Richard Worzel

Richard Worzel - Innovation The Future Technology  Speaker


About Richard Worzel - Futurist and Innovation Speaker:

Leading forecaster and futurist Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst and best-selling author of Who Owns Tomorrow?. Richard is also a frequent media commentator on business and economic trends.

Richard challenges organizations to examine the future and plan for the dizzying changes to come. In his compelling presentations, seminars and workshops, Richard equips groups with the ability to understand the changes they will face in the years ahead, and with the tools to leverage those changes.

His highly customized Inventing the Future presentations help groups to identify the major forces that will affect their business as well as their personal lives. In order to help your group learn to leverage upcoming transformations, Richard identifies factors that will have dramatic implications for your industry in the near future, working through possible scenarios, contingencies, and the development of effective plans and strategies.

Richard Worzel is known for his professionalism and enthusiasm in preparing and presenting to a great variety of audiences. He works closely with conference planners to develop a customized presentation that is useful, thought-provoking, and entertaining.

Recent clients include: IBM, Standard Life, Investors Group, MacLean Hunter Publishing, Xerox, Merrill Lynch, 3Com, Mackenzie Financial, AIM Funds, among others.

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What Richard Worzel Talks About:

The Future Breaks Wide Open: What’s Ahead for Energy & Energy Companies
Conventional wisdom has been saying that the incremental demand from the Rapidly Developing Countries (RDCs) like China and India, added to the steady, but slower growth in demand from the developed countries, must inevitably push the price of oil substantially higher, even to $200/bbl. This, in turn, would help push renewable energy and more efficient uses of energy for heating, production, transport, and cars.

But there are several issues on the horizon that may shatter this conventionally accepted complacency. First is the potential that shale oil could do to the oil industry what shale gas did to the natural gas industry. The United States is already expected to become first self-sufficient, then a net exporter of oil, and has shale oil reserves in excess of 1.5 trillion barrels.

Next, consumer behavior is changing because of demographics, technology, and peer pressure. The boomer generation is approaching retirement – gradually – with the result that they won’t be commuting to work, and will be driving less, potentially much less. Young people are demonstrably less likely to own a car and drive that their parents. This is partly due to a switch in social perception from one where owning a car was cool, to one where owning smartphones is cool, and owning a car is damaging to the environment. Shared ownership, through companies like Zipcars, makes is easy to have access to a car without the expenses of ownership, and given that young people are more likely to live in urban areas, and less likely to have well-established, and well-paying, jobs, the economics of owning a car are much reduced.

And, of course, as goes oil so goes the energy industry as a whole. Cheap oil changes the economics of sustainable and renewable energy, and makes the reduction of greenhouse gases more difficult to achieve.

Biofuels are caught in between political and economic pressures. As the biochemistry to produce them improves, the falling price of petroleum damages their market position. Meanwhile, the politics of ethanol from corn introduces non-market forces that may not be in the best interests of the future of biofuels.

Richard Worzel is a business visionary, a Chartered Financial Analyst, and one of today’s leading futurists. In this overview of the seismic shifts coming to the energy industries, he lays out what’s possible, what’s probable, and how energy companies should prepare for what’s to come.


Technology has been a real game-changer over the past 40 years and more, but everything that has happened so far is really just a warm-up for what’s to come. In IT, not only is the pace of change accelerating, but the rate of acceleration is increasing. Big data and novel analytic techniques are revolutionizing all aspects of business, from drug research, to customer relations, to inventory management, and much more. Robots are about to emerge from the pages of fantasy into everyday reality, accompanied by computer intelligence that will challenge human workers on many different levels. The implications of this, and more, will be dramatic – and catastrophic for those who are not adequately prepared.

Health Care
There are three major drivers of change in health care. They are separate, but interrelated: the aging population, technology, and money. When added to the politics of health care, these factors portend a stormy future of everyone involved in health care, particularly from an insurance perspective. Yet, it also implies that those firms prepared for the changes ahead will have a huge competitive advantage over their less-foresighted competitors.

There will be significant power shifts around the world over the next 30 years, including the continued rise of Chinese power, both economic and military, mitigated by China's declining labor force and slowing population growth; India's continuing rise as an economic and potentially military force; the relative declines of both Japan and Europe due to aging and declining populations; the conflicting forces affecting America's position in the world community; and the continuing rise of developing countries, such as Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, and some of the African countries, such as Nigeria.

Unexpected Implications of Demographics
That Canadian and American populations are aging is well known. That this may bankrupt governments at all three levels has been discussed but is widely ignored. But what are the downstream or domino effects of these developments? And how do they interact with demographic effects elsewhere in the world?

As well, life expectancy and life span are expanding. This will have broad implications in many fields. In life and health insurance, it will affect how insurance companies can profitably write business. In the realm of public policy, these advances imply further strains on public and private pensions, and further increases in health care costs over a much longer period. The effects on the labor force will be significant as well, especially as the boomers will be increasingly in competition with their own children and grandchildren for jobs. Since the expected age of death is one of the most fundamental assumptions underpinning society, the implications will be both wide-ranging and important.

Agriculture and The Environment
The agricultural sector of the global economy is huge, vitally important, largely ignored, and changing with a speed that has been consistently under-appreciated. Negative influences include shifting rainfall and seasonal patterns, declining stocks of fossil water to support producers' efforts; and an anti-scientific attitude by many consumer groups towards applications of the bio-sciences in food production, notably in genetically modified organisms. Changes in techniques and technology include such things as the application of Big Data and novel analytical tools to farm micro-management; the introduction of drones and robot labor to farms; and the potential for non-traditional production methods, from urban, vertical greenhouses to 3D printing of food and fibers. 

Meanwhile, changes in weather patterns threaten to wreak major damage on people, plant, and equipment in agriculture and all other walks of life, and to obsolete the plant and equipment infrastructures that humans have created and invested in, from storm sewer systems to snow removal to home and office HVAC systems and more.

The Upside of Sustainability
Many corporate executives think of sustainability like they think of going to the dentist: as a painful, but perhaps necessary evil. Yet sustainability offers two benefits to early adopters that can be of great value, including to the bottom line. The first is that the need for sustainability is growing as public awareness of climate change, and their expectations of corporate and governmental action, are gaining momentum. What corporate planners often miss is that this applies equally to their competitors as it does to them, which means that if they get out in front of the movement, they not only get to look good to the general public, but they gain first mover advantages with suppliers and customers. In other words, they can turn what looks like a cost into a competitive advantage.

 The second advantage gets to the heart of sustainability: resource use and emissions. Increasing sustainability means reducing the amount of resources used, and decreasing emissions. Or, to put it more simply, another word for reduced resource usage is increased efficiency, and another word for emissions is waste. Greater efficiency and decreased waste, if done properly, increase the bottom line. They increase profits. The key here is to think clearly and analytically in order to capture the greatest possible profit for the lowest possible investment. Once an organization starts to think that way, sustainability becomes a corporate goal worth pursuing with eagerness and vigor. That’s why major companies like Walmart and Citibank are investing millions into this area; it’s not because they want to be good guys, it’s because they want to increase profitability.

 So sustainability, done right, can become a self-enforcing, self-perpetuating corporate crusade – that just happens to have a nice side benefits of good PR.

Economic Discontinuities
There are changes in so many fields that will affect economic growth that a consideration of the drivers of growth is clearly called for. How will 3D printing affect manufacturing, distribution, health care, and agriculture? How will the ascent of computer intelligence and the emergence of everyday robots affect the labor force, employment, and consumer spending? How will the continuing encroachment on personal and corporate privacy affect voter behavior, government security activities, and business strategic planning? How will advances in alternative energy sources and battery technology affect the resource industries? How will aging populations in North America, Europe, and Japan affect voting patterns and government regulation? How will the maker movement affect mass manufacturing, distribution, and consumer product companies?

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 Recent Publications

The reviews are in and all those in attendance had only great things to say about your session. Your ability to convey solid business advice and information in a dynamic and captivating fashion made your presentation one of the highlights of the CGTA

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