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You’ve had a varied career, working with large businesses to drive change. It hasn’t always been a smooth ride though. What are some of your breakthroughs and setbacks?
Great question! Just for context, I’d like to share that I didn’t actually finish university. I did one year then dropped out. I decided to find other pathways, and for me, it worked.
If you’re a young person finding your way, the key is finding your personal definition of success, and not just following the route most people walk.
As for failures, I think my biggest reflection is not realizing the power of momentum and inertia. When a business is around for a long time, they have a tendency to remain unchanged. If a major innovative shift takes place in the world or in their industry, they’re unable to adjust. The momentum carries fast and furious in the wrong direction.
So my advice is simple: to avoid fading into irrelevance, change with the times and don’t build too much momentum in a single direction.
The other thing I’ve learnt is that speculating about the future is fun but very imprecise. We waste too much time guessing and not enough investing in the pieces we can control, like our adaptability to any future that may eventuate.
I call myself an ‘alternative futurist’. Remember, it’s more about preparing ourselves for the future rather than predicting it perfectly.
What inspired you to become an innovator?
My curiosity? I'm not sure. It’s funny – my wife diagnosed me with a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out). I can’t miss out on anything! Recently, I wondered what it would be like to be an astrophysicist, so I bought a telescope, and during COVID, I’ve read over a dozen books on astrophysics.
It’s certainly taught me that there’s so little we know and so much to learn. That’s what makes life so exciting.
Speaking of COVID-19, what are the impacts of the pandemic long-term?
It could take the better part of a decade to realize what the true impact of the pandemic will be, but if you’ve integrated more variety and change into your life, you’ll come out the other end better off. If you think things will go back to the way they were, it could be a shock. It’s time to be open-minded and embrace novelty.
Overall, it’s beneficial to prepare for anything, and change the way we work accordingly.