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"The greatest value in understanding the future comes from spotting the major cultural, demographic, societal, and economic shifts early and translating them into viable business opportunities," says Tom.
As a futurist, he works closely with his board of visionaries to develop original research studies, which enables him to speak on unusual topics, translating trends into unique opportunities.
Tom continually pushes the envelope of understanding, creating fascinating images of the world to come. His talks on futurist topics have captivated people ranging from high level government officials to executives in Fortune 100 companies including NASA, IBM, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Lucent Technologies, First Data, Boeing, Capital One, Bell Canada, Ford Motor Company, Qwest, Allied Signal, Hunter Douglas, Direct TV, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, and many more.
Areas of Expertise
Because of his work inspiring inventors and other revolutionary thinkers, the Boulder Daily Camera has referred to him as the "Father of Invention". The Denver Post and Seattle Post Intelligence have referred to him as the "Dean of Futurists".
Before he became a futurist, Tom spent 15 years at IBM as an engineer and designer where he received over 270 awards, more than any other IBM engineer. He is also a past member of the Triple Nine Society (High I.Q. society over 99.9 percentile).
Tom has been a columnist for the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, and Boulder County Business Report, and is the author of the 1998 book "Inventions of Impact". He currently writes a newsletter entitled "News from the Future" and has written numerous articles on a wide range of futurist topics.
He has also been a contributing writer for The Futurist Magazine and is the Editor of the Impact Lab, an online emerging technology blog which was recently rated by Popular Science Magazine as one of the "top five science blogs in the known universe".
Speaking Topics include:
1.) The Future of Education – A recent research project has demonstrated a system for teaching students in one tenth of the time of traditional classroom lectures. One company is now using this form of accelerated learning in corporate training packages and has begun experimenting with high school students… and finding exponential improvement in both speed and accuracy of learning. Leveraging the viral nature of the Internet, this emerging new learning system will be developed around hyper-Individualized learning that is both self-paced and available upon demand. This talk pushes the envelope of thinking in the field of education and has been exceedingly well received by educators.
2.) The Future of Libraries - The Great Transformation - Their existence is being threatened by information instantly accessible from every computer in every home. But libraries won't go away. Rather, information is soon to become far more complicated as technology expands our understanding of what information is and our ability to access it. Public Libraries will be transitioning from a center of information into a center of culture, evolving into an entity with function and purpose that is currently unrecognizable in today's world. This talk can be tailored to either community or academic libraries and is designed to help develop systems to expand their influence among their constituency.
3.) The Future of Innovation - We are approaching the age of 100 million products, and patent filings have reached an all time high. Yet at the same time we are becoming a hyper-individualized society transitioning from a product based economy to an experience based economy. Baby-Boomers are beginning to shed many of their physical possessions as they prepare for their retirement, and a new generation with different values will be assuming power. So where will the creative minds of tomorrow take us? This talk helps listeners climb aboard a fascinating journey into what’s hot in tomorrow’s world of innovation.
4.) The Future of Money - Every transaction involves two sides - the payer and the payee. Throughout history businesses have lived or died on the timing and flow of money and deal brokers place a huge emphasis on controlling both sides of a transaction. All non-cash money transactions in the past involved a time float to allow time for the money to clear their respective accounts, and even cash transactions involved delays in getting posted to a bank account. Future transactions will be real-time and this seemingly minor change will revolutionize the shape and tempo of business
5.) Controlling the Future - An "attractor" is an event in the future that has the power to draw us toward it. Putting a man on Mars, curing cancer, and creating renewable energy sources are all examples of attractors. The DaVinci Institute has developed a new science called “attractionary futuristics” which explores way for mankind to build and manage attractors. This talk helps listeners understand the power of attractors and the power to control specific aspects of the future.
6.) The Future of Transportation – Transportation technology is progressing at a much slower pace than some of the other sciences like information technology, biotech, and nanotechnology. As an example, the world's human speed record was set in 1969, a full 37 years ago. In the near future, automotive companies will focus on fully automated vehicles where people can "punch in" or “speak” the place they want to go to and the vehicle will automatically take them there. This "control feature" will open up huge additional markets for automotive companies to sell to the elderly and other physically impaired groups. New power systems, social transitions, demographic shifting, and consumer trends have positioned the auto industry for radical change.
7.) Future of Information - We are in an awkward transition period. We haven't yet invented the ultimate small storage particle making it impossible for us to create standards. Every five years we change how we store information, going from an 8" drive to a 5.25" drive to a 3.5" drive to CDs and DVDs to Flash drives and thumb drives. What will future information look like? The computers that we have sitting on our desks will soon disappear and only the information will remain. This talk will explore the changing world of information, how we will access it in the future and how it will change the face of everyone touched by it.
8.) The Future of Business, One Brilliantly Inspired Innovation at a Time - What will be the most important thing that happens in the next ten years? Will it be a brilliantly inspired innovation such as a space hotel, or flying car? Or will it be a fix for one our major problems such as a cure for cancer or diabetes? Why do we even care about the future? While most people believe there is no way to predict the future, there are in fact eight aspects of the future that can be predicted with high degrees of probability. This talk is designed to help people understand these eight dimensions of the future and give them the keys to unlock the power of knowing the world to come.
The Virtual Country - A Global Economy in Transition - The ideas we have about what countries are and how they should function are on the verge of changing. Our newly created world with borderless economies is confusing issues of power and control, and even the sovereignty of nations. The Nation State, created in 1648 with the Treaty of Westphalia, is about to transition into something new with emerging global systems creating autonomous multi-trillion dollar economies, assuming much of the authority currently in the hands of our country leaders. This talk steps listeners through several possible scenarios.
Ten Key Trends for Women - As people move through life, they search for signposts along the way. They search for those rare pieces of intelligence that give them a gut-level feeling of confidence about what to do next. Today’s women are particularly adept at reading these signposts, which range from magazine articles, to movies, to conversations with a people they trust. They trust their instincts and aren’t afraid to make critical decisions.
"Tom is very insightful and definitely an original thinker."
Colorado Governor Bill Owens
"Your presentation was absolutely wonderful."
Former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm
"Your experience and knowledge contributed in a huge way to the success of our Sales Rally. You have given us vision and clarity to the confusing world of technology emerging around us, showing us where our business is going, and because of that, many participants now see the urgency to act for our company to maintain its position as a leader in the ICT market."
Martin Geoffroy, General Manager, Business Development, Bell Canada
"Tom is an exceedingly bright guy, a humorous speaker and a person who is quick to challenge conventional wisdom. He is a quick study who can develop an imaginative presentation around almost any conceivable topic."
George Sharpe, Founder of the Greenwood Group and former Vice President of Product Development for Hunter Douglas
"One of the most thoughtful and entertaining talks I've ever been to!"
Steve Masias - Former EEOC Director, City of Colorado Springs
"Fascinating, idea-generating talk!"
Gary Taylor – VP Coldwell Banker
"Your talk was wonderful! Very engaging. We were all still talking about it on Wednesday (two days later)."
Alison C. Ruger, Director, Standards Business Development, Information Handling Services