Today more than ever wed all like to have a glimpse into the future. As the country struggles with public health and economic troubles not seen in decades, what the coming weeks, months and years hold are hard to fathom.
Theres no crystal ball to look ahead but there is a futurist.
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Daniel Burrus 71, is a business strategist and futurist speaker who works as an advisor to Fortune 500 company executives and has given thousands of keynote speeches to corporations, associations and other professional organizations worldwide. The recipient of the 2001 UW Oshkosh Alumni Associations Distinguished Alumni Award and an honorary doctorate degree in 2017, Burrus is the author of seven books, including the New York Times best-seller seller Flash Foresight.
Looking ahead is kind of his thing.
With the coronavirus crisis in mind, we reached out to the Hartland native to ask about his in-demand services, any silver linings hes seeing during the pandemic and what advice he has for the class of 2020.
How has your daily life changed due to the pandemic? You must be spending a lot of time talking to your computer screen.
Yes, I have been talking to my computer quite a bit. I have been very busy doing press interviews, giving executive webinars, giving virtual speeches and helping executives solve seemingly impossible problems and plan for post-pandemic success.
Theres so much unknown about our present and future. What are the most common questions youre getting asked right now? And do you have answers for them yet?
The most common question is what will our post-pandemic world be like and how long will it take to get back to a new normal (and how new is that new normal)?
I have developed a methodology for finding certainty in an uncertain world. Based on my anticipatory methodology for separating hard trends based on future facts from soft trends based on assumptions that might happen, and my predictions have been very accurate, many have been seeking my advice on how best to position their organization for post-pandemic success. Because hard trends will happen, they provide certainty and therefore the confidence to make bold moves.
Our hard trend, soft trend methodology has a long track record of success. Because its being used by the Department of Defense, as well as many of the most innovative companies most of us read about, I have been very busy helping people plan during this pandemic time.
What are the events from our past youre relying on to help you figure out what the future might look like?
There are basically two types of change that provides a great window on the future. One is the science of cycles. I track over 500, and because they have a long history of repeating, you can use them as a lens to see farther down the road. The other type of change is linear/exponential change, which is driven by technology advancements. They also provide a great window to the future.
Have there been situations that have come up during the crisisthings that could have been avoided with more forward thinkingthat have made you want to pull your hair out?
Sadly, there is a very long list. In January, I remember reading about China locking down millions of people to try to stop the spread of this highly contagious virus, and South Korea and Singapore were doing the same. It didnt take a rocket scientist to clearly see there was a big problem heading our way. U.S. scientists and pandemic experts did sound the alarm, but for reasons that will be debated for decades, the U.S., who should have been the best prepared county on the planet, waited far too long to take action, and we have suffered both a health and economic pandemic ever since.
At the time of this interview, many states are reopening even as their numbers of people infected and deaths rise. Unfortunately, the virus is still with us, and without a vaccine, this will most likely create another problem we could have avoided.
The good news is that pandemic will end, that is a hard trend future fact! And we will all learn from it and be better prepared for any future pandemics.
What are the innovations youre seeing right now during the pandemic that have stood out to you?
Digital disruption is being greatly accelerated now because of the pandemic. The use of tools, such as telemedicine, remote learning, cloud services and many others, were advancing before the pandemic, but now their use and application are greatly accelerated. This represents new levels of opportunity to innovate and improve everything we focus on in a positive way.
There are many specific innovations that are advancing now, including new methods for testing to see if a person has antibodies for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that is causing the COVID-19 pandemic and getting the results quickly, as well as a vaccine to keep people from getting it. But there are many more including new small, inexpensive heat sensing cameras to see in a crowd of people who has a fever, mobile apps to track whether you have been close to someone who is infected, new ways to quickly disinfect a room, and more new AI applications for getting real-time actionable insights regarding safety and the movement of people.
Since UWOs virtual commencement ceremony is coming up, what advice would you give for the students about to graduate and head off into the world full of such uncertainty?
There has never been more opportunity to make a difference that there is right now. We are all at a unique moment in human history, a defining momentdont squander it!
With so many things closed or shut down, many think the world has hit a pause button, others think its more like a reset button so that we can get back to the way it was. What we really need is to hit a transformation button. Its the perfect time to make all of our processes, all of our systems, all of our products and services far better. Instead of going back to the way things were, we need to go forward to a better tomorrow and we need you to do it.
The transformational tools are already there to re-invent and re-define just about everything. What we need is new thinking and new mindsets to make that happen. The world needs you more than ever.
If you think and act beyond success, which is all about you and your accomplishments, and you think instead about significance, which is what you do for others, you will find yourself far more successful. If you like a significant life you will tap into your true gifts and find yourself far happier and fulfilled.
- SETI Team Increases Number of Stars That Might Host Life by 200x - Futurism - September 4th, 2020
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- Chadwick Bosemans Wakanda: Afro-Futurism Is in the Present - Common Dreams - September 4th, 2020
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- What Goes Right and Wrong When We Predict a High-Tech Future - Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence - September 4th, 2020
- Futurist says coronavirus could last for years 'like the Great Depression' - Mirror Online - July 5th, 2020
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- The Large Hadron Collider Just Discovered a Brand-New Particle - Futurism - July 5th, 2020
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- When Futurism Meets With Disaster: Max Brooks' Devolution - tor.com - July 5th, 2020
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- 5 Ways Brands Can Take Meaningful Action During This Time - Forbes - July 5th, 2020
- NASA Invents Wearable That Scolds You For Touching Your Face - Futurism - July 5th, 2020
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- Augmented Human: 5 Times Ive Used Technology To Augment Myself - Forbes - July 5th, 2020
- A Giant Star Appears to Have Winked Out of Existence - Futurism - July 5th, 2020
- Introducing the Campus Technology Insider Podcast - Campus Technology - June 24th, 2020
- This is What Sunsets on Other Planets Would Look Like - Futurism - June 24th, 2020
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- NASA: Next Moon Astronauts Will Hike 10 Miles on Lunar Surface - Futurism - June 24th, 2020
- As fashion resets, its algorithms should too - Vogue Business - June 24th, 2020
- China Is Building a Genetic Database of Every Man in the Country - Futurism - June 24th, 2020
- The Death of the Open-Plan Office? Not Quite, but a Revolution is in the Air - Nextgov - June 24th, 2020
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- Renewal Shows the Possibility of a Better World Post-Covid - Press Release - Digital Journal - June 24th, 2020
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- Futurist site: Flamingo Land thanked for 'sticking with us'; remarketing the site 'would not be appropriate' says council's deputy leader - The... - June 20th, 2020
- How a global pandemic is changing the world: Part 1 - SmartBrief - June 20th, 2020
- Step into 2030: Join The Drum's futurist session to hear what the next decade holds - The Drum - June 13th, 2020
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- Coronavirus live updates: Here's what to know in South Florida on June 12 - msnNOW - June 13th, 2020
- Scientists Claim the Universe Is Actually Flat - Futurism - June 13th, 2020
- SpaceX Trying to Figure Out How to Land Starship on the Moon - Futurism - June 13th, 2020
- Scientists Claim to Have Recreated Earth's First Life - Futurism - June 13th, 2020
- Collapsed Star Proves Another of Einstein's Theories - Futurism - June 13th, 2020
- Elon Musk: Teslas Semi Truck is Officially Going Into Production - Futurism - June 13th, 2020
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- Justice League: Who Is the DC Universe's Tony Stark? | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources - June 13th, 2020
- A Futurist's Advice on Navigating through the Technology Valley of Death - CEOWORLD magazine - June 13th, 2020
- A Futurist Explains What Emerging Jobs Will Be Necessary Post-Virus - Hit 107 - June 6th, 2020
- Experts: Protests Unlikely to Cause Huge Wave of COVID Cases - Futurism - June 6th, 2020
- After Explosion, SpaceX Still Hoping to Launch Starship This Year - Futurism - June 6th, 2020
- NASA InSight Lander Finally Manages to Bury Its Probe Into Mars - Futurism - June 6th, 2020
- Evidence Suggests That the Entire Early Universe Was Rotating - Futurism - June 6th, 2020
- Elon Musk Just Absolutely Roasted the Russian Space Program - Futurism - June 6th, 2020
- Study: More Than 500 Vertebrates Poised To Go Extinct - Futurism - June 6th, 2020
- Allison Fine Featured in The New Yorker - Philanthropy Women - June 6th, 2020
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- What will design look like in 2030? We asked 3 futurists - Business of Home - June 1st, 2020
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- Vancouver Island's long road to recovery will have a few bumps - vancouverislandfreedaily.com - June 1st, 2020
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- Half the Visible Universe Was Missing. Scientists Just Found It. - Futurism - June 1st, 2020
- The New Reality: Future of shopping malls in jeopardy as COVID-19 pandemic pushes shoppers online - cjoy.com - June 1st, 2020
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- Watch the Astronauts Give Their Kids Virtual Hugs Before Launch - Futurism - June 1st, 2020
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- Folk's Jason Wilber Examines the World Through a Futurist Lens in 'Time Traveler' (album stream) - PopMatters - May 29th, 2020
- The Conversation: Beware of Unemployment Insurance Scammers - Hawaiipublicradio - May 29th, 2020
- The long road to recovery will have a few bumps Victoria News - Victoria News - May 29th, 2020
- The stakes have never been higher as America reopens. What can a post-coronavirus world look like? - USA TODAY - May 29th, 2020
- On the Futurist Cookbook - Apollo Magazine - May 14th, 2020
- What will the world look like after corona? - ISRAEL21c - May 14th, 2020
- US Officials: Chinese Hackers Are Targeting Vaccine Research - Futurism - May 14th, 2020
- Dock a SpaceX Spacecraft to the ISS in This Amazing Simulator - Futurism - May 14th, 2020
- WHO: The Coronavirus Might Be Here Forever - Futurism - May 14th, 2020
- Documentary Spaceship Earth resurrects stranger-than-fiction story of utopian Biosphere 2 experiment - ABC News - May 14th, 2020
- Scientists Have a Promising New Idea to Defeat the Coronavirus - Futurism - May 14th, 2020
- Fauci: Reopening Too Soon Could Lead to "Suffering and Death" - Futurism - May 14th, 2020
- Augmented reality giant Magic Leap is closing its Seattle office amid layoffs - GeekWire - May 14th, 2020
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- There's a Resurgence of Coronavirus Cases in China - Futurism - May 14th, 2020
- Futurism | Definition, Manifesto, Artists, & Facts ... - April 30th, 2020