Paul Higgins

Paul has worked in a strategic foresight consulting capacity for 20 years, after forming Emergent Futures with two other graduates of Swinburne University’s Strategic Foresight Masters Program. Prior to that Paul had extensive experience in business, politics and agribusiness consulting after first working as a production animal veterinarian. Paul works with a range of clients across the not for profit, commercial and government sectors ranging from listed public companies to small community organisations.

Paul’s expertise is in working with organisations to help them create better strategy in the face of multiple possible futures. His approach is to equip organisations with this capacity, rather than simply advising them. This includes exploring multiple futures and accepting the irreducible uncertainty that is part of the decision-making process. He guides individuals and teams to build sets of signposts of change, allowing the organisation to identify which possible futures are becoming more likely. This allows organisations to answer three core questions:

  1. If this future came true what would we do?
  2. If this future came true when would we start investing resources (well ahead of time, fast follower strategy, etc)
  3. If this future came true how would we know when when is?

Paul’s work as a generalist futurist helps organisations to identify their blind spots, by utilising foresight approaches and bringing in perspectives from a wide range of sectors and industries.

Paul has served on a number of not for profit and commercial boards, including an unlisted public company with an annual turnover of $100 million. Paul also negotiated the formation of an industry/government owned company in the animal health sector which was charged with preparing for and dealing with exotic disease emergencies. The intersection between this experience and his foresight expertise has been invaluable to clients during the COVID Pandemic. Paul is a graduate of the Williamson Leadership Program, a Venture Philanthropy Partner and Board Chair of Social Venture Partners Melbourne, an associate of Melbourne University Business School, and a special advisor on strategy and foresight to Save the Children Australia. Paul also has significant operational experience having built farm businesses and held CEO positions in two organisations with over 30 and 120 employees respectively.

You can  follow Paul on Twitter at @futuristpaul

Or contact him on:

Mobile: 0408 557 583


Examples of Recent Presentations and Project work Include:

  • Southern Australia Livestock Research Council – Scenario Writer and Master of Ceremonies for Future of Farming Conference (2022)
  • Irrigear Network Conference – Future Business Opportunities in Irrigation and Water (2022)
  • New Zealand Veterinary Profession – Scenarios for the Future of the Profession (2022)
  • Australian Cotton Industry – new models for the adoption of new irrigation technology (2021-2022)
  • Vision Australia – Trend and Scenario Project work (2021 -2022)
  • General Melbourne Cemetery Trust – Platform Strategy Models (2021-2022)
  • Apiam Limited: Scenarios on COVID futures for the next 12 months (2021)
  • Animal Aid – Board and Staff Foresight workshop (2021)
  • City of Knox Foresight and Leadership offsite weekend (2021)
  • Value adding strategy for the Queensland sheep and industry (2021)
  • Special Advisor on Foresight and Strategy for Save The Children Australia (March 2021 – ongoing)
  • Sunpork Fresh Foods Executive Team offsite – building foresight capacity (2021)
  • Save the Children Executive Team offsite (attended as outside provocateur) (2021)
  • City of Yarra Community Vision Project (2020-2021)
  • COVID foresight and strategy presentation for NAB Mortgage brokers network (2020)
  • Strategy and foresight work for GJK Facility Services. (2020)
  • Company Offsite session for Energetics on future business models for energy services consulting (March 2020)
  • Foresight workshops for Melbourne City Mission Leaders Network and Board/Executive Team (2020).
  • Foresight, strategy and risk training workshops for regional councils for LGPro (2020)
  • Executive Challenge for young leaders of the Northern Australian Beef Industry (2019)
  • Foresight for Practical Strategy for the LGPro Emerging Leaders Program (2019)
  • Start-up Bootcamp Energy Incubator mentoring (2019)
  • Melbourne Business School – Approaches to foresight for leadership and strategy program (2019)
  • Melbourne Business School – Approaches to foresight for leadership and strategy program (2019)
  • State Library of Victoria – Opening Keynote to the State Public Libraries Planning Summit: The Future of Libraries in our Communities (2019)
  • CEO Institute Centurion Club ($100 million turn over and above companies): Foresight for Practical Strategy (2019)
  • ALT Foresight Program Melbourne: Wardley Mapping for Foresight Strategy Work (2019)
  • Central Highlands Development Corporation Business Development Day Keynote on how to work with multiple views of the future (2019)
  • RSPCA (Vic) – Foresight and Strategy Work for a redesign of their organisation (2019).
  • Melbourne Water – Building Foresight Capacity (2018)
  • Transport for Victoria – Workshops on Single Point of Customer Contact (2018)
  • CEO Institute – Multiple presentations on Foresight for Practical Strategy (2018)
  • Paraway Pastoral – Workshop/Presentation on the implementation of new technology in Agriculture (2018)
  • City of Moonee Valley- Presentation/Workshop for Councillor Offsite on Future Changes for the Region (2018)
  • PEXA Australia – 2 Presentations for Client Day and Internal Staff Day on How to Think About Future Strategic Landscapes (2018)
  • National Australia Bank -National Tour With Chief Economist Alan Oster on the Future of Health for clients (2018)
  • City of Melbourne: Consulting on Using Foresight in Planning (2018)
  • Investec- Strategy offsite for Energy and Transport Group (2018)
  • Jetstar Airways – Presentation to Engineering Leadership Team on Foresight and Innovation (2018)
  • Outback Tourism Awards – Keynote on Future of Tourism (2018)
  • ·McPherson Media Group – Executive Team Session on Future Media Opportunities (2017)
  • Yolla Cooperative – The Future for Technology in Agricultural Cooperatives (2017)
  •  Dairy Australia – Strategic Plan Review (2017)
  • Moreland City Council – Staff Workshops on the Future of the Region (2016/17)
  • Australian Veterinary Board Council (2016/17) – Scenario Planning for the Future of Veterinary Education and Regulation
  • Mindshop Australia (2017) – Bringing the Future into the Professional Advisors Practice
  • Hobsons Bay City Council – Foresight Input into the Community Vision (2016)
  • Australian Tax Office (2016) – Strategic Foresight Workshops on the Future of the Tax System
  •  Epworth Hospital – Strategy for the Epworth Radiation Oncology Research Centre (2016)