Considered a leading futurist, Dr. Patrick Dixon is sought out by Fortune 100 companies for his lectures on emerging trends
A charismatic Christian physician has scooped a place with the world’s business elite. Dr. Patrick Dixon was recently listed among the top 50 management gurus–alongside such famous names as Microsoft chief Bill Gates and Virgin founder Richard Branson.
A global ranking of business thinkers compiled by United Kingdom-based Suntop Media in association with Bloomsbury Publishing, the Thinkers 50 project asked hundreds of academics, consultants and business people, “Who is the most important living management thinker?” Dixon snatched the No. 46 slot in its 2003 report.
This former church planter is now widely known for his groundbreaking talks on the future. The Wall Street Journal described him as a “global change guru.”
Dixon’s multimedia presentation on future trends are seen by up to 3,000 people at a time–in as many as three countries a week. Journalists often hound him for quotes, and on a busy day this father of four receives up to 70 media calls.
His Web site, www.globalchange.com, has so far attracted 4 million visitors–about 60 percent of them from the United States. His most recent book, Futurewise (Profile Business), warns of six faces of global change–fast, urban, tribal, universal, radical and ethical.
He was speaking in Norway when news broke of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. His topic that day was the challenge of tribalism. “The conference was overwhelmed by what happened,” he recalled, “and then came a realization of the awesome power of tribalism.”
Dixon’s journey into tomorrow began when he confronted the killer plague AIDS. Dixon came across the virus in the 1980s when he saw a man alone in a hospital room being slowly destroyed by AIDS. Dixon was traumatized by what he saw. “He was anxious … sweaty, fighting for every breath, suffocating in his own secretions and gripped with terrible fear,” Dixon wrote in his book AIDS and You.
Shocked to find someone abandoned in such a state at a London hospital, Dixon was forced to face his own fears and prejudices. The patient eventually died, leaving a doctor shaken to the core.
In 1987 he wrote a startling exposé about the disease. The Truth About AIDS was electric-shock treatment for Britain’s government, media and church. Dixon exposed the myths and the cover-ups–and urged Christians to join the fight.
A “call-to-arms” went across the Pioneer network of charismatic churches–of which Dixon is still a respected member. Those steps into uncharted territory led to setting up AIDS Care Education and Training (ACET), now an international network.
Dixon wrote on genetics and government–even on revival. He lectured for a bank, then for the World Economic Forum. “That led to a stack of invitations from a number of different countries for lectures about the future,” he said.
An impressive list of clients–the likes of Microsoft, IBM and Ford–built up over the years. Dixon warned audiences of such challenges as the growth of online purchasing and Internet banking–well before most people had a hint of such happenings.
The lecture fees help fund ACET’s work within some of the poorest communities on Earth. “I don’t know where all the insights come from,” Dixon admitted. “All I know is, I do all the homework–and meet many people who are making history themselves at the cutting edge of new technology.”
He accepts it could be a blend of sanctified common sense, “flashes of inspiration” and the “inclusive worldview” that he holds as a committed Christian.
At 47, his work has come full circle. He’s offering diagnoses again–but to a new group of patients. “I’ve become a physician to organizations,” he smiled.
Clive Price in London