Michael Rogers is a different kind of futurist, one who combines real business experience with technology skills that have earned him patents. Add to that the keen eye of an award-winning investigative journalist and the story-telling skill of a novelist, and you have The Practical Futurist.
Michael is a dynamic speaker who delivers an entertaining and common-sense vision of change for business and individuals, blending technology, economics, demographics, culture and human nature. His recent work has ranged from serving as Futurist-in-Residence for The New York Times to writing the popular Practical Futurist column for MSNBC. He consults with both start-ups and Fortune 500 companies and is a frequent guest on television and radio.
Rogers has followed the world energy picture since he shared the National Headliners Award for coverage of the Chernobyl disaster and its implications for nuclear energy. He has written extensively on alternative energy and recently participated in the United Nations conference Bridging the Divide on bringing new energy technology to developing countries, as well as consulting for a variety of energy companies.
After creating the award-winning Parents’ Guide to Children’s Software in 1996, Rogers has followed education and technology issues closely. He often speaks to audiences of both parents and educators about technology and learning and specifically how the rise of computers and the Internet has actually increased the importance of the thinking skills that underlie the traditional three R’s. Too much emphasis on technology, especially in early grades, may actually interfere with the lifelong learning skills that this century will demand from every worker.
The first generation never to know a world without an Internet is rapidly approaching adulthood. It is a cohort that has fundamentally different ideas and expectations about how to relate to businesses, employers, the media and each other. How do we market to this new breed? How will we manage them? What will they expect from products and services, and what new skills or deficits will they bring to the workplace?
Information technology and genetic science are combining to create a fundamental shift in the way we think about and treat disease. At the same time, however, prices continue to rise and there is as much pressure to use technology to cut costs as to advance health science. How do we balance the enormous potential of advancing technology with the real world questions of delivering affordable health care?
Between globalization of services and the digitization of business, the legal profession is facing more change in the next decade than has occurred in the past century. Michael has worked extensively with the American Bar Association, state bars and individual firms to talk about how the profession can adapt, what younger lawyers can expect and how older lawyers need to adapt.
The rise of the Internet and the digitization of all media are having a profound effect on the media industries. What will the next decade see in content and services delivery, customer expectations, the protection of intellectual property, and the role of traditional media? Michael brings insights straight from the research and development lab of The New York Times. Will we still have newspapers? Who will create, distribute and profit from the news? And how can companies adapt? The rise of citizen journalism via blogs and social media meant that for corporations, nothing is under the radar anymore.
Computers, the Internet and the digitization of all media are changing many aspects of the American lifestyle?from how we work, where we shop, how we entertain ourselves and even how we meet our mates. It is also beginning to reshape the way our homes are built, furnished and lived-in. What does the digital lifestyle mean for what companies must do to reach their customers and how products must change to meet new needs? It’s necessary to tie together strands from pop culture, consumer electronics and even home décor to understand fully the scope of the transformation.
Over the next decade, more and more of our work, what we care about and how we interact with others is going to move into the virtual world, mediated by computers and the Internet. In addition, we’re seeing the rise of a new generation of digital natives? who are remarkably comfortable with virtual relationships. What this means for our businesses and organizations in the years to come is simple:the winners will be those who best balance the virtual with the real world.
Managers are facing multiple new challenges: virtual work forces, flattened corporate structures, a new generation of ambitious and cyber-savvy workers, a heightened atmosphere of public scrutiny not to mention the perennial pressure to do more with less. How are smart managers coping and what’s next to come? Michael’s work with companies around the world provides anecdotes, examples and some basic rules for innovation.
We’re seeing a perfect storm of technology, infrastructure and Millennial workforce capabilities converge to let smart businesses, from sole proprietorships to multinationals, decrease costs while increasing reach and productivity. For smart organizations, today’s downturn actually represents the perfect opportunity to rethink and restructure, using low-cost software tools, to fit this emerging paradigm. Not only will you survive the extended storm ahead of us, but you will emerge into calmer waters already outfitted for the opportunities of the next decade.