The thing to know about my keynote titles is that they’re really placeholders. They express a central theme about the talk. The actual content is always determined through conversations with the client. In other words, I don’t do canned talks. Every talk is different, even if the title remains the same.

Below are keynote titles, with an explanation of the theme. See the post for topics to see what I can say within my talks.

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An Owner’s Guide to the Future

is entertaining and thought-provoking, and is typically positioned to launch the conference by getting people laughing, thinking and talking. Do we really want vacuum cleaners that can argue with us? Will the automation of health care lead to the automation of caring? And, how come teenagers can pay attention to ten things at once and still be, like, bored? David Zach asks some funny questions. In his thought-provoking tour of modern times he’ll offer some useful answers that will get people talking. With a friendly style and a little bit of midwestern charm, he’ll help you face the future with a solid sense of hope and inspiration.

As one of the very few professionally trained futurists on the planet, David Zach blends the funny with the profound in this surprisingly practical keynote to help you decide what really matters. You’ll rethink the balance between change and tradition – and the need to hold on to that which shouldn’t change. At the end, you’ll find yourself either thoughtfully quiet or engaged in some of the best conversations you’ve ever had at a meeting. David may not be the futurist you expected, but he is the one you’ll remember.

Fads, Trends & Principles

Play with Fads, Work with Trends, Live by Principles. That’s what we should do, but unfortunately mostly we are Seduced by Fads, Ignorant of Trends and in Denial of Principles. An age of information, which is really an age of communication, which is really an age of attention – means that what you pay attention to becomes what you are. In this presentation (which can also be presented as a three-hour interactive keynote or as a follow-up workshop) you’ll learn the strategic and tactical differences between Fads, Trends and Principles and how to protect and direct that most valuable of resources – your attention. For more on this idea, check out these handouts Fads Trends & Principles and this Fads, Trends & Principles bookmark.

Designs on the Future

The future depends upon design and designers need to understand how important their role is in building that future. Some have said that the future requires us to be open to change, but futurist David Zach disagrees. It’s not that simple. In order to build a good future we must know how to hold on to the best of the past and make sure we learn from the lessons of history.

It should be clear that not all change is progress and not all tradition is outdated. Survival and progress depend on our ability to choose between change and tradition. Again, designers are some of the best prepared to make those choices clear for others. It’s time that they regained leadership positions for shaping the choices we must make.

This presentation is a fascinating (and rather irreverent) look at the trends and traditions affecting design and the roles that architects, designers and planners can have over the next ten years. David’s recent role as a Public Director on the board of American Institute of Architects and as a popular speaker at design events gives him particularly good insight on what are the possibilities for the future of the design professions.

Strategic Futures

This one’s packed with more practical content for those needing to think about the bottom line as well as the horizon. Whether you’re an owner, a free agent, a manager or just somebody who likes to think a lot about the future, you need to pay attention to both the bottom line and the horizon. With a focus on the practical and the possible, this is a down-to-earth look at key strategic trends: from the Internet of Things to the blurring of national borders, from virtual workplaces to virtually unlimited information, and even from the automation of health care to the automation of things you’ve never believed possible. If you need to do some deep thinking about choices, forecasts and how you’ll navigate tomorrow, David Zach is the futurist with the breadth of experience and interests to help you make unexpected and valuable connections that will affect your industry.

An Educator’s Guide to the Future

It’s been said that “First we shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” As a futurist, David Zach will offer some insights on what those tools are that are just over the horizon (or behind closed doors) and how they might be both used for good as well as for harm – affecting everything they encounter.

So what will students be facing when school ends and their work futures begin? (Or will School be an endless process?) Will the work they imagine be outsourced to China or India or be downsourced into machines that will be in their neighborhoods? What new inventions will let them do so much more than they can do today? Why is there such an explosion of innovation and will it continue?

Will the students (and their teachers and parents) be so distracted that they might not even notice? Will we lose the ability and the appreciation for eloquence, let alone for face to face communication? What’s the future of multitasking? Are we retraining our brains to successfully pay attention to many things at once — or as author Maggie Jackson suggests, is the erosion of attention bringing on the new Dark Ages? How come kids can be doing ten things at once and still be, like, bored? David Zach asks a lot of interesting questions, and when cornered on stage, he’s been known to give some funny answers. With a focus on the practical, possible and preferable, he’ll share with you a down-to-earth look at what’s going on today and where it seems to be going. When he’s finished with the talk, you still won’t know tomorrow’s lottery numbers, but you might just have a better idea of where to invest your time, attention and attitudes about the future. Let internationally-renowned futurist David Zach be your guide to the not too distant future.