Heather and Chris are frequently called upon to provide context and vision to journalists and thought leaders writing about the future of work, future of education and learning, and the role of entrepreneurship in work. 




In looking at the future of work, which skills will benefit future students and educators? McGowan suggests seeking to understand, to learn and adapt. Work on upgrading your “Operating system” – the overall ‘you’.

How about the future of education degrees? Is there a ‘future proof’ field? McGowan believes in thinking like an ‘X’, so you can look at all disciplines (similar to ‘liberal arts degrees’), as opposed to focusing on one specialty in depth.

When it comes to the 4th industrial revolution, McGowan says, “we are seeing this merger of cyber physical systems and the internet of things where everything around you has some form of intelligence–anything mentally attained or predictable can be achieved by an algorithm–and it’s no longer just the physical labor that gets replaced by non-biological intelligence but it’s cognitive labor as well”

Read the show notes here

Listen to the podcast here


Tom Friedman is a well-known Pulitzer Prize-winning weekly columnist for the New York Times and the author of seven best-selling books. His insightful work covers a broad range of topics, including globalization, the Middle East, and environmental challenges. In this interview with John Hagel, Co-Chairman of Deloitte Center for The Edge, and Deloitte CEO, Cathey Engelbert, Friedman shares his views of the Future of Work. 


John Hagel: Given your broad perspective on global events, I suspect you have a unique perspective on the likely evolution of the future of work on a global basis. At a high level, how would you describe your view of the future of work?

Tom Friedman: My thoughts on the future of work are very influenced by my friend, a business strategist, Heather McGowan. She really describes that what’s going on is that work is being disconnected from jobs, and jobs and work are being disconnected from companies, which are increasingly becoming platforms. That’s Heather’s argument, and that is what I definitely see.

Continue Reading at Deloitte

Futurist Heather McGowan gave the ECUC Conference audience a glimpse into the future of how humans and machines will be working and learning from each other -- not too far off, either. Absolutely loved this talk. What Heather is talking about is mind-blowing -- especially the machines becoming smarter than humans stuff. And what's even more mind blowing is that it's all happening right before our eyes. Check out our chat and let us know your thoughts.

NYT Thomas L. Friedman moderates a discussion with Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson about the future of AI and Society in light of their new book: Machine, Platform, Crowd. In this clip he mentions one of Heather McGowan's theories on the Future of Work.

image credit: Getty Images

image credit: Getty Images


Last month innovation strategist Heather McGowan gave an interesting talk at the Amplify Festival on "the future of work." I've had the pleasure of working with Heather in the past when launching the Strategic Design MBA program at Philadelphia University. Here, I've captured some of Heather's top of mind on what needs to be in place for the ways we will need to work.

Heather, just to provide some context, what's the impetus of your thoughts on "the future of work"?

The world of work has changed dramatically, and higher education is not prepared and not preparing graduates to navigate. In the last decade I have focused increasingly on the future of work and on how higher education has to prepare workers. I have since advised college/university presidents and corporate leaders on how to prepare for and adjust to these new realities.

Continue Reading at Inc. 

Thomas Friedman discusses his new book and mentions the need for an agile learning mindset quoting Heather McGowan on the Future of Work and the lifelong learning imperative.

Photo Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Photo Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times

In this column in the New York Times from September 27, 2017, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Thomas Friedman articulates his belief that we are going through three simultaneous climate changes at once: the market (economy), Moore's Law (technology), and mother nature (the climate) that are impacting our geopolitical environment, the future of work and, by extension, the connected future of learning. In this context, he quotes Heather McGowan:

“When work was predictable and the change rate was relatively constant, preparation for work merely required the codification and transfer of existing knowledge and predetermined skills to create a stable and deployable work force,” explains education consultant Heather McGowan. “Now that the velocity of change has accelerated, due to a combination of exponential growth in technology and globalization, learning can no longer be a set dose of education consumed in the first third of one’s life.” In this age of accelerations, “the new killer skill set is an agile mind-set that values learning over knowing.”


In Episode 2 of Reaching the UML Podcast, I interview Heather McGowan - catalyst, speaker and author focused on innovation at the intersection of work and learning. We discuss the future of learning and touch on the slope of enlightenment, design thinking and the idea of 'learning over knowing'.


In this interview with Ed Tech start up founder of Calia, Sergio Marrero, Heather discusses the profound changes taking place in the future of work that require we think differently about how we prepare our workforce, search for talent, retain talent, and organize our workers as we enter the fourth industrial revolution. 

Photo credit: NYT

Photo credit: NYT


The notion that we can go to college for four years and then spend that knowledge for the next 30 is over. If you want to be a lifelong employee anywhere today, you have to be a lifelong learner.

And that means: More is now on you. And that means self-motivation to learn and keep learning becomes the most important life skill.

That’s why education-to-work expert Heather E. McGowan likes to say: “Stop asking a young person WHAT you want to be when you grow up. It freezes their identity into a job that may not be there. Ask them HOW you want to be when you grow up. Having an agile learning mind-set will be the new skill set of the 21st century.”

Continue Reading at The New York Times

Graphic Image Credit: Heather McGowan

Graphic Image Credit: Heather McGowan


Academic entrepreneur and innovation strategist Heather McGowan, speaking at Amplify Festival 2015 in Sydney, Australia, described how jobs are over, and the future is income generation. The traditional life path of individuals (Fig 1) has been as follows: we start under our parent’s safety net, then go through years of continuous education, before become productive members of the workforce and then finally retire back into the safety net of our own savings. This is idealized and based upon older lifelong employment ideals.

Continue Reading at Forbes.com 


Best known as the executive producer of the DEMO Conferences from 1996 – 2009, Shipley helped technology companies bring more than 1,500 new products to market. As co-founder and CEO of Guidewire Group, she works with emerging technology companies around the world to identify market opportunities and accelerate business growth.An award-winning technology journalist, Shipley began covering the personal technology industry in 1984, and has worked as a writer and editor for a variety of technology and consumer media. Fortune Small Business Magazine placed Shipley on its “Top 10 Minds in Small Business,” and the San Jose Business Journal named her a “Woman of Distinction.” She has often been cited as a leading influencer by Marketing Computers magazine. In 2010, she received SDForum’s Visionary Award for her work with technology entrepreneurs.


In this interview Chris shares her insights from working with entrepreneurs over thirty years in Silicon Valley. 


A former tech journalist, Chris has built a career identifying innovative startups that create markets and drive positive and disruptive change. As the executive producer of the DEMO conference from 1996 to 2009, she helped more than 1,500 companies make their market debut.

Her 30-year career gives her keen insights to the startup world, how it works and what has changed.

Listen To The Full Interview

Education in the age of acceleration requires an agile learning mindset and both an expectation and commitment to life long learning. 


If you’re struggling to write your book, here’s an idea: try drawing it instead. That’s how Heather McGowan, academic entrepreneur and futurist, gets started.

‘When you look at text, you turn those texts into symbols that you store in your mind visually. When you look at a picture, you can be something like 30,000 times faster reading all the same information… if [blogs or books] have visuals in them, they are much more often read and understood than if they’re just plain text because it breaks it up, it allows you to process things differently.’

Listen To The Full Interview