Greg Lindsay's Blog

October 31, 2016  |  permalink

The 2016 Fall Speaking Season


One of my speaking agents refers to fall as the “silly season” — the brief window between the summer and winter holidays when work has everyone’s undivided attention. Which means it’s the season I seemingly spend all of my time on the road. This week, I’m off to Tokyo to host the New Cities Foundation’s third annual Cities on the Move, which is themed to my new report, “Now Arriving: A Connected Mobility Roadmap for Public Transport.” Here’s both a recap and a preview of my silly season this year:

The future of work, innovation, and the office. The season kicked off with a visit to Haworth, the Holland, Michigan-based office furniture manufacturer currently engaged in a 200+ person trial of sociometric badges and sensors (a subject I know a little bit about.) Later in September, I co-headlined future-of-work conferences for the brokers at Cushman & Wakefield UK (video snippet at bottom) and the architects of Detroit-based SmithGroup JJR — the oldest continuously operating architecture firm in America. I also offered my thoughts on the future of cities and innovation to 500+ worldwide Deloitte partners in Amsterdam, and an architecture class at MIT — the latter were far more dubious than the former. And the photo above is from my first trip to Tokyo this year, for the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader Summit, where I explored how a uniquely powerful combination of data, social network analysis, and human touch have led to a blossoming of new projects and collaborations by attendees.

The future of urban mobility and transportation. November’s theme is transportation, with a talk at TransitCenter about “Private Mobility, Public Interest” preceding my trip to Tokyo. Later this month, I’ll speak at the annual client conference of USAA RealCo, along with a dinner presentation in Bordeaux, France to the leadership of the national rail giant, SNCF. And mobility will also be the topic of my talk at the World Future Energy Summit early next year in Abu Dhabi.

The future of cities, mobility, housing, work…and whatever else I can think of. Given that cities are systems of systems, it’s hard to talk about the future of multi-family housing, for instance, without touching upon all of the social, technological, economics and other factors shaping cities. Which makes me a popular choice for commercial real estate groups looking to mix it up a little. In addition to talks at the Urban Land Institute’s Orange County/Inland Empire chapter and the brokers of CORE Network in September and the National Association of Home Builders in December, I delivered the keynote at the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Business Embrey Real Estate Finance and Development program’s Founder’s Council Luncheon in October.

The future of AECOM. AECOM is arguably the most important architecture, engineering, and construction firm you’ve never heard of. Would you like to host an Olympics? They can deliver it for you wholesale. Would you like a new airport to go along with that? It’s one of their specialties. AECOM designs cities-from-scratch, built 1 World Trade Center, runs national laboratories — you name it, they do it. Which is it why it was such an honor to follow the CEO as the opening guest keynote of the company’s global leadership conference in Beverly Hills in October. My role was to discuss the wicked problems and global challenges the world is facing, and how AECOM can only meet them if it collaborates across its many far-flung divisions to find solutions.

The future of…the future? My favorite talk of the fall was introducing 80+ alumni of Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management program to the practice of “applied foresight” (i.e. futurism). After briefly introducing them to the topic, the entrepreneurs broke into teams inside the theater of the Faena Miami Beach to create and test their own future scenarios, including outlining products and services they might offer circa 2030 or so. Not bad for a Friday morning’s work!

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Greg Lindsay is a journalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker. He is a senior fellow at NewCities and the director of strategy of its offshoot LA CoMotion — an annual urban mobility festival in the Arts District of Los Angeles. He is also a non-resident senior fellow of The Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative, a visiting scholar at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, a contributing writer for Fast Company and co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next.

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