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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.

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

– Steven Schussler

There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.”

– Christopher Morley

Most people never pick up the phone and call. Most people never ask, and that’s what separates the people who do things from the people who just dream about them.”

– Steve Jobs

Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together.”

– Woodrow Wilson

Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!”

– Andrew Carnegie

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

– T.S. Eliot

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson

I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other ability under the sun.”

– John D. Rockefeller

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is to no purpose to turn away from the real nature of the affair because the honor of its elements excites repugnance.

– Carl von Clausewitz, On War

Almost anyone can start a community, but it takes real talent and commitment to get people to show up and keep coming back.”

– Andy Sernovitz

‎Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”

– Booker T. Washington

Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes.”

– Benjamin Disraeli

The quality of your life is directly related to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with.”

– Tony Robbins

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

– Annie Dillard

Success is the necessary misfortune of life, but it is only to the very unfortunate that it comes early.”

– Anthony Trollope

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

– J.G. Holland, novelist

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

– Dalai Lama

Always look at what you have left. Never look at what you have lost.”

– Robert H. Schuller

The gem cannot be polished without friction; nor man perfected without trials.”

– Chinese proverb

History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.”

– John F. Kennedy

Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

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

Our deepest wishes are whispers of our authentic selves. We must learn to respect them. We must learn to listen.”

– Sarah Ban Breathnach

Let us seize the day and the opportunity and strive for that greatness of spirit that measures life not by its disappointments but by its possibilities.”

– W.E.B. Du Bois

Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had.”

– Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

Remove those ‘I want you to like me’ stickers from your forehead
and, instead, place them where they truly will do the most good—on your mirror.”

– Susan Jeffers

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

– Helen Keller

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

If people like you they’ll listen to you; if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”

– Zig Ziglar

A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”

– Bob Dylan

There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”

– JFK

When I was younger I thought success was being a star, driving nice cars, having groupies. But today I think the most important thing is to live your life with integrity.

– Ellen DeGeneres

Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth. Tame the dragon and the gift is yours.”

– Noela Evans

My goal was to tell the life side of the story. We have become a nation of voyeurs that expect sensationalism, and that offends me.”

– Kathleen Jo Ryan

You don’t love someone because of their looks or their clothes or their car. You love them because they sing a song only your heart can understand.”

– L.J. Smith

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

How do you stay resilient? It’s about momentum. Like riding a bicycle. If you stop you fall over. So I keep pedaling.”

– Diane Lane

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.”

– Marcel Proust

Letting go of expectations is a ticket to peace. It allows us to ride over every crisis—small or large—like a beach ball on water.”

– Martha Beck

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

– Victor Kiam

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

– Christopher Robin to Pooh

We are all of us born with a letter inside us, and that only if we are true to ourselves, may we be allowed to read it before we die.”

– Douglas Coupland

Inspiration and genius — one and the same.”

– Victor Hugo

Entrepreneurs are willing to roll the dice with their money or reputation on the line in support of an idea or enterprise.”

– Victor Kiam

Confidence is the most important thing you can teach someone… if you can teach them confidence, you don’t have to teach them anything else.”

– Vin Diesel

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

– Jimi Hendrix

Everyone is a mirror image of yourself—your own thinking coming back at you.”

– Byron Katie

But all the while I was alone, the past was close behind, I seen a lot of women, but she never escaped my mind, and I just grew, tangled up in blue.”

– Bob Dylan

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

– J.G. Holland, novelist