Advisory Board

Ruben Nelson

Ruben Nelson is one of Canada’s pioneers of serious futures research. Since 1960, he has had an active interest in our future. Today, he is one of Canada’s few professional futurists.
Ruben has spent his life exploring the many ways we and our world are changing. He now believes deeply that if we are to sustain success in the unique conditions of the 21st Century, we must develop new mental maps of where we are in history; that the tacit understandings of our world and our culture can no longer lead us to the future we desire.

  • In 1960, as an undergraduate at Queen’s, he organized and chaired the first formal futures conference in Canada.
  • In 1970, he was part of a small team asked by the Prime Minister to re-conceive Canadian social policy.
  • In 1972, he designed and implemented the new federal program for retired people — New Horizons.
  • In 1975, as director of the Cultural Paradigms Project, he was the first to apply the concept of paradigm change to the evolution of whole cultures.
  • In 1976, he was one of the founders of the Canadian Association for Futures Studies and was subsequently CAFS’ third president.
  • In 1980, he was one of the organizers of the largest futures conference ever held — the joint World Futures Society / CAFS event in Toronto.
  • From 1986–89 he directed the most thorough Canadian study into the transformation of Industrial societies into post-Industrial societies and economies.
  • Today, he is the founding President of The Alliance for Capitalizing on Change — a Canadian body explicitly designed to make it easier for us to explore and understand change in order to influence the shape of our future.
  • He is also a member of the World Futures Studies Federation — the global professional association for futurists.
He helps people see the big picture and ask the big questions:
  • Why is the Industrial Age ending, and why now?
  • What forces are driving this transformation?
  • What new way of living is struggling to be born within us and among us?
  • What we can do now to become agents of change?
  • What it will cost us if we do… and if we don’t?
Over the years he has written on changing paradigms, the cognitive work of leadership, societal change, the future of work, 21st century social policy, the emerging information society, and the societal implications of micro-electronic technologies.
Ruben is much sought after as a speaker and consultant. He also has a strong background in public policy and as an advisor to both elected officials and bureaucrats. He works in every region and sector of Canada. He is at home in corporate board rooms and church basements.
He studied at Queen’s University (Philosophy, Politics & Theology), lived in India, and worked in Ottawa.
Ruben is active in the community. In 1989, he conceived of Calgary as an Information Port and chaired the first phase of the Calgary InfoPort initiative. For eight years, he facilitated the Prosperity South process. He has also served as a Governor of the Calgary Economic Development Authority. He was honored by Rotary International in 1997, when he was named a Paul Harris Fellow. Today, he is a board member of The Enviros Wilderness School Association.
He is the only Canadian who is a fellow of the World Business Academy, the World Academy of Art and Science, and the Meridian International Institute for Leadership, Governance, Change, and the Future.
He is also President of Square One Management Ltd. and The Alliance for Capitalizing on Change.
Ruben now lives in the Alberta Rockies with Heather, his wife of almost 40 years, and their three cats.