Futurist Trond Arne Undheim, PhD, has one goal: wherever he operates, his life is dedicated to making orders of magnitude of difference for business, society and planet. Trond is a 7x author and is a major global thought leader on the role of technology in society in the next decade and beyond. He is often brought in when clients or media want to hear from a ‘Renaissance man’ with broad insights derived from a plethora of fields.
A Research scholar in Global Systemic Risk, Innovation, and Policy at Stanford University, a Venture Partner at Antler, the global early-stage venture capital firm that invests in the defining technology companies of tomorrow, hee is the CEO and co-founder of Yegii, an insight network with experts and knowledge assets on disruption. A podcaster (Futurized), and former Director of MIT Startup Exchange, based beteween Wellesley, MA, and Palo Alto, CA, he holds a PhD on the future of work and artificial intelligence.
Trond is a regular podcast guest, keynote speaker, panel moderator and conference chair across the world. Whilst he often has strong and controversial opinions based on fact-based insight, and can entertain an audience too boot, his main objective in these events is to listen and bring out the best in other people’s thinking.
To have Trond on as a podcast guest or webinar speaker, please contact Trond Undheim directly or work with his publicist. Trond accepts jobs globally, traveling out of either the East of West coast of the United States. He speaks in English, Italian, French or Norwegian.
What your audience could learn
Trond’s key messages could be summarized under nine broad topics: 1) Augmented Lean, 2) The Futurist’s view, 3) The Future of Technology, 4) Commercializing Innovation, 5) Our Health Tech Future, 6) The Future of Work, Leadership and Reskilling, 7) Global e-Governance, 8) Inclusive Capitalism and the Future of Finance, and 9) Mastering our Physical World.
Outcomes of Trond’s speeches and interviews include increased awareness of the forces of disruption surrounding your business, clarity about where society is headed, and a real push to develop 21st century skills that matter in the workplace whether you are a C-level executive or just starting out.
TOPIC 1: The Augmented Lean Workforce and the Factory of the Future: the counterintuitive next wave of industrial tech is all about scaling humans innovation
Executives need a management framework that prioritizes humans over machines. When you empower your frontline workers, you are investing in their growth, productivity, and loyalty. Increased efficiency of your machines is just a side effect. Hear Trond present highlights from his latest book, Augmented Lean: A Human-Centric Framework for Managing Frontline Operations (Wiley 2022), co-authored with serial entrepreneur, and MIT Media Lab alum, Natan Linder. The book was pre-launched both at the World Economic Forum and at IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show, the largest and longest-running industry trade show in the Western Hemisphere and has been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, IndustryWeek, and the World Economic Forum’s Agenda Blog.
TOPIC 2: The Futurist’s view on the next decade
Futurism isn’t about predicting exactly, but about projecting long term potential outcomes and deciding what kind of future we want to optimize for. Trond’s current research at Stanford University (see his Stanford profile) is about Cascading Risk Scenarios for 2075 stemming from artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, climate change, nuclear technology, geopolitics, social movements, and a whole host of risks that are rising and combining in unforeseen ways, often under the radar.
In addition, Trond is the host of the Futurized podcast which is soon rounding 100 episodes which are all about the ‘Future of’ various societal domains, technologies, and issues. See Futurized podcast.
His next major book will be on long term foresight towards 2050-2075 and includes modeling various scenarios for the next five hundred years of human existence–perhaps our last five hundred years if things (including exponential sci-tech advances) don’t pan out.
TOPIC 3: The Future of Technology (AI, Blockchain, Synthetic Biology, 3D printing, Nanotech, Quantum tech, Robotics)
His recent book, Future Tech: How to Capture Value from Disruptive Industry Trends was published by the highly regarded, independent publisher Kogan Page.
For a sample of his views, see The five technologies that matter: how the C-suite can deploy each for post-pandemic positioning (CEO Magazine).
TOPIC 4: Commercializing Innovation: Academia to Innovation AND How corporations should work with startups AND How to learn from–and even thrive on–failure
Trond was the inaugural director of MIT Startup Exchange, the world’s leading matchmaking program between startups and corporations, working with some of the leading startups of our time (including unicorns Formlabs, Desktop Metal, and Ginkgo Bioworks) and over 200 Fortune 1000 companies.
Trond wrote the book Disruption Games: How to Thrive on Serial Failure
He is now both an early stage (pre-seed) investor through Antler as well as a corporate venture capitalist at Hitachi Ventures and also works with growth startup Tulip, the frontline operations platform.
TOPIC 5: Pandemic Aftermath and our Health Tech Future
Trond wrote the first book on the COVID-19 pandemic, a futurist’s 450 page account of what might happen in the next decade which was published in early May 2020. As the pandemic enters different stages, seemingly catching governments, medical professionals, businesses and citizens by surprise, his five scenarios seem more and more relevant every month that passes. See his tome Pandemic Aftermath.
Trond’s upcoming book, Health Tech: Rebooting Society’s Software, Hardware and Mindset, will be published by Routledge in September 2021, and is available for pre-order. The book introduces anybody who wishes to understand how global healthcare will change in the next decade to key technologies, social dynamics, and systemic shifts that are shaping the future.
TOPIC 6: The Future of Work: a) Reskilling one billion workers in industry 4.0 technologies and mindsets, b) Leadership challenges in a changing world, c) Remote work, hybrid work, and the face-to-face advantage, and d) The Role of Knowledge and Insight
Why reskilling, not developing the technologies themselves, is about to become the 21st century’s greatest leadership challenge. Trond leads MFG.works, the reskilling platform launched in association with the World Economic Forum and aiming to provide learning journeys to future proof the world’s workers
Trond wrote his PhD on What the Net Can’t Do (2002) on AI/cognition whether and when nomadic knowledge production (e.g. remote work) will take over. The topic has, again, become hotly debated. Trond has tracked this debate now for over twenty years and is in a unique position to debate what will happen to cities, workplaces, and jobs — as well as power dynamics — and in what time frame.
Trond wrote the book Leadership From Below to explain how leadership without formal authority will become the only viable strategy going forward.
What is the future of work going to look like? Will it be robotically dystopian or humanly augmented? Who gets to decide, tech developers, big tech, big business, G7 governments, billionaires, startups, or ethicists?
What is the emerging role of knowledge and insight? How to stay up to date on an ever changing world of business and technology? Trond started Yegii, the insight network, to try to bring to market a product that combines the best of a search engine with the best human talent.
Will the future be Orwellian? Facebook knows what you like, Waze knows where you are, and Google knows what you’re looking for. In the name of convenience, we have willingly chained ourselves to digital archives, and allowed others, including companies and governments, to follow our every move. How much privacy are you willing to give up? How much have you given up already? Is our use of new technologies liberating us or imprisoning us? Or doing both simultaneously? We invite you to learn about the exciting and alarming technologies available to us and their societal implications.
TOPIC 7: The case for global e-Governance
How the world needs to co-regulate technology in a way where governments work alongside private sector and nonprofits to watch algorithms, safeguard interoperability, and build nocode services of public interest in health, privacy, and culture.
Here’s a shortlist of recent podcasts Trond has featured on that don’t explicitly fall into the above categories:
TOPIC 8: Inclusive Capitalism and Financial Services of the Future
Trond is committed to a more inclusive form of capitalism, where Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) no longer needs to be a focus because each is valued in its own right.
For an op-ed on his thoughts, see Capital serfdom: why early-stage VCs must act as a co-founder for the businesses they invest in
Why blockchain is the future of financial transactions across a plethora of fields. What peer-to-peer finance means for C-level executives, leadership, and the future of society.
Topic 9: Mastering our Physical World: Outer Space as the Next Frontier, Will we ever achieve Sustainability through Energy Tech, and The Future of the Planet
The space race is suddenly becoming quite interesting due to a plethora of startups joining in as serious contenders for major space contracts and indeed sending out their own satellites and rockets. What are the societal consequences of the new space race and new space innovation?
Energy Tech is always fundamental to human progress, yet the abuse of fossil fuels has also brought us to the brink of extinction due to having exhausted the planet’s natural resources, with devastating consequences for habitat, biodiversity, and adding high and unnecessary risk to human settlements. Will we ever achieve sustainability or are we destined to live in excess of our given resources at any given moment?
What does the future of the planet look like short term (in the next 25 years), medium term (in the next few hundred years) and long term (in the next Millennia)? This is the focus of Trond’s upcoming book.
Trond’s podcasts – Futurized and Augmented
Trond runs two of the world’s top 1.5% podcasts, according to Listen Notes. Futurized podcast and Augmented podcast. As a result, he is an extremely easy podcast guest delivering impeccable sound and video quality both as a podcast host and as a podcast guest.
The Near Future of Quantum Computing – Futurized – thought leadership on the future
Episode 127: Venture Capital's Role in Digital Transformation with Lior Susan – Augmented Ops
- Episode 127: Venture Capital's Role in Digital Transformation with Lior Susan
- Episode 126: Transforming Manufacturers’ Organizational Strategy with Dr. Jörg Gnamm
- Episode 125: Rethinking Quality Control for Pharmaceuticals with Mark Buswell
- Episode 124: Industrial Data Interoperability with Erich Barnstedt
- Episode 123: Building a Manufacturing Software Marketplace with Diego Tamburini
Most Popular Presentations:
- “LEARNING FROM FAILURE: How executives embrace the 21st century by developing a social biosphere of innovation”
- “FUTURE OF WORK”: How to thrive in man/machine relationships”
- “FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGY”: How business can capture value from innovation in science, technology and startups”
- “HOW THE CORPORATE WORLD CAN LEARN FROM STARTUP INNOVATION: Designing and managing innovation portfolios”
- “LEADERSHIP FROM BELOW: “How to Manage The Leaders of the Internet Generation”
- “WHAT THE NET CAN’T DO: Technology enhances efficiency but face-to-face prevails”
- “THE FUTURE OF E-GOVERNMENT: What governments must do to excel”
- “CITIZEN-CENTRICITY — LEADERSHIP FOR THE PUBLIC SECTOR: is it for real?”
- “THE ROLE OF THINK TANKS IN SHAPING KNOWLEDGE AND INSIGHT: How background actors shape the political landscape”
Trond’s keynote addresses and speeches have impressed corporate executives, policy makers, MBA students, Members of Parliament, IT professionals, communication executives, bureaucrats as well as university staff in Europe, the United States and Asia:
- 100+ corporations (members of MIT Industrial Liaison Program)
- American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce (Greece, 2008).
- The Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC)
- EMD Serono
- ENGIE (formerly GDF Suez) – electricity generation company
- European Committee on Interoperable Systems (ECIS, 2009).
- European Commission (Belgium, 2009).
- International Communication Association (Mexico).
- OECD (France, 2009).
- Management Events Co. (UK, 2007 and Austria, 2007).
- MIT Industrial Liaison Program (ILP)
- Norwegian Association of Communication Professionals (2000).
- Norwegian Parliament (2003).
- Norwegian University of Science and Technology
- Openforum Europe (Belgium, 2010).
- Oracle Standards Days (2009, 2010).
- Politech Institute (Belgium, 2007).
- Salzburg Seminar (Austria, 2007).
- Slovenian Presidency of the EU (Slovenia, 2008).
- Smart IT 2009 (Belgium, 2009).
- The Norwegian Society of Graduate Technical and Scientific Professionals (Tekna)
- Terrapinn Events (UK, 2008).
- TMAB Business Events (Belgium, 2008).
- The Agency for Public Management and eGovernment-DIFI (Norway, 2008).
- The Stanford Faculty Club
- WCIT 2010 (The Netherlands, 2010).
- Appeared on Good Morning Connecticut, a morning TV/news show (USA, 2009).