In today's episode of the Strategy Skills podcast, we have a conversation with Blair Sheppard, Global Head of Strategy and Leadership for PWC. Blair shares his views of looming global crises driven by wealth disparity, technological disruption, the polarization of people, and declining trust in society’s institutions.

Blair Sheppard is also the Dean Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, where he taught for thirty-three years. He was the principal force behind opening Duke's campus in China, and the founder and CEO of Duke Corporate Education. Blair is a regular speaker at high-caliber international forums including the Global Solutions Summit, the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, and Slush. He was born in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada) and lives in Durham, North Carolina (US).

In his new book, TEN YEARS TO MIDNIGHT: Four Urgent Global Crises and Their Strategic Solutions, Blair sets out why that timeline is so crucial, what the most urgent challenges are and the key elements of a solution.

The world faces four crises:

  1. A crisis of prosperity, with rising inequality, poor life choices for young people, the squeezed middle class and a mass of people on the brink of retirement but lacking the savings to sustain them; 
  2. A crisis of technology, as our economic system drives innovation but fails to manage unintended negative consequences which pollute key elements of life support, from our atmosphere to our news;
  3. A crisis of institutional legitimacy, as traditional institutions try to maintain their existing structures in the face of major global forces, and find themselves buckling and warping rather than adapting; and,
  4. A crisis of leadership, as those who should help us manage these crises instead focus on narrow priorities rather than leading the world towards holistic solutions.

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