Dr. Nat Irving II

Dr. Nat Irvin, IIAuthor, innovator, futurist, teacher and commentator, Nat Irvin, II, is the Woodrow M. Strickler Executive-in-Residence and professor of management at the University of Louisville, College of Business, where he has taught change management, leadership and future studies, since 2007. 

He is an advisor to a proprietary research study on consumer behavior and the emergence of identity among African American, Latino and LGBT groups conducted by Starcom MediaVest Group, one of the world’s largest brand communications groups. Advertisers and other media use Irvin’s findings to identify new demographic groups and target them with customized messages and opportunities. 

Dr. Irvin is founder of “Thrivals 3.0 @IdeaFestival” launched in 2010, with the theme of “The Global Brain: What Happens Next? Exploring the Power of Human Imagination, Creativity and Innovation”.  Each year the “Thrivals” event is the kick-off day of the IdeaFestival, an annual world-class event that attracts leading global innovators and thinkers to discuss and celebrate imagination, new perspectives and transformational ideas (www.ideafestival.com).  In 2011, “Thrivals 4.0” explored, “The Future of Learning”, and in 2012, “Thrivals 5.0” examined “The Quest: The Call to Adventure”.  “Thrivals” is a brand of thinking about the future. It’s a way of imagining and learning about the broad social, political, environmental, economic and technological trends that are shaping the mid- to- long term future, targeting an urban audience. 

From 1996-2007, Irvin led Future Focus 2020, a think tank dedicated to providing leadership in bringing futurist thinking to urban America and minority communities. In 2000, Future Focus 2020 became a center of the Babcock Graduate School of Management at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. There Dr. Irvin also served as Executive Professor of Future Studies and as Assistant Dean for MBA Student Development. Irvin was Visiting Executive Professor of Future Studies at the Babcock Graduate School in 2008 while serving as W.M. Strickler Executive-in-Residence and professor of management at the University of Louisville.

Irvin has engaged many groups and organizations in strategic conversations about the future focused on the significant social, political, economic, technological and environmental trends and events that will have the greatest impact on urban communities by the year 2020 and beyond. In 2005, he was elected as a member of the Board of Directors of the World Future Society, Bethesda Maryland and served as chair of the 2008 Annual World Future Society Meeting held in Washington, DC. In 2005 and 2007 Dr. Irvin spoke at the annual TED (Technology Entertainment & Design) Conference and was an invited guest in 2012. TED is a nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”.

Irvin has been quoted in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The BBC, Christian Science Monitor, ABC News, Essence Magazine, among many other news organizations. He was a columnist for the Winston-Salem Journal, distributed by Media General Newspapers for over 15 years, provided commentary for NPR’s Weekend Edition and was a regular member of the roundtable on NPR’s News and Notes. Irvin was the voice of “N2 the Future” a new futurist thinking educational program aimed at urban audiences which debuted 2006 on “Syndication One”, produced by Radio One. The show could be heard in over 30 major urban cities in America. 

Irvin also serves as the Chief Learning Officer for the Wondaland Arts Society, a two time Grammy nominated artistic group based in Atlanta, Ga. He is also the original composer of “Ba Bop Bye Ya,” which appeared on the Grammy nominated and highly acclaimed album “Archandroid” featuring Janelle Monae with music composed by Nate Rocket Wonder and Roman GianArthur, 2010. 

He is a member of the Exo-medicine Advisory Committee of Kentucky Space, LLC, a new space venture exploring the study of disease mitigation and health enhancement in space under microgravity conditions. This initiative will be supported by an interdisciplinary team of top scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, and through a joint venture with NASA and NanoRacks LLC, based in Houston.  Irvin is a member of the Board of Directors for Tides Global Youth Citizenship Social Innovation Fund.  Tides provides fiscal sponsorship for over 230 groups across the country, operates and supports green nonprofit centers, and grants millions of dollars each year to charitable organizations across the globe. 

Dr. Irvin is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and a Masters degree in Media Arts. An accomplished composer, he also holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Music Composition from the University of North Texas and is a graduate of the Institute for Educational Management, Harvard University Graduate School of Education. 

Married to Chandra Goforth Irvin, the couple has three adult children.