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Richard Worzel

Richard Worzel

North America’s Leading Futurist
Fee Range
Exact fee falls within this range
Traveling From
Ontario, Canada

Program Descriptions

Innovation in Finance: Great Opportunities, Terrifying Challenges
The entire financial industry is undergoing massive changes, with consolidation (to the extent permitted) among the major players, plus the prospects of assaults by fintech and insurtech new entrants. Futurist Richard Worzel is both a business visionary, and a Chartered Financial Analyst. In this overview of the future of the financial industries, he discusses the challenges and prospects for new players including:

  • How technology is threatening traditional banking and investment players, including crowdsourced disintermediation for loans, mortgages, and deposits; the application of Artificial Intelligence to investment research and portfolio management, as well as to insurance; as well as the prospects for what happens beyond online and mobile banking.
  • The Big Five schedule 1 Canadian banks have seen off all comers, from American commercial banks to niche market domestic upstarts to credit unions. Yet, they are widely disliked by the Canadian banking public. Innovation remains the only way for any new player to seriously challenge them.
  • Meanwhile, the same technologies that threaten the financial industry also make it possible for new entrants to move towards friction-free finance for clients, and, if done properly, to create a superior client experience.

    After exploring these issues, Richard circles back to talk about why organizations that claim to be devoted to innovation actually loathe it and seek to avoid it whenever possible, and what perceptive leaders can do to change that. Creating an innovation organization, where innovation is an every-day thing, rather than a once-in-a-while, when-we-have-time rarity is the crucial task for anyone seeking to overcome the enormous obstacles surrounding finance, and penetrate the lucrative heart of the financial industry.

    Artificial Intelligence and Health Management
    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the hot topic in technologies these days, but even though there’s a healthy dose of hype involved, there are still very good reasons why those involved in health care, but especially in the pharmaceutical industry, need to pay attention to how it is changing the economy, society, and business.

    Futurist Richard Worzel is a business visionary as well as a Chartered Financial Analyst. In this presentation, custom crafted for Pfizer, he provides an overview of how technology generally, and AI specifically is changing all the rules, including:

  • Drug discovery – Evolutionary algorithms have the potential to reduce the costs of drug discovery at every stage of research and clinical trials, and to rescue drugs that have potential, but might not otherwise make it through clinical trials.
  • AI excels at multivariate analysis and pattern recognition, both of which are critical to developing new pharmaceuticals, as well as marketing them to the right people.
  • AI and automation will be as disruptive to supply chain management and lean operating efficiency as the Internet was, which means that organizations cannot afford to be left behind in adopting it.
  • The emergence of personal AIs, today through smartphones, but eventually through virtual assistants, have the potential to revolutionize health assessments, medication management and monitoring, and crisis intervention.
  • In combination with Cloud and Fog computing, virtual assistants could lead to the emergence of an integrated, global, health management system that would, among other things, revolutionize drug development, testing, and management.

    As well as providing a road map of the future of health care, Richard will also provide insights about tools from the futurist toolkit to help you turn the uncertainty of the future into a competitive advantage.

    Upsetting the Apple Cart: The Future of Food Retailing
    The food retailing apple cart has been upset in recent times by the emergence of deflation – something that America hasn’t experienced since the 1930s. Yet, the changes to come will be even more profound, and food retailers that want to defend – or expand – their market share will need to adapt their approach to the trends that are mutating their future.

    Business visionary Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst as well as one of today’s leading futurists. In this presentation, he analyzes the future of food and food retailing to map out the changes ahead, including:

  • What’s causing deflation in food, and will it persist?
  • Amazon is nosing around the food industry. Is this a serious threat, or are they entering a market they don’t understand, and that will mousetrap them?
  • How will genetics and the rise of food allergies and sensitivities affect what foods people want to buy? And is that a bad thing or a good thing?
  • How will technology change society and the economy in general, and food retailing in particular? And are the changes to come going to be more or less dramatic than those we’ve already experienced?
  • Is there a secret formula for success in retailing? If so, what is it, and how do you use it?

    “Times of turmoil are times when market share is up for grabs,” Richard says. “And change is like a riding a tiger – it’s most dangerous if you let go.”

    Innovation, Foresight, and Leadership in the Insurance Industry: Preparing Your Organization – and Your Clients – for Tomorrow’s World
    Technology is producing dramatic changes in business, society, and interpersonal relationships that both threaten a business’ future success, and offer it opportunities that have never existed before. But to avoid the pitfalls and exploit the opportunities, organizations need to innovate, and innovation is a virtue that requires leadership and foresight. More than that, innovation must become an organization’s culture, not a “sometime, when-we-have-time” thing.

    Futurist Richard Worzel is a business visionary as well as a Chartered Financial Analyst. In this presentation, specifically crafted for insurers, Richard surveys the future, and talks about how to support and encourage innovation. Among the topics he covers are:

  • Emerging technologies and their implications – There are so many new technologies emerging in so many fields that it’s hard to keep track of them, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Evolutionary Algorithms (EA), Fog computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR & VR), Smart Glasses, Virtual Assistants (VAs), 3D printing, and a panoply of developments in the biosciences that are revolutionizing health care. “Understanding the primary effects of so many technologies is hard enough,” says Richard, “but trying to anticipate the downstream effects, and how they will interact with each other is much, much harder.”
  • Creating an Innovation Organization – Even though it’s clear that innovation is critical to the future, there are hidden obstacles that produce a natural avoidance of innovation in every organization. Identifying these obstacles, and then finding ways to help professionals around them is critical to creating a culture of innovation. “Successful innovation isn’t something that happens only at the top, but must become embedded in the mindset of all its people,” Richard notes. “Creating an environment that fosters that mindset – that’s where the hard work is done, but there are tools and techniques that can help.”
  • Leadership & Foresight – “There’s a poorly understood relationship between leadership and foresight, but they actually support each other. Better foresight produces better leadership, and vice-versa. And helping organizations improve their foresight is central to my mission,” Richard concludes.

    Richard will end by highlighting some of the techniques from the futurist’s toolkit that innovative professionals can use to improve results for their clients, their own organization, and the communities in which they live.

    Communities of Tomorrow: Where Will the Future Come to Live?
    Municipalities are caught in a strange situation: citizens are intensely interested and concerned about local issues, yet municipal governments have little or no influence over issues like globalization or technology that affect voters. In this environment, how do elected officials and civil servants shape the towns and cities of tomorrow? What will an increasingly mobile population want, and how do you offer it? What kinds of infrastructure should you build, and what should you avoid?

    In this presentation, futurist and strategic planner Richard Worzel offers an overview of the landscape of tomorrow’s world, including:

  • Demographics – We are in transition, from Boomers to Millennials, and GenZ now beginning to appear. What are the implications for community planning, for hospitals, schools, sport arenas, and more? Where will the pressure points be, and how can you be proactive about them?
  • The gravitational pull of big cities – For more than a century, populations around the world have been migrating to urban centers, leaving smaller communities behind. So, what happens next? And what should smaller centers do about this?
  • Technology – Technology is a two-edged sword, offering enticing solutions to apparently unsolvable problems, and introducing brand new threats. Where will the greatest opportunities and threats come from? And how do you prepare?
  • Climate change – Municipal infrastructure must change, both to take account of new opportunities, such as the drastic decline in the costs of renewable energy, and to prepare for the rising tide of extreme weather events. But what should you prepare for, and how?

    Richard will close with a brief overview of the futurist toolkit, and provide electronic handbooks you can take away and use to help your community transition into the strange, new world that will be our future.

    The Future of Farming: Problems, Possibilities, and Priorities
    An Interactive Presentation by Futurist Richard Worzel, C.F.A.

    Farming is the hidden, global industry. Everyone who works in the ag sector is directly involved and affected by the global economy, but the vast majority of the population hardly ever think about it, with the result that farmers and farming are often sideswiped or affected by events elsewhere, whether the rise of shale oil production, or the threat of a trade war over steel & aluminum.

    Futurist Richard Worzel, C.F.A., is a business visionary with deep experience in the ag sector. In this interactive presentation, he provides a working overview of the problems ahead for farmers, and therefore for the entire ag industry, as well as the coming possibilities. In turn, this can help senior staff and planners plan and prepare priorities for the future. Among the topics Richard would cover are:

  • Rising demand for food – The single most important aspect of ages future is the growing demand for food. The FAO projects human population to grow by more than 30% between now and 2050, and the demand for food to grow by 50-70%. Since virtually all arable land is already under cultivation, this means that the rewards for finding increased productivity and producing higher yields will be great.
  • New sources of revenue, new sources of competition – To the traditional Three F’s of farming – Food, Feed, and Fiber – are added three new sources: Fuel, Industrial Feedstocks, and Farm-aceuticals. These can produce new revenue streams for farmers who can adapt to new possibilities. As well, there are new forms of competition emerging, which are not important yet, but are worth watching, including 3D printed food and lab-grown meat, leading to food without farms, and steak without steers.
  • The uncertainties – Higher demand for food (as well as all other agricultural produce) is all well and good, but that doesn’t mean the future is automatically rosy. Higher input costs for petroleum, fertilizer, pest control, and better, more expensive seeds will challenge profitability. Climate change is creating ever-greater uncertainties, both because of more frequent extreme weather events which can destroy crops, and shifting weather patterns that can change the kinds of equipment needed for production.

  • New potentials – Technology is introducing new tools that offer enormous potential – if producers can figure out how to balance their costs with their potential. Precision farming will be further revolutionized by Artificial Intelligence, Cloud and Fog computing, improved sensing capabilities, and robot equipment.

    This presentation isn’t meant so much as to answer all questions as it is to provoke new ones. “A good answer will open a useful door,” notes Richard, “But a good question can open lots of new doors.” As such, it can set the stage for strategic planning and innovation.

    Avoiding Oblivion: The Perils and Potential of Print Media in Tomorrow’s World
    Just as it has in many other sectors, technology and the Internet have seriously disrupted media in general, and print media in particular. Classified and space advertising is being leeched away to online and social alternatives. News & feature desks are shrinking with advertising revenues, making it ever more difficult for publications to justify their publication prices. And the result seems to be that print media are dying out.

    But if you look more closely, this isn’t the whole story. In particular, there are three counter-trends emerging: print that broadens its base, both by going national or international, as well as going online and offering multi-dimensional media; print that finds new sources of financing that shift the focus from immediate profitability; and print that specializes in serving specifically-targeted market segments, including local markets.

    Futurist Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst with broad experience in real world business as well as being a business visionary who has helped organizations develop strategic plans for a better future. In this presentation, he looks at the threats and opportunities ahead for print media, covering such topics as:

  • The history of media – Communications media don’t disappear, but their business models change as new media emerge to crowd their space. And there’s an enormous driver behind this: people like to communicate, and shifts in media opportunities present new possibilities, often in ways that organizations don’t foresee.
  • Technologies that will (further) transform our future – Artificial Intelligence and both Virtual and Augmented Reality are going to create new, more immersive kinds of media that will not only entertain and inform, but involve and immerse. How people will accept, adapt, and re-shape the resulting new media is still largely unknown, but hints of where they will take us are emerging.
  • The possibilities and potentials of print media – In a continually shifting marketplace, each print organization needs to contemplate who they serve, what their strengths are, and what the real potentials of their market position are. For some, this involves stepping onto a broader stage, and taking a different approach. For others, it means tightening the focus, and clarifying the benefits they offer. For all, it means re-thinking their role, and ensuring that the changing future includes what they have to offer rather than merely hoping they won’t be devastated.

    “Think of the future of media as a rapidly expanding balloon,” says Richard. “New territories are opening up, while the available revenue in a given segment is thinning out. Defining your role in tomorrow’s world becomes a matter of understanding your market, knowing yourself, and anticipating how your segment will change.”

    “The only thing you can’t do is maintain the status quo.”

    Go with the Flow:
Pouring the Future of the Wholesale Wine & Spirits Industry
    The wholesale wine, beer, and spirits industry will be significantly changed by technology, and those who are prepared for them will reap enormous benefits. In this overview of tomorrow’s market, business visionary and futurist Richard Worzel, c.f.a., surveys how technology is changing, how such changes will affect the economy, society, consumer tastes, and the wine & spirits industry. Among the changes Richard sees coming are:

  • Technology gets personal – Smartphones and virtual assistants will continue to evolve, eventually becoming indispensable computer companions, including smart glasses, intimately integrated social media, and interpersonal social media connections that make today’s Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn look primitive. Producers, wholesalers, and purveyors who can ride this coming wave will benefit, while others will get left far behind. And beyond that, computer companions will shift what people consume, producing significant changes in buying patterns available to those with the ability to identify them.
  • AI turns Big Data into Smart Data – The connected world, particularly the coming Internet of Things (IoT), not only allows individuals to interact with peers everywhere, all the time, but is creating mammoth troves of data that threaten to overwhelm Cloud computing. In this not- very-far-off world, embracing emerging tools, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Fog computing will become crucial in developing and tagging the fine-grained trends that emerge without warning.Yet,AI is not easy to master. In particular, there are three key issues surrounding AI that anyone who ventures into the field must understand.
  • Cobots and automation get serious – One of the biggest commercial motivations for self- driving vehicles is to replace truck drivers, partly because it’s becoming more difficult to hire them, and partly because their wages are one of the biggest costs in distribution.Yet, the wholesale drinks industry should be cautious about approaching automation: cheaper isn’t always better, much as low price doesn’t always mean better value. So, how should you approach automation, and what are the trade-offs?
  • Delivering experiences, not products – Partly for economic reasons, and partly for social and demographic ones, Millennial consumers are seeking experiences over products. Wholesalers that are tuned into this trend, especially when they work in conjunction with producers, can use this to increase market share, price points, and profit margins, especially when they tie it into new technological means of delivering experiences, such as Augmented Reality and virtually shared experiences.

    “We will live in a world where we are surrounded by smart devices and hidden intelligence,” says Richard.“You can either use emerging technologies to leverage your current strengths to take you to greater heights, or stand and watch as others colonize your future. It’s an exciting – and dangerous – time to be in business, especially for industries that value history and tradition, as the wholesale drinks business does.The key is going to be finding ways of taking your past, and using it as a springboard into the future.And that’s where the fun begins!”

    Workshop – Strategy, Tactics, and Innovation: Creating the Future You Want
    Prussian military theorist Carl Von Clausewitz (1780-1831) once said that the only purpose of strategy is to make your tactics work. This contradicts the modern perception that strategy is handed from on high to the front-line troops, who are stuck with trying to implement it.

    But Von Clausewitz’s observation makes sense: you start with what you do best (your tactics), and build your strategy around that. Yet, there’s more to a successful strategy today than just playing to your strengths, because there are so many changes happening in so many different areas, that what worked yesterday won’t work as well tomorrow, and may not work at all the day after that. This is where innovation becomes critical.

    Focused innovation has many parts. Futurist and innovation specialist Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst as well as a business visionary. In this overview of the innovation process, Richard disassembles the process of innovation to enable your trustees to go back to their institutions with better insight and an action plan. Among the topics he will cover are:

  • Overcoming the barriers to innovation – Although organizations claim to embrace innovation, there are powerful disincentives to innovate, both professional and personal, that can sabotage creative innovation. Once these are identified, there are techniques that can overcome them, and create the mindset necessary to becoming an innovation organization.
  • Understanding what future you might face – Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum, nor in isolation. As a result, you must assess the future you might face through environmental scanning, and consider what possible futures you might face, then develop contingency plans to deal with these possibilities through scenario planning.
  • Using techniques to foster creativity – Creativity is both a talent and a skill, and there are techniques that can increase your skill in exercising creativity. Richard will introduce a specific suite of techniques in the Opportunity Matrix, which shifts the focus of attention beyond the everyday to force people to look at everyday events in a new light, and to develop hundreds of new ideas, which are then sifted for the most interesting, most promising, and those that play to your greatest strengths.
  • Walking into the future you really want – The Desired Future is a technique for clarifying the vision of a future you really want to have happen, rather than settling on whatever you allow to happen. Then Backcasting helps you place yourself in that future, and walk backwards into the present, identifying the steps you will need to take to achieve the future you want, as well as the obstacles you will need to overcome.

    Richard will start this process by identifying some of the critical changes facing colleges, and their students, including the employment squeeze created by two major drivers of change; the potential, and potential threats from Artificial Intelligence; the exponential emergence of robots and automation; and the revolution in pedagogy being fostered in the private sector.

    Conferees will leave this session with a greater understanding of what the future holds, and a toolkit to help them prepare for the tasks ahead.
  • Why Book Richard Worzel?

  • He works to identify the major forces that will affect companies as well as people's lives, then helps audiences identify the likely possibilities and the early-warning signals they need to watch for.

  • He helps corporations and industry associations plan intelligently for the future while addressing global issues and the economy.

  • Videos

    Biography Read more

    People are fascinated by the future because it affects their lives, their jobs, and their wealth and welfare. And the future is a topic that fits every conference, and involves everyone in your organization. That's why Richard Worzel, Chartered Financial Analyst, best-selling author, and one of today's leading futurists, trend analysts, and innovation specialists, is in such demand as a speaker, consultant, and writer.

    And although he's a top trend analyst, he has developed new tools to go beyond mere trend watching, including Pre-trending™, which identifies new trends as they emerge, andTrendVelocity™ analysis, which clarifies how and when things are likely to happen.

    He conducts structured innovation sessions that dovetail into your strategic planning and product design, including proprietary innovation techniques, and brings a keen understanding of why innovation can be so difficult, and how organizations can unknowingly undermine their own innovation efforts. Part of this is a process Richard calls Inventing the Future. The results help an organization remake their approach to innovation, the marketplace, and tomorrow.

    Richard makes compelling keynote speeches to set the table at the start of a conference, or can end it with a bang. He leads intriguing workshops that range from a couple of hours, to days or even months of strategic planning. And he can help you plan and prepare for our uncertain future.

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    "Thank you so much for your participation in our Physician Roundtable Meeting. Your commentary challenged the audience to consider both their individual and societal perspectives regarding change. I'm not sure that everyone fully enjoyed the intellectual challenges your discussion introduced, but their discomfort represents solid evidence as to the effectiveness of your presentation. PEOPLE WERE THINKING! The future will present grave challenges and fabulous opportunities. Those in attendance left the meeting with a sense of optimism that the latter will eclipse the former.

    I was impressed with the depth of the dialogue with the audience. The nature of their questions and comments was diverse. Your commentary clearly demonstrated a depth of knowledge and insight which enabled you to synthesize apparently disparate topics. 

    Richard, it was a distinct pleasure to include you in our meeting. I look forward to the opportunity for us to work together in the future."
    --DaVita Inc.

    "As a keynote speaker for our 'Preparing for Tomorrow' conference, Richard was a natural fit. His dynamic delivery and fact-based presentation made for an afternoon that was enlightening as well as engaging. Several of our delegates remarked on the valuable information they had gained through Richard's insight. 

    Richard's keenness to tailor his presentation to our delegates' needs was evident from the beginning of his involvement in our conference, and it was very much appreciated. Thank you, Richard, for your obvious dedication to your field and your excellent ability to communicate your insight and research on this important topic."
    --Compass Group