James Woudhuysen

James Woudhuysen

Innovation Forcaster

Synopsis

James’ expertise spans IT, energy, construction, manufacturing and retailing. He has a proven track-record of seeing trends before his peers and delivering counter-intuitive proposals on how to react. The former head of worldwide market intelligence at Philips questions our assumptions on everything from energy security to the sociology of technology. James also publishes essays and white papers addressing issues such as medicine, housing, cities and transport.

Biography

James’ expertise spans IT, energy, construction, manufacturing, leisure and retailing. He has a proven track record of seeing trends before his peers and delivering counter-intuitive but highly pragmatic proposals on how to react. The former head of worldwide market intelligence at Philips questions our assumptions on everything from risk to industrial strategy. James also publishes essays and white papers addressing issues such as medicine, housing, cities and transport.

James Woudhuysen is visiting Professor of Forecasting and Innovation at London South Bank University. His ability to spot trends before many of his peers, and his habit of delivering often surprising conclusions and practical recommendations based on these trends mark him out as an iconoclast in the world of forecasting and innovation.

From the early days of IT when, in 1981, James stated that the main issue it had to tackle was that of the user interface, he has consistently warned and predicted correctly. He foresaw the dot com crash, the success of 3G, and the need for mass produced housing whilst many in their respective industries still held contrary views. With an understanding of every sector from telecoms to transport, energy to economics, retail to construction, the only areas he avoids in his forecasts are the weather, the stock market, and personal predictions of health, wealth and happiness.

Starting his career in journalism, James then joined the innovation and design consultancy Fitch as its head of research. Later he was chief of global market intelligence for Philips consumer electronics. He also founded consultancy on IT and on cities at The Henley Centre for Forecasting, WPP, and was a director of the acclaimed Seymour Powell. Today, he writes and speaks on innovation in the fields of work, IT, energy and the environment, international trade, consumers, and - in the first place - business.

In speeches James shows how future trends can inform decisions on strategy, research and development, innovation, marketing and design. With specialist knowledge of Asia and America, his themes extend from product development and regulation to the need for organisations to take risks.

With humour and insight, James frequently challenges faddish, politically correct ideas and contrasts the creative potential we all have with the deadening effect of conventional wisdom. He also offers a witty but serious critique of myths in almost every field.

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Agent Recommendation

Sure, there must be obscure topics that James knows little about – but he has huge insight about stuff like energy storage, robotics, housing and GM foods. And he has a way of interrogating his subject that reveals connections missed by narrow specialists. It’s this that makes him a credible ‘futurist’ – taking wide research and placing it in context. And boy can he respond to a brief! JLA Agent Georgia Sharp

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Video

JLA Speakers Breakfast: James Woudhuysen