Joel Barker

Joel Barker

Speaker: Joel Barker

Futurist, Authors, Lecturer & Film Maker


  • Innovation at the Verge- How to Find the New Territory for New Ideas!
  • Three Shades of Green- The New Opportunities for Sustainable Innovations
  • Finding the Future Faster- New Tools and New Responsibilities for 21st Century Leaders
  • The Power of Vision- A 21st Century Look
  • Driving Innovation and Creating New Wealth- The Real Role of Diversity
  • The Power of Paradigms

Joel Barker was the first person to popularize the concept of paradigm shifts for the corporate world. He began his work in 1975 after spending a year on fellowship meeting and working with visionary thinkers in both North America and Europe.

He discovered that the concept of paradigms, which at that time was sequestered within the scientific discussion, could explain revolutionary change in all areas of human endeavor. By 1985, he had built the case and corporations and nations were seeking his advice.

In 1980, in addition to his work on paradigms, he began to focus on a second crucial component for organizations and individuals: the importance of vision.

In 1986, he released his first videotape, Discovering the Future: The Business of Paradigms. By 1988, it was the best-selling business video in history. In 2001, he updated this film to include contemporary examples and a shortened version. It has been translated into 16 languages and continues to influence people all over the world.

In 1990, he released his second video, The Power of Vision. This became his second best seller and has also been translated into more than a dozen languages.

His book on paradigms, Future Edge, published in 1992, was listed as one of the most influential business books of that year by the prestigious Library Journal. It has been used for more than a decade.

Joel Barker has worked with organizations, both for profit and not for profit, all over the world as well as with nations, including Singapore, Venezuela, Canada, Mexico and Peru.

His honors include an honorary Doctorate in Visionary Leadership from St. Mary’s University and the Excellence in Education Award given to him by the international education association, Pi Lambda Theta for his part in supporting educational innovation.

Formerly director of the Futures Studies Department of the Science Museum of Minnesota from 1974 to 1978, he has spoken to more than 1 million people around the world and his films have been seen by more than 250 million people around the world.

Innovation at the Verge- How to Find the New Territory for New Ideas!

Innovation has always been key to the ongoing success of both business and society. Joel Barker has found an unused pathway to innovation in the 21st century.

In this presentation he will explain how to find, explore, and use this new territory of innovation—Terra Innovata Incognita. He will show how Mother Nature has been using this territory for over 500 million years to create biological innovations, and then show how you can make it work for your organization.

He will illustrate his theory with examples from many industries and societies around the world.


  • A new source of innovation for your organization
  • A new approach to producing innovation on a regular basis
  • Specific examples to illustrate the theory
  • Guidelines for activating the process inside your organization

This speech can be customized for clients and can last from 30 minutes to 90 minutes plus interactive experiences.

There is also a matching video you can use to propagate the idea throughout your organization.

Three Shades of Green- The New Opportunities for Sustainable Innovations

Based on the book, Five Regions of the Future, by Joel Barker and Dr. Scott Erickson, this presentation offers a fundamentally new way to look at the evolution of technology.

Did you know there are three shades of Green? If your company is looking into sustainable technology, you need to understand the difference. Do you know what “Human Tech” is all about? If you are operating in the field of medicine, you need to know. This presentation will give you a whole new way to catalog your own technologies and those of your competitors.

Joel will illustrate his theory with examples from many industries and societies around the world.


New ways of thinking about the future

New information on innovations and trends

New leadership skills to improve organizational vision

Finding the Future Faster- New Tools and New Responsibilities for 21st Century Leaders

How can you get more information about the future in a more timely fashion without hiring a special staff to do it? This presentation answers that question with Joel Barker’s “Strategic Exploration tools” which use staff already in place to find the future faster.

The basic thesis of this presentation is that with just a couple of changes in information gathering structure, you can engage your team in simple systems that will increase the amount of useful information gathered significantly at almost no added cost.

This presentation overviews the idea of Strategic Exploration, illustrates four key techniques and then teaches two of them.


  • Understanding the difference between strategic exploration and strategic planning
  • An understanding of the Implications Wheel® and the Strategy Matrix® as key exploration tools and how they work
  • A framework for thinking about the future: the “Possibilities Cone” for conceptualizing how new ideas are brought to reality
  • A process: Trend Interrogation for examining the importance of emerging trends
  • A process: TIPS™ Teams for collecting information about trends and innovations from the environment cheaply

This presentation/workshop can be used with large groups and small groups. The TIPS™ Team exercise max’s out at 100 participants but the Trend Interrogation exercise can be done with very large groups.

One hour to four hours.

The Power of Vision- A 21st Century Look

There is a lot more to understanding vision than just what Jim Collins has written about. Joel Barker, who introduced the importance of vision to corporate America starting in 1985 shows you the qualitative side of vision that all leaders need to know.

  • Why vision is still a key ingredient in all successful organizations
  • How to quickly assess someone’s attitude toward the future using the Polak Grid
  • How hope and vision are intertwined
  • How the mass media negatively influences your vision and your children’s vision of the future and how to fix it
  • How to inoculate your people with long term hope


  • The Polak Grid as a simple measurement device for vision
  • A process for finding positive images of the future
  • An understanding of the language of hope

Driving Innovation and Creating New Wealth- The Real Role of Diversity

This presentation turns the diversity discussion inside out and shows how organizations, cultures, and nations with great diversity gain extraordinary access to new innovations and new wealth.

Barker makes the case for the following formula: Diversity is the base on which innovations are created; innovation is the base on which new wealth is generated. If we want to grow the wealth of the world, then we need innovation, which means we need diversity. Barker also explains the mechanism of how diverse elements are turned into wealth through a process called “mutualism.”

This discussion on diversity brings everyone into the tent to become significant contributors and breaks through the clichés of diversity that focus on just color, gender, and culture.

The Power of Paradigms

This presentation can be customized in many ways. The key concepts are:

  1. The definition of a paradigm.
  2. The paradigm curve and how to map your organization onto the curve.
  3. The role of the outsider in changing your paradigm and how to turn them into assets.
  4. How to be a paradigm pioneer and its advantages.
  5. The paradigm effect and how it keeps you from seeing your own future.
  6. Going back to zero-how to know when it’s happening and why you want to do it to your competitors.

The Power of Vision

An organization without vision is an organization at risk. Joel takes you through the research and shows you how to begin to build a vision.

The Tactics of Innovation

How have some companies been successful in introducing new products and services while others have failed again and again? It’s not about the idea, it’s about the tactics you use for introduction. Joel Barker shares 10 guidelines based on Professor James Bright’s classic research in innovation.


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