Richard Watson is a cutting-edge writer, speaker and thinker advising organisations on what the future holds, with a particular focus on strategic foresight and scenario planning. He is the publisher of the What’s Next report, an online magazine offering clear and concise commentary on trends in society, business, science & technology, government and the environment.
Richard is also co-founder of Futures House Europe (a specialist scenario-planning consultancy) and has written for various publications worldwide including Fast Company, Retail Banking Review and Future Orientation. Richard has also authored a number of critically acclaimed books. In Future Files: A History of the Next 50 Years (2008), he lays out what he believes will be the five most enduring drivers of change over the next decades: population ageing, the eastward shift of power, global connectivity, advances in technology and environmental change.
Future Minds: How The Digital Age is Changing Our Minds, Why This Matters and What We Can Do About It (2010), examines the impact technology is having on the way people think, interact and do business. In particular, Richard argues that as knowledge becomes increasingly automated, people will be rewarded for their ability to think creatively, rather than for their ability to recall facts. However, at the same time our ability to think deeply and creatively is being harmed by our increasingly frenetic and interconnected lifestyles. Richard’s book offers insights on how to maximise the positive potential of the digital economy, whilst minimising its downsides.
His two latest books are The Future: 50 Ideas You Really Need to Know (2012), which outlines what the world may look like in 2020, 2050 and even 2100, and Future Vision: Scenarios for the World in 2040, which is both an examination of risks and opportunities to come and a ‘how to guide’ about scenario planning.
A 240 year old doll that can write, a clockwork creation by Pierre Jaquet-Droz, a Swiss watchmaker. The doll is able to write any custom text up to 40 letters long, and it uses a goose feather to write, which he inks from time to time, including a shake of the wrist to prevent ink from spilling. His eyes follow the text being written, and the head moves when he takes some ink. You can view this doll in person at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire of Neuchâtel, in Switzerland.