Zenia Tata is an innovation strategist, a trained futurist, and a humanitarian who is passionate about tapping the vastness of human potential to tackle the planet's most vexing problems.
As an independent consultant, Zenia has recently led innovation projects for Breakthrough Victoria, a 2-billion-dollar impact investment fund for the Prime Minister’s Office of Australia; an affordable and sustainable housing design project for Emaar Properties through ExO Mesh; and sustainability-related consulting projects globally for BCG.
Zenia spent a decade as Chief Impact Officer at XPRIZE where she created a new prize development methodology and designed more than 25 different innovation challenges to incentivize development of moonshot technologies in areas such as hydrogen energy, carbon dioxide removal, zero-waste mining, alternate proteins, desalination, age-reversal, and water abundance. During this time, she trained as a futurist and launched XPRIZE’s future foresight practice, which produced deeply researched impact roadmaps that outlined the breakthroughs necessary to achieve preferred future states of housing, environmental conservation, human longevity, and global food systems. Her last large-scale effort at XPRIZE was the groundbreaking design of the $100 million Carbon Removal prize funded by Elon Musk that incentivized solutions for the capture and sequestration of atmospheric CO2.
Before XPRIZE, Zenia served as Executive Director of International Development Enterprises (iDE) USA, a nonprofit company that creates market-based approaches to help impoverished farmers in 20 developing countries generate income. Working in post-disaster zones and some of the poorest villages, she honed an approach to poverty alleviation that begins with a deep understanding of the local context and market dynamics to create lasting impact. Her proudest achievement was iDE’s ability to lift 24 million farm families out of the cycle of poverty.
Zenia's popularity as a public speaker reflects her talent for clear and inspiring communication around complex ideas. Her keynotes cover her methodology of creating audacious impact. This unique approach combines moonshot thinking with design principles drawing from biomimicry and science fiction. She is currently authoring a book on Audacious Impact, which is influenced by her 25 years of global field experience in implementing innovations to solve planetary-scale problems.
Through her 25-year global career, Zenia has often been quoted as a breakthrough thinker and practical futurist in international technology publications like Wired magazine, and media outlets like the BBC. She is an experienced keynote speaker and facilitator who has created her own validated workshop methodology for foresight and breakthrough identification in sectors like energy, water, global food systems, waste, and human health and longevity.
A sense of adventure and an explorer’s mindset runs through Zenia’s life and work. Growing up in Bombay she dreamt of becoming an astronaut before becoming one of the few women in the ‘80s to become a pilot. Her love of the outdoors and extreme sports are reflected in her bold innovation designs which are influenced as much bybiomimicry as they are by the confluence of exponential technologies.
Zenia is bold, brimming with optimism, and determined to change the world.