Greg Lindsay

Greg Lindsay

Expert on Cities, Mobility, Travel, Trade, and the Future of Work

Greg Lindsay is literally a man on the street, reporting from the intersection of global trends and local wisdom. Widely cited as an expert on the future of cities, the future of work, technology, and mobility by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, BBC, and more, he’s been described as “very energetic,” “sweeping and inspiring,” and “sharp, incisive, and provocative.” Lindsay offers fascinating insights into our richly connected future, the challenges it poses, and the opportunities ahead for those prepared to meet it.

Lindsay is currently the senior fellow for applied research and foresight at NewCities, a senior fellow of MIT’s Future Urban Collectives Lab, and a non-resident senior fellow of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Strategy Initiative. In addition, Lindsay is a partner at FutureMap, a geo-strategic and climate advisory firm based in Singapore, and has advised Intel, Samsung, IKEA, Starbucks, Audi, Hyundai, British Land, André Balazs Properties, Aldar, Emaar, and Expo 2020, along with numerous G20 government entities.

Lindsay speaks frequently on cities, mobility, innovation, and globalization, with past clients including 10 Downing Street, the United States Military Academy, Sandia National Laboratories, the OECD, Harvard Business School, the MIT Media Lab, and the Aspen Ideas Festival. His work with Studio Gang Architects on the future of suburbia was displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 2012, and his work has also been displayed at the 15th, 16th, and 17th Venice Architecture Biennales, the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, and Habitat III.

As a journalist, Lindsay’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review, The Financial Times, McKinsey Quarterly, TIME, Wired, The Atlantic, Slate, Politico, and The World Economic Forum, to name a few. He was previously a contributing writer for Fast Company and Fortune, and an editor-at-large for Advertising Age. In addition, Lindsay is the co-author of the 2011 critically acclaimed international bestseller Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next.

Lindsay currently sits on the board of CREtech Climate and was a guest curator of the 2018 and 2019 editions of reSITE. He is also a two-time Jeopardy! champion, and the only human to go undefeated against IBM’s “Watson.”


Everybody for Themselves: How to Work, Together

After two years apart, North Americans have forgotten how to work together. This is evident in the ongoing tug-of-war over the office. This framing — are we better off alone or in-person? — has dominated debates about our post-pandemic destiny. But neither managers nor workers have stopped to ask what it means to be together, whom we should be together with, and how we can be together. If the overnight adoption of remote work proved many of us can work from virtually anywhere, with anyone, what’s stopping us from taking it a step further and working with, well, everyone? Because solving the challenges that lie ahead of us on the far side of the pandemic requires working together at a scale greater than any one government or company ever has.

In this far-reaching new talk, Greg Lindsay explores new ways of being and working together in a world in which corporate silos have cracked open and frustrated employees have spilled out, desperate to reconnect. Drawing upon dozens of post-pandemic examples as well as his own web3 experiments in building a distributed autonomous organization, or DAO, Lindsay offers audiences a vision of what it means to be together — how, why, and with whom — very soon.

The Big Rethink: Cities After COVID-19

Cities are done. The office is dead. Delivery is the future. At least two of these are wrong — but why? COVID-19 will eventually be tamed by a vaccine, but work-from-anywhere is here to stay. That doesn’t mean the end of the office, but whole new ways of working closer to home — with more fluid organizations to match. And that, in turn, means rethinking who and what cities are for — forget downtowns vs. suburbs and imagine a life more local, with everything you need at home or only a few minutes’ walk-, cycle-, or ride away.

Behind the scenes, technology is turning restaurants and retail inside-out through deliveries, “dark stores”, and automation — threatening main streets, mom-and-pops, and real estate as we know it. Drawing on his research and foresight work for NewCities, the Atlantic Council, MIT’s Future Urban Collectives Lab, and months of post-pandemic research, Greg Lindsay explodes the myths around COVID-19 and explains why the future isn’t as socially distanced as you might think.

Autonomous Everything: AI, the Future, and What We Can Do About It

The robots are coming — not to steal your job, but to invent entirely new ones. Advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and automation all point toward an autonomous world — one in which perception, prediction, and action are embedded in machines. Autonomy will not only transform how we work, but also how we move, think, discover, decide, and deceive. What we consume — as well as how we produce, transport, and market it — may take strange new turns as robots increasingly predict, suggest, and prepare to help us do it. In this wide-ranging and eye-opening talk on the promise and perils of AI, author and futurist Greg Lindsay explores how autonomy is already upending society, and how we can use it to build a better world.

Where the Robot Meets the Road

A decade ago, self-driving cars were science fiction leftover from The Jetsons. Today, Google and Tesla are leading a breakneck autonomous arms race, as the global auto industry races to build electric vehicles at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. But a self-driving SUV may prove to be the horseless carriage of autonomy — rapidly eclipsed by new species of self-driving scooters, delivery bots, and buildings with a mind of their own.

How are these technologies already transforming the way we see, understand, and get around cities? How have they helped China, Japan, and Korea mitigate the worst effects of the coronavirus lockdown? What effects will they have on where we live, work and play, and what are the opportunities and threats for automakers, technology firms, public transit, employers, and developers? Drawing upon his work with BMW, Intel, MIT, the Bloomberg Philanthropies, Aspen Institute, and the NewCities Foundation, Greg Lindsay offers a tour of future urban mobility and how they promise to transform our cities in the coming decades.

The Future of the Future

The future isn’t what it used to be. As the pace of social, technological, and environmental change accelerates, organizations are struggling just to make sense of the present, let alone spot threats and opportunities looming just over the horizon. The ability to anticipate, understand, plan for, and innovate around uncertainty has become a critical skill for designers, innovators, and strategists everywhere. As the computing pioneer Alan Kay once said, “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Futurist, author, and NewCities’ director of applied research Greg Lindsay will teach a crash course in exactly that. The practice of creating futures, or “foresight,” offering a toolkit and framework for detecting signals of change, organizing insights, synthesizing possible futures, identifying potential barriers and opportunities, and designing innovative products, services, or ideas that satisfy emerging needs.

In addition to lecturing on possible futures, Lindsay is available to lead participants through a fun, fast-paced workshop in which they create futures of their own.

Engineering Serendipity

How do we bring the right people and the right ideas to the right place at the right time to create something new, when we don’t know who or where or when that is, let alone what we’re looking for? This is the paradox of innovation — new ideas don’t follow org charts or schedule themselves for meetings.

Greg Lindsay explores how organizations like Google, the US Military Academy, United Health Group, and the International Red Cross are “engineering serendipity.” They’re harnessing sensors, social networks, and new ways of working to break down the boundaries between new teams, discover new ideas, inspire collaboration and creativity, and to spur employee engagement, learning, and innovation. How, where, and who we work with will never be the same.