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Futurist Derek Woodgate, President, The Futures Lab

COLUMN = FUTURISTS

Futurist and author Derek Woodgate is the CEO of The Futures Lab, a futures-based consultancy based in Atlanta, with six satellite offices around the world. The firm specializes in creating future potential for major corporations and institutions, especially in the fields of entertainment, media, culture, communications, and new communities.

He spent nine years as a British diplomat, and 13 years as a corporate executive, and is an authority on the application of emerging and immersive technologies and the changing human in the design and production of experiential entertainment with his creation of what are termed “Sense Events.”

He is also involved in integrating creative industries into urban/community development and future living spaces. His work on “remix” lifestyles in terms of archetypes, behavior, and identity was reflected in his renowned reworking of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and has been applied by a number of clients of The Futures Lab.

In his foresight work, Woodgate is known for developing what is considered a paradigm-shifting approach to future studies, demonstrated in his book “Future Frequencies” (Fringecore 2004) and his work on leveraging dystopian futures and rhizomatic thinking techniques, as well as in his merging of progressive culture with future studies.

His clients have included Philips Electronics, Intel, Shell, Fiat, Nokia, Pemex, AKZO-Nobel, GSK, Casio, Nestle, SWB, MTV Europe, Intel, Ford, Kellogg’s, Coca Cola, BBC, WorldSpace, Nissan, and many more.

Woodgate has also served as chief creative officer for Plutopia Productions, Inc.—a future-focused entertainment and event-production company where he produced dozens of public events, including: The Science of Music, The Future of Home, The Future of Sustainable Living, Future Living Systems, The Future of Play, The Future of Imagination, and FutureMusic Summit 2012. He also produced events for SXSW, including the Chilean Showcase.

Derek’s books include:

  • Future Flow (2013), with a preface by DJ Spooky
  • Future Frequencies (2004) hailed as “creating a unique paradigm in the professional futurist field”
  • Calling The Toads—A Burroughs Compendium (1999), co-authored with Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, Allen Ginsberg, and Douglas Brinkley.

View Woodgate’s speaking topics and speaking events here.

To book Derek for a speaking event, click here.

Do not say, ‘why were the former days better than these,’ for it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”

– Ecclesiastes, 7:10

An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.“


– Roy Ash, co-founder of Litton Industries

Entrepreneurs need to search purposefully for the sources of innovation that indicate opportunities for success.”

– Peter F. Drucker

There is little success where there is little laughter.”

– Andrew Carnegie

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.”

– Jalaluddin Rumi

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”

– Abraham Lincoln

The follow-your-gut mentality of the entrepreneur has the potential to take you anywhere you want to go or run you right out of business.”

– Bill Rancic, "The Apprentice"

Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”

– Basil King

I always maintained that the greatest obstacle in life isn’t danger, it’s boredom. The battle against it is responsible for most of the events in the world — good or ill.”

– Dr. Evelyn Vogel, Dexter

Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences.”

– J.K. Rowling

Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.”

– Helen Keller

That which grows fast withers as rapidly; that which grows slowly endures.”

– J.G. Holland, novelist

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

– Thomas Edison

Education is an admirable thing to have, but it is well to remember that nothing worth knowing can be taught.”

– Oscar Wilde

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity.”

– Ray Bradbury

If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more.
 If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”

– Oprah Winfrey

It is possible to fail in many ways…while to succeed is possible only in one way.”

– Aristotle

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

– John Quincy Adams

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

– Joseph Campbell

A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge, and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges.”

– Carlos Castaneda

Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.”

– Francesca Reigle

The person who makes a success of living is the one who see his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication.”

– Cecil B. DeMille

It is only when the mind is free from the old that it meets everything anew, and in that there is joy.”

– J. Kristnhamurti, The First and Last Freedom

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

– Carl Rogers

The best hobbies are the ones that take us furthest from our primary occupation.”

– Dr. Evelyn Vogel, Dexter

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”

– Mark Twain

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

– Robert Frost

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

– William Shakespeare

The journey is the reward.”

– Greg Norman

Women once had the goal of being Superwoman; I think most of us now simply strive to have a super day.”

– Author, Activist Lee Woodruff

Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make Me Feel Important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”

– Mary Kay Ash

Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”

– Annie Dillard

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

– Groucho Marx

The world I believed in, back in my most innocent, uninformed, childish mind—is real.”

– Martha Beck

The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”

– Buddha

The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Chuck E. Cheese's

The awakening to the mystery of life is a revolutionary event; in it an old world is destroyed so that a new and better one may take its place.”

– J.J. Van Der Leeuw, The Conquest of Illusion

Some things are destined to be—it just takes us a couple of tries
to get there.”

– J.R. Ward, Lover Mine

Part of your destiny is to live in the zone of maximum satisfaction.”

– Martha Beck

The great use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.”

– William James

Ripeness is all.”

– William Shakespeare

When a dog runs at you, whistle for him.”

– Henry David Thoreau

A truly forgiving person is someone who experiences all the anger merited by injustice and still acts with fairness and compassion.”

– Martha Beck

I can’t go back to yesterday—because I was a different person then.”

– Lewis Carroll

He who knows he has enough is rich.”

– Tao Te Ching

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”

– Lao Tzu

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams, for when dreams go, life is a barren field frozen with snow.”

– Langston Hughes

Are you willing to help other people succeed even when it’s not a requirement of your job to be of assistance?”

– Steven Schussler

Entrepreneurs willingly assume responsibility for the success or failure of a venture and are answerable for all its facets.”

– Victor Kiam

Whosoever knows how to fight well is not angry. Whosoever knows how to conquer enemies does not fight them.”

– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching