Joint Plenary

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Strategic Futures
David M. Zach

Strategic Futures is a talk to help you connect the bottom-line with the horizon. Whether you're an IT manager, an administrator, an educator or just somebody who every day has to think about the winds of change, this talk will help you know the difference between the passing fads, working trends – and even the enduring principles that have stood the test of time.

As an internationally-recognized futurist, David Zach can help you think about the future from a fairly down-to-earth point of view. He'll talk about fads and trends as well as traditions and time-honored principles. He'll explain how logistics and design are the two forces driving today's innovation – and what happens when those two learn to dance. From the rise of big data to the fall of national borders, from MOOCs to memes, and from the automation of things you've never thought possible to the enduring value of working with your hands, this talk is about making sense of the not-too-distant future. Bring your skepticism, your imagination, and your questions.

David Zach is one of the few professionally-trained futurists on the planet. (He actually has a degree in futurism – from a real university too!) He's spoken to over 1400 professional audiences from around the world. For the past three years, he's been on the national board of the American Institute of Architects. His website is You can follow him on Twitter: @DavidZach

BIOGRAPHY: David Zach is one of the few professionally trained futurists on this planet, having earned a master's degree in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Of course, this was way back in the 1980s, so it's pretty much history by now. Since then, Dave has worked with over 1400 associations, corporations and colleges offering insights on the personal and professional impact of strategic trends. In other words, he gives funny and thought-provoking keynote speeches on the future of technology, economics, business, education, demographics and society.

He reads a lot – and he reads a lot more about the past than he does about the future. He knows that change is vital but it's also overrated and in this time of tumultuous change, it's far more important that we find the things that don't change and shouldn't change. Tradition and change are really choices, and we are only prepared to choose wisely when we look far and wide for causes, implications and lasting value.

Dave has only had two real jobs; one with Northwestern Mutual and the other with Johnson Controls in the roles of environmental scanning and strategic planning. Along the way, he taught Future Studies in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Since 1987, he mostly sits and read everything he can and then designs fascinating presentations that leave people either engaged in vivid conversations or quietly reflecting on what it all means. He gives talks about 50 times a year and really wishes he would write more. He is the author of two books, so far.

Dave is on the board of the American Institute of Architects and on the board of the American Chesterton Society. Past activities include: Wisconsin Small Business Development Center Advisory Council, AIA-WI Board, Future Milwaukee Advisory Board, Community Advisory Board for NPR station WUWM, board member of eInnovate, member of the downtown Rotary Club of Milwaukee, and chairman of the Goals for Greater Milwaukee 2000 Education Committee.