Craig Wing

Tagline: Digital Futurist

Talent Highlights

  • 2 Provisional patents: vision systems and computer components
  • 5 Companies started, including a non-profit in Silicon Valley
  • +1,000 entrepreneurs advised/mentored
  • 50,000 Websites created in One year, one every ten minutes
  • Coauthor of two books, one a #1 on Amazon, working on 3rd book
  • Advised Google X: Alphabet’s “Innovation Lab”

Keynote Topics

In a world that is moving quicker and quicker, the key dependency for success is your ability to lead. How do you navigate the exponential changes isn’t just a matter of your intellect, abilities or leadership but often how others view you and your ability to at in times of crises. In Alice in Wonderland, she enters the mirror to see how others view her and through her journey emerges more informed about the world around her.

In Through the Looking Glass, we examine three key ways to understand how your team (and yourself) believe you lead:

  • Imagine how your team views you
  • Imagine how others judge your motives, performance, and values
  • Imagine how they view you based off your past decisions.

To examine parallels between your leadership we will examine such leaders as Steve Jobs, Jacinda Ardern, Donald Trump and Elon Musk: How are they perceived by their people, what do they stand for and, most importantly, why being vulnerable is the new success metric for leadership success. We will examine your potential blind spots, biases and how living to the expectations of others and your own past will lead you down a path of failure. 

This keynote is especially important with a changing workforce (Millennials, Gen Z and different cultures, diversity and life lenses) with different value sets, priorities and levers. As we move into a more distributed, decentralized workforce your ability to be challenged, naked and vulnerable will determine if you are successful. 

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” – Peter Drucker 

I don’t completely agree – it’s finding the right culture to allow your people to succeed that counts, only then does strategy and culture harmonize. That’s the key lesson in this keynote: understand how to find the nexus of culture, strategy and leadership and how all three must work to create world beating companies.

We all know that Google is one of the most successful and admired companies in the world, with an iconic culture that attracts 10,000 job applications a day from the brightest minds on the planet – and delivers excellent profits! But what makes it unique? Is it because they create great products, or because they have a great culture?

But we know that building a powerful culture is really difficult – a culture that attracts and keeps the best people; that drives the bottom line and that differentiates you in the most competitive market we have ever seen.

So – what did Google do from the time they started in a garage in Silicon Valley to now, as a 55,000-employee global company, with a market cap in excess of One Trillian dollars – yes, 1,000 billion!!! …and one of the most admired brands on the planet that attracts over 10,000 job applications a day? In this keynote, I’ll share secrets from within the Googleplex that I experienced first hand the head of small business marketing at Google South Africa and advised GoogleX as the first African Googler. 

What is a Flash Forward and how do you create it? Perhaps the most popular example Charles Dickens’, a Christmas Carol where Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come and shows Scrooge the inevitable path his future will be unless he changes. Scrooge learns to change his ways to alter the trajectory of his present.

 These Flash Forward event can be created by understanding how the future may look and then adjusting our business strategy and process to be successful in this future. Leaders need to understand the fundamental forces shaping their trajectory to correct by “backcasting” (my PhD research area) back to today and create Flash Forward Insights.

What would you have done with your business if 10 years ago you were able to see the oncoming game changes like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain or, even just, digitization? How would you have orientated your business to with insights from Flash Forward Insights?  What would your business model be if could have anticipated (and acted upon) the decentralized economy, exponential business? The advantage to capitalize on those moments in time may have passed, but how will you capitalize on Flash Forward Insights from the next 10 years?

Some themes we explore include:

  • The technology at your Fingertips: What is coming that will disrupt and set you up for failure or success?
  • What are the Business Models to scale: How has digitization made speed and experience the expectation, not the premium and how do you create from the customer perspective
  • Your customer of the future: What will your customer of tomorrow demand? What technology do you need to invest in today, to prepare for the next-generation marketplace?
  • Emerging workforce of the future: How do you toggle to a quazi-work from home business?
  • What are the values driving this shift?
  • Human in the Machine: What does it mean to be “human” as we rely more on technology? Will it replace us wholesale, or can we reframe by analyzing tasks to focus on what makes human?

Inherent in the above is how will you, as a leader, traverse the current future by being nimble, responsive and learn from Flash Forward Insights?

In astronomy, the event horizon is a point where light can no longer escape the pull of a black hole. In mainstream parlance it’s the point of no return; the Rubicon moment where things will never be the same. In March 2020, the world experienced this Event Horizon with the global spread of COVID-19. Since then, the world has fundamentally shifted where every aspect of our business, personal and value system must be re-evaluated and recalibrated.

For leaders, this created a pause and reflect moment, where the key was survival and those that were able to pivot the quickest were the most successful. In this thought provoking and insightful keynote, we examine how COVID-19 has been both the great accelerant forcing leaders to adapt (e.g. digital) and the great revealer showing what we truly value (e.g. lives or livelihoods).

We will unpack key insights such as:

  • The impact of COVID-19 such as remote work, value shifts and how technology may bring amount new changes
  • Asynchronous communication, synchronous value chains and orchestrating value
  • How do you anticipate Black Swans like COVID-19
  • Why flexibility is better than prediction and how to create anti-fragility into your business

No doubt COVID-19 will be first of many wildcards that change our business trajectory and present even more Event Horizons. The leaders that succeed will be those that can not only anticipate these moments, but yearn for them to create further competitive positions. 

Almost everything about technology now seems to mention Artificial Intelligence (AI) whether it’s the new fridge that predicts when you’re out of milk, AI beating humans in games, or the oncoming onslaught from AI and how they will make us irrelevant! But how much of this is hype? What are AI’s real applications?

In this Keynote, I’ll cover the basics of AI in simple to understand language to understand the “so what” implications using  engineering insights to provide real understanding. Whether you run a manufacturing plant, financial services company, or legal firm (and anything in between) AI has the potential to be a profound game changer – either making you irrelevant or providing you with the tools to leverage it’s strengths while you focus on your core capabilities of being human. 

It’s a fun, interesting and challenging keynote that will cause you to pause and think about the profound implications of AI, and how or why not to use AI in your business, life and everywhere!

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)… the next big thing right? There is so much discussion on what it is and how it will be the next driver for business, society and government. How if you’re a “developing” country you can capitalise on this to “leapfrog” and if you’re a “developed” country you need to carry on lest you be left behind in the global race of dominance. It’s become an over used term, describing anything about technology (the what) – but it’s much more. There are the business models (the how) that use these technologies like platform economics and the experience economy. Why is this happening now? Could it me be a move to a world beyond capitalism, one that loves more and is more human?

In Africa and other developing countries, is this even a reality where two of the key technology dependencies: electricity and connectivity are neither widespread or affordable? Where the majority are still doing agriculture by hand (2nd industrial age) and even more advanced economies only now adopting digitisation- that means you haven’t even transitioned into the 3rd Industrial age!

What is 4IR really about? How can you think beyond these paradigms to consider what comes after the 4IR – an Age of Humanness. This keynote explores these very important ideas and will explain much of the new operating system in business and society today.

Travels From:

  • Johannesburg, SA

Fee Range:

  • Fees: R50,000 - R75,000



Video 1

For two decades, Craig Wing has 500+ keynotes to 5,000 global leaders and executives to understand, create and design their ideal futures through imagineering and futures thinking. His expertise include emergent futures thinking, scenario planning, disruptive technologies, emergent business models, company culture and new world of work. He’s spoken at length on the Fourth Industrial […]

For two decades, Craig Wing has 500+ keynotes to 5,000 global leaders and executives to understand, create and design their ideal futures through imagineering and futures thinking. His expertise include emergent futures thinking, scenario planning, disruptive technologies, emergent business models, company culture and new world of work.

He’s spoken at length on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and Africa’s preparedness to drive this. He converted his car to electric: creating the future, versus merely talking about it! He rejected the chance to head one of Branson’s companies to focus on enhancing South Africa (ZA) and volunteers time mentoring the next generation of leaders.

Craig consulted to the United Nations to create 2050 scenarios for the Nigerian government, moderated the 10th BRICs summit on 4IR with H.E. President’s Xi, Putin and Ramaphosa & PM Modi and delivered a keynote on “the role of disruptive technology to meet the SDG’s.”

He’s hosted sessions at the African Innovation Symposium, head of Innovation for B4SA as ZA recovered Covid-19, adjunct professor at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Duke Corporate Education and others. Clients include UNAIDS, Deloitte, Audi, Tata, Shell, MTN, Airbus, Danone, Nestle, Anglo American, Microsoft, Fidelity, Accenture, Barclays, Investec, Discovery, Standard Bank, BMW, Huawei, Mubadala fund, Indonesian Central Bank, and Indian government.

He was a former radio insert future specialist on Hot1027FM (ZA Radio), created a YouTube mini-series on science and futures and asked to be a TV host for the national broadcaster.

Craig Wing | Futurist Speaker

His PhD was described as avant-garde, ingenious and adds significantly to the area in futures thinking where he developed new frameworks leveraging Rumsfeld’s Unknown Unknowns and Joharis Window. This research allows for leaders to design their ideal future company strategy and create a single metric for their future preparedness: The Future Fitness score.

His research is the foundation for his AI company using human analytics to optimize operations and develop future resilience and his third book called “Four Future Seasons” to quantify the future and draws upon Japanese philosophy, philosophy, and military strategy. He has a BSc (Eng), MSc (Usability) and MBA from Babson College (USA) as a recipient of the prestigious Frederic C Hamilton scholarship for significant entrepreneurial achievement.  During his MBA he was the first “non-American” class president.

He started 5 companies: software venture for partially sighted children, commercialization consultant and silicon valley, cleantech startup launched at 8 U.S and international Universities, profiled at the Clinton Global Initiative and TEDx speaker. As Google head of small business marketing, he launched South African Business Woza online where SME’s created 50,000 websites in its first year: 1 every 10 minutes. He grew revenue YoY by 82% YoY, was African “Googliest Googler” and first GoogleX African. He is an angel investor in disruptive, technology driven startups.

Accolades include: Leadership Forum member, AFLI Desmond Tutu Fellow, AshokaU Changemaker, WEF Global Shaper, Mail and Guardian Top 200 under 35, Destiny Man & African Independent Top 40 under 40, disruptive Innovation speaker at TEDx and Clinton Global Initiative awardee.

He is the youngest graduation speaker at University of Johannesburg and WomEng board member (non-profit inspiring woman into STEM), former chairperson of Moving into Dance (educating disenfranchised youth and the disabled through dance), non-executive and advisor for government entities.

He’s travelled to 52 countries: swam in the Amazon, trekked gorilla in Uganda and Tigers in India, swam with whales in Mozambique, skydived in California, hiked Machu Pichu (and the Great Wall), shark dived (twice!) wept at the Wailing Wall, watched the sun rise over the Taj Mahal and been tear-gassed in Turkey! When not travelling he learnt to play the guitar and considers himself a decent aspiring chef.

He speaks about Bitcoin, AI, Robotics, Genetics, Millennials, CRISPr, Autonomous cars, Customer experience, Innovation and Lean startup.

Countries he has spoken in include: USA, UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Romania, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, India, Botswana and UAE. He has converted his own car into an electric vehicle – proving he believes what he speaks in creating the future!

Craig Wing is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences including the SA Innovation Awards, Finance Indaba, Manufacturing Indaba, Pioneer Nation, Africa Agri conference & ITWeb Digital Economy and facilitated panels at the African Innovation Symposium with the United Nations.

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