Gerd Leonhard

Keynote Speaker, Author, Futurist & Humanist, CEO The Futures Agency, Film Maker, Founder of The Good Futures Project
Summary

Gerd Leonhard is a keynote speaker, futurist & humanist, film maker, musician, and renowned author. He is the CEO of The Futures Agency, a unique, global organisation designed to help its clients discover, understand and create their preferred future.

Gerd did his Basic Studies in Theology from the University of Bonn. As one of the leading futurists worldwide, Gerd has presented at over 1500 leading conferences and events over the past 20 years in the field of digital ethics (the ethics of technology). He has an affluent experience of working extensively with the likes of Microsoft, NBC, Visa, Google, the European Commission, L’Oréal, Audi and IBM, just to name a few. 

Gerd is a Forbes column contributor, a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (London), a Visiting Professor at the Fundação Dom Cabral in Brazil, and a member of the World Future Society. 

He contributes regularly with his insights and thoughts in The Guardian, Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Wired UK, and interviews with the likes of BBC, CNN, Arirang TV, Swiss SRF, ZDF, ARD, ARTE. 

Gerd trained in Jazz Guitar from Berklee College of Music and dedicated significant time in life to music at LicenseMusic.com Inc, Musicrypt, PopKomm Innovation In Music and Entertainment Awards, and Sonific. 

He is also a filmmaker, who runs his own film studio, TFAStudios, and is the CEO of TheFuturesAgency, a global network of 50+ leading futurists. Gerd’s films on the future of technology and humanity, digital transformation, and artificial intelligence have reached millions of viewers, and are regularly shown at many conferences and at in-house corporate training.

Gerd was named as Wired UK’s 100 Most Influential Europeans in 2015 and ranked #7 in the global ranking of futurists. 

Gerd’s client list includes most Fortune 500 companies as well as many governments and NGOs. He is considered a leading voice on a wide range of topics including artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, the opportunities and challenges of being human in an exponential society, a sustainable business and cultural ecology, TV/film, radio and broadcasting futures, innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship, ‘hard-future’ consumer trends, (wo)man-machine futures, the IoT, big data and automation and many others.

Biography

Gerd’s background is in the music business. In 1985, he won Berklee College’s ‘Quincy Jones Award’ and subsequently spent 12 years working as a professional guitarist, composer, and producer. 

But in 1995, he caught the internet bug, seeing the future of music as being in the cloud, and became a digital music & media entrepreneur. He founded his first company, LicenseMusic.com Inc in 1997. From 1995 to 2002, he founded and managed several San Francisco-based internet startups. In May 2002, the company was taken over by a UK music licensing company. 

In 2002, following the dot-com meltdown and the 9/11 crisis, Gerd returned to Europe, joined Musicrypt as Vice President, and was responsible for its European expansion. He founded The Digital Marketing Organization, Innovative solutions to marketing in the digital world, in 2003. 

As a CEO at MediaFuturist.com, since 2003, he became popular as a Media Futurist, Keynote Speaker, Author, and Blogger. It was while working here that The WSJ calls Gerd ‘one of the leading Media Futurists in the World’. 

Gerd’s work is focussed on the Future of Media, Content, Technology, Business, Marketing, Advertising, Branding, Communications, and Culture. He has been considered a leading expert on topics such as Social Media, Web 2.0, UGC and Peer Production, Social Networking, Copyright Trends, Convergence, Mobile Entertainment, and new Advertising and Branding Strategies.

Gerd’s keynotes and speeches are spread over 70 engagements in 22 countries. His clients include Nokia, SonyBMG, RTL, ITV, the BBC, France Telecom / Orange, DDB, Omnicom, the European Commission, and many others.

In 2004, he became the Chairman and Executive Producer of the Innovation in Music and Entertainment Awards by Popkomm, one of Europe’s leading Music, Media & Entertainment Industry tradeshows and conferences. In March 2004, he also founded ThinkAndLink to connect people, companies, and ideas.

Gerd co-authored his first book, The Future of Music, in 2005. He was the CEO of Sonific in 2005, working with the mission of making large catalogs of great music available for the many types of audio-visual usages on the Internet, both for private/non-commercial or promotional purposes, as well as for professional (B2B) users, and licensed products and services. 

He wrote ‘The End of Control Book’ in 2007, and changed the title to "Open is King - The Future of Media Beyond Control". The book addresses the single most important issue underlying many debates about the future of media: who controls what, why, when, and where, and how can digital content still generate revenues when most of the traditional ways of controlling its flow (i.e., distribution) are no longer available. The book argues that in the future, controlling distribution is replaced with earning, receiving, and maintaining.

In February of 2008, his next book "Music2.0" was released. It describes what the next generation of music companies will look and feel like, and gets even deeper into some of my favourite buzz phrases such as Music Like Water and the Flat Rate for Music, Feels Like Free (FLF), the Usator, Friction is Fiction, and the People Formerly Known As Consumers.

He founded Green Futurist in 2011 in Switzerland to address his interest in topics, including sustainability and the design of a post-growth society and culture, 'green business' and what this may actually mean in the near future, and future environmental policies. The company also catered to figure out the dramatic impact these topics might have on consumer behavior, renewable energy, eco-tourism, capitalism 2.0, and much more.

Since 2014, he also created and hosted The Future Show with Gerd Leonhard by TFS, a web-TV show that explains the fast-paced world of technology to a general audience in an irreverent and critical yet engaging and exciting way. 

Since 2017, Gerd was the Expert Council Member of Good Technology Collective, a crucial European forum for piloting and discussing the technological advances of the 21st century.

As a Special Advisor at IoT Talent Consortium, which he joined in February of 2018, he worked towards addressing the exponential change driven by IoT-enabled digital transformation while assisting the IoT Talent Consortium’s members in recognising and creating awareness surrounding the complexity and importance of the human element in bringing about change.

As an author and filmmaker, Gerd has produced a vast amount of content on topics related to Futurism meets humanism since 2016, where he presents critical observation and discusses the multiple Megashifts that will radically alter not just our society and economy but our values and our biology. 

Gerd established The Futures Agency, a global network of over 50 leading futurists, speakers, and personalities, in 2013 in Switzerland to help his clients to futurize their businesses from leadership and strategy to innovation and culture. The Futures Agency is a company that supplies the ideas, the events, and the content to realise the client’s most promising future.

The Futures Agency offers a wide variety of services to our clients, worldwide:

* Its main expertise is in think-tank events, workshops, and Executive team seminars (4-7 hours i.e. 1 single day). These sessions are 100% customised for each client and are generally geared towards companies that are looking to identify, fine-tune or co-create new business opportunities, manage radical change, deal with disruption, speed up innovation, or otherwise face large and urgent strategic decisions that may require immediate action. These events are usually done with at least 2 or more Associates, and can be located wherever the client requires them.

* Company retreats and Executive training events (2-3 days), usually with 3 or more Associates

* Keynote speeches, presentations, talks, and interventions (30-120 minutes), often carried out by Gerd Leonhard but most Associates are available, upon request, as well

* CEO / Board of Directors - Coaching and Advisory sessions

* Advisory board participation

* Participation in panel discussions, round-tables, talk shows, TV and radio broadcasts, etc.


Vision

Gerd is a futurist who believes that the strategies and policies we act on today are going to shape the very future of our being. In a recent interview with Dinis Guarda, Gerd said:

“Our future mindset means that we are capable of executing it today and making it work like it is in the future, i.e having one leg in the future always. It's a question of training. Future-ready does change your life: you act differently with your kids and family. The signals are everywhere, you can simply listen to the future.”

He further adds:

“Future is better than we think. What we have to stop doing is looking at the bad side of things, which is because that's what happens in media. We have fixed and improved so many things from poverty to inequality. Yes, there are many shortcomings, but we are constantly improving. So, if we are wise and we collaborate and look for the right goal, the future is going to be amazing.”

Being a humanist, he believes that even if technology and automation are increasingly taking over almost every vertical of our businesses and commerce, it is the features that make us human that are “hard to automate.”

He said:

“Technology is more of a neutral until we use it. And that is our biggest challenge: we can't stop making technology or using it. The best deal for our harmonious existence on this Earth is that we can use some of the awesome technology to live better and healthier, reach happier things and express ourselves better.”


Recognition and Awards
Gerd Leonhard ranks as one of the top 10 futurist keynote speakers, worldwide, with over 1600 engagements in 50+ countries during the past 2 decades and a combined audience of over 2.5 Million people. He is also a leader in Virtual Keynotes and Video Seminars. Gerd has written 5 books including the best-selling ‘Technology vs Humanity’ (2016), now available in 12 languages. As one of the leading futurists worldwide, having presented at over 1600 leading conferences and events over the past 20 years and worked with the likes of Microsoft, NBC, Visa, Google, the European Commission, L’Oréal, Audi and IBM, just to name a few, Gerd has had the opportunity to influence and inspire Millions to “imagine and create a better tomorrow” – which led to him being named to Wired UK’s 100 Most Influential Europeans in 2015 and to be listed #7 in the global ranking of futurists.

References
Gerd Leonhard
Residence
Switzerland
Occupation
Keynote speaker, futurist and humanist, film maker, musician, and renowned author
Known for
Future of Music
Education
Basic Studies in Theology (University of Bonn)
Social Media
Fri Feb 23 2024
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