MJ Petroni is a translator of trends, provocateur of new ways of thinking and guardian of values. He draws from his experience with startups and digital businesses, global travel, and research to create compelling narratives of our future which catalyze innovation for top teams at global companies, organizations and governments. 

MJ studies large shifts and finds the stories that validate them. Through curation of discoveries from around the world and his own publishing, he catalyzes conversation about the future and builds innovations needed today.


  • Data: Spreadsheet to Algorithm
  • Individuals: Consumer to Co-Creator
  • Brands: Push to Pull
  • Strategy: Product to Platform
  • Media: Audience to Community
  • Organizations: Hierarchy to Network
  • Engagement: Transaction to Relationship
  • Motivation: Profit to Purpose
  • Leadership: Process to Principles
  • Technology: Software to Cyborg
  • Value: Analog to Digital 


  • The Internet of Things (and its successor, the Social Network of Things)
  • Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives (Gen Y) and Data Natives (Gen Z)
  • Far future technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence and wetware
  • Online and on-demand education/education technologies
  • Digital finance: banking innovation, personal finances and currencies
  • The digital divide and social impact through digital
  • Public-private convergence
  • Diversity and social impact (LGBTQ community, Latina/o, youth, privilege work and disability)



  • Narrative development
  • Futurism and trends research, validation and storytelling
  • Thought leadership platform development, public speaking and engagement
  • Sprint-style agile content production and presentation
  • Digital business innovation, design thinking, facilitation, value proposition design and productization
  • Rapid media production including animation, video editing, design, visual thinking and strategic writing
  • Business model design, including multi-sided platforms (models for enabling value created by others, a la the App Store or YouTube)
  • IT-based innovation and change management (bi-modal IT) and telecommunications
  • Audience definition and advanced persona modeling
  • Brand-driven innovation and strategic partnerships
  • Startups, venture capital and agile software management 
  • Leadership, coaching and organizational design
  • Founded a successful company and several project businesses (Causeit, Inc.)
  • Worked with Google to inform and communicate public policy recommendations 
  • Briefed global CEOs on the future of work, the Internet of Things and mobility
  • Advised CTOs at top-tier automakers, banks, telecoms and insurers
  • Produced thought leadership content pieces for top tech companies (iBooks, briefings, videos) with 2-6 week turnaround time cycles
  • Contributed to a major tech + human social effort for poverty alleviation (Gates Foundation)
  • Advised global financial innovators (SWIFT)
  • Facilitated in Kenya for the World Bank
  • Lived in the Dominican Republic and studied closeted gay & lesbian culture there
  • Produced a successful TEDx event (150k+ views); coached TED/TEDx speakers
  • Presented governments digitizing their agencies and innovation efforts (UK, US)
  • Took equity stake in funded startups and advised their user definition, product development and funding
  • Held a Cyborg Anthropologist in Residence role at the world’s largest telecom
  • Co-wrote Accenture’s Universal Code of Data Ethics
  • Presented on global security issues at a top cybersecurity conference
  • Managed brand-centric innovation for Kaplan University in coordination with top executives, including a strategic partnership with LinkedIn

A world traveler, MJ combines the rigor of traditional education with organic discovery, extensive practice and self-taught, just-in-time learning

Formally educated in Cyborg Anthropology (the study of humans and technology) at Lewis & Clark College, MJ went on to become a business innovator, producing results in the midst of recessionary forces pulling towards normalcy. 

An experiential learner, MJ combines scrappy entrepreneurism and a respect for the power of institutions for an unusual blend of corporate scale and startup agility across continents. His focus on the technology, financial, social impact and diversity practices of world-class organizations made for several major leaps in reach, giving MJ access to learning from cutting-edge research and dialogues with top thought leaders to develop a grounded view of our possible futures.

briefing | building | innovating | partnering | speaking | coaching


+ 350 clients

Causeit, Inc., Founder, CEO | 2005—Present (Key Projects Listed Below)

Causeit helps global leaders who are using business and government to make a difference in the world, catalyzing a new view of the future of humans & technology and enabling global organizations to rise to the challenges humanity faces.

On the ground, Causeit guides the human process of digital innovation. Causeit helps teams shift from reaction to creation—and bring 21st century opportunities into the core of vision, strategy and culture.

CEO, Fliptography LLC | 2008—2013
Founded Fliptography, a project business of Causeit, Inc to provide gap employment for workers during the recession. Fliptography brought life to big events: guests recorded a seven-second video in our booth at a party, wedding or corporate occasion, and in two minutes we made a paper flipbook. Fliptography scaled to work nationally with top brands like Adidas, Nike, Microsoft, Red Bull, and top VC firms. 

Executive Board Member, Portland Area Business Association | 2006—2009
Assisted in the organization and management of Portland's LGBTQ chamber of commerce, founded new networking groups and organized cooperative media buying partnerships.

Member, City of Portland Small Business Advisory Council | 2009—2010
Appointed to advocate for small business interests with the Portland City Council. He served on the Cost of Doing Business subcommittee and offered assistance in liaisons with minority/young entrepreneurs and the LGBTQ community.

Digital Innovation Strategist, Kaplan University | 2010—2012
Worked with Kaplan University’s innovation team to develop thought-leader-focused branding under the Visionary Voices initiative, including strategy and product design, strategic partnership structuring, editing scripts and videos, creating and implementing social content plans. Worked closely with Kaplan in a strategic relationship with LinkedIn to conceive of and direct an interactive career development course, including learning design, lesson authorship, interactive and creative direction. Strategic partners included the BlogHer and Techonomy conferences, LinkedIn, Gallup and 50+ thought leaders ranging from founders of top startups to Fortune 100 executives and NGO leaders.

Organizer, TEDxBellevue | 2012—2014
Worked with colleagues Anna Choi and Matthew Koren, as well as an extraordinary team of volunteers, to produce TEDxBellevue, an independently organized TED event focused on sustainable happiness. Included curation of content and coordination of teams and major relationships, causing the success of team leads from sponsorship to video production and release—garnering 150,000+ views on YouTube.

Founding Advisor, Gates Foundation Global Digital Financial Services Platform for Poverty Alleviation | 2014
Served as a founding advisor to an ambitious program playing a catalytic role in broadening the reach of digital payment systems, particularly in poor and rural areas, and expanding the range of services available on these platforms as a way to alleviate poverty and support egalitarian access to critical services and protections. 

Cyborg Anthropologist in Residence, NTT Innovation Institute, Inc. | 2014-Present
Responsible for leading in-depth conversations with visiting corporate clients about the possibilities—and ethics—of technologies like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (and its coming successor, the Social Network of Things), Big and Little Data, nanotechnology and robotics in domains such as financial services, governments, healthcare, education and mobility. Led research and publication of thought leadership content on the changes our world will experience in the next hundred years through the lens of the relationship between humans and technology.

imagining | shifting | designing | transforming

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