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Greg Lindsay

As the Director of Research for Montréal-based NewCities, Greg is an expert on everything urban — how we will live, work, play, and move in a post-COVID world. He is a fast-paced, compelling speaker who wows audiences with energy-and-visuals crossed with the depth and breadth of his material — which also covers climate change, trade, technology, and more.

Besides his work for NewCities, he is a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative, a senior fellow of MIT’s Future Urban Collectives Labs, and a visiting scholar at New York University.

He hosts the “Big Rethink” on YouTube with special guests and a recap of the week in urbanism, along with CoMotion LIVE — a biweekly Webinar series on the future of urban mobility. He is also a two-time Jeopardy! champion and the only human to go undefeated against IBM’s Watson.

A short video overview of Greg Lindsay's keynote presentations and interactive workshops.

Keynotes Golden Microphone icon

The Big Rethink: Cities After COVID-19

Cities are done. The office is dead. Delivery is the future. At least two of these are wrong — but why? COVID-19 will eventually be tamed by a vaccine, but work-from-anywhere is here to stay. That doesn’t mean the end of the office, but whole new ways of working closer to home — with more fluid organizations to match. And that, in turn, means rethinking who and what cities are for — forget downtowns vs. suburbs and imagine a life more local, with everything you need at home or only a few minutes’ walk-, cycle-, or ride away. Behind the scenes, technology is turning restaurants and retail inside-out through deliveries, “dark stores” and automation — threatening main streets, mom-and-pops, and real estate as we know it. Drawing on his research and foresight work for NewCities, the Atlantic Council, MIT’s Future Urban Collectives Lab, and months of post-pandemic research, Greg Lindsay explodes the myths around COVID-19 and explains why the future isn’t as socially-distanced as you might think.

Autonomous Everything: AI, the Future, and What We Can Do About It

The robots are coming – not to steal your job, but to invent entirely new ones. Advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and automation all point toward an autonomous world – one in which perception, prediction, and action are embedded in machines. Autonomy will not only transform how we work, but also we how move, think, discover, decide, and deceive. What we consume — as well as how we produce, transport, and market it — may take strange new turns as robots increasingly predict, suggest and prepare to help us eat do it. In this wide-ranging and eye-opening talk on the promise and perils of AI, author and futurist Greg Lindsay explores how autonomy is already upending society — and how we can use it to build a better world.

Where the Robot Meets the Road

A decade ago, self-driving cars were science fiction leftover from The Jetsons. Today, Google and Tesla are leading a breakneck autonomous arms race, as the global auto industry races to build electric AVs at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. But a self-driving SUV may prove to be the horseless carriage of autonomy – rapidly eclipsed by new species of self-driving scooters, deliverybots, and buildings with a mind of their own. How are these technologies already transforming the way we see, understand, and get around cities? How have they helped China, Japan, and Korea mitigate the worst effects of the coronavirus lockdown? What effects will they have on where we live, work and play, and what are the opportunities and threats for automakers, technology firms, public transit, employers, and developers? Drawing upon his work with BMW, Intel, MIT, the Bloomberg Philanthropies, Aspen Institute, and the NewCities Foundation, Greg Lindsay offers a tour of future urban mobility and how they promise to transform our cities in the coming decades.

The Future of the Future

The future isn’t what it used to be. As the pace of social, technological, and environmental change accelerates, organizations are struggling just to make sense of the present, let alone spot threats and opportunities looming just over the horizon. The ability to anticipate, understand, plan for, and innovate around uncertainty has become a critical skill for designers, innovators, and strategists everywhere. As the computing pioneer Alan Kay once said, “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Futurist, author and NewCities director of applied research Greg Lindsay will teach a crash course in exactly that. The practice of creating futures, or “foresight,” offers a toolkit and framework for detecting signals of change, organizing insights, synthesizing possible futures, identifying potential barriers and opportunities, and designing innovative products, services or ideas that satisfy emerging needs. In addition to lecturing on possible futures, Greg is available to lead participants through a fun, fast-paced workshop in which they create futures of their own.

Engineering Serendipity

How do we bring the right people and the right ideas to the right place at the right time to create something new, when we don’t know who or where, or when that is, let alone what we’re looking for? This is the paradox of innovation — new ideas don’t follow org charts or schedule themselves for meetings. Greg Lindsay describes how organizations like Google, the U.S. Military Academy, United Health Group, and the International Red Cross are “engineering serendipity.” They’re harnessing sensors, social networks, and new ways of working to break down the boundaries between new teams, discover new ideas, inspire collaboration and creativity, and spur employee engagement, learning, and innovation. How, where, and who we work with will never be the same.

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