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Eric Garland is trusted for his unique insight and analysis on economic trends, geopolitics, and society. He personally consults executives on market growth strategy, leads transformative educational sessions for organizations, and specializes in keynotes that spark conversations.

Eric is the founder and Executive Director of Competitive Futures, a competitive analysis firm that provides insight and expert guidance to corporate clients and government agencies. A brief list of notable clients includes Energizer, Coca-Cola, Siemens, the country of France, the City of Charlotte, the state of South Dakota, and the Principality of Monaco, to name a select few.

A unique futurist with expertise that crosses multiple fields, Eric is also an accomplished linguist and author. His most recent book Observations from Upper Mexico (Wallingford Press – 2015) consists of almost fifty essays which analyze emerging trends in American life, from alternative currencies to online dating. He is currently working on two more books The Guardians of Language which explores the hidden culture of people who are fighting to keep their ancestors’ language as much a part of the future as it is the past, and a currently untitled work which explores the ethos of American cities, their rise, demise, and resurrection.

Full Profile

Eric Garland is dedicated to creating the next generation of future-focused leaders. He is an internationally-published author, public speaker, expert in foresight and competitive intelligence, and managing partner of Competitive Futures.

Eric is the author of Future Inc: How Businesses Can Anticipate and Profit from What’s NEXT, published in English, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian and Persian, and the new How to Predict the Future…and WIN!!! He is an advisor to corporations and governments around the world and consulted by the media on everything from macroeconomics to new technologies to the future of curse words.

In the field of management, strategy and leadership, Eric defies many descriptions. He’s a “futurist,” but with a radically different point of view than most who use that term, one with far more historical context and much less techno-triumphalism. He’s a “competitive intelligence professional” but one with a far broader vision than just looking at competitors with a linear, Cold War sensibility.

Garland has an unusual set of competencies: a decade of futures studies, fifteen-plus years of competitive intelligence, a Master’s in international affairs, a love affair with linguistics and years of professional musicianship. He wants to keep learning and is rarely bored.

Since old titles don’t fit well, Eric would like you to consider him your personal guide through a world of chaotic transformation.


Eric Garland Speaker Videos Back to top

Demo Video


Eric Garland Speaker Reel


Eric discusses obtaining shared success in the competitive future in an unconventional way. Referring to the true story of Iceland’s debt, he turns a normally dry subject into a high-energy comedic narrative.

After achieving a debt that was worth 1000 % of their GDP, Iceland found itself in a highly tense situation with the U.K. who wanted to put the famously frigid country on a rigid budget in order to pay back lenders. Eric quotes an Icelandic government official’s public statement to the U.K.: “We are not paying back these debts. We are the sons and daughter of the Vikings. You want your money? You come here like a man and I’ll put an axe in your head.” Chuckling, Eric recalls his reaction upon reading that in the New York Times. “I have never had as much respect for a people as I do right now.”


Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


Eric produces keynotes and strategy briefings based on the specific needs of individual clients. Since he often briefs school boards, prime ministers, mayors, pharmaceutical companies, makers of diesel engines, people looking at the future of skin care, environmental protection agencies, college philosophy classes, finance ministers running lotteries, and sales conferences, he knows that all clients need specialized information and require a specialized approach. His research company, Competitive Futures, has up-to-the-minute trend data from which to create new presentations for each event.

To give you an idea of his wide range of expertise and experience, please take a look at the descriptions of some of his past presentations. If you tell him what kind of event you want, he will suggest a theme that works for you and your audience with great pleasure, based on the most up-to-date information available.

Bad Forecasts!
It is a perennial sport to make fun of bad forecasts by experts – but this misses the point. It’s not that our forecasts are wrong – it’s that the future keeps surprising us, teaching us shocking, amusing and unexpected things about modern life. People need to learn from bad forecasts to make better decisions, for their organizations and for themselves personally.

To help us see the limits of our predictive abilities, Erics bring observations and stories about how we get predictions wrong in funny and instructive ways – from our perennial expection of information technology to create world peace, to the ever expanding complexities of science, to scandalous cross-cultural product names, the history of the future shows us where we get it wrong and why.

In a world where the failure of risk analysis can have serious implications, this presentation will show the lighter side of our intellectual journey – and ways that we can improve our thinking about the future.

WTF IS UP WITH THE ECONOMY?
This improbable show is the result of fifteen long years providing strategic forecasts for executives around the world, culminating in the most obvious housing bubble in history, a ridonkulous bank bailout, and many years of incompetence to follow. In fact, given what Eric's seen, he's not sure why there aren’t more people calling themselves an “economic comedian.” Like all of Eric's presentations, it is based on rigorous research on economic transition and the competitive dynamics of industries and nation-states – but here the goal is levity, not strategy. The WTF Economy runs about 90 minutes and covers the following topics:

  • The Cold War and Nikita Khrushchev shoe
  • The 1970s, which sucked but you still had higher salaries than today
  • The 1980s, which had mullets and cocaine which helped the US defeat the Soviet menace
  • The 1990s, which were pretty awesome but started some really bad policies
  • The 2000s, when we lost our minds and had TV shows about bathrooms
  • The 2010s, when we laugh about it and make new plans for the future

    Basically, you’ll learn some stuff and probably laugh at slides of 80s TV shows and hysterical petroleum industry forecasts.

    THE FUTURE OF BRANDING IN A TRANSFORMATIVE ECONOMY
    It seems like branding and advertising is in a permanent shift into something new. What is going on? Is branding changing for good? Why don’t old techniques work like they used to? Eric's answer: Yes, branding is entering a new phase – and to understand why, you need to look at Doritos, Joe Isuzu, World War Two, youth unemploymployment, the wimpification of men, the Mac Versus PC Guys, Sigmund Freud, the housing bubble, sexbots from Armani Exchange, suburbs, peak oil, and the Federal Reserve.

    All brands connect with customers through myth and image. If you want your brand to connect with tomorrow’s customers, it needs to use tomorrow’s, not yesterday’s myths. Brands are rarely about the product they currently help sell. They are about the people who might buy a product or service and how they feel about their identity. As the world careens into an unprecedented economic transition, the narrative that helps connect customers to brands is breaking down. To catch the next wave of branding, your organization needs to understand why the story has changed – and where it’s going.

    TRANSFORMATIVE COMPETITION
    This is Eric's most popular keynote, in which he presents three ideas to the audience:

    1. We are not in a Recovery.
    2. Things will never be normal again.
    3. Your business can still grow, remain profitable (and have fun) in a time where things seem crazy.

    Most of the great businesses have been built in chaotic, uncertain times. This keynote presentation covers the future trends that are changing the world and how competition is changing right along with it:

  • Demographic shift
  • Post-bubble economics
  • Peak debt
  • Oil, coal, electricity, wind and other energy transitions
  • Global competition in yet more unexpected places

    And to keep people from hyperventilating, Eric covers the great success stories of companies and countries that faced nuclear annihilation, world war, bankruptcy and terrible 70s haircuts to achieve tremendous success despite the odds.





  • * Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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      How to Predict the Future and what to do about it so you Win!
      As much as we say through business books and keynote speeches that we want to expect the unexpected, provide early warning, think outside of the box and create the future – we don’t. Not usually. Bureaucracies are designed to maintain their current structure, not to evolve to meet future challenges. Is this the result of fifty years of futurism, of thousands of executive retreats, of millions of pages of trend analysis? With decades of advanced intellectual techniques in foresight, why do we seem to keep stumbling into housing bubbles, financial collapse, disruptive technologies and wildcard events and then declare, “Nobody could see it coming!” In this world of superconnected economies and increasingly fragile institutions, we must restore our ability to imagine the future, based on critical thinking instead of fear. In How to Predict the Future…and WIN!!! Eric Garland illustrates how bureaucracies avoid actual discussions of their futures and recommends how we can turn our organizations around to become truly future-focused. His narrator in this intellectual journey is P. Hughes Egon, the world’s “premier futurological predictologist” for the past forty years who doesn’t realize how 1988 his visions of the future really are. In the book, Garland exposes Egon’s twenty-five “tips” on foresight so that our organizations can achieve actual vision of what’s next.

      Reviews for How to Predict the Future and what to do about it so you Win!:

      "Garland disabuses decision-makers of their false assumptions with a literary flair for illustrating the limits of our cult of expertise."
      Arik Johnson, chairman, AuroraWDC, co-founder of the Intelligence Collaborative

      "This book is one of the best I′ve ever read about the problems that practitioners and organizations encounter in trying to look out and ahead."
      Dr. Craig Fleisher, author of Analysis Without Paralysis

      "Eric Garland sticks a big needle in the inflated, self-important gurus with his evidence-based, down-to-earth, integrative--yet fun-loving--approach."
      Tim Powell - author, Analyzing Your Competition

      "His sarcastic and somewhat sardonic delivery of these so-called "tips" are entertaining, educational, and unfortunately all-too disturbingly accurate in their portrayal of the decision making process."
      Earth Intelligence Network

      "A funny and insightful look at how badly those working with the future, such as strategic planners, competitive intelligence professionals, war gamers, and futurologists, do what they are supposed to do, and what they should really be doing for their clients."
      John McGonagle, Competitive Intelligence Magazine
      Order Here


      Future, Inc.: How Businesses Can Anticipate and Profit from What′s Next
      Foreword by Joseph Coates

      In the next 50 years, new technologies, shifting global economics, and many other factors will present innumerable changes for business and society to navigate. Starting now, leaders need to be more flexible, responsive, and decisive than ever before. Unfortunately, most people are not trained in the type of critical thinking required to anticipate what lies ahead. This groundbreaking book will change that.

      Futuring is not a matter of tea leaves and crystal balls — it is a rigorous science based on time-tested analytical methods. Future, Inc. translates the proven techniques of professional futurists into accessible language and shows how to:

      • identify what is and what isn’t changing at a given time, and how even small changes will affect whole businesses
      • use forecasting — not ""predictions"" — to pinpoint tomorrow’s realities by looking at today’s trends
      • employ scenarios to test the validity of potential strategies

      The author illustrates his advice with examples of companies whose foresight has given them an unparalleled advantage and identifies significant trends that will impact businesses in the future. Companies can’t afford to be caught unaware. In order to survive and succeed, they need to look ahead. Future, Inc. provides the tools to bring the future into focus.
      Order Here





    Bad Forecasts!
    It is a perennial sport to make fun of bad forecasts by experts – but this misses the point. It’s not that our forecasts are wrong – it’s that the future keeps surprising us, teaching us shocking, amusing and unexpected things about modern life. People need to learn from bad forecasts to make better decisions, for their organizations and for themselves personally.

    To help us see the limits of our predictive abilities, Erics bring observations and stories about how we get predictions wrong in funny and instructive ways – from our perennial expection of information technology to create world peace, to the ever expanding complexities of science, to scandalous cross-cultural product names, the history of the future shows us where we get it wrong and why.

    In a world where the failure of risk analysis can have serious implications, this presentation will show the lighter side of our intellectual journey – and ways that we can improve our thinking about the future.

    WTF IS UP WITH THE ECONOMY?
    This improbable show is the result of fifteen long years providing strategic forecasts for executives around the world, culminating in the most obvious housing bubble in history, a ridonkulous bank bailout, and many years of incompetence to follow. In fact, given what Eric's seen, he's not sure why there aren’t more people calling themselves an “economic comedian.” Like all of Eric's presentations, it is based on rigorous research on economic transition and the competitive dynamics of industries and nation-states – but here the goal is levity, not strategy. The WTF Economy runs about 90 minutes and covers the following topics:

  • The Cold War and Nikita Khrushchev shoe
  • The 1970s, which sucked but you still had higher salaries than today
  • The 1980s, which had mullets and cocaine which helped the US defeat the Soviet menace
  • The 1990s, which were pretty awesome but started some really bad policies
  • The 2000s, when we lost our minds and had TV shows about bathrooms
  • The 2010s, when we laugh about it and make new plans for the future

    Basically, you’ll learn some stuff and probably laugh at slides of 80s TV shows and hysterical petroleum industry forecasts.

    THE FUTURE OF BRANDING IN A TRANSFORMATIVE ECONOMY
    It seems like branding and advertising is in a permanent shift into something new. What is going on? Is branding changing for good? Why don’t old techniques work like they used to? Eric's answer: Yes, branding is entering a new phase – and to understand why, you need to look at Doritos, Joe Isuzu, World War Two, youth unemploymployment, the wimpification of men, the Mac Versus PC Guys, Sigmund Freud, the housing bubble, sexbots from Armani Exchange, suburbs, peak oil, and the Federal Reserve.

    All brands connect with customers through myth and image. If you want your brand to connect with tomorrow’s customers, it needs to use tomorrow’s, not yesterday’s myths. Brands are rarely about the product they currently help sell. They are about the people who might buy a product or service and how they feel about their identity. As the world careens into an unprecedented economic transition, the narrative that helps connect customers to brands is breaking down. To catch the next wave of branding, your organization needs to understand why the story has changed – and where it’s going.

    TRANSFORMATIVE COMPETITION
    This is Eric's most popular keynote, in which he presents three ideas to the audience:

    1. We are not in a Recovery.
    2. Things will never be normal again.
    3. Your business can still grow, remain profitable (and have fun) in a time where things seem crazy.

    Most of the great businesses have been built in chaotic, uncertain times. This keynote presentation covers the future trends that are changing the world and how competition is changing right along with it:

  • Demographic shift
  • Post-bubble economics
  • Peak debt
  • Oil, coal, electricity, wind and other energy transitions
  • Global competition in yet more unexpected places

    And to keep people from hyperventilating, Eric covers the great success stories of companies and countries that faced nuclear annihilation, world war, bankruptcy and terrible 70s haircuts to achieve tremendous success despite the odds.


  • Demo Video


    Eric Garland Speaker Reel


    Eric discusses obtaining shared success in the competitive future in an unconventional way. Referring to the true story of Iceland’s debt, he turns a normally dry subject into a high-energy comedic narrative.

    After achieving a debt that was worth 1000 % of their GDP, Iceland found itself in a highly tense situation with the U.K. who wanted to put the famously frigid country on a rigid budget in order to pay back lenders. Eric quotes an Icelandic government official’s public statement to the U.K.: “We are not paying back these debts. We are the sons and daughter of the Vikings. You want your money? You come here like a man and I’ll put an axe in your head.” Chuckling, Eric recalls his reaction upon reading that in the New York Times. “I have never had as much respect for a people as I do right now.”