Mar
1

Top Ten Global Futurists

As someone giving four international keynotes on future trends this month, I’d love to tell you all of my ideas and insights spring naturally from my own mind.

Obviously, this isn’t true. I read a lot (here’s a list of the ten best future-related books of 2011). I also rely on the insights of other futurists.

In honor of today being the first-ever “Future Day” holiday, I’d like to share with you a list of ten futurists whose work I have come to respect—and rely upon—over the course of my career.

In no particular order, here is my list of top ten global futurists:

1. Ray Kurzweil. As I said in this recent interview, more than any other futurist, Ray has shaped my own thinking about the future with his keen insights into the exponential growth of a myriad of different technologies. Ray and his able assistant, Amara Angelica, also produce the most helpful daily newsletter on emerging technologies and future trends. If you don’t subscribe to KurzweilAI.net, you’re already behind the curve.
2. Jim Carroll. Although both Jim and I speak to many of the same groups in the agricultural, retail and healthcare industries, I have to appreciate how willing he is to make quality content available on his website. Here are just a few of his insightful posts on the future of retailing and the future of agriculture. (For some of my own thoughts on these and other topics, check out Five Future Retails Trends, The Future of Agriculture in the Year 2020 and Top Ten Future Healthcare Trends.) Follow Jim @jimcarroll.
3. John Mahaffie. Author of the popular and ever-insightful blog, Foresight Culture, John is a principal partner in Leading Futurists, LLC, and is better than most futurists at recognizing the pitfalls and traps that ensnare many of us futurists. On numerous occasions, John has helped me rethink and unlearn some of my own biases and assumptions about the future. Follow him @jbmahaffie.
4. Daniel Burrus. I haven’t yet read Dan’s new book, Flash Foresight, but in preparation for an upcoming keynote at SingTel’s CIO days in Hong Kong, I came across this piece on the 20 technology Trends for CIOs that Dan wrote and found it to be very insightful. It is indicative of the type of quality content Dan consistently shares with clients and audiences. (Here is my list of 10 Future Mobile Trends CIOs Need to Consider Today.) Follow Dan @danielburrus.
5. Gerd Leonhard. I have always found Gerd’s insights on the future of media to be illuminating. Recently, he announced he was moving into the energy and environmental sectors. Although I sometimes speak in Europe (as I’m doing at the Global Inspiration Days in Lucerne, Switzerland this June), if you’re a European corporation or organization looking for an engaging and informative speaker, you’d do well to consider Gerd. (Pat Dixon, based out of the UK, is another excellent futurist). Follow Gerd on Twitter @gleonhard and Pat @patrickdixon.
6. Ross Dawson. Host of the blog, Trends in the Living Networks, Ross regularly shares his expertise as a futurist—such as he did with this recent piece on 14 Exatrends of the Next Decade. Ross is based in Australia so if you’re located in the Pacific Rim, he’s an excellent resource to call upon. He can be found on twitter @rossdawson.
7. Glen Hiemstra. Based in Seattle, Glen has been working at a futurist for decades and, like the best futurists, shares his knowledge, experience and expertise freely. He blogs regularly at www.futurist.com.
8. John Smart. Founder and president of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, John occasionally blogs for the World Futurist Society and has his own website at Acceleration Watch. You can follow him at @johnmsmart.
9. Venessa Miemis. Host of www.emergentbydesign, this recent post on Re-inventing Finance: An Emerging (Digital Reformation) is an excellent example of the type of quality work Venessa regularly produces. She is also an outstanding curator of all things related to the future and can be followed at @venessamiemis.
10. Simon Anderson. Along with Venessa, one of the younger futurists on my list, I have come to consider Simon my own “reverse mentor” and he has proven invaluable in helping me view the world through the prism of a “digital native.” So impressed was I with Simon’s work that I asked him to collaborate with me on my forthcoming book, “Foresight 2020: A Futurist Looks Ahead to the Trends Shaping the Coming Decade.” Here is a sample chapter on the future of crime Simon authored. Simon also has his own blog at www.futur1st.com and can be followed at @futur1st.

Undoubtedly, there are scores of other qualified and capable futurists and I don’t mean to suggest this list is comprehensive. If you know of an outstanding futurist (or are one yourself), please feel free to send me some information and I’ll be sure to include it in subsequent follow-up posts.

Until then … don’t stop thinking the future! Happy Future Day, 2012!

Interested in some other futurist-related posts by futurist Jack Uldrich? Check out these past posts:

The Impractical Futurist
What to Look For In a Futurist
Futurists Can Say the Dumbest Things

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