on technology and its impact. He has written a fascinating and important book. It’s required reading for anyone seeking to understand the new economy and the massive global corporations that seek to dominate that economy.”

Matthew Taylor, CEO of the RSA

“Azeem’s kinetic mind is uniquely able to connect social, political, economic and technological trends in ways that inspire and challenge. ‘The Exponential Age’ is a natural extension and expansion of Azeem’s unique ability, on display in his podcast and newsletter, of isolating, unpicking and retying the threads which make up the fabric of our technosociety.”

Carly Kind, Director, Ada Lovelace Institute

 “You will be exponentially smarter after having read Azeem Azhar’s book.” 

Laure Claire Reillier, COO and Co-Founder Launchworks & Co, Co-Author “Platform Strategy” 

“A much-needed manual for unlocking opportunities and overcoming vertigo in a world that seems to be spinning out of control. Azeem Azhar, a genius networker, proves to be a brilliant guide to our intensely networked age.” 

Kevin Werbach, Professor, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

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