Future-of-work strategist Heather E. McGowan helps leaders prepare their people and organizations for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Third Industrial Revolution was marked by computerization and automation of physical labor, laying the foundation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will be notable for the rapid advancement of technology tools into the domain of human knowledge work. In this world, humans must continuously learn and adapt, and with this transition comes information overload. Heather gives lucidity to this topic through her illuminating graphic frameworks and powerful metaphors, all backed by deep research.
In 2017, LinkedIn ranked her as its number one global voice for education. Pulitzer Prize–winning NYT columnist Thomas Friedman frequently quotes Heather in his books and columns and describes her as “the oasis” when it comes to insights into the future of work. Heather’s sessions help employees and leaders alike prepare for and adapt to jobs that do not yet exist.
McGowan’s clients range from start-ups to publicly traded Fortune 500 companies, including AMP Financial, Autodesk, Biogen, Citi, Accor Hotels, AARP, The World Bank, and BD Medical. Often quoted in the media, notably in the New York Times, McGowan serves on the advisory board for Sparks & Honey, a New York–based culture-focused agency looking to the future for brands.
Heather provides highly-visual, data dense, synthetic keynote addresses, lightening talks, board facilitations, custom workshops, virtual keynotes-webinars, and panel discussions for corporate, education, foundation, and government audiences of hundreds to many thousands.
McGowan’s academic work has included roles at Rhode Island School of Design, Becker College, and Jefferson University, where she was the strategic architect of the first undergraduate college focused exclusively on innovation.
Heather advises and gives keynote addresses for organizations all over the world and, with her colleagues, provides bespoke consulting to help organizations adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Her think tank is called Work to Learn because McGowan believes that in the Third Industrial Revolution, we learned (once) in order to work and now, in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we will work in order to learn (continuously).
McGowan’s book, The Adaptation Advantage (2020) explores the complex and ambiguous future of work and has been recognised as a must-read by many critics. It held top spots on Amazon and was named by Soundview as one of the best business books for 2021. She is also the co-editor and author of the book Disrupt Together: How Teams Consistently Innovate and a Forbes contributor. In 2019, Heather was appointed to the faculty of the Centre for the New Workforce at Swinburne University.