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Joel Barker
He brought you the importance of paradigms and the power of vision and now brings you new routes to innovation.
About Joel Barker:

Joel Barker is a futurist who has been on the cutting edge of ideas for more than 25 years. He was the first to popularize the concept of Paradigm shifts in 1975 and strategic vision in 1989. Most recently he is redefining the process of innovation and has developed a set of strategic exploration tools for discovering the long term implications of change.  He is one of the most sought after speakers in the world on the topic of change and vision. 

Formerly director of the Futures Studies Department of the Science Museum of Minnesota from 1975 to 1978, he has since spoken to almost one million people around the world. 

His best selling videos, several of which are available in 20 languages, have been called by Industry Week Magazine, one of the most influential series of programs in the business world. His paradigm film was just translated into Russian in 2006. 

His book, Future Edge, was listed as one of the most influential business books of 1992 by the prestigious Library Journal.  He has an honorary Ed.D. in visionary leadership from St. Mary’s University  in Minnesota and another from Concordia University. In 2006, he was named one of the 100 most distinguished educators from the University of Minnesota’s College of Education for the past 100 years.

His most recent book, Five Regions of the Future, co-authored with Dr. Scott W. Erickson was published in June of 2005. 

Two quotes from his work:   For all of us: "You can and should shape your own future; because if you don't, someone else surely will." For leaders: “No one will thank you for taking care of the present if you neglected the future.

Innovation at the Verge
How Your Organization can create Better ideas faster!
Innovation is finally being appreciated for its ongoing importance in every aspect of business and society. Joel Barker has found a new source for innovation in the 21st century.

In this presentation he will explain how to find, explore,  and use this new territory of innovation. He will show how Mother Nature has been using this territory for over 500 million years, and then show how it works for humans. 

He will illustrate his theory with real life examples from many industries around the world. 


  • A new source of innovation for your organization
  • A new approach  to producing  innovation on a regular basis
  • Specific examples to illustrate the theory
  • An exercise for finding the “innovation territory” for your own organization 

Speech can be customized for clients and can last from 30 minutes to 90 minutes and can have interactive elements.  This is the subject of my new film, due out spring 2008  

Five Regions of the Future
A New Way to Look at Technology
Based on the book by Joel Barker and Dr. Scott Erickson, this presentation offers a fundamentally new way to look at the evolution of technology. 

Did you know there are three shades of Green? If your company is looking into sustainable technology, you need to understand the difference.  Do you know what “Human Tech” is all about? If you are operating in the field of medicine, you need to know. This presentation will give you a whole new way to catalog your own technologies and those of your competitors.  


  • New ways of thinking about the future
  • New information of innovations and trends
  • New leadership skills for improve organizational vision  

This presentation can be broadly customized to emphasize any of the above segments. 45 minutes to 2 hours.  

Leading in the 21st Century
New ways, New Tools, New Results 
Key elements for being a 21st century leader are very different from the 20th century. Among the differences will be:

  • A better understanding of emerging technology and trends
  • Understanding how improved productivity is a key to world competition
  • New methodologies for anticipating unintended consequences, both short term and long term
  • A deeper understanding of the power and leverage of vision  


  • New ways of thinking about the future
  • New information of innovations and trends
  • New leadership skills for improve organizational vision

This presentation can be framed from 45 minutes to 2 hours as a speech. It can be shortened by removing some of the elements. It can also add interactive elements to engage the audience. This presentation can be broadly customized to emphasize any of the above segments.

Finding the Future Faster
How can I get more information about the future in a more timely fashion without hiring a special staff to do it? This presentation focuses on:

  • Joel Barker’s “Strategic Exploration tools” which use staff already in place to find the future faster.
  • The basic thesis of this presentation is that with just a couple of changes in information gathering structure, you can engage your associates in simple systems that will increase the amount of useful information gathered significantly at almost no added cost.

This presentation overviews the idea of Strategic Exploration and then teaches two of the processes for exploration. 


  • Understanding the difference between strategic exploration and strategic planning
  • The “Possibilities Cone” framework for understanding how new ideas are brought to reality
  • A process: Trend Interrogation for testing the importance of emerging trends
  • A process: TIPS™ Teams for collecting information from the environment cheaply

This Presentation/workshop can be used with large groups and small groups. The TIPS™ Team exercise max’s out at 100 participants. I could do a main tent presentation to 500 on this and then do a breakaway to teach the small group workshops. This presentation has great time flexibility. One hour to four hours 

The Power of Vision: An Update
There is a lot more to understanding vision than just what Jim Collins has written about. Joel Barker, who introduced the importance of vision to corporate America starting in 1985 shows you the qualitative side of vision that all leaders need to know:

  • How to quickly assess someone’s attitude toward the future using the Polak Grid
  • How hope and vision are intertwined
  • How the mass media influences your vision of the future depending on your culture
  • How to inoculate your people with long term hope


  • The Polak Grid as a simple measurement device for vision
  • A process for finding positive images of the future
  • An understanding of the language of hope

Future Edge, William Morrow, 1990
Paradigms: the Business of Discovering the Future, HarperCollins, 1992
Five Regions of the Future, Portfolio/Penguin, 2006 

Discovering the Future: the Business of Paradigms, Charthouse, 1986
Discovering the Future: the Power of Vision, Charthouse, 1989
Discovering the Future: Paradigm Pioneers, Charthouse, 1991
Discovering the Future: the Paradigm Principles, Charthouse, 1994
Paradigm Mastery Series, Star Thrower, 1997
Tactics of Innovation, Star Thrower, 1998
Leadershift, Star Thrower, 1999
Wealth, Innovation & Diversity, Star Thrower, 2000
The New Business of Paradigms, Star Thrower, 2001

Travels from :
Main Topics :
Innovation, Strategic Planning, Education, Technology, Vision/Purpose, Future
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