‘Reluctant Futurist’ Mark Stevenson is a strategic advisor to governments, investors, NGOs and corporates and co-founder of Carbon Removals company CUR8.
Though branded a ‘futurist’ by others Mark is more, as one client puts it, ‘Chief Annoying Question Asker’. He helps organisations change the way they feel, think, invest and operate in order to answer the intertwined questions the future is asking us – on climate change, inequality, the retreat of democracy and the failures of the markets to price risk properly (to name just four).
His two bestselling books, An Optimist’s Tour of the Future and the award-winning We Do Things Differently map out some existing and proven solutions to our current dilemmas.
He is Global Ambassador for environmental law firm Client Earth and former strategic advisor on peace, national security and climate change to the UK Ministry of Defence.
He also enjoys a successful side career as a comedy writer and songwriter, which he regards as essential for maintaining key skills needed in his strategy work. “The brain does the PR for what the heart has already decided, if you can’t speak to the heart any systems change is dead in the water.”
His hit podcast with comedian Jon Richardson and fellow systems change advocate Ed Gillespie is available on all major platforms.
Channelling Mark’s experience in helping governments, corporations and NGOs think through the implications and legacy of the pandemic, this talk explores the extraordinary moment the world finds itself in – and how the pandemic is, and will continue to be, a huge catalyst for long needed change. Those organisations that know how to embrace that change and the challenges it brings will define the direction of the next 20 years. “The pandemic is a mirror,” says Mark “and you can either look into it as Narcissus or as a Catharsis”. Drawing on clients as diverse as the Ministry of Defence, major NGOs, multinational corporations and even private banks Mark explores the new territory of business, commerce and civil society. As Andy Jordan, CEO of Intel put it: “Bad companies are destroyed by crises, good companies survive them, great companies are improved by them.” The moment is unique, don’t squander it.
Take a whistle stop tour of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of the next 20 years and why ‘business as usual’ is a recipe for disaster. How is the landscape of society going to change in terms of technology, energy, governance, health and commerce? What questions should smart organisations be asking themselves? And how can your organisation be fit for the future? Mark will show you. We’re in for a rocky ride, but future-literate organisations have a shot at greatness. Available as either a keynote or masterclass.
Having spent 10 years working with and writing about some of the most innovative and extraordinary people and organisations in the world, Mark has distilled this learning down to his ‘eight principles for successful optimists’ that can be used at a personal, team and organisational level. What’s more, they can be implemented immediately with profound effects. Available as either a keynote or masterclass.
How do you talk truth to power and get away with it? What does it take for change to go beyond good intentions and turn into action? How do you take people out of their comfort zones and have them thank you for it? The answers are unexpected, but surprisingly uncomplicated. Drawing on his experience advising organisations as diverse as Medecines Sans Frontiers and Virgin, Mark will take you through the theory and practice of moving the immovable, to make a different future. Available as either a keynote or masterclass.
How can an organisation maintain any kind of innovative edge when chaos abounds? Our increasingly VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world may seem almost impossible to navigate, and yet some organisations and individuals do, remaining relevant even as their competitors flail in the madness. While writing his last bestseller, We Do Things Differently, Mark spent four years in the company of some of the world’s most innovative people and organisations and he’ll distill what he learnt about the principles, techniques and skills they use to stay ahead – and how you can too. Available as either a keynote or masterclass.
Where the world is, how it got there, the options open going forward and your organisation’s unique role in building a better future.
Drawing on examples from his bestselling books and his own strategy work Mark explores why most attempts to battle the status quo fail, and how to approach change from the outset in a way much more likely to succeed.
What are the key principles behind personal, team and organisational change? There are 8, and you can apply them tomorrow.
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“He came, he charmed, he conquered! When people you don’t know stop you in the bathroom or the food-court to tell you about ‘that guy’ who really shook things up you know you picked a winner. Or what about the group of IT developers who, after listening to Mark, decided to give up an entire weekend to come and work on apps that could change the trajectory of the company? How do you thank a man like Mark? You tell the whole world. Get yourself a little bit of him - and watch what happens next.”
Annalie Killian, Director of Innovation & Social Business, AMP (Australia)
“Mark's approach to giving strategic advice is bold, unapologetic and consistently pushes you to examine your own instincts and the contributions of those around you. What makes Mark stand out? He truly cares. He invests himself in the journey and travels it with you. He helps to make big picture connections and has many times translated difficult challenges, questions and debates into language that we all (not just senior management - all staff) understand and can relate to. Mark's approach has brought the teams across our office together, and the outcomes of our work over the coming years will be far better because of it.”
Melanie Stevenson, Medicines Sans Frontiers UK Strategic Planning Lead
“A spellbinding job. It was a tremendous speech met with a standing ovation. It is not often that you can hear a pin drop in a room that size – but the audience was enthralled. Wonderful!”
Elliot Pullman, CEO, US Space Foundation
“The team were totally blown away, they thoroughly enjoyed it and loved the "no holds barred" approach - and Mark has become somewhat of a legend in our company now. Fantastic and on point - such precise and poignant delivery of crucial and motivational topics. Really inspiring & moving.”
"Mark Stevenson’s energetic and provocative keynote address focusing on ‘the future and what to do about it’, left audience members with considerable food for thought on the transformational forces shaping industry, the economy, and society. By challenging old values and considering new ideas, Mark successfully opened minds as he delivered a highly-engaging and entertaining talk."
Sean O’Brien, Skillnets
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