Dr. Gigi Louisa Johnson

Socio-technologist, keynote speaker, connector, futurist, producer, multimedia artist
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Gigi Louisa Johnson, EdD, MBA

Gigi Louisa Johnson, EdD, MBA

Rethink Next and Maremel Institute

Dr. Johnson speaks, researches, and creates experiences on transformation and creative technologies.  Through Maremel, she creates programs, events, and classes on where creative work and systems are going—locally and globally—in an AI- and digitally accelerated age.  She has advised leaders in start-ups, nonprofits, and other organizations in media, music, and education.  Through Rethink Next, she has launched collaborations on the futures of creative work in local communities.  Dr. Johnson speaks around the world on digital transformations, both of the past and in the future.

Teaching on cutting-edge issues has been part of her DNA.  UCLA had been part of her home for 20 years, where she has taught undergraduates, MBAs, and executives about digital disruption in creative industries.  She taught music industry courses at UCLA Alpert for more than 10 years and, for five years, produced and hosted the UCLA podcast “Innovating Music.” Gigi was the Founding Executive Director of the UCLA Center for Music Innovation for five years.  She previously ran centers and taught courses and executive programs on digital disruption and creative systems change at UCLA Anderson for 14 years.  She has also taught at universities and spoken at major conferences in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East on digital transformation and disruption.

Creatively, she has produced and hosted three early web series on digital tech learning, produced and performed in eight years of kids’ concerts, produced four online courses in creative tech and marketing, produced two kids’ albums, and designed a large number of live thought leadership events with various partners.

Her corporate background includes ten years of financing media acquisitions at Bank of America, as well as work in educational media, public relations, and advertising.  She received her doctorate in educational leadership for change from Fielding Graduate University, her MBA from UCLA Anderson, and her bachelor’s degree from USC Cinematic Arts in TV production.

Expanding Adventures in Our Daily Lives

“Thank you for making me think.”

— a note from our breakfast server

I nudge people to see opportunities daily. Some of this nudging is in my interactions as a keynote speaker or teacher. Some is in conversations with a barista or on public transportation.  

Most of my work and energy — speaking, researching, teaching, and connecting — repeatedly wraps back around to how we grow our daily lives despite the defaults and perceived limits in this tech-framed world.

I push against the easy button of smartphone- and search-led algorithmic discovery. We make so many daily decisions now withiut seeing those tethers to curated choice.

For example, that curation is deep into plans and stories about future autonomous car systems. At a CES 2019 side event on automotive artificial intelligence (!!), we could have had a drinking game around the word “Frictionless” as a goal. That stated goal in many company presentations for “frictionless” consumer decisionmaking creates a foggy mist around how instead we can take positive, intentional action.

With my work, I shine light into that mist of tech-connected phones and tools that impact how we work, live, create, share, and collaborate.  I mix those ideas with insights from 9 careers, including corporate banking, media distribution, music performance and marketing, higher education, and teaching technology.  I also have raised three young adults who are making their way in this digital world.  

Thriving in Digital Water

I love to help people break out of the default space of their lives. I bring insights, advice, and humor to help groups and individuals thrive in digital water.

We are digital fish, swimming in a big tank that we cannot see well. . . or at all.  The world and the way we engage in it is dramatically shifting with embedded, perpetual connected technologies. How can we swim differently?  How does our digital water affect how we live, work, share, love, create, collaborate, and plan our lives together.