My name is James “Woody” Wade, and I have 30 years' experience in international business. In that time I've worked with senior managers of companies, educational institutions, NGOs and other organizations in Europe, Asia and the Americas, helping them develop and communicate a vision of their future.
I earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, following my Bachelor's degree in German and history from Indiana University. My academic background also includes an exchange year at the University of Hamburg.
My professional life has been based entirely in Switzerland, where I've lived since 1982. During my career, I've been a member of the Executive Board of the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, the foundation hosting the annual meeting of world leaders in Davos; I worked for two Swiss banks; and I served as the Director of Marketing and Institutional Development for the venerable Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne.
An ongoing project dating from my time at the hotel school is The Hotel Yearbook, a forward-looking annual publication that I publish, compiling the views of opinion leaders from the global hotel industry on the near-term outlook for the business.
In 2011, I was approached by the US-based publishing company John Wiley & Sons to write a "how-to" book on scenario generation. The result was Scenario Planning: A Field Guide to the Future, which came out in 2012. The book's Japanese edition has been a bestseller there and was voted the 14th best business book of 2014 by readers of the Japanese-language edition of Harvard Business Review.
In 2016, I wrote the e-book Hotel Yearbook 2036, which describes the business landscape in 20 years, specifically focusing on the many changes between now and then that will affect the hotel industry. It was a particularly creative project because I wrote it as if it were already the year 2036, and I was interviewing dozens of "eyewitnesses from the future" (business leaders, consultants, journalists, and other experts) who each "looked back" on the 2016-2036 period and told me what happened, i.e. how did we get from then (2016) to now (2036)? Fiction? Yes! But in the service of provoking readers to think about what could realistically change in just a few years' time. (Follow the link and you can download a copy for free.)
Want to know even more? My LinkedIn profile is here.
My scenario work centers mostly on workshops - but not everyone has time to devote a day, or can get everyone together for a group session because of schedule conflicts, travel, etc. That's why I also work as a "futures coach". I tell busy senior managers, "Give me three hours, and together we'll map out the most critically important business scenarios you may face in the future - and we'll identify at least one innovation opportunity for you in each one."
Lastly, I am available for public speaking engagements around the world, and would be happy to come talk to your team, industry conference, club, etc. about why scenario thinking is the only way to approach the future!