Michael Rogers is Futurist-in-Residence for The New York Times and an interactive media pioneer, novelist and journalist. He also writes the popular Practical Futurist column for MSNBC.
For ten years he was vice president of The Washington Post Company's new media division, helping guide both the newspaper and its sister publication Newsweek into the new century, as well as serving as editor and general manager of Newsweek.com. His New York-based consultancy, Practical Futurist® works with both startups and major media companies, and he writes a column of the same name for MSNBC. Rogers is also a best-selling novelist whose fiction explores the human impact of technology. His five books have been published worldwide, optioned for film and television, and chosen by the Book of the Month Club.
After a decade as a writer for Rolling Stone, Rogers co-founded Outside magazine. He then joined Newsweek to create the magazine's Technology section, covering topics ranging from Chernobyl and genetic engineering to computers and the Internet, earning numerous journalism awards for his work.
In 1993 he produced the world's first CD-ROM newsmagazine for Newsweek, described in the media as a prototype for interactive television, going on to develop interactive areas on Prodigy, America Online and then a series of Internet sites including the award-winning Parents’ Guide to Children’s Software, which also appeared in CD-ROM and book form. In 1999 he received a patent for the bimodal spine, a multimedia storytelling technique, and is listed in Who’s Who in Science and Engineering.
A captivating and entertaining speaker and frequent guest on radio and television, Rogers provides a clear, common-sense vision of technologic change for both businesses and individuals. Michael Rogers regularly addresses audiences worldwide, ranging from venture capitalists and corporate executives to educators, students and the general public. In 1989 he was founding chairperson of the European Technology Roundtable, an annual CEO gathering, which he continues to moderate along with the newer Asian Technology Roundtable. He prefers to customize presentations to each client's needs, and his topics can range from managing change to the implications of the Internet and the human issues of living and working with technology. He combines a deep knowledge of technology with practical business experience, and has addressed audiences worldwide ranging from venture capitalists and corporate executives to educators, students and the general public.
Rogers studied physics and creative writing at Stanford University with additional training in finance and management at Stanford Business School’s Executive Program. He lives in New York and is at work on his next novel.
During his career Rogers has studied and written about all the key technologies driving this century; he has interviewed or worked with major business figures worldwide; and in his Practical Futurist consultancy he stays current on topics ranging from technology and demographics to management and education. In each appearance he brings not only his own experience and expertise, but his journalism and research skills to add up-to-the-minute information and insight on every topic he addresses.
What is a Practical Futurist?
We’ve always had plenty of professional futurists, writing books and articles, giving speeches. But in today’s world, we’re all futurists—practical futurists.
Whether it’s in our lives, our families, our work groups, our companies, even our nation, we have to make educated guesses about how technology will change the world in the years ahead. But then, unlike professional futurists, we must place bets—with our dollars, our technology, our staffing, our education, our career or some other resource.
Practical futurism is a bit like sailing upwind. First you need to determine an end point—your best guess as to where you want to end up in the future. But you rarely have the chance to sail directly to your destination. Maybe the technology you need isn’t ready for prime time yet; perhaps your current budget won’t cover everything you’d like to do; maybe you haven’t yet convinced top management that your vision is correct; perhaps you haven’t fully amortized your existing infrastructure—or any of dozens of other potential impediments to direct progress.
So the practical futurist moves forward by tacking to one side, then the other, all the while keeping the end destination in mind. The one absolute: make sure you’re never heading directly opposite from where you ultimately want to land. In the end, the future happens incrementally, not all at once. Making it happen is the job of the practical futurist.
Practical Futurist Topics:
These are suggested topics. In his work for The New York Times and his Practical Futurist consultancy Michael stays current on numerous topics ranging from technology and demographics to management and education. In each appearance he brings not only his own experience and expertise, but the journalism and research skills to customize up-to-the-minute presentations for every audience interest.
Use the Downturn to Rethink and Thrive: Three elements will make successful businesses in the next decade: virtual organization, Web 2.0 and the extended Internet. This Virtualization of America blends technology, infrastructure and the Millennial workforce to let smart businesses decrease costs while increasing reach and productivity. Today's downturn represents the perfect opportunity to rethink and restructure, using low-cost techniques, to fit this emerging paradigm.
Management Meets the Future: Managers are facing multiple new challenges: virtual work forces, flattened corporate structures, a new generation of ambitious and cyber-savvy workers, a heightened atmosphere of public scrutiny--not to mention the perennial pressure to do more with less. How are smart managers coping and what's next to come?
The State of Trust: In many ways, modern technology has temporarily eroded trust, as bloggers blow the whistle on corporate cover-ups or catch the big media companies in mistakes or misrepresentations. In families it has created a new tension between parents and children, as kids seek freedom in the Internet world that is uniquely their own while parents worry, quite rightly, about the dangers that lie online. But there are also some methods emerging wherein new technology can be used to increase trust among families and communities.
The Digital Lifestyle: Computers, the Internet and the digitization of all media are changing many aspects of the American lifestyle--from how we work, where we shop, how we entertain ourselves and even how we meet our mates. It is also beginning to reshape the way our homes are built, furnished and lived-in. What does the digital lifestyle mean for what companies must do to reach their customers and how products must change to meet new needs? It's necessary to tie together strands from pop culture, consumer electronics and even home decor to understand fully the scope of the transformation.
Telecommunications and Media: The rise of the Internet and the digitization of all media are having a profound effect on both the telecom and media industries. The relationship between the creators of content and the owners of "the pipes" has never been more complex or volatile. And new technologies such as wireless broadband and VOIP are only now arriving. What will the next decade see in content and services delivery, customer expectations, the protection of intellectual property, and the role of traditional media? Who will be the winners and losers between cable, satellite, landlines and wireless?
Globalization: We have only seen the beginning of how globalization will change our world over the next decades. The democratization of information via the Internet, the rise of middle class consumers in the developing world, the spread of outsourcing to professions like law and medicine, new competitors dislodging Fortune 500 firms in global markets, increased pressure on natural resources...the list will only grow longer as market forces and technology spread across our planet.
Health Care: Information technology and genetic science are combining to create a fundamental shift in the way we think about and treat disease. At the same time, however, prices continue to rise and there is as much pressure to use technology to cut costs as to advance health science. How do we balance the enormous potential of advancing technology with the real world questions of delivering affordable health care?
Society, Technology and the Future: General audiences like to hear about the technologies that will shape their own lives in the decades to come: genetic engineering, robotics and artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, wireless broadband and the next generation of the Internet. During his years as an award-winning science and technology writer, Rogers has learned to explain and project the implications of these technologies in ways that both captivate and inform non-technical audiences.
The Next Generation: The first generation never to know a world without an Internet is rapidly approaching adulthood. It is a cohort that has fundamentally different ideas and expectations about how to relate to businesses, employers, the media and each other. How do we market to this new breed? How will we manage them? What will they expect from products and services, and what new skills--or deficits--will they bring to the workplace?
Demographics: It's common knowledge that the US population is graying--but what's less noted is that the United States is also the fastest growing industrialized nation on earth. Between now and 2050, our population could increase by as much as 40%--and the drivers of that increase are already in place, ranging from the largest K - 8 population in history to longer lifespans and liberal immigration policies. Fixed resources--waterfront property, elite educations, room on our roadways, suburban open space--will be under increasing pressure. How will population shape our nation in years to come?
Education: After creating the award-winning Parents' Guide to Children's Software in 1996, Rogers has followed education and technology issues closely. He often speaks to audiences of both parents and educators about technology and learning--and specifically how the rise of computers and the Internet has actually increased the importance of the thinking skills that underlie the traditional three R's. Too much emphasis on technology, especially in early grades, may actually interfere with the lifelong learning skills that this century will demand from every worker.
Energy Futures: Rogers has followed the world energy picture since he shared the National Headliners Award for coverage of the Chernobyl disaster and its implications for nuclear energy. He has written extensively on alternative energy and recently participated in the United Nations conference Bridging the Divide on bringing new energy technology to developing countries.
Watch Michael Rogers on YouTube