MPI magazine just published a nice piece about my work, here. Some snippets:
"...he collects data from all manner of sources, talks to as many experts as possible, understands the whole context of what is happening in a given field and then articulates how trends will most probably move over the next three to five years. He says his ideas are often things people are already aware of but they either haven’t had the chance to crystallize the new focus in their own heads or haven’t taken appropriate action in their operations.
Working with the common threads that tie adult education, travel and event planning together, Leonhard shared his thoughts on the futures of these industries. For meetings among far-flung colleagues and education, he sees rising Internet technologies, with high-speed connections, 3D monitors and augmented reality tools making virtual gatherings more feasible. This will be especially true as travel costs rise. Businesses and students think twice about the cost of travel to particular locations for a meeting or education, so in many cases, the virtual meeting room or classroom will trump the brick and mortar kind.
But there is something technology will not be able to replace: human connection. “Any digital interaction creates the need for the live face-to-face interaction,” Leonhard says. “It doesn’t replace it.”
For instance, in regard to the learning process, he points out that it isn’t merely about information gathering; conversations with peers and teachers help people digest and fully comprehend all the information given to them. The need for social interaction, while at the same time saving costs, poses a conundrum for education and meetings. But it provides an opening for planners to exploit: They have to up the ante, specifically in terms of content quality, venues, food—the entire experience. “If the experience isn’t good enough, people will just stay at home and watch TED.com,” Leonhard said.
...as a futurist, Leonhard has to keep up with always-on sources such as Facebook, Twitter and Flipboard that spew out prodigious amounts of data all the time. One of the necessary prerequisites of his job is the ability not to be overwhelmed by never-ending data and to know exactly which sources of information need to be studied.
“It’s like cooking—you can’t use all spices at once,” he says, “you can only use some!”
As for his own future, Leonhard has big plans. He’s casting himself as a “green futurist” and moving into sustainability and environmental issues. He is also looking to launch a TV show where he says he will host discussions on “future issues in a way that will interest everyone, not just geeks or intellectuals" Fully embracing the life of a futurist, a role he absorbed a mere six years ago, you can’t help but believe him when he says, “What I do for a living is fun!..."