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Australia's most prominent futurist.


Dr Peter Ellyard is Australia’s most prominent futurist as well as a strategist, speaker and author. Peter is particularly known for his highly original, challenging and inspirational ideas on shaping the future, and for his motivational addresses on future-making.

Current experience:
His most recent work has involved the development of a world-first Concepts Bank and Toolkit for the Shaping the Future, this is the result of 30 years work that will become available in 2019.

Previous experience:

Peter is a graduate of Sydney University and of Cornell University (Ph.D). He is Chairman of the Preferred Futures Institute, which he founded in 1991, where he assists individuals, families, organisations, communities and nations to chart and implement visions and strategies to ensure success in an emerging, twenty-first century integrated, interdependent, global society.

Peter has a distinguished record in public sector leadership and administration, including three years as Executive Director of The Australian Commission for the Future. He held CEO positions in a number of public sector organizations over 15 years, including two associated with environment and planning and one with industry and technology, and was also Chief of Staff of the Office of Environment Ministers in Canberra for three years. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators, the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand and the Australian Institute of Management. He has been a Senior Adviser to the United Nations system for more than 40 years, including the UNDP, UNEP and UNESCO, and was involved in the 1992 Earth Summit as a Senior Advisor on both the climate change and the biodiversity conventions.

Peter is the author of four books: Ideas for the New Millennium (1998, 2001), Designing 2050: Pathways to Sustainable Prosperity on Spaceship Earth (2008), Destination 2050: A Concepts Bank and Toolkit for Future-makers (2013) and The Future Knowledge Compendium (to be published in 2019).

Talking Points

The World in the Year 2050

Can you imagine the world in the year 2050? This is the world of your children in midlife and your grand children as adolescents. Most of us would want to create a legacy for the future that is better than that we inherited from our parents. Can you imagine a global society that is simultaneously prosperous, sustainable, harmonious, secure and just. We cannot work to create a future that we do not first imagine. Would you believe that current global trends are already taking us there and that this is a totally realizable destination by the year 2050? The markets of the early 21st century are already demanding the products and services that will help to create this future and the emerging 21st century economy will provide more and more products and services to realize it. Peter describes these products and services so that innovators and entrepreneurs can create success for themselves by getting to the future first.

The Emerging Integrated Interdependent Global Society

What are the long terms trends shaping society and how will they shape global society over the next 40 years. In 1964 Marshall McLuhan predicted the coming global village. We are realising this in the early 21st century. Kenneth Boulding in 1967 predicted the global transformation from a Cowboy to a Spaceship economy. This is also being realized in the early 21st century. What products and services will global markets demand in the next two generations and how can organizations, and individuals position themselves to ensure that they achieve success in this emerging interdependent global society?

Building Successful Life Paths and Career Paths in 21st Century Society

As our young leave school and contemplate their future how can they prepare themselves to maximise their chances of success in a dynamic and rapidly changing global society. Our young have more options for career paths than any time in human history. However most of these young people do not have the mindsets and tools to ensure their future success in a world where more than 70% of the jobs, products and services a generation hence have yet to be invented. Besides assisting our young to become 21st century successful adults, there are many second-chance people who can be assisted to become 21st century successful people. These include prisoners post prison, refugees arriving in a new homeland, mid-career people who become unemployed or who are seeking new career paths, and people who have been disabled or disadvantaged by trauma or illness and are seeking to make a new start. All of these people can be provided with new mindsets and toolkits to enable them to become resilient future- takers and be purposeful future-makers of their lives and careers in a globalising interdependent 21st century society.

Leadership and Management for 21st Century Success

Most of our so-called leaders are really managers. Generally speaking we are over-managed and under-led and too-often we put managers into positions of leadership. What are the essential differences between leadership and management? How can all of us become better leaders-of-self and managers-of-self as well as becoming better managers and leaders of others . Leadership and management are just two of the six means we use to shape the future. These six means re: leadership, management, design, planning, innovation and learning. Good leaders utilize all of these to most effectively shape the future and to ensure success in a global interdependent 21st century society. Leadership and management ask different questions about, and have different visions of, the future. Leaders and managers also construct strategies to realise the future. Well lead and managed organizations are the ones that will be the resilient future-takers in, and the purposeful future-makers of, emerging 21st century society.

Creating a Sustainable Society in The 21st Century

A sustainable society is one that knows how to thrive indefinitely and without undermining its capacity to renew itself. It can create sustainable prosperity for itself. It does economically well by doing social, ecological and cultural good. It lives within perpetual solar income, turns its waste into food, and acts to ensure there is zero net collateral damage to others and the environment, including to the planet's atmosphere and oceans. We have no option in the 21st century other than to invent our way to a global sustainable society. This is a 21st century global equivalent to the Apollo mission. However the good news is that we are already half-way to knowing how to realize it. The industries and innovations needed to realise a global sustainable society by the year 2050 can be described today and therefore we can create a framework and road map for innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and public policy makers who would like to leave a legacy of a sustainable global society to their children and grandchildren and their generations, and prosper by doing so.

The Planetist 21st Century

Tribalism involves giving first allegiance to tribe. Nationalism involves giving first allegiance to nation. Planetism involves giving first allegiance to planet. Planetism is the product of paradigm shifts that commenced with modernism in the mid 20th century , through post-modernism after 1970, finally delivering planetism in the early 21st century, which will dominate and shape global society around the year 2020. Most educated young people today are already planetists, as are most educated middle class people. The birth of the paradigm of planetism has involved the transformation of nine values compared with the modernist values present in the mid 20th century. Because values shape markets, from the values of planetism we can predict markets of 2020 and beyond, and the products and services that will be in demand by these markets, and we can predict the ethics that will guide investment and determine behaviour in the years beyond 2020.

Designing 2050 Narratives

This is fun learning. The 2050 Narrative is a collaborative theatre game similar in nature to the hypothetical as devised by Geoffrey Robertson. It focuses on long-term envisioning and strategic planning .These Narratives can be conducted in a structured conference environment or in a particular community or organisation. They can be conducted on an audience wide basis or with a small number (up to 12) on a stage in front of an audience and with or without an additional audience participation process.

Many Designing 2050 Narratives are set in the year 2025 and simultaneously look forward to the year 2050 and back to the present. Therefore they contain elements which involve insight, foresight and hindsight - and forecasting and backcasting . They usually last between 90 minutes and three hours.
Peter conducts Designing 2050 Narratives utilising Zing collaborative cyber technology that is used to collect and organise contributions for subsequent inclusion into visions of the future and strategic plans to realising these envisioned futures

The aim of Designing 2050 Narratives is to encourage the development of long term envisioning and strategic planning and thinking skills, and to encourage the development of a sense of responsibility to work for the success of future generations (including our own children and grandchildren) and the sustainability of our planetary home. If warranted some individuals will be given a brief to represent particular vested interests in order to create a more dramatic atmosphere and remind the audience that at times finding successful outcomes will require "mutual coercion mutually agreed upon."

Shaping the 21st Century. Mindsets, Concepts and Toolkits for Resilient Future Takers and Purposeful Future Makers

We have often been told that the future in not for us to see or to know. It is asserted that the best we can do is to await for change to occur, to be vigilant to social and technological disruption, that is a consequence of it, and, if we are good enough, to be resilient to, and ‘future proof’ ourselves against it.

Australia’s most prominent Futurist, Peter Ellyard has never believed this assertion to be true! He set out 30 years ago to show that we can indeed become effective shapers of the future, and over this time has developed the mindsets, concepts and tools to enable us to do just this! He has described significant parts of this work in his books, and in addresses to audiences over these three decades. Peter is now turning his work on shaping futures into interactive software that will be released into markets in 2019. And he now wants to share his complete body of work with others during 2018.
Very personable and helpful to our association. It's amazing that he can speak for so long without notes … His passion is infectious, his ideas and concepts provocative. Thank you, Peter AACC

Peter had done his homework via discussions with President Vanessa Gay and gave a very interesting presentation.

Well Done Events

Peter was delightful to work with. We scoped the brief and he contextualised his segment well for the audience. He was suitably provocative and challenged people's thinking.


Dr Ellyard was well prepared and stimulated our group to think beyond our current horizons and to challenge our existing assumptions.

ANZLIC Advisory Committee

Peter picked up on the personalities, politics and aliances. I was really impressed with the way he worked with those, rather than just delivering a prepared speech. he was much more than a speaker - he was a change agent.

Atherton Neighbourhood Centre

Dr Ellyard is not only a delightful person but an excellent presenter. His talk was extremely interesting, thought provoking and motivational.

Australian Institute of Management, Melbourne

You delivered a magnificent address. It was excellently presented, relevant and certainly thought provoking.

CSIRO, Melbourne

Peter was asked to speak and then take part in one to one short presentations. He had never done anything like this before but was willing to try and did exceptionally well.

Department of Primary Industries, Queensland

Your opening address inspired and challenged participants. Not only was it relevant to our planning for education in the future, but it enabled us to look at our roles from a new perspective”.

Department of School Education, NSW

Peter's Facilitation of our Strategic Directions workshop was focussed and enabled/encouraged participants to think beyond immediate operational priorities.

Environment ACT

Riveting presentation enlightening a fresh and positive outlook on the future. Speakers on day two of the conference referred to Dr Ellyard's presentation, adding greater value to the conference. Thank you.

IBC Conferences Pty Ltd

Feedback from the participants of our program was excellent. The majority of participants felt that Peter had really stretched their thinking.

IT Skills Hub Pty Ltd

Dr Ellyard was all that we expected and more. He challenged, provoked and stimulated a difficult audience.

NSW Department of Education

Peter was very engaging and many delegates mentioned him specifically as one of the highlights of the conference. Naturally, the committee is very pleased also.

Qld Teachers Credit Union

Peter captured our attention, inspired our thinking and helped us to open up new possibilities. Executive Manager wants to develop this direction more. I would highly recommend Peter.

Queensland Transport

Dr Peter Ellyard rated extremely highly in TTC’s general evaluation. Many delegates commented to me on his outstanding presentation. He generated the greatest amount of questions and discussion. Personally, I found his presentation highly motivational and creative. Peter has a gift of making you identify with him on a personal level.

Technology Training Corporation Pty Ltd, Sydney

Your speech was very well received, many delegates said that it broadened their horizons and awakened in them a new way of thinking.

The University of Wales

Verbal feedback was overwhelmingly positive towards Peter's presentation. Delegates were very impressed with his wide ranging presentation.... all were grateful that he has supplied a 35 page paper that people can investigate at their leisure. Comments focused on the 'food for thought' and 'inspiration' of his presentation.

VUW College of Education

Peter's presentation at our workshop was inspirational, challenging and providing a climate to get high level participants' heads into a futures thinking mode and in a way that related strongly to the topic of the workshop and general sustainability principles. He has a great repertoire of "sayings" that simply describe the principles he is putting forward.

Melbourne Water

Unfortunately I was unable to see Dr Peter Ellyards presentation, however my colleague rated it very highly. Aside from the presentation, Peter was a pleasure to deal with as a speaker, in the lead to my event. We were in contact in the weeks before, to ensure that everything was on track, that he was taking the right angle. He was also in contact the day after the event to let me know he was sorry I couldn't make it. Something I did not expect after "the job was done"

CPA Aust. (ACT Division)

Peter was a great speaker who was extremely effective in challenging and engaging the audience.

City of Melbourne - Melbourne Day Committee

Thank you for speaking at ASpa's third annual conference in Melbourne. The conference was a success, due in no small part to your contribution. Comments from delegates included… "Marc Cohen & Peter Ellyard… excellent." "Wonderful." "Dr Ellyard - 5 - especially the singing." "Peter Ellyard, Joe Stezzi and Samantha Foster were excellent. Fantastic quality of speakers." "He's outsanding and inspirational."

Australasian Spa Association

Dr Ellyard was a pleasure to work with. When we needed to change his session from a panel into a keynote only days before the event, he did so with grace. His keynote is delivered with such enthusiasm and joy that at lunch, the participants were enthusiastically discussing how to implement his ideas into their own companies.

Recruitment and Consulting Services Assoc.

Dr Peter Ellyard spoke at our Annual Awards for 2008 that was themed ‘Sustainable Communities’. The following day Peter also facilitated a workshop for some of our community peers, major clients and staff. In both settings, Peter was very dynamic, engaging and left everyone with much to think about. I’ve received many requests for copies of his presentation and for a date when his new book is to be released, that’s the level of interest and engagement he generated. Definitely highly recommend Peter if you are seeking a dynamic and engaging speaker!

East Gippsland Institute of TAFE

Peter related well to the audience. He was passionate and the overall response from conferences was extremely positive.

Dept of Education & Children's Services

Contracted him for two engagements - feedback from both was very good.

Queensland Secondary Principals Association

Engaging and motivational. Quite outstanding.

Thebarton Senior College

Very accommodating and professional. I highly recommend Peter as a speaker.

Aged and Community Care Victoria

He was fantastic. They really liked him.

Strategic Purchasing

Peter took on the brief and responded well to the challenge. He provided a thought provoking address and the feedback was very positive.

Institute of Public Works Engineering Aus. (NSW)

Peter was fantastic. All day people were commenting on how good his session was. From a planning perspective I found Peter very supportive, even arriving an hour or more early for his first session so I would be confident he was there. This is very reassuring for organisers. Peter was flexible and able to easily adapt to the facilitation of our pm session, even though this was not his particular content area. I am amazed at the amount of knowledge he has, which is a great advantage to whoever books his services.

Western Education & Training - Mental Health

Peter's presentation was inspiring and thought-provoking.

Peter's presentation was fabulous: the quotes and the message that flowed through the presentation were quite valuable especially. If you always do what you have always done, you are always going to get what you have always got!

Business Managers In Vic State Schools

The feedback our staff had for Peter's presentation and his later discussions with the team were universally full of praise. As anticipated Peter was able to inject a different perspective into the minds of our team as they began a week of professional development and this set the foundation of a successful week.

Absorb Environmental Solutions

Peter gave an insightful presentation that stimulated lots of conversation at our event. We would love the opportunity to work with Peter again in the future.


Peter's presentation at our workshop was inspirational and challenging. He provided a climate to get high level participants' heads into a futures thinking mode and in a way that related strongly to the topic of the workshop and general sustainability principles.

Melbourne Water
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