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Futurists, visionaries, creative thinkers to look into Arizona's future at Nov. 7. conference

Futurist Brian David Johnson will be keynote speaker at Nov. 7 conference

Futurist Brian David Johnson will be keynote speaker at the State of Our State Conference on Nov. 7 in Phoenix. The conference is the annual signature event of ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

October 27, 2017

Disruptors and innovations in the immediate future, and their impact on Arizona transportation and the workforce will be the focus of this year’s State of Our State Conference, the annual signature event of ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

The Nov. 7 event will be held 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Phoenix Airport Marriott, 1101 N. 44th Street, in Phoenix. Conference details and registration are at

“The future is something that’s on everyone’s mind but often difficult to visualize and even more difficult to plan for. This conference and its impressive line-up of speakers and experts will offer a unique insight into tomorrow and how Arizona can better prepare for changes to our workforce, revenue base, urban form, governance structure and more,” said Andrea Whitsett, interim director at Morrison Institute. “This is a must-attend event for creative thinkers in business, government, education, nonprofits and community leadership.”

The keynote speaker will be Brian David Johnson, Arizona State University’s futurist-in-residence. Using ethno-graphic field studies, technology research, cultural history, trend data global interviews and even science fiction, Johnson and the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination work with organizations to develop a pragmatic road map to the future and an actionable 10- to 15-year vision.

“If you look at the work that I do, one of the main themes has always been the intersection between imagination, science and engineering. Imagination is the No. 1 underutilized tool in industry,” said Johnson, who is also a professor of practice in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and was a futurist at Intel Corp. before joining ASU.

Johnson remains a futurist and fellow at Frost and Sullivan, a visionary innovation company that’s focused on growth. He has more than 30 patents and is author of a number of books of fiction and nonfiction, including "Science Fiction Prototyping"; "Screen Future: The Future of Entertainment, Computing and the Devices We Love"; "Humanity and the Machine: What Comes After Greed?"; and "Vintage Tomorrows: A Historian and a Futurist Journey Through Steampunk into the Future of Technology."

The conference is intended to be imaginative yet pragmatic, focusing on the near future in real time — not 100 years from now. “If you look too far out it gets fuzzy,” Johnson said.

Guest speaker will be award-winning Orly Lobel, the Don Weckstein Professor of Labor and Employment Law at the University of San Diego, where she teachers and writes in the areas of employment law, intellectual property law, regulatory and administrative law, torts, behavioral economics, health policy, consumer law and trade secrets.

Lobel’s books include “Talents Wants to Be Free: Why We Should Learn to Love Leaks, Raids and Free Riding.” She currently is writing a new book, “You Don’t Own Me,” about innovation battles and how policy has shaped the dynamics at play in the toy industry.

Morrison Institute, which is commemorating its 35th anniversary, also will honor two new Distinguished Fellows: Denise D. Resnik, a leader in autism research and community awareness, and Gary L. Trujillo, an entrepreneur who has expanded leadership and business markets for the Latino community.

 Other conference speakers and panelists include:

• Kirk Adams, chief of staff, Office of the Governor
• Eric Anderson, transportation director, Maricopa Association of Governments
• Diana Bowman, associate professor, ASU Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society
• Jaime Casap, education evangelist, Google
• Carlos Contreras, regional public affairs director, Intel Corp.
• Rena Davis, public policy manager, Lyft
• Jonathan Koppell, dean, ASU College of Public Service and Community Solutions
• Tekedra Mawakana, global head of policy and government affairs, Waymo
• Duke Reiter, senior advisor to ASU President Michael Crow
• Luke Tate, assistant vice president and executive director of Opportunity Initiatives and professor of practice in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, ASU

For more information and complete list of speakers, go to 

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