Who is...?

Richard Watson

What’s Next is published by Richard Watson, an author and scenario thinker who helps organisations to think further ahead, especially about emerging growth opportunities and risks.

Richard has worked with the Tech Foresight Practice at Imperial College London, the Entrepreneurship Centre at the Judge School at Cambridge University and London Business School. Richard is also the author of six best-selling books, including Digital Vs. Human and The Children’s Book of the Future.

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Richard has worked with, amongst others, Cambridge University, Coca-Cola, General Electric, IBM, Ikea, Imperial College, London Business School, McDonald’s, McKinsey & Company, Ministry of Defence, RAND, Samsung and Shell. Subject matter expertise includes global trends, scenario planning, innovation and creativity.

“We are still having attendees reach out to us to say you were fantastic!!”


View a list of Richard’s previous talks. If you’d like to book Richard as a speaker for your conference, strategy offsite or scenario workshop, or to find out more information, please send him an email.


Credits for this website also belong to Matt Doyle (web development) and Corrina Fox (additional research & writing).

Further reading

To view selected articles by Richard Watson please follow the links below. Note that a few interview pieces are included and also that some of the original links have disappeared and have been replaced with secondary links and PDFs.

“To paraphrase George Orwell, Richard Watson writes like a human being.”
– Darcy Moore blog

The futurist who'd like the future to slow down — just a little
The problem with being a futurist, says Richard Watson, is that change is happening a lot faster and a lot crazier these days.

The smart contact lens which can aid social distancing
With the continuous advancements in technology and the Smart Contact Lens already on the radar of the big players, Lenstore partnered with a futurist to conceptualise the ‘iLens’.

Podcast: What is the future of artificial intelligence?
“Richard Watson urged us to conceive of the future of AI in terms of ‘scenario planning’, rather than predicting the future directly.”

Richard Watson, inventor of the 2050 MegaTrend map (Article in German)
Questions and answers with futurologist Richard Watson.

Deep Fakes will make judging real and fake stories a matter of pure trust
Disinformation and Fake News are hardly anything new but the power of both is increasing exponentially because of the power of social media.

The contact lens will become the most important technology gadget of a generation
What’s the next big thing in tech? You’d think that after Google’s Glasses (Glassholes) fiasco and the hopeless hype of Facebook’s Oculus VR googles we’d be over the whole world in your face thing, but apparently not.

A futurist’s guide to managing the dire present
A review of what Richard is up to nowadays, from QZ.com in the US.

Why companies die
Richard looks at why the average lifespan of companies has fallen so dramatically in recent times.

A futurist told us a pandemic would cancel all travel – here’s what he says will happen next
An interview with Greg Dickinson at The Telegraph.

Fake cities, passenger drones and the death of Instagram – 12 predictions for the future of travel
Another interview with Greg Dickinson.

Advice on how to predict the future, from a professor whose job is to predict the future
Ephrat Livni writes about meeting Richard and discussing the future

How to think like a futurist
Interview with Richard and two other futurists

The Glass Cage and the Future of Automation
It’s not rogue robots that we need to worry about, but unseen automated systems

In Our Own Image
Is artificial intelligence going to save the human race or destroy it?

The Future of UK Public Libraries
What’s the future for public libraries?

Back to the Future Day: Six experts predict life in 2045
What will life by like in 2045? Take some clues by going Back to the Future

How to predict the future
Advice on how to predict the future, from a professor whose job is to predict the future

Blade Runner 2049: What the world will actually look like
iNews asked Richard what the world will actually look like in 30 years, and how much from the film Blade Runner 2049 might come true

Why Companies Die
Why is it that the average lifespan of an S&P 500 company in the US has fallen from 67 years in the 1920s to just 15 years today?

The 14 most outlandish predictions of futurologist Richard Watson
Including travel by vacuum tube and drone pizza delivery

Timeline of Failed Predictions (Part 1)
Covering the 1400s up to the 2000s

Timeline of Failed Predictions (Part 2)
What might people live to regret saying in the future?

The Future of Money
Will phones be the new banks?

Retail Therapy
Is the future of shopping a dystopia? The choice is ours.

The Future of Newspapers
In this age of user-generated content and citizen journalism, it might seem like newspapers are becoming yesterday's news. But there's more life in them yet.

Everything you've ever wanted to know about innovation
One of the biggest issues facing organizations in the early part of the 21st Century is the commercialization of new ideas

The Future of Travel
Where will we be going, and how will we be getting there?

Open Innovation and Other Foolish Ideas
The best ideas are often conceived of by trial and error, or even just by accident. Open source innovation can be the best path to discovery — if you aren’t afraid to take the plunge.

An Evolutionary Approach to Innovation
Need to kickstart your innovation practices, processes, and production? Take a hint from the world of biology and consider how evolution -- idea Darwinism -- can help inspire change and creativity.

Why Smart Companies Do Dumb Things
Do successful companies sow the seeds of their own destruction?

Have I Got Your Full and Undivided Attention?
Life is speeding up and we are constantly inventing new ways to make things move even faster. But what are some of the consequences of this constant busyness? Are we losing our ability to think and properly relate to other people?

Don't Confuse Creativity with Innovation
Can anyone be creative? Companies and consultants alike say the answer is yes.

Fast Forward: Innovation Station
10 great ideas, tools, and thinkers

Five Trends That Will Transform Society
Globalization, polarization, and more

The Perils Of Technology Prediction
Why pundits often get it so wrong when it comes to tech trends

Five Facts That Will Turn Your World Upside Down
Five arresting facts and their implications for the future

Why Good Ideas Go Bad
Why do some smart people make stupid mistakes?

Why Doing Nothing Is Often Better Than Doing Something
Information diets and focusing on the big picture

The Rise of Connectivity Addiction
Are we becoming hopelessly addicted to our devices?

How to Have an Idea
Is your brain blocked? Don’t worry, the solution could be as easy as taking a bath

Are Open Plan Offices Damaging Our Thinking?
Open plan offices could turn out to be a terrible idea

How to Profit From the Future
Five forces that have the potential to change the world as we know it over the next few decades

A New Age of "Innocence"?
The experts who'll drive innovation are not the usual suspects

Smart Spaces
Why you can't think out of the box when you're sitting in one

Beginner's Luck
Your most innovative team members and employees may not be the most senior -- or oldest

Bite-Sized Innovations
Sometimes the most powerful ideas start small. Here's a roundup of our recent favorites.

The Trendspotting Trend
Has market research been democratized? Identifying new product, service, and business development opportunities might be as easy as exploring your immediate surroundings -- and talking to your customers.

The Future is a Mixed Bag
With every downside, there is a corresponding upside: Get an expert's take on how technology, connectedness, globalization and ageing will affect us in the future.

Celebrate Failure
You don't read about failure very often. Why is this? What are we afraid of? It is the proverbial elephant-in-the-boardroom. And yet by being scared of failure, we are missing a great opportunity.

Keep It Simple
Time famine, Too Much Information, Too Much Choice and Too Many Options.

More articles by Richard on Fast Company »