One of the world's leading Futurists, Ben Hammersley is the founder and principal of Hammersley Futures, an international strategic forecasting consultancy. Their main work is in guiding corporations and governmental agencies to think clearly about the future. They specialize in how society reacts to technological innovation: including the future of crime and conflict, the changing nature of the workplace and the market, and the new cognitive tools needed to flourish in the coming decades.

Previously Ben was executive editor of WIRED, the writer and presenter of the BBC’s “Cybercrimes with Ben Hammersley” (now on Netflix or Amazon Prime internationally), a war correspondent in Afghanistan, an advisor to the European Commission, a pilot and wilderness medic in the USA, the author...

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Everything you think about Innovation is wrong

For something that holds the key to prosperity and success in the 21st Century, it is upsetting to realize that we’ve been doing it wrong. We think about innovation in the wrong way. We’ve been using the wrong words, paying attention to the wrong things, and retelling the same, old, wrong, and misleading stories. True innovation does not mean embracing the latest technological buzzword and trying to leap five years into the future with the help of an AI or a blockchain. It’s not dependent on a small and expensive class of technowizards, or magazine-cover masters of the universe. Instead, innovation is a skill and a mindset that can be learned by anyone. It’s a continual process that truly cutting-edge organizations - from multinational e-commerce conglomerates to that great new dumpling place down the street - can develop within every single member of staff. These talks show the true historical and cultural complexities of innovation and teach the audiences how to apply those lessons to their daily practices. For any organization, industry, or individual who wants to be better tomorrow than they are today, and who suspects that the answer isn’t necessarily in the new shiny and disruptive tech, this topic will be inspirational, practical, and calmly life-changing.

 

The Future of Work, the Workplace, and the place of Work.

For all the technological advances of the past 20 years, and the promises of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the other super-power giving technologies of the 2020s, the way we work today hasn’t changed for a hundred years. The average knowledge worker's desk is little different from a Victorian clerk’s. Their office would be a familiar place for their grandparents. But as we become more aware of the challenges of the coming decade - with its commercial and cultural upheavals already apparent - we’re realizing that now is the time to reassess not only the very way we work but also the place in which we do it. From the realizations that our company’s email culture is making us stupid, and that open-plan offices actually reduce collaboration, to the skills we need to work with non-human colleagues, and the concept of the cognitive architecture, this talk helps organizations and individuals who want to work smarter, and more successfully, in the 2020s understand what is happening to the workplace, and how they can make changes today that will future-proof them for tomorrow.

 

SKILLS FOR FUTURE LEADERS

We all know the world is changing. And many can give examples of the technologies or trends that are contributing to that change. But that is not the whole picture. In this topic, we teach audiences about the skills, techniques, and cognitive tools that leaders need to both understand those changes and shape their own future. Ideal for executive learning and development programs, or thought-leader positioning customer events, these keynotes are consistently rated as life-changing, with plenty of actionable take-aways for the audience. This topic also extends well into subsequent break-outs and workshop sessions, which can be provided.

 

THE SHAPE OF THE POST-DIGITAL WORLD

With so much change, so many disruptions and innovations, transforming the culture, systems, and the politics of the world we grew up in, into the world of the 2020s, we have found that most of our clients have a mental model of the world that is, if not entirely out of date, then dangerously incomplete. In this topic, we show the workings and the shape of the interconnected, interdependent, networked, co-arisen modern world, and how it affects the audience’s business and lives. From youth culture in Brazil to high-speed rail in China, Russian postmodern foreign policy to non-human corporations, weaponized memetic infections to European nationalism, solarpunks to 山寨, climate mitigation to shadow economies, we provide a true grounding in today, without which you cannot possibly plan for tomorrow. This is especially appreciated by c-suite audiences and has been a repeated hit at evening events with partners and spouses.

 

COGNITIVE RISK AND THE NATURE OF THREAT

We are all bringing yesterday’s war to today’s battlefield. In the modernity of 2020, we have a profound misunderstanding of the nature of the geopolitical, commercial, and personal threat. It isn’t kinetics that will get us, but confusion. The post-modern asymmetric reaction to the extreme commercial and military hegemony of the West, or the quasi-monopoly power of the large corporation is no longer one of physical violence, but of memetic infection, and purposeful, weaponized, confusion. For these audiences, leadership, and strategy, is the art of making the best decisions with the knowledge available. But making those decisions requires accurate data, clear analysis, accurate thinking, without interference. In this talk, we detail the ways that the final line of risk is the individual executive’s ability to think clearly, how this is under specific targeted attack, and how to defend against that. This topic is of deep interest to multinational top tier executives, or those being shaped into becoming so. It can also include follow-up reading and online sessions.

Books

  • Approaching the Future: 64 Things You Need to Know Now for Then
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  • Now for Then: How to Face the Digital Future without Fear
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