The coming years will determine how well organizations can adapt to a post-Covid economy, workplace culture and customer base so they can ensure sustainable long-term growth. While the stakes are high and each decision can feel like a gamble, world-renowned futurist, technology guru and bestselling author Amy Webb has been developing and teaching proven methodologies for mitigating risk and strategically planning forward for years – which is why leaders from the most prestigious organizations in the world seek out her guidance.
A leading authority on technology, forecasting and strategic foresight for business, and founder of the Future Today Institute (FTI), Webb is a sought-after advisor, speaker and executive educator who works closely with key decision makers, including Fortune 100 CEOs, three-star admirals and generals, and the senior leadership of central banks and intergovernmental agencies. In addition to sharing customized foresight tools, open-source frameworks and curated research and insights, Webb provides timely updates on emerging trends and technologies that are poised to disrupt tomorrow.
“As a quantitative futurist, my job is to investigate the future, and that process is anchored by intentionally confronting internal and external uncertainties,” Webb explained in an interview with Rotman Management Magazine. “I have developed a framework called Future Forces Theory which shows that disruption usually stems from 11 influential sources of macro change. These sources broadly affect business, governing and society. Our world is now so interdependent that a change in, for example, geopolitics can have a significant downstream impact on media, telecommunications or public health. If you don’t connect what you are working on to forces of disruption in other areas, you can miss both the risks and opportunities on the horizon.”
Named by Forbes “one of five women changing the world” and “50 leading female futurists,” Webb is a bestselling author who has written several books, including “The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity” (2019), “The Signals Are Talking” (2016) and “Data, A Love Story” (2013). In 2021, she was shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Digital Thinking Award and ranked among the top 50 management thinkers in the world.
Webb’s powerful new book, “The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology” (Public Affairs, February 2022), co-authored with fellow futurist and pioneering geneticist Andrew Hessel, examines how every area of business, government and society will be transformed by synthetic biology. Through vivid storytelling and personal anecdotes, the authors – who are firmly committed to the responsible development and use of science and technology – reveal fascinating, previously unimaginable innovations that loom on the horizon, and some that are already in play. Many offer hope for the future as we face a new age of unique challenges. Kirkus Reviews called the book “a wrinkle on the near future that many readers will not have pondered — and should.”
Wherever Webb speaks or advises, her contagious enthusiasm lights up a room, as evidenced in her 2021 SXSW pandemic-era virtual talk and her 2019 live SXSW talk. Many of her meetings and presentations draw on her Annual FTI Tech Trends Report, which serves as an indispensable guide for leaders in every sector. Her rigorous method for finding, tracking and monitoring trends is used by hundreds of organizations and is taught in MBA programs worldwide. Now in its 15th year, FTI’s report is downloaded more than 1 million times annually and her trend talks are a mainstay on the world’s largest and most prestigious stages.
“Cataloging signals is a practice I’ve refined and honed for the past decade,” says Webb. “Far from being a nostalgic look back at what was or might have been, or a list of predictions that might not be any more accurate than the local weather forecast, my annual FTI Trends reports are something entirely different: a way to think about the evolution of technology, science and humanity as part of a long continuum.”