Greg Williams

Editor-in-Chief, WIRED Magazine

Greg Williams
  • Transformative trends expert who knows what’s next first
  • Distills complex changes into entertaining, engaging, and accessible insights
  • Challenges audiences to rethink business models in ways that capitalize on disruptive technologies

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Greg Williams is an authority on technology trends and the ways they impact business and society. As editor-in-chief of WIRED magazine, Greg meets the innovators, thinkers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and creatives who are changing the world and writes on a variety of subjects, including innovation, technology, business, creativity, and ideas. The annual trends report he edits, WIRED World, is essential is seen as an essential briefing for senior leaders who want to understand the forces shaping the global business.

Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities, Inc. speakers bureau, he possesses a unique combination of storytelling expertise and an in-depth knowledge of the future of technology and how it will impact every sector of business. This enables him to transform complex information into entertaining and accessible insights that prepare audiences for what’s coming next. Greg primarily speaks on what’s new and what’s next and how organisations and individuals can best prepare themselves for what’s on the horizon. He also has extensive experience as a conference facilitator and moderator, having interviewed world leaders and CEOs of some of the world’s best-known companies.

He speaks on the technology and trends shaping the world, from artificial intelligence to the blockchain, sustainability to fintech, cybersecurity to personalized healthcare, automation and robotics to the space industry, the future of work to the next wave of disruptive forces impacting every organisation. In every presentation, Greg identifies the challenges and opportunities for organizations in every sector to innovate in an accelerating culture where norms are shifting.

Having delivered incisive, actionable insights, Greg’s dynamic presentations have received praise from clients in multiple areas of industry, including finance, retail, travel, healthcare, apparel, software, manufacturing, mobility, security, energy and consulting.

Spending his days scanning the horizon for world-changing technologies, ideas and companies, Greg is constantly on the lookout for genuinely transformative trends. His dynamic presentation style enables his audiences not only to understand these shifts, but also inspires them to implement the changes they need to make in order to move their businesses and brands forward is a fast-changing landscape.

Greg has delivered keynote speeches at technology and corporate events throughout Europe, North America and Asia. He has interviewed CEO-level business-people at both private and public events and has moderated panels with executives from FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies at high-profile conferences and private gatherings. Greg enjoys an international career – he has lived in both London and New York – and travels regularly in search of the people and ideas that are transforming our world. In the past few months he has delivered keynotes, moderated panels and facilitated conferences in Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East.

His essay on neuroeconomics was featured alongside essays by Bill Gates and Joseph Stiglitz in the book, Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. Greg's success as a long-form storyteller in novels – he has had six published – and journalism means that he has a particular interest and expertise in the power and role of content as traditional media channels transform and new ones proliferate.

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Greg Williams: Reinventing Mobility

Greg Williams Interviews Former Prime Minister Tony Blai

Greg Williams: Biggest Lessons in Tech Today

2018 London Showcase Recap

VIRTUAL OFFERING: The Future of Work – Gaining Competitive Advantage in the Post-COVID Era. The past few weeks and months have witnessed the biggest experiment in working practices and business realignment since the beginning of the information age, as millions of people have begun to work virtually. This enormous change in the way that enterprises operate has led to many organisations re-assessing much of what they assumed about their business practices and the efficiency of their workforces, questioning where investments should be made in the enterprise and how they measure productivity in circumstances that require adaptability and fresh thinking.

Most organisations with the capability to work remotely have learned – remarkably – that productivity has remained the same or increased during the period of working from home. In this respect, technology and human ingenuity has created a new normal, one that is likely to impact the way we work and – crucially – where and how we work, for months and maybe years to come. But there are also significant questions that need to be asked. How will our workplaces change and how will we use office space? How will teams maintain the sense of purpose and togetherness once this enforced period comes to an end? How will new ways of working impact innovation and the generation of new ideas?

In this presentation, Greg will share insights and best practices to enable organisations to emerge from this challenging period with new ways of working that will offer a strategic advantage. He will discuss:

  • Which of the new working practices will stick – and which won’t.
  • Why purpose must be at the core of everything your organisation does.
  • How to manage teams in the era of virtual working.
  • Why organisations need to press reset with their people.
  • Why futureproofing your business is more important than ever.
  • How to integrate increased automation within organisations.
  • Maintaining culture in a tech-driven organisation.
  • Moving KPIs from productivity to adaptability.
  • Why speed and agility will be the hallmarks of successful enterprises.
  • How to build resilience within the enterprise to prepare for future business disruption.
  • How organisations should think about innovation in the post-COVID era.
  • What the workplace of the future looks like in the era of ‘distributed work’

VIRTUAL OFFERING: Successful Leadership in the Post-COVID Era. The coronavirus pandemic has meant that managers face unprecedented challenges. Decisions need to be made with urgency in order to adapt to current operating conditions. The choices of today will have an outsized impact on the business, so it’s clear that organisations need leadership, not just management. This is because the disruption to business-as-usual also presents a significant opportunity for organisations to rethink their purpose and to shift priorities in order to adapt to new realities. Workers are open to this: a recent Ipsos Mori piece of research demonstrated that the majority of people trust the leaders of their companies more than their government.

In this virtual presentation, Greg will discuss what he’s learned from the dozens of business leaders from across the globe he’s spoken to since the beginning of the pandemic. Having interviewed leaders in a variety of industries – from technology (including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadellato financial services, healthcare to retail in territories across the globe – Greg shares learnings and best practices that can be applied to any organisation preparing itself for what’s next. Topics covered will include:

  • Why the ability to adapt and pivot will be a key strategic advantage.
  • Leading and communicating with distributed workforces.
  • The expectations post-COVID workforces have of leadership.
  • How principles and values will replace hard objectives.
  • Why trust, empathy, and agility will be the most powerful currencies for successful leaders.
  • How leaders can best position teams to drive innovation in the post-COVID era.
  • Driving cultural change through collaboration and technology adoption.
  • Why now is the time to launch new products and services.

The Technology Trends Disrupting Your Business & How To Flourish In The Digital Age. If your organisation hasn’t been disrupted yet, it’s only a matter of time before someone rethinks your business. From commerce to banking, energy to automotive, finance to travel, every vertical has changed beyond recognition over the past decade. Greg argues that the pace of change will accelerate even further in the coming years as technology and data are used in unprecedented ways and that the only way to thrive in this dynamic environment is to embrace change.

In this fascinating talk, Greg looks at the key trends in technology, science, and ideas that every organisation needs to know about, from artificial intelligence (AI) to virtual reality (VR), the rise of the millennials to how every organisation is now a software business, why external data offers unparalleled opportunities for enterprise, why the blockchain could be as powerful as the internet, to the end of ‘top down’ businesses and the rise of mission-driven enterprises. This is a talk that is guaranteed to enable organisations to prepare for the future and to make the most of emerging opportunities.

Cyber Security & Emerging Threats. Today, every organisation is in the software business—this means great opportunities, but also significant vulnerabilities as the more connections there are on the network, the more chances there are for the bad guys. Digital ubiquity has left us vulnerable, whether that’s personal (one study suggested that there were 885 million data breaches in the US in 2019), societal—such as the power grid being compromised—or our civic institutions coming under attack from state actors. Technology offers us not only the opportunity to tackle some of the greatest challenges known to man, it also means we are subject to significant, emerging threats—the dangers are many and significant and will only increase as nascent technologies such as wearables and the internet of things become mainstream. In this arresting talk, Greg—who curates WIRED’s highly-respected Security conference—examines emerging threats from hackers, criminals and foreign actors and defines the hazards of the future – from biology to satellites – that every individual and organization needs to be aware of.

The World is Spiky, Not Flat: How Geography, Politics and Technology Will Shape the Future.The digitisation of economies famously brought about the idea that you could hire someone in Iceland to look after your computing stack, run your business through an Estonian identity, outsource back office operations to India and manufacture your products in a Chinese factory you’ve never visited. The world, it was said, was levelling up and flattening out.
While, to some degree, this remains true, 15 years after the publication of Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, the fracturing of the US-China relationship, the rise of populism in Europe, Brexit, a nationalist India and Russia potentially decoupling itself from the global network could lead to a fracturing of the internet. We think of the internet as a monolith – but it’s actually a tangle of systems, protocols, standards, hardware and organisations, a group of entities that are all being influenced by a fractious operating environment.

Similarly, global organisations are now being impacted by events on the other side of the world: hardware manufacturers revised their forecasts after the outbreak of coronavirus in China, the territory where their goods are manufactured. Following the devastating fires in Australia, institutional investors – under pressure to decarbonise their portfolios – have examined their relationships with European software manufacturers powering Australian coal mining operators. Geography now matters more than it has since the digital era began.

With the US boycotting Huawei technology and banning the Chinese social platform Tik Tok from government-issue phones, the ramping up of regulation from Brussels and Berlin, increasing incidents of governments requesting that user data must be stored on local servers and the UK leaving the EU, technology and geopolitics are increasingly intertwined. The UK government's decision to make Huawei part of the UK’s 5G network has become a source of tension between London and Washington, a relationship already tested by the latter’s announcement that it would introduce a digital services tax that will impact US technology companies. Information warfare practiced by rogue states, facial recognition technology, the introduction of digital currencies such as Libra – which could undermine central banks – and issues such as privacy, anti-trust, and the ethics needed to safely implement artificial intelligence, all require international cooperation, policy alignment and cross-border governance. In this timely and compelling talk, Greg demonstrates that technology, politics and international affairs are now intertwined as never before and that how this plays out will shape economies and geopolitical alignment for years to come.
 
Your Corporate Social Responsibility Program Isn’t Enough: Why Today’s Organisations Will Succeed by Becoming Purpose Driven. Today’s decision makers must shift from focussing on shareholders to having purpose at their core. "Today's culture of quarterly earnings hysteria is totally contrary to the long-term approach we need." This isn’t a quote from an idealistic politician, it’s the words of Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest investor with $4.6 trillion in assets. Fink’s words echo a significant new trend in business—the move from organisations needing to be driven by more than just the pursuit of profit in order to achieve success. A significant number and range of businesses—from start-ups like Warby Parker, to multinationals such as Unilever—are embracing the idea that being ‘mission-driven’ will be a necessity for forward-thinking organisations.

Over the past two years different factors have combined that fundamentally challenge the idea of what large companies do. The climate crisis, MeToo movement, increased awareness of income inequality and an understanding that diversity and inclusion are not just an item for the corporate social responsibility (CSR) check-list have combined to fundamentally realign the fundamentals of large organisations around new sets of values beyond fiduciary duty to shareholders.

In August last year, Business Roundtable – a DC-based industry group whose members include the CEOs of the largest companies in the US – released a statement with a renewed mission, one that put customers and employees before shareholders and pledged commitment to diversity and inclusion.

2019 also marked increased activity from employees of large tech companies worried about the ethical implications of their technology and the inaction of the boards to take a meaningful stand on issues such as climate change. Some organisations such as Microsoft, have made bold commitments, believing that this isn't just about ethics, it offers competitive advantage. Meanwhile, the B Corp movement – companies that seek profit but are certified to environmental and social-impact standards – continue to grow and demonstrate that having purpose at their core and clear environmental, social and governance can help drive growth, increase employee engagement and make organisations attractive to investors.

This trend will only accelerate, with institutional investors being put under pressure to ensure that they are decarbonising their portfolio, smart employers changing mindset to view employee welfare as an investment rather than a cost, consumers abandoning brands that take a stand on issues such as the environment, diversity and ethical practices in the marketplace. 2020 marks what the UN has described as the "decade for delivery" for its sustainable delivery goals, meaning that we will see a shift from light-touch CSR not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it will be the key to growing market share and profitability and winning the war for young talent. In this engrossing and powerful presentation Greg examines this accelerating trend and offers insights into organisations that are implementing long-term thinking, establishing meaningful goals and pursuing positive change.

 

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