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New York, USA

Tags: Business / Environment & Sustainability / Artificial Intelligence / Economics & Finance / Blockchain & Web3 / Entrepreneurship / Future Trends / Generations & Demographics / Innovation / Social Change & Issues / Technology

About

Erica is Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of The Future Hunters, one of the world’s leading futurist consulting firms. She evaluates emerging social, technological, economic, political, demographic and environmental trends – and identifies the strategic implications (the “So what?”) of those trends for several of the most influential Fortune 500 companies, trade associations and public sector clients. Erica’s ability to identify patterns, think critically and analytically, and translate that into actionable strategies is what has made her an invaluable asset to clients.

Erica frequently speaks to a wide range of global audiences about the macro trends that are shaping and impacting today’s landscape. She has spoken at TEDx and keynoted over a hundred conferences around the world, including across Europe, Latin America, and Asia. She has authored numerous articles and industry white papers on a variety of future-focused topics, and has been featured in news outlets including NPR, Time, Inc, Yahoo Singapore, WWD, Bloomberg, and CBS This Morning. In 2020, she was named by Forbes as one of the world’s 50 Top Female Futurists.

Topics

The COVID-19 Trend Accelerator

How the world will look after the pandemic is not completely unknowable. In many cases, the pandemic has simply accelerated many previously developing trends at an exponential pace (e.g., the growing importance of design in every aspect of innovation; fully distributed workforces, etc.). Ultimately, one of the most important trends to consider here is how the circumstances around this global pandemic have accelerated (and, in some cases, necessitated) the reality that AI and robotics will disintermediate large sectors and sub-sectors of human labor in areas as disparate as retail, learning, healthcare and transportation. 

Key Questions to Consider:

  1. How will we innovate around this evolving workforce? 
  2. How will we leverage it to enhance innovation practices? 
  3. What will this all mean for social safety nets – and for the future of human identity and purpose?

“Short-Termism” Has Been Exposed

It is staggering to consider how many reputable and well-regarded companies – and, in some cases, entire industries – are on the brink of existential failure because of a few months of business disruption coupled with a measure of future marketplace uncertainty. This speaks to a long-building epidemic of short-termism among the leadership ranks when it comes to both strategy and innovation. Symptoms include poor preparedness, insufficient risk modeling, and perhaps most importantly, too much of a focus on immediate stakeholder returns instead of on a long-term plan of sustainable innovation that truly supports an organization’s vision. The businesses set to win in the future will be those with the discipline to engage in truly long-term thinking. 

Key Questions to Consider:

  1. How can businesses engage in truly long-term thinking?
  2. How can business leaders place the human at the center of the equation?
  3. How can business reward structures be redesigned for long-term (vs. short-term) results?

Escape Velocity – An Imperative for Rapid, Unbureaucratic and Properly-Incentivized Innovation

Talk of an eventual “return” to the way things were is unrealistic. Instead of preserving our tried-and-true ways of doing things, we must adapt quickly, and in real time to what will be an entirely new world. We have talked for years about our concept of templosion, defined as big things happening in smaller chunks of time. And this ties directly into the Trend Accelerator concept above. Are our organizations easily liberated from the slog of bureaucracy, marathon R&D protocols and outdated thinking? If not, we must diagnose and reengineer our innovative capabilities so that we are able to not only respond, but thrive, in any future scenarios. 

Key Questions to Consider:

  1. Are our innovative processes adapted for the necessary escape velocity?
  2. How can we pivot supply chains on a dime? How can we speed-up product innovations from concept to market in a fraction of the time? 
  3. How do we empower leaders at all levels to move quickly and with confidence, and without always needing “permission?”

The Competency Tree

The COVID Accelerator effect is changing what it is that we value in the workplace – and the skills and competencies that are required to future-proof your organization. As such, competitiveness will rely on the creation of an entirely new skills and competencies framework. To ensure that we have the thinking required to solve the big issues that will arise in the future, we need to start viewing and training for these skills and competencies as interconnected. This goes beyond the confluence of ideas (cognitive skills), things (technical skills), and people (interpersonal skills). A more fitting visual is that of a tree – with branches (and sub-branches) that go off in many directions. Our proprietary Competency Tree is meant to serve as a modeling outline to help visualize potential arenas for future jobs – even ones we have yet to be able to imagine. 

Key Questions to Consider:

  1. How might we future-proof the human workforce to make them more innovative than ever? 
  2. How can a business begin to rethink workforce strategy (at all levels of the organization) to effectively leverage The Competency Tree?
  3. How can The Competency Tree be used to reconfigure retention and recruitment strategies?

Leveraging the New Luxuries: Time, Trust and Truth

Time: Time has become our greatest asset; it is the new currency. Everything from corporate lifespans to strategic planning cycles to the way in which we communicate is becoming more truncated. It is as if time is on steroids. Leveraging it in innovative ways is, and will continue to be, a distinct competitive advantage for any organization.

Trust: Beyond time, trust will become the next “luxury” market for organizations and individuals –

trust of our institutions, our service providers, our brands, our employers, etc. Consumers will ultimately pay a premium for things/relationships that they can trust. There will be a growing vacuum of trust, and it will become one of the most valuable currencies of the future.

 

Truth: The distortion of the truth is being exacerbated by a climate of rampant distrust and misinformation. More than ever, consumers will demand truth from the brands they purchase. Corporate transparency is increasingly giving way to corporate honesty – honesty over ESG principles, employment practices, marketing/advertising messaging, corporate values, etc. 

Key Questions to Consider:

  1. How can an organization ensure proper safeguards are in place for the technology we/it use(s)?
  2. How can an organization hedge against longer-term reputational damage by building honesty into corporate culture? 
  3. The “Three T’s” will force organizations to question all they do and how they do it. How can human ingenuity be leveraged to reimagine organizational practices?

The 10 Growth Areas of the Metaspace Economy

This lecture builds upon the idea that we are currently undergoing a fundamental transformation and restructuring of the global economy. She outlines the 10 growth areas of The Metaspace Economy, and what those mean for client businesses or lecture audiences.

Thinking Technologies

The techniques that help you think about the future differently. This instructs audiences to permanently change their way of thinking about future trends and how best to develop actionable strategies to capitalize on those trends. This lecture includes real-world, practical examples of each of the thinking technologies.

Most of the trends she highlights fall within six main categories:

  1. Social trends
  2. Technological trends
  3. Economic trends
  4. Political trends
  5. Demographic trends
  6. Environmental trends

These Presentations:

  • Get people thinking in completely new ways;
  • Identify trends that have a direct impact on your business;
  • See how emerging issues affect your business; and
  • Put change in context so that you can better deal with it – and profit from it.

Erica Orange also speaks on new and emerging trends.
The Future Hunters develop 24 new trend-based themes every year.

Videos

Testimonials

  • "Erica is Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of The Future Hunters, one of the world’s leading futurist consulting firms. She evaluates emerging social, technological, economic, political, demographic and environmental trends – and identifies the strategic implications (the “So what?”) of those trends for several of the most influential Fortune 500 companies, trade associations and public sector clients." Carrie Grapenthin Director, Corporate Communications & Integrated Marketing, Navigant
  • "Erica came beautifully prepared and discussed the importance of examining topics from a fresh and innovative perspective. She was creative, articulate, astute and was able to give the students examples that they could readily relate to. I would definitely use Erica again." Mary Manning President, Manning & Associates
  • "[Erica’s] lively, engaging delivery was a great way to energize our first session" Loraine Koepenick Coordinator of Member Services, INPACT Americas (Int’l Alliance of Professional Accountants)