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Global futurist and innovation leader.

Accelerating change is creating more opportunities than ever before.

Ross Dawson works globally as a futurist, keynote speaker and strategy advisor, having delivered keynotes and strategy workshops in over 30 countries for leading organisations such as American Express, Coca-Cola, Commonwealth Bank, Dubai Ministry of Finance, Gartner, Google, IBM, KPMG, Macquarie Bank, Oracle, Procter & Gamble, PwC, Roche, Telstra and Visa.

Ross’s global reputation and extensive experience across a variety of industries around the world makes him a favourite keynote speaker for client conferences of major technology and professional service firms and for internal strategy meetings of boards, executives and extended management teams. His inspirational and pragmatic style in identifying specific opportunities and the potential of change and the future inspires conference audiences around the world.

Current work

Ross is a deeply inspiring keynote speaker focusing on the potential and opportunities of the future. He most commonly delivers highly customised opening keynotes, setting a visionary, highly positive frame, carefully aligned with the key themes and messages of the conference. He is also commonly called to do closing keynotes, looking forward to the potential and promise of the future. His deep experience in the realities of corporate change and innovation makes his insights engaging, practical and relevant to executives today.

Ross works extensively with boards of directors and executive teams on innovation and future-oriented strategy. He leads the Directing Innovation program of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and has run many innovation programs for Institute of Company Directors Malaysia (ICDM). He frequently speaks at or facilitates board and executive strategy offsites for major companies worldwide.

Ross also works as an MC, host and panel facilitator for events targeted at senior executives and professionals. Ross has facilitated client and media-facing events for a wide variety of leading organisations including Factiva, IBM, Oracle, Telstra and Toyota.

Ross is the founding chairman of the Advanced Human Technologies group of companies, including consulting and publishing firm Advanced Human Technologies, futures think-tank Future Exploration Network and Fraxios, a stealth technology startup focused on developing strategic collective intelligence.

Previous experience
Media commentator: Ross frequently appears in the media in Australia and globally, including in publications such as The New York Times, USA Today, Time, The Boston Globe, The Times of London, BBC, The Guardian, Le Monde, Die Welt, El País, Gulf News, Times of India, Australian Financial Review, The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald and TV channels including CNN, Bloomberg TV, ABC, SBS, SkyNews, Today, Sunrise, 7:30 Report and many more. He also hosted the first-ever podcast series by BBC Storyworks.

Media spokesperson: Ross has acted as a spokesperson in major future-oriented media campaigns for leading companies such as ANZ, Arnotts Campbell, Commonwealth Bank, Intel, Officeworks and Visa.

Author: Ross is author of four prescient books including the bestselling Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships, now out in its second edition, and the acclaimed Living Networks, which the New York Times credited as accurately predicted the social networking revolution.

Executive educator: Ross has run executive education programs or lectured at many leading institutions worldwide including Australian Graduate School of Management, University of Virginia, Singapore Institute of Management, Institute of Banking and Finance, and Singularity University in Silicon Valley.

Influencer: Ross has been named as one of the most influential people in the world on topics including the future of work, fintech, crowdfunding, and Enterprise 2.0, as well as one of the most influential keynote speakers worldwide on social media. Digital Media magazine has named Ross as one of the 40 biggest players in Australia’s digital age.

Corporate executive: Prior to founding his first company Ross worked for NCR, Merrill Lynch and Thomson Financial in Sydney, Tokyo and London, finally as Global Director - Capital Markets for Thomson, leading its worldwide division focusing on debt capital markets.

Talking Points

Keeping Ahead of Accelerating Change

Accelerating technological capabilities including the explosion of data and AI, revolutionary human-machine interfaces and genetic medicine, combined with soaring social and consumer expectations, are transforming many aspects of business including networked value creation and the nature of work. Those who are attuned to these shifts and understand how to build new capabilities and highly dynamic organisations will keep ahead of change and competitors and literally create the future of their industries.

Leadership for the Future

The future does not happen, it is created. Amid the deep challenges of a rapidly changing world are unprecedented opportunities to shape the future of industries and our society. In this world leaders at all levels will help conceive compelling, aligned visions of what is possible and mobilise the energy of teams and communities to enact powerful possibilities. They are able to adeptly balance the opportunities of innovation with the governance of risk and uncertainty, and inspire concerted action. Transformative leaders can design companies and ventures for positive impact, exponential growth and extraordinary value creation today and tomorrow.

The World in 2030

Peek into the future with a thrilling ride through the manifold possibilities and opportunities ahead during the most rapid shifts in human history. Building on the exponential progress of technology over the last decades, new possibilities such as smart dust, deep learning, immersive experience, cognitive augmentation, organic batteries, gene editing and additive manufacturing will transform work, society and indeed humanity. Extraordinary change is a given. It is up to us to focus on the immense positive opportunities ahead for us all, while acknowledging and addressing the challenges of disruptive change. The future is ours to create.

Creating the High-Performance Organisation of Tomorrow

The gap between the best-performing and least-performing organisations is increasing: those that are staying the same in a changing world are being left behind, while those that are adapting to change and seizing emerging opportunities are racing ahead. Traditional organisations are struggling, while high-performance organisations are constantly renewing themselves, shifting to dynamic network structures, drawing on diverse perspectives, building continuous learning and creating flexible, collaborative ways of working that tap the full potential of their employees. The most successful organisations will be those that attract and catalyse collective talent for growth and impact.

Success in the Network Economy: Driving Exponential Value in a Connected World

In a networked world, the rules of success change. Platforms that create value across ecosystems are at the centre of value creation today, providing the business model for the most successful companies on the planet, including Apple, Google, Amazon, Uber, AirBnB, Facebook, Atlassian and American Express, established leaders such as Nike, General Electric, Disney and Australia Post, and almost all of today’s successful startups. Strategy in a networked world requires shifting mindset and organisational capabilities to focus on creating value with customers, suppliers and partners. This provides a foundation for exponential growth, building global scale and transforming industries.

Humans + Machines: Creating the Future of Work

The history of humanity has been one of new technologies destroying and creating jobs. Today global always-on communication and the extraordinary rise of artificial intelligence are transforming the world of work. Rather than looking to replace jobs with AI, leaders must envisage how machines and humans will collaborate in their future organisations, each doing what they do best, and plan the necessary transition. Organisations will need to change substantially, moving away from rigid structures to fluid, flexible, collaborative roles across networked teams. Leaders need to focus on tapping the full potential of employees through a culture of participation, attracting talent and creating organisations in which humans and machines together far outstrip competitors and drive massive value creation.

Innovation Leadership

In a global economy driven by speed, intensifying competition and industry disruption, the only remaining sustainable advantage lies in consistent innovation. Networks, both inside and outside the organization, are the keys to successful innovation in products, business processes, and strategy. The world’s leading innovators understand they cannot be self-sufficient in innovation, making them adopt “open innovation” approaches that reach outside to a global world of talent. Directors and executives need to acknowledge the risks of innovation, but even more, the dire risks of not innovating. In the most innovative organisations, everyone plays a leadership role in driving innovation for success.

Creating the Future of Financial Services

Financial services industries are in the midst of dramatic disruption, driven by changing customer behaviours, the evaporation of trust, open banking, the rapid development of fintech, blockchain and digital currencies, competition from peer-to-peer models, regulatory shifts and industry consolidation. These shifts provide real challenges but also massive opportunities for the sector. The leaders and financial institutions that embrace and drive new approaches will thrive as financial services industries swiftly evolve.
This keynote can be adapted to a variety of financial services sectors, including banking, broking, financial markets, investment banking, wealth management, financial planning, insurance, reinsurance, private equity and others.

Zen and Technology: Being Happy and Productive in an Accelerating World

We live immersed in technology, using screens and devices for much of our work, play and socialising, and constantly barraged by accelerating change and massive information overload. This can place a real toll on our wellbeing, including our ability to focus and our enjoyment of life. Ross Dawson brings together his role as a world-leading futurist with his background living in a Zen centre in Japan and study of cognitive psychology to share a range of ‘human technologies’ that can assist us, helping us to live fully in the present while being highly productive and effective. This starts from our information habits, applying a few core principles to allow us to thrive on overload and use social media positively. By reclaiming our attention we are in fact far better placed to see change and create the future. Neuroscience has shown that how we use technology literally changes our minds. If we are conscious and deliberate in our use of technology we can make ourselves more productive, healthier, happier and better equipped for a rapidly changing world of work.
Ross' opening keynote was a fantastic kick-off for the conference. His twin themes of the importance of networking and emerging technology trends set the scene for a great event. Feedback on his presentation was consistently excellent. ANZA Technology Network

Ross Dawson is an engaging speaker with the ability to get people thinking beyond tomorrow. He spells out what it will take for businesses to succeed in the knowledge-based economy of the future, providing a practical framework that audiences from any services industry can understand.

Online Banking Review

Thank you again for speaking and being part of our recent Mindshop Australasian Conference in Melbourne. We had some terrific feedback to your session which certainly opened people’s eyes to the ‘opportunities’ available to them through future technologies and also what changes people will have to make to their existing business models / networks.


Ross spoke at a senior management team offsite themed about partnership models. His presentation stimulated our thinking on several levels. It challenged our preconceptions about the value of information, the adoption and adaptation of new technologies, the shifts in client relationships and the networked economy. His thoughts on leadership and communication were extremely valuable in promoting a lively discussion. Ross is an innovative thinker and has a practical and engaging approach to presenting his ideas and knowledge. His contribution to our offsite was one of the keys to making it such a success.

ABN Amro Australia

Ross Dawson delivered an outstanding speech at my CIO Summit. He was visionary, articulate and entertaining. Ross’ insights on the IT world were refreshing and out-of-box. Just having his name alone on the programme was enough to command our potential delegates to attend. He is efficient and a pleasure to work with. I will not hesitate to recommend him.

Conference Director, Professional Conference Organiser

Ross Dawson gave us a fabulous session at our partner offsite. There was great feedback from the partner group

Managing Partner, Law Firm
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