Insights December 18th, 2020

Over the past couple of years I’ve been putting together reflections of the year past and hopes for the next year to come. It’s a meditative practice that feeds and focuses my intentions for the year that is yet to come and acts as a counterpoint to the predictions I see unfolding.

2020 Reflections

The year started out with a flourish. I had a lot of speaking bookings already established and many more in the process of contract negotiation. I got rostered with a few more US speaker agencies and I started in Des Moines, Iowa keynoting LAND EXPO 2020 on the future of agriculture (watch the keynote here). 

Let’s rewind a little…

Following a rather interesting keynote in Calgary, Alberta in December 2019 and having read the fabulous book ‘From what is to what if’ by Rob Hopkins (see more here) I shifted how I present. Less showing and dictating climate calamities, stats and cool new futures, and more creative considerations towards what equitable futures could be. Thus my platform for futures discussion – ‘What if…’. No-one can argue with speculation and wonder, and if they do I just retort – “But…what if?’.

That has proven to be a game changer and I developed that idea and a number of models from my strategic planning days to create my ‘Foresight Development Framework’. I’ll write more about that here on my site in early-2021.

I started applying this in my keynotes and LAND EXPO was the first. I also brought in speculative fiction and the exploration of far futures to open the audience’s minds to suspend reality and let go with their feelings on the future. Here’s me talking about 2220 – a new agricultural frontier

I love this new ‘WHAT IF…’ platform I now apply. It’s less dictatorial and more inviting for all to participate in. It’s like when companies build ‘Innovation Labs’ and find them to fail because new ideas are developed independently from the people that will use them to only find that innovation has to be encouraged in everyone. That’s a harder sell but worth pushing for.

After Des Moines I landed in Detroit for the fabulous 3 Ring Circus bootcamp as a guest of Josh Linkner and Matt Ciccone. At this time I recognized the spectre of the SARS-CoV-19 pandemic and its potential. I shook no hands – fist bumps instead – disappeared to wash my hands a lot, and must’ve seemed a little strange/rude/quirky.

Later that week I was in Ottawa for what was my final in person keynote of 2020.

I could go on-and-on about the lockdown, how hard it was, and how irritating this whole situation has been – and it sure has been – but, let’s reflect on the goodness that came out of this….

I shifted my focus to consulting. I spent the first 3 months of the pandemic working with some pretty amazing clients to look at how the pandemic and other effects were reshaping the world. I delved into virus origin, automation, augmented reality, new models of work (especially remote), climate effects, food security and evolution of supply, community engagement, workplace safety and resiliency, and even defunding the police.

I got to advise a central bank’s staff on signals of change in finance and global trade, and briefed them on applying foresight to strategic processes.

I moderated a panel with 800+ attendees with a doctor, cannabis company and global beer company on wellness. And, it made a ton of sense in this weird new world.

I built my FUTURE CASTING studio so that I could level up virtual and remote keynotes. I’d actually started this in 2019 when I was asked to speak in Singapore for the Future Explorers event run by my friend Benjamin J. Butler.

I now know more about broadcast production, tech set up (and phew that has been intense and complex) and the value of a fully programmable mouse that allows me to control complex productions with three buttons. I’ve now produced a ton of virtual keynotes for people like American Express, Bank of Canada, Google, Allstate Insurance, Digital Realty, Spartanburg One, Strathallen, Candian Franchise Association, City Moguls, and others.

I did more media than I’d done before – CTV Future Fridays, SIRIUS XM, The Social, 640 Global Radio. And, I brought my EXPONENTIAL MINDS PODCAST back with two new seasons and twenty new interviews.

I wrote the opening chapter for ‘The Future Starts Now: Expert Insights into the Future of Business, Technology and Society’ on starting your planning with dystopia. I also contributed to my friend April Reagan’s new book on innovation, futurism and activism ‘Bridge Makers’. Go and support that project. These have reignited my passion for collaborating and writing again.

My business is completely realigned and redefined – Speaking + Consulting + Media + Events.

So, I built my new website (v3.0 of my futurist business) and it’s kick-ass. It truly reflects the progress I’ve made, the successes I’ve had together with clients. BIG SHOUT OUT to my partners on this – Alison and her team at Field Trip & Co, and my great friend Andy and his team at North Shore Digital.

Oh, I have to announce that my partner and I had a baby boy in July. He’s a real joy and I’m learning so much each and every day.

It’s been quite the year. I’m really happy to close that off by booking some of the most significant projects that have come in to-date, and to take a couple of weeks with my family and no distractions – so exciting!

2021 Hopes

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”

Emily Dickinson

This is a little more to the point. Previously, I have written my hopes down and they’ve manifested in interesting ways. It’s a great practice for focusing intention and weaving that into the daily work I do.

Here are some things I want to make happen in 2021:

  • Advise producers, directors and scriptwriters on at least one significant movie or TV-series;
  • Advise federal government in Canada on foresight practices;
  • Advise globally impactful associations (WEF, WHO, UN, Horasis, Bilderberg) on foresight practices;
  • Write a new book (the planning has started);
  • Organize DARK FUTURES and host the first NYC event;
  • Host FUTURE CAMP in Q3/Q4 in Toronto to bring bright futures minds together;
  • Do more virtual keynotes with organizers that truly value the craft of remote presentations and workshops;
  • Get back speaking on the big stages – let’s aim for 3000+ people in Las Vegas by the end of the year;
  • See my parents – seriously, that’s been tough with them in the UK and us here in Canada;
  • Create balance in my life between work-family-health-travel.

More will spring to mind but these are a good start.

Come and work with Nikolas

Nikolas Badminton is a world-renowned Futurist Speaker, Author and Executive Advisor that shows the future trends that shape impactful organizations, trillion-dollar companies, progressive governments, and 200+ billion dollar investment funds. Nikolas will shift your mindset from what is to ‘WHAT IF..?’ and into brighter futures.

Is your curiosity piqued? Then reach out to Nikolas to discuss how your organization can benefit from developing futures literacy, seeing signals of change, and anticipating risks by then clicking here.


Futurist Keynote Speaker and Consultant - Nikolas Badminton

CEO of EXPONENTIAL MINDS and an award-winning Futurist Speaker, researcher and author. His expertise and thought leadership will guide you from complacency to thinking exponentially, planning for longevity, and encouraging a culture of innovation. You will then establish resiliency and abundance in your organization. Please reach out to discuss how he can help you, and read on to see what is happening in the world this week.

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