Nathaniel Calhoun

Global Technology Strategist, Keynote Speaker & Facilitator

Nathaniel Calhoun consults to international governments and organisations about the future of technology and its ethical and strategic implications, about global impact and business leadership. A digital innovator, he has developed customised digital technology solutions that have succeeded in extremely challenging environments. Additionally, he has designed and implemented policies that have changed how marketplaces work.

Nathaniel is renowned globally as a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who tailors his high energy presentations for businesses, government, NGOs and educational institutions. He has delivered keynotes, workshops and short programs for a variety of Fortune 100 companies that focus on governance, ethics, exponential hedging and new approaches to leveraging social technologies.

More about Nathaniel Calhoun:

Nathaniel has spent two decades working between centres of executive decision making around the world. As co-Chair of Singularity University’s Global Grand Challenge Faculty, he has helped guide a new approach to changemaking and impact. He has moderated numerous SU Executive Programs and directed SU’s flagship impact program, the 10-week Global Solutions Program (GSP).

Nathaniel founded Code Innovation in 2009 to provide technological and consultative services to international aid and development organisations, specifically in the arenas of financial inclusion, business development, poverty alleviation, education and resilience building. His open source platforms have received the support of UNICEF, the Gates Foundation, the British Government and a variety of private donors.

He advises a number of start-ups that work in artificial intelligence, robotics, conservation and inclusion.


Primer: Exponential technology 2.0, beyond the basics – This session is ideal at the beginning of a conference or program to get the audience onto the same page with regards to the pace of technological change and its far-reaching implications. This session lays the groundwork for other sessions that dive more deeply into specific technologies or business strategies.

A new wave of disruptive approaches to business – Accelerating technological change is stressing traditional companies and forcing changes to business strategies of a more analogue era. In this session, Nathaniel introduces a variety of processes and business templates that change the rules of the marketplace. He highlights new companies, forward looking cities, international policy makers and development communities changing the way money is created, property is defined and nature is valued and protected. These innovative trends are linked to how we plan for the future of education, commerce and government.

It can be complimented with the “Abundance and the Collaborative Commons” workshop.

Education Keynote: The future of work and education aren’t what you think – Drawing on his experience building education programs for large out of school and out of work populations in Sub-Saharan Africa, Nathaniel explores how we can change our approach to education and our approach to business, as well as infrastructure ownership, to create stability in times of exponential change.

This keynote pairs well with the Scenario Planning Workshop on Technological Unemployment.

Controversies Keynote: I find your lack of policy disturbing – Companies that embrace new technologies in an opportunistic fashion in order to gain competitive advantage are often setting harmful precedents without noticing. This keynote explores some of the risks of unchecked technological adoption and highlights ways organisations (or governments) can turn this to their own advantage. Nathaniel takes his audience five to 10 years into the future to explore the new areas executives will have to navigate.

This keynote can be complimented with the hot controversies debate activity or the 21st Century Policy Workshop.

Keynote for Government or NGOs: Systems change – Nathaniel explores new approaches to platform building that best leverage the minimal resources of governments and NGOs. What approaches to technology help to build capacity within a workforce while deepening connections with an array of beneficiaries? What new principles are now guiding investment and policy around the world? How can we break the cycle of moving from one imperfect innovation to the next without ever building a proper ecosystem in which all of the human layers are progressively more resilient?

Pairs well with the Abundance and the Collaborative Commons workshop.


Abundance and the collaborative commons – When data science and new technologies drive us towards unprecedented levels of efficiency, and demonetisation characterises the marketplace, what happens to the future of business? This workshop looks at trends pointing towards an open, collaborative, abundant future before splitting delegates into teams to contemplate the future of different industries. Teams predict the posture and approach of industry leaders 20 years into the future and, in parallel, the citizen structure for engaging with the industry in question.

Strategy vs. culture: How to set exponential policy – This workshop explores three to five different scenarios where the use of technology could get a company into trouble. It looks at ways that surveillance technology and automated decision making can alienate a workforce and institutionalise blindspots. It also explores how to avoid technologically amplified discrimination and move instead, towards genuine inclusiveness.

Participants are divided into groups to make policy suggestions based on strategic or cultural

Hot controversies debate – This workshop centres on twelve different debate resolutions. Each resolution addresses a hot controversy at the centre of a Global Grand Challenge. Participants are split into small teams that debate each side of the resolution along with a team that represents the media who are responsible for adding commentary and seeking to sway the judges. Debates are quick (10 minutes each) and voted upon by the room. Topics are especially good at teasing out policy ramifications of accelerating technologies.

Scenario- planning for technological unemployment – After a brief primer on technological unemployment, this workshop centres around detailed national scenarios, exploring the particular vulnerability of one country to technological unemployment by exploring the current state of its population, its economy and the industries upon which it depends. Participants are challenged to propose phased solutions to the predicted unemployment by describing interventions to make at five, 10 and 15 years. The session concludes with teams sharing their scenarios and most hopeful solutions and key insights. Current country cards are: Ethiopia, Nepal, Mexico, Thailand, Liberia and Switzerland. Additional scenarios are possible upon request.

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