Learn More About Azeem Azhar
Understanding the impacts of emerging technologies on business and society isn’t just about becoming familiar with the latest gadgets or AI like generative programs ChatGPT and DALL-E. In the 21st Century, says Azeem Azhar, futurist, prize-winning technology analyst, founder of the popular Exponential View newsletter and podcast and host of “Exponentially” on Bloomberg TV, it’s critical that leaders anticipate how technology on the fringes will change the world in the not-too-distant future.
A former corporate executive and a top advisor to business, government and societal leaders and current Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University, Azhar possesses unmatched expertise on exponential technologies – including AI, computing, climate tech and synthetic biology – that are leading the transformation of the world economy, business and society over the next 20 to 30 years. Having been involved in emerging technologies as a researcher, investor and regulator since the early 1990s, his instant bestseller, “The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society” (Diversion Books, 2021), lays out a framework for thinking about a future that business and government leaders have no choice but to embrace as they plan forward.
Highly praised by executives at Spotify, LinkedIn and Accenture, as well as by economists and academics alike, “The Exponential Age” was named to best-of lists for 2021 by the Financial Times, London Times, MIT Technology Review and Harvard Business Review. A venture capitalist whose tech expertise is highly sought-after by governments, consultancies and financial firms around the world, Azhar has been a senior advisor to Hong Kong’s mass transit authority, MTR, consulted on AI and advanced technologies at Accenture and McKinsey & Co., and he’s advised PwC on climate technologies.
“We’re in the midst of a rapid and radical societal shift that’s being driven by a series of exponential technologies transforming how we live and interact with each other and the world around us,” explains Azhar, who was named to the Thinkers50 Radar Class of 2022. “They are taking off at the same time, launching us into a whole new world that will challenge the economic and social fabric of business and society in chaotic ways, including how we work and learn.”
A Guide to Futureproofing Your Organization
With so many technologies developing and scaling quickly, leaders need to be able to cut through the noise to focus on which technologies they’ll need to directly contend with. Azhar excels as an executive’s key advisor by providing a methodology for understanding complex technologies, how those technologies will impact an industry or organization, and how leaders can act now to futureproof their companies.
“Decision makers need to understand the muscle they’ll need to exercise as they journey toward the future. There’s no magic pill,” Azhar cautions. “Artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, renewable energy and other innovations in technology and science are maturing rapidly. My work is focused on helping companies, governments and individuals understand and prepare for the future, leverage the best of what’s coming, and maintain their footing along the way.”
Breakthrough Technologies Will Transform the World Economy
As the world goes through a time of uncertainty regarding energy prices, manufacturing and supply chain efficiency, Azhar foresees a coming abundance of energy, products and computation thanks to investments in deep technology. Through emerging technologies like communications networks, sensors, renewable electricity and vertical farming, Azhar sees a bright future for humanity.
“We are on a path, if we choose, to a future of an excess of energy,” Azhar explains. “Which means lower energy prices, which means we can afford to do the carbon transition, which means we can afford to invest in public good.”
A high energy, engaging presenter, Azhar uses personal anecdotes and humor to empathetically connect with diverse audiences, from C-suite executives to frontline developers and users of emerging technologies. Audiences are left with memorable frameworks to see the world and where it’s going in an optimistic light.
“I want to help people think like ‘exponentialists’,” he says. “The old rule books and business books don’t necessarily apply anymore. The key principles for navigating the future are experimentation, learning, forgiveness and self-restraint.”
During the last 20 years, Azeem Azhar has supported more than 30 companies in areas as diverse as artificial intelligence, remote work, blockchain, climate change and sustainability and agricultural technologies. Prior to launching Exponential View, he founded the venture-backed startup PeerIndex, which was acquired by Cision in 2014. In 2020 and 2021, he co-authored a major study on climate tech startups and venture capital in association with PwC. He has been a senior advisor to a number of blue-chip firms including McKinsey & Co, Accenture, Microsoft and Hong Kong’s mass transit authority, MTR, and he has also run corporate innovation programs at large multinationals.
Azhar is co-chair of the Global Futures Council on Complex Risks at the World Economic Forum, and a contributor to major business and technology publications including the Financial Times and Wired. He served as the Economist’s first-ever internet correspondent and is regularly quoted in the international media. He sat on the board of the AI Ethics Research Group, the Ada Lovelace Foundation, and has spoken, inter alia, at Oxford University, Harvard Business School, London Business School and University College London. He was a recipient of the Crunchies, Europe’s top startup award, and has been recognized as one of the Top Voices on LinkedIn, where he has more than 400,000 followers.
Azhar has a degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University.
Azeem Azhar is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group
Preparing Leaders and Teams for the Future Impacts of Technology
Exponential changes driven by a rapid onslaught of new technologies are transforming how we live, do business and interact with each other. “These changes are not just happening, they are taking off at the same time, launching us into a whole new world,” explains renowned technology writer, investor and corporate advisor Azeem Azhar. “As AI, synthetic biology, renewable energy and other innovations in technology and science mature, they will challenge the economic and social fabric of business and society in chaotic ways, including how we work and learn.” In one-on-one or small group advisory sessions, which can be customized to address specific industries or challenges, Azhar helps leaders in any sector – from advertising, banking, engineering and professional services to insurance, transportation, health care and consumer goods – understand the lifecycle of technologies that are driving or will drive their business. By guiding participants through a series of scenarios, he helps them better understand and prepare for the future so they can leverage the best of what’s coming, focus only on technologies that will be relevant to their business, and maintain their footing as they journey toward the future.
Think Like An Exponentialist
Award-winning corporate innovator, serial entrepreneur, investor and former regulator Azeem Azhar helps organizations understand and prepare for emerging technologies that will massively impact business, government and society in the next 20 to 30 years. Bestselling, award-winning author of “The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society,” and a tech insider since the early 1990s, Azhar leads conversational and highly interactive workshops in which he applies his unique knowledge and experience to lay out a framework that can be applied by leaders at all levels to “think like an exponentialist.” By anticipating how technology currently on the fringes will change the world in the years ahead, Azhar empowers leaders to cut through the noise and future-proof their organization by focusing on which technologies they’ll need to directly contend with. Each half and full day workshop can be customized to meet the needs and goals of your organization with the added option of meeting virtually or in person.