Future Talk Podcast – The Future of Work

I’m honoured to have been a guest on this wonderful podcast series, exploring all things “Future of Work”.

SHOW NOTES

We ‘r’ Future: So thanks so much for your time this morning. I’m really, really excited about this conversation and to hear all your insights and take outs about the future of work and what you’ve been doing. I’ve been studying your LinkedIn profile and your website and all your work so I can’t wait to dig into what you can share with our audience today.

Morris: We need to get you another hobby.

We ‘r’ Future: Maybe. But I’m super fascinated about what people are doing beyond just the traditional education and how to prepare for the future of work and you haven’t been in that space for you know, 12 months because it’s just trendy, you have been in that space for nearly three decades. So I would love to jump into the conversation Morris to let our audience know who you are, what exactly are you doing and how did you get to where you are now? .

Morris: Great. Wonderful. So I’m in your hands.

We ‘r’ Future: Excellent. So maybe we can start with you introducing yourself, what are you doing now and how did you get to where you are now since you’ve been doing it for nearly three decades?

Morris: Sure. Sure. So my name is Morris Miselowski. I work as a Foresight Strategist or a Business Futurist is far sexier marketing title. I started my life off as an entrepreneur, not that proverbial person, in the garage back in the deep dark ages when dinosaurs roamed in the early 1980’s and I built my first business from a garage four years later to a thousand employees and I sold them. And I sold it because in those days, entrepreneur and young didn’t go together, it really wasn’t a world that enjoyed that and I was told by everybody that I shouldn’t be in that space, I should go back and find a real job. Having said that, never in my life have I ever had a real job, never have I ever wanted to have a real job. And the real job, of course is a 9 to 5 series pasted activity. So I took my work from that point forward and became a Consultant Strategist. Really, my clients keep coming back to me. I realized in time because they want the conversation about what tomorrow would look like. They needed to understand with as much certainty as possible, it’s kind of incongruous because you can’t be certain about the future but there are lots of conversations that can start the road to what’s most likely and there are better roads to take to what’s most likely than others. And when you can become evidence based, when you can begin to talk with some certainty that things that are relevant today, things are being developed and talked about today and then the likelihood of becoming more important in tomorrow’s landscape you kind to begin to have a really interesting sexy conversation about what might be. And the most beautiful thing about this space is that, ..sorry just dropped out. The most interesting sexy thing about this space in its entirety is, it’s just full of imagination. It allows you to be whatever you want to be. There are no restraints if you allow the restraints to fall away.

My reality is always been this, that whatever has brought you to this place and this time is perfect. It’s exactly who you are. It’s the skills, talents that you have and we need to thank them for taking you this far. Who you are today is kind of an evolution of on who you were yesterday. The most fascinating thing is, who are you going to be tomorrow? What do you want to be tomorrow? What skills do you want to use? What tells you what? What joy do you want to bring into your life? Those things are still able to be created and that’s the journey I love taking people on.

We ‘r’ Future: Oh, that’s exciting and I couldn’t agree anymore because as you said there is no prediction of what tomorrow will look like and everything changes so quickly. Everyone needs to take control over their own career. And you also mentioned, you started your own business in a garage and grew it to a thousand people. What got you to the idea to start a business especially back in the days when Entrepreneurs was kind of a dirty word and you know, it just describe people who didn’t have a real job.

Morris: It really was my side gig. It was just my side gig. But I couldn’t see myself working for anybody else. I had left school, literally left school, finished VCE / HSC and I was doing a part-time job. And a part-time job, I looked around and thought, well I don’t really need to be doing a part-time job, I could actually be employing the people to do it. And it was just the brashness of youth. It was, you know, the belief in myself that there was something that I could do and I couldn’t see the world any other way. I was just fixated.

Absolutely fixated on doing it and I did it by the scene in my past, which is not unusual. I wasn’t the first, I’m not the last, everybody does it. I had no idea what I was building. Never done it before and it was just the path that I had to take.

The problem was and I’ve learned from that, never leaves my message moving forward, the problem was I listened to too many people along the way. And that wasn’t the good advice of how to run a business. It was a really bad advice of those people who kept trying to make my dream fall apart. They kept saying it wasn’t possible. You thought that just because they hadn’t done it because they didn’t have the ability or they didn’t have the gumption to do it. Didn’t have any option to do it. And that’s something that I really, really importantly stressed everyday of my life. Don’t let other people define your dreams.

We ‘r’ Future: But at the same time everyone says, your network is your net worth. So how do you select people who you take advice from and have, you know, bit of a sounding board for new ideas and new concepts to also get the reality check if you are still on the right track? And some people who just don’t want you to succeed and whatever they can do to take you down, they will do.

Morris: You need to be selected and really selective about the people that you allow into your lives and I have a mixture of them. I certainly do not surround myself by yes people. In fact, if you might look it would be the exact opposite. We are all a bunch of really brush forward speaking, say it like it is, but we do it from a place of love. We truly do it from our perspective and the thing that guards all of our conversations with my mates, is that we all understand that it’s our point of view. It’s not yours. This is how I see that part of the world and it’s what I see and what I think and what I know is valuable to you, more power to you, please use it. If it’s not, just move on. Now the next time we talk, I might have something that’s more interesting or more relevant to you, but it’s the perspectives of people around you that I think is imperative. I do believe you need some naysayers around you, strangely enough. I think it’s something a little bit more grounded, but you certainly shouldn’t be taking your absolute cues from them. You need to be careful where you take them from and at the end of the day it’s your journey.

Everything that was created on this planet ever started from micro businesses; started from an individual. It doesn’t matter how big the corporation was. It’s somebody’s dream. They grew that to be whatever it is. Why can’t it be your dream?

We ‘r’ Future: Absolutely. And you said, your dream was always to not work for the big man and do a 9 to 5 job, but did you know what you were actually doing back then and did you have the big vision?

Morris: No, absolutely not. I was flying by the seat of my pants every day and I still do. There was absolutely nothing wrong with 9 to 5. I actually think it’s obviously a very valid way to be, it’s what’s got this society where it is at the last hundred and fifty years. It just didn’t suit me. It just wasn’t who I was going to be and I knew from a really early age that it just couldn’t be me. I couldn’t sustain myself. In fact, I was absolutely no value to anybody in that role. I have always believed on totally unemployable. Having said that, I totally get that I have incredible skills, that I have a conversation that is worth listening to for a number of people and that’s not egotistical. I mean it suits some people to have this conversation this in this world. My business model works for me, it doesn’t work for anybody else nor should it.

We ‘r’ Future: And how did you figure out what your vision is and what your value is that you can provide to others? Did you just wake up one day and you had a clear idea about it, or did you do some proper personal and professional development on it?

Morris: It’s a mixture of both for me. Really it’s an evolution. For me, I’m constantly evolving. Every single second of every single day I’ve ever been alive, has taken me to somewhere I’ve not been before and I know that. So I have no view, never had a view that I’ve ever reached a peak of anything. I’ve never believed I’ve known it all, I’ve never believed that I have the sum total of whatever it is, but needed to be known for that. But I’ve always felt that I was on a journey. I’ve always felt that I am somewhere along that path. If I take on a conversation and I take it on because I believe I have something to add to it, and in my world and the world of my clients and the audiences need me to be, I’m provocative. I need to be contrary. I’m really lucky because I get to say things most people would get fired for. Most people would get thrown out of rooms for. I make a living by calling people out, by showing them that what they’ve done is perfect up until now, but it may not suit them moving forward and that’s a really brave conversation, not for me, I’m used to it. But for most people who want to be told that, is a really brave space for them to be.

We ‘r’ Future: And what you just mentioned what you have done so far may have served them to get to where they are now, but may not serve them to where they want to go. Where do you see the biggest changes in the maybe last 12 or 24 months that you’ve seen and how if we developed this organization as a professional in that time?

Morris: I’m enjoying so much that we have evolved. I think we’ve turned the corner now. We spent the last 30 years really bowing down to technology. Every job, every position, every company, every marketing conversation always had technology attached to it. They were skills that you had to learn to make a computer or whatever that technologies work and that’s what we paid people for primarily over the last 30 years. Development, desktop, designers, App developers all kinds of really wonderful people social media, really, really great people, but grounded in technology. In the last two years I’ve been allowed to have more conversations about humanity than I have ever had before. They were pushing back to the human being. Technology exists, it’s like electricity and gas. Of course, it’s here. Of course, it’s important. Of course, it grounds. Of course, it does everything that we do but I don’t need to know that anymore. I’m well beyond that. All I really need to understand is how does it involve humanity. How does it change the work landscape? How does it change business? How does it change people’s thinking? What can we do with that technology but never be able to do before. So most of my conversations, whether it’s in HR or in Marketing or in Innovation or in Silicon Valley, it’s always about people and that’s just joyous. So the biggest change for me in the last few years has been the ability to push back to those human skills that I think for far too long have been put to the side.

We ‘r’ Future: And can you give us some examples of those human skills that make an organization successful eventually and also professional in their own career.

Morris: There are things that we are born with; there are the innate things, what about mystery? We talk a lot about Artificial Intelligence to put into the context of why I’m rowing so hard, we talk a lot about Artificial Intelligence which exists. I prefer to call them machine intelligence. We talk a lot about technology taking over jobs. There is this myth going around that 40, 50, 60 percent of jobs will disappear in the next what, insert the number of years, we’ll all use that the next 10 years, five years. I just find that incredulous because it talks about a time when Humanity will do nothing and Technology will do everything and that’s never going to exist. So going back to the question, if we allow ourselves to believe and I think it is true, that technology will do all the routine work, nothing new in there, whether that’s physical or brain work, the routine stuff humans wantt to do, what he never wanted to do it, what’s currently lazy or as I should say, I’m terribly lazy. If I can get something to do something for me, why wouldn’t I? So what I’m left with is the skills that I think are imperative. The skills are going to make a difference. So my future landscape conversation is this, within the next five, ten years absolutely, Technology will know what you’ve done, where you’ve done it, how do you qualify and it will be able to assume that and tell an employer or a group of people, this is what Morris can do. This is what Petra has done in the past. Conversation doesn’t need to be had, technology does that, I’m either useful or not when I’m brought into an ecosystem. What I need from you are the human skills. I need your mystery. I need you to be able to do things that technology doesn’t do. Strange things like being anxious are really great for humans because in our anxiety and not to the extreme, but in our anxiety we often find solutions to things that we’ve never thought of before and didn’t think possible. We’re pushed to that space. What about our values, things that we hold important? What about serendipity, which I think is incredible in Innovation. Those things are not things that technology will ever do for us, they just won’t. There are skills like belief. What about empathy? So for me it is absolutely the human skills that I think are imperative moving forward and that we have not been allowed to show for 200 years. For 200 years our employment was based on qualification, replication, being able to use technology and being able as a human, really to do a repetitive task day after day. And my catch phrase now, technology will do that, we have to go back to being human. We have to go back to having those incredible conversations and have foresight that technology could never have.

We ‘r’ Future: And you’ve been working with some of the largest organizations. What’s been the conversations about that and how do those changes impact the way of them doing business and them staying competitive and relevant and on top of their game?

Morris: We’ve changed our value system within corporate, I hope. For a long time as I said, Technology was number one. I did a research piece with a large Global consulting firm last year, which was internal. It was about what their clients were coming to them for. And we found through their research that the top three things were this: firstly clients were coming to them because they have the technology. Now I use technology in a really broad way. It really is the way we work, it’s not just computers. So otherwise I had the systems, the practices, the protocols, obviously all of the plug-in equipment, everything was there. But they weren’t coming to them for that.

The second thing that they were coming to them for was the brand, because the brand is well known, it’s global; some corporations, some governments require that a brand that would have for their project or they like to have merit. So having that brand attached to the idea gave it a lot of kudos. And that would have gotten the most of their work as well. But what we found over the last three years going backwards for them of why and how they gained work was because of the partners and the people. It was because of the expertise because firstly corporations and other people were saying that Petra is really, really good at this, this is what she does particularly well, I know that’s her expertise. She’s backed up by an incredible brand so we know that’s okay because the brand is solid, we know they wouldn’t have chosen anybody that really wasn’t reputable and couldn’t do the job and there’s a support network within that brand. And obviously we know she has the technology to do what’s required too. So it’s the shifting now. It really does come down to the individual. It doesn’t matter if that individual is part-time, is a Consultant, is this, it doesn’t matter whether they are a part of the gig economy, it’s about the individual moving forward.

So for me, my catch phrase is absolutely that. Working from corporate backwards. You’re hiring individuals now, you really need to look at that person, her or his skills, what they bring, don’t hire somebody for coffee. You need somebody that will be controversial in the right sense, be controversial and challenge and also understand that person is now the steward of that role. I hate job descriptions. I think they’re absolutely irrelevant. A job description is a snapshot of something that was written in the past that kind of sort of talks to what needs to be done. Instead I say to my clients, hire somebody with a broad understanding of what that role will be and make them the steward, the ambassador of that role. Their responsibility is to drag that role and the company kicking and screaming into a future landscape and to continuously do that. Not to repeat what’s been done before.

We ‘r’ Future: Absolutely and it also puts big responsibility to everyone else to take control over their own role of what they can bring to the role, to an organization and their contribution that they bring which in the end gives them the purpose, why they exist and the motivation to get up every day, especially when it gets hard. And you touched on something very close to my heart, which is branding. Personal branding, employer branding, company branding, consumer branding, whatever it might be. Would you mind elaborating what branding or the word brand means to you and how with the company or as an individual can actually build our personal or our company brand?

Morris: So I spent a lot of time around branding. I was a Lecturer and I lectured in Marketing so I love the word and I use it and I actually stopped using it. I’ve stopped using branding because to me it comes down to branding being self evident when purpose 2.0 was discovered. In other words going back to my Humanity, purpose 2.0 is not just what we’re here for, in other words. Well I was here to make a profit or we’re here to make a best widget or whatever that single statement is that spent so long trying to craft and define and put up on the wall or the front of a brochure. Purpose 2.0 really talks about, as a human and I’m talking about corporations because they’re made up of people. What do we stand for? What are our values? Where do we want to be in 10, 15, 20 years? What sort of legacy do we want to leave behind? I found that once we get back to purpose 2.0 or call as I often talk about it, we can flex really, really well and to me that’s what branding is all about. The reality is of how we do it, is changing constantly with technology. That’s the conversation we all had. You know there were so many new things around us that will speak to the “how” we do it. But the “why” we do it is constant. If we can figure out why and that becomes our strength, it becomes our core. It’s really like the tree, the trunk of the tree, then we can grow anything off that and we can do it as quickly or as slowly as we need to as we respond to the marketplace, our organization, our staff, our stakeholders, whoever else it is because we truly get who we are and what’s important to us so we can flex.

So that’s my understanding of branding. I know that we can then put all sorts of marketing conversations on top and I expect and suspect we will need to continue doing that, but its core, it does come back to its core. Purpose 2.0.

We ‘r’ Future: Absolutely, and because it’s also, you know, we want to have this talk series quite practical, would you mind expanding on the “how”, how we can identify our purpose and our values if we are a person or a company? How can we find that, what makes us the person we are?

Morris: First thing we need is honesty. And I mean honesty with ourselves and that’s a really difficult place to be. If everything was in that perfect zone, which it never is, who are we and what are we? What gives us joy? What is our purpose? I keep drilling back to that. I don’t want elevated speeches. I don’t want one or two word glib answers. I really want people to go through a psychological hell of sorts and I mean that in kindness, to figure out what they do and who they are. And to strip it away, which is really, really difficult. Just strip it away from the how because most people keep coming back to how they do things and I’m really interested in, why.

So for me, I’m asking people constantly, what is your passion? Who are you at home? I understand that your work is only one element of who you are and that’s the same for corporate but there is much more around you. In that perfect world, what do you represent? And it’s drilling that down and drilling that down. For me, I usually say it’s a quick exercise in the workshop. I ask the question, why, or I get the people to ask the question, why, five times. Why? So, why do I do that? And then ask them that again and again. And with honesty I’ll tell them they have gotten to the fifth, they truly are at a position where they stripped themselves away and that might be something to themselves, I’ll ask them to do that to a larger audience but within themselves, they stripped themselves down to a place where they are having a really honest conversation. And that again works for corporate, it’s not just individuals. Once we’re at that truth we can do some incredibly wonderful things.

We ‘r’ Future: What we have seen quite a bit is that a lot of professionals have kind of formed into their role and then they’ve progressed in that industry or in that career because that’s the logic next step, or somebody else has put them forward or they have just done an outstanding job as an individual contributors are now, they’re managing a team and then one day they are realizing, I’m not sure what this actually is. It doesn’t give me joy. I don’t like going to work. I’m not excited by anything but I’m also not sure what else to do because I’ve been doing it for 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 years. How can I pivot now? Would you have any recommendations on how we can go back to the core and strip everything that has happened to us or for us away?

Morris: Absolutely. We are living in a time that we have not seen before for I think, three, four hundred, five hundred years. All of that time we were told we had to be one thing and we had to be that one thing from the moment we understood what we wanted to be, whether that was a craft at the age of 11 or 12 and we’re going to learn how to be a Shoemaker or whatever else it was going back to the thirteen, fourteen hundreds. Or in our lifetime, once we finished out year 12 or equivalent we were given a job title and we would have that job title for life and we lived the life you described because society, our family, our friends didn’t allow us to be anything else, we had to maintain that. So we kept up a façade, we had to keep up the facade of being that person with that skill set. Today we’re really in a joyous space of being hybrid. It is common for people to do one; possibly central piece of activity that brings them in their work or their money, but it’s also absolutely common, almost expected now that you have side hustles. You’re part of the gig economy.

So I think the way to overcome that is for many people, because we live a practical life. Of course we have to put food on table, we can’t just pivot. For many of us, at the drop of a hat it, might be a slow drip approach. Pick up a side hustle. Figure out what your purpose is. What it is you want to do. If you’re behind the desk and you loved gardening, then get onto one some of wonderful gig economy sites and find an hour or two of gardening. Find an hour or two of age care and do some voluntary work. Do the side hustle because no one is going to judge you by it. In fact, they’re going to do the opposite.

They are going to see you as a more well-rounded person. And by trying out those extra skills by seeing if in fact that skill that you’ve always wanted to do, so you’re a mad Chef but you’re an Accountant by day. See if you can be a mad Chef on the weekend or in the evening. Take a couple of hours to explore, to play, go back to Kindergarten, be a child in the right sense. Use your imagination.

So today Petra, I think there are more opportunities in there culturally, socially and technologically for people to be able to do that. And then you will often find that if that is passion 2.0 for you, well find the path and you take another side gig or another and do something else and eventually grow yourself towards it. And the reality for all of us moving forward is that we will have a portfolio approach to work. It’s rare that we will find an individual over the next decade and beyond that just ever does one thing and one thing only. That most of us will do a number of things throughout our days, weeks and months.

Some of them will be for income. Some will be for joy. Some of them will be for society, for philanthropy, start early and be a trendsetter. Don’t wait 5 or 10 years till the rest of the world catches up with you. Do it today.

We ‘r’ Future: I couldn’t agree anymore that we are definitely living in the best time that we’ve ever been in because of all those opportunities that are open to us. But what we’ve also seen is that people see now those opportunities even though they may have not grown up in the time when there were more opportunities than their just one job and now they are scared of letting this go because this is also part of their identity. They have been in this role and its industry for so long and everyone knows them for it, although their passion is somewhere else. They’re not quite ready to let go of this one piece. Have you got any advice on how we make this change and be more adventurous and more courageous? Probably also to take the leap.

Morris: The practicality goes back to the technology. So we can actually connect ourselves out to be able to find those pieces. So we can go out and find that one hour of gardening or anything we spoke about before. So to me, that’s the how. It comes back to braveness. It really does come back to Passion 2.0. I know we’ve talked a lot about that in our conversation, but I truly don’t want to and can’t make you do anything. I mean I can force your short-term to do something in your job role as a Manager, but we’re talking about your life here. We’re talking about you being a steward of that. I don’t think that you can be your entire authentic self until you’ve taken this brave step and it is. And that’s why I go back to the earlier conversation of today’s society allows you to do it. Honestly, baby boomers were not given that opportunity and that’s not a cry for them, it was what was relevant to their world. They had to be that one thing. If you took a part-time job then you were seen as not being successful. What’s wrong with your real job? Now can’t you make a go of it? If you worked on the weekend it was because you hadn’t enough money. So again, you weren’t doing well. Truly now a days, it’s unusual for anyone to have that approach. It’s actually seen as a badge of honor and you’re actually doing that nine to five and on the weekend you’re doing something else.

So it’s kind of a repeat of the other answer, I know, but it still is the same thing. It’s up to us to be brave enough and what I’m enjoying now, is that society, not that we need other people’s permission, but many of us feel that we do, it’s society that let you do it now. Culturally it’s acceptable and I think there are so many things we can do with our lives. Also remember that you and I actually are going to live to a hundred years of age. Our children and our grandchildren to a hundred and twenty and a hundred and fifty. That’s a long, long time to be alive to just try and do one thing. I love chocolate but don’t wanna eat chocolate all of my life. I want variety. And it’s really what we’re talking about that you owe it to yourself. And the truth always is that if you allow yourself to have other flavors then you really are a much nicer human being and you bring back to every other aspect of your life, really wonderful opportunities.

So if you do take that one or two hours to side hustle to do something that’s different, to be daring and brave to prove to yourself that you can go beyond stretch. Then when we come back to your other bits and pieces, it’s amazing how different you feel. How much more you’re willing to take on. How you see opportunities beyond what you currently do and that’s what the joy of being human is.

We ‘r’ Future: Totally. And obviously your sweet spot is Business Futurist, being a Business Consultant to organizations who want to prepare for the future of whatever that is. How do you go about that in terms of them exploring and them pivoting maybe even or being brave to take a new direction without necessarily losing their core? How do you go about that?

Morris: So the first thing is helping them to define what their core is and often that’s as we said before with individuals, it’s often around their product. I work with a really, really large.. Sealy Serta, they are a mattress manufacturer, the largest on the globe. I worked with them about six years ago and now I’m going to explore what the future of bed and sleep would be. When I first met with them, this is a billion dollar company with a B, a billion dollar company, they are the global market leaders. I met with their core strategy team and for the first day or two all they wanted to talk about was mattresses and springs and foams and sizes and all sorts of manufacturing conversations because that’s what they always had and that’s what brought them to be a billion-dollar Global Corporation. I said to you before that I can say things other people can’t. It was really a matter of being provocative in saying, well I don’t care. I don’t care about mattresses. I don’t care about springs. I don’t care about foam. What I care about is sleep and rest. I want to understand what beds can do for me beyond just the norm. And that’s a strange conversation but a really important one. I want to understand how the intersection of technology which has never really been applied to beds and this was a conversation six and a half nearly seven years ago. I want to understand how if I connect that bed to an app or to some piece of technology will actually help me to sleep better. So we went from being a manufacturing mindset to being a technology company that sold rest. And part of that rest was the mattress but there were also so many any other things that we could do and the tech to that. The thing that got us back to passion, got us back to core, was Humanity. It was how do people want to use their bed, what does it represent for them?

We have spent a lot of time in bed that we didn’t before. We work in bed. We actually take our laptops in there. We watch TV in there. Of course, we do other things in bed as well and we sleep but when you begin to look at how central it is, how now we have families coming back into bed, how people want to bring their kids in and have conversations with them and eat in bed. All of those things are very different. Now, to me that’s the practical example of changing mindset, of looking up what it was and would be more importantly what it will be, and how do we evolve and move into that space.

We ‘r’ Future: And I mean you’ve been in that space for as I said nearly three decades now, how do you expand and challenge your own mindset and not get stuck into an area or stay curious in what’s next? How do you stay on top of, not just stay on top of the game, but actually leading the game?

Morris: For me it’s childlike. I’ve never really evolved and I’m conscious about that. So I’m not childish, but I’m child like. I’m always curious. I’ve always, always have gone against status quo. I said to you from day one, I never thought like I was employable. I’ve always seen the world as understanding that what we have and what we know at the moment is the best that we currently have. But tomorrow there’s going to be something vastly different. It’s going to change my mindset, change my thought and I’ve passionately looked to that every moment with my life. I’m kind of the opposite of most people. For me, humans are actually hardwired to change but we’re socially wired people not to want change, to accept certainty. I don’t believe that for a second, I never have. I know the human body was made and designed that if it’s cold, I’m going to get out of the cold. If I’m hungry, I’m going to wait. So we constantly are looking in our mind to change our constant status quo. It’s why our body in fact fixes itself because something internally is wrong so the body actually fights internally to move away.

So my answer is strange enough within that. I have just evolved to understand that to be happy with that. I love the notion that I don’t know anything. And in fact the more I know, the less I know and I mean that with the greatest respect to me. That I know that there’s so much more and I’m so desperate to understand it and to know it. But I have developed, as does everybody when they work for that length of time, I have developed a pragmatic approach to that. I take an evidence-based approach. I’m also lucky that my network is large and I get to meet and see and do things well beyond most people and that is only because I’m in that space, I get to see things often years or maybe a decade or two before they actually become mainstream. I can pull at threads because I’m lucky enough to spend all my day in that Kindergarten playing with that, but it comes down to knowing that I don’t have to be perfect at every moment of every day. The conversation changes and that is the perfection, that the conversation changes, my thoughts change and I’m really comfortable as long as it’s pragmatic and I understand why changing my opinion on a dime.

We ‘r’ Future: And I mean, you’ve always been ahead of the curve and it’s probably also you said at the beginning that people back in the day didn’t see entrepreneurial or an entrepreneur as a really job. It was just somebody who was unemployed or unemployable and trying to make a means. How do you combat this negative perception? Also, how do you educate about what’s next for companies and for individuals? And also make a living off that because I think there’s a lot of education required that people see or realize what you can already see that’s next, but I’m not quite sure if they can trust you because there’s no evidence there just yet.

Morris: It takes an individual. I mean when I go into a corporation, I’m always looking for that individual, that champion, that person that is willing to take the risk and the gamble. It’s why for me, what I do is part art, part science. The art being the ability to envision, the ability to imagine, the ability to see things are different. In the science is looking for the evidence-based. What do we know about today that most probably will take us to that future landscape? What technology is around? What thinking, what culture, how society is changing our demographics. So I ground them in both of those and my conversations are very much pragmatic. I’ve learned that a long, long time ago. If I’m going to talk to a Board or do a Workshop or a Keynote, what you want from me is part imagination, part motivation, inspiration. But you also want to have a hook. You also want to know that pragmatically there’s evidence of these things.

So for me it’s very much about that. It’s about taking people back as what I said, to their core and then challenging the way that, that core has evolved over the past, which is one of the tricks I love most, because as humans we expect that what we are doing now is the way it’s always been done and it never has, it’s always evolved. It’s always changing. It doesn’t matter what the industry, I’ve never found that to be true. So I can almost take people back to a previous state in which what they currently do was seen as mad, was seen as something that would never come about, seen as a complete folly and help them to understand that they have in fact evolved and done that all of their business life or all of their corporate life. And then once we’re at that point, we can then get back to the point of view well, if you accept that you have evolved to get to this point, otherwise you wouldn’t be profitable and successful. How else might be evolved? The difference being now is I don’t want you to fall into it anymore. I don’t want you to discover it too late. I actually want you to be ahead. Let’s be purposeful now. Let’s actually make some decisions.

The point that you said at the beginning of our conversation is in fact one of the most important ones too, and that is that future is a multiple word, it’s not a singular word. That there isn’t one future, there’s no, I don’t believe there’s one predestined piece of activity.

There’s no particular date on the Calendar where these things are going to happen. As humans we have to buy into them. So we make choices, again from our chocolate shop, we make lots of choices of the sweets we want and we decide for all sorts of hopefully pragmatic, emotional, social and other reasons that that’s the path we want to take and then we ride really heavily to make that happen. The trick though is, and this kind of sound counterintuitive, but the trick is to know that even on that journey of certainty, there is great uncertainty and that we are comfortable with that. Because as we evolve, the world will evolve, technology will change, literally overnight something will happen that will change the culture of business or society and we’ve got to be ready to roll with that too.

We ‘r’ Future: Absolutely. And as you said before, the only way to manage these uncertainties to explore, to try and experience in a less risky environment by volunteering, by taking on a side hustle or a project to see what it’s actually like, because we can think about it all day long what it would be to work in this industry or to have this job, but until we feel it and experience it we actually have no idea. And this is the best way to minimize the risk and be less anxious about what it might mean if we change, but this is also requiring some motivation and courage to take on this challenge and be more aware of, okay what does it do? How do I feel about it? How can I use it now to make a living and commercialize the strength if identified? There is some gap.

Morris: Absolutely. I mean advice I give to my own children is that life is a game. It’s a wonderful game. But the thing is that there aren’t any rules, I mean don’t live by anybody else’s rules. Develop and change as you need to. Understand what it is that makes you happy. We have for too long pursued our lives and valued our lives by our outputs, by the money that we bring home, by the size of the house that we have and the car or whatever other assets. There’s nothing wrong with that. I think that’s a wonderful joyous thing, but it can’t be the totality. I’m really enjoying now that we’re beginning to measure our lives by inputs as well. The inputs of how we live our life, of how we allow ourselves to evolve, of how we participate in community. We don’t necessarily have to have a measurement for that as an output to know that it was valuable.

So live your life by input. So I think, don’t allow yourself to measure yourself by the output because that’s so singular. It’s so ill defining of who you are as a human because no one listening to this, you or me, live in black and white. We live in Technicolor. There is so much to us. And if we choose to define ourselves by our work, or by our income, or by whatever asset we have, I think we’re kind of missing out the joy of who we could be.

We ‘r’ Future: A hundred percent and it’s also not necessarily in our control, the output. We can only control the input where we put either the effort, the hours, the passion, everything that we put in, this is what we can control and this is also reducing the anxiety. If it’s resulting in you know, a massive income or guest speaking engagements or a completely new career, we just don’t know and if we are just fixated on the one outcome, we are limiting ourselves from so many other opportunities that could be much bigger and better than we would have thought.

Morris: And more joyous. I mean bigger and better is important, but more joyous. And that’s not some hippie conversation. It’s really all the decades of work that I’ve done. I know that when I see people smile, when I see people happy, when you see them really humming and tuned into who they are, they are achieving extraordinary things, extraordinary things for themselves and other people. It just is the outcome of it and it’s difficult for many of us to get beyond our current life to get to that point. But it is now more possible than ever before. It does take bravery. It takes all kinds of things that we might not otherwise have thought we had. But isn’t that the joy of being human again? To discover that we are in fact more than we ever thought we were before.

We ‘r’ Future: Yes. Absolutely. Seriously I could not agree anymore and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. Morris, how can we find out more about you? How can we stay in touch? How can we get more inspirations from you?

Morris: So I’d love to keep in touch if there’s conversations you want to have. Workshops, keynotes or strategy sessions, its businessfuturist.com. But all the usuals as well. So you know find me on Twitter and LinkedIn and all the others. Let’s keep talking about what the future might be.

We ‘r’ Future: Absolutely. I can’t wait for them. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Morris: A pleasure.

I’ve joined the Einstein Genius 100 (G100) Global Future Think Tank

I am so proud to finally be able to share that the reason for my trip to Cabo Mexico, is that I have been invited, and have accepted an invitation to join the Einstein Genius 100 global future think tank, the first Australian and the only Futurist.

I can’t wait to spend the next 3 days learning and sharing with this incredible mob of nobel laureates, scientists, astronauts, authors, film stars, explorers and more.

check it out at: http://genius100visions.com/about

Day 3 of A Futurist’s Journey through Silicon Valley Israel

Any day that begins by you having to show your passport to armed security guards that entered the bus, who then proceed to place stickers on your phone’s camera, so you can’t take pictures, has all the hallmarks of an exciting day, and this did not disappoint.

We had arrived at Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), which develops and produces systems for the defence and commercial markets including satellites, space systems, defence systems, missiles, unmanned aerial systems (drones), autonomous vehicles and more.

Our top line briefing from was breathtaking in its scope and the ties back to Australian and our own defence systems extraordinary.

We were then taken on a tour to see first-hand the autonomous drones, how they’re built and fly and to hear that Israel has been using them for the past 20 years and that 60% of all flight hours flown by Israeli’s was in unmanned planes. We then ventured on to a hangar to watch the assembly and building of planes.

Our day continued on to an IHLS a private accelerator to hear pitches from 3 start up’s. It was fascinating to hear it’s founder say that this accelerator started its life a s a media company, publishing 4 article every day on security and defence, which then grew them a data base of interested parties, who then attended  conference they organised, at which they showcased start up’s, who were then invested in by the audience – and so grew a $100 million dollar global incubator.

We then travelled on to Elbit Industries one of the world’s largest military and commercial aerospace, land and naval systems manufacturers who supply army and police around the world including Australia, where they 3 offices and 200+ staff.

We were taken on a tour of online hacking and shown some of the incredible way’s rogue individuals, governments and authorities are able to listen in on our conversations and watch our actions and then shown some of the spy novel / sci fi tech they’re actually using to keep us safe.

Without doubt we all left that briefing absolutely terrified of what is being done, of how little privacy we really have, how easy it is to “hack” into anything and anybody and how incredibly cool the toys are that are being deployed by our army and police force in keeping us safe.

The day then rolled onto dinner at with the Australian Ambassador to Israel, His Excellency Ambassador Chris Cannan, who along with 30 other dignitaries told us of the work and ties between Australia an Israel.

Another mind-blowing day, so much learnt and so much seen, can’t wait to bring it all back home and start sharing, applying and building on it.

Tomorrow we explore Mobility, Transport, IOT, AI and big data – bring it on.

If you want more insights, want to be connected to any of these people, or just to chat about Israel’s innovation scene and perhaps find collaborators here for your great idea, DM me.

#WishYouWereHere #Innovation #Israel #Future #FuturistSpeaker #StartUp #SiliconValley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{Podcast} Innovation Safari June

A month is a long time in tech and innovation land, which is why on the last Friday of each month, we stop and get together online for a 1/2 hour, to replay the highlights and ponder what it means for the road ahead.

Some of the stories I covered in this months webinar included:

// artificially intelligent everything including movies, assistants and calendars // Apple’s “Future ” announcement // future housing // Warren Buffett’s next big investment / Robot Chefs // Alphabet and Google’s internet first housing development dreams // Chrysler and Mercedes Benz see a new future for themselves // How “rich will you need to be in the future? // What skills will future Managers need? // Flying Cars // Scooters // Why Amazon doesn’t believe AI exists // Smellaphones //

Here’s what we chatted about:

To reserve your virtual seat for next Month’s webinar on Friday 27th July 2018

 

 

Science Fiction Dreams Do Come True / ABC Nightlife

Blue Moon over futuristic City

Every great invention started life as a mere thought, became a vision before turning into an obsession.

One of the most oft questions I get asked, “Is where do ideas come from?” and one of the most oft answers I give is Science Fiction.

It’s amazing what our brain’s have stored away from what we’ve read, watch and imagine and how at just the right moment of opportunity it springs these dormant thoughts back into life, ready for creation.

In our regular Nightlife on ABC Local Radio catch up Dom Knight and I chatted about the influence Science Fiction has had on our lives and asked listeners what Sci-Fi marvel they still wanted to see come true (spoiler Alert: as always Flying Car s and Hoverboards – listen to the interview to see how far away these are from everyday reality).

Here are just a few of the many sci fi “wow” gadgets we chatted about that have already come true:

  • Mobile Phones – Start Trek
  • Space Travel – Jules Verne 1865 From the Earth to the Moon
  • Submarines – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – Nautilus manned by Captain Nemo
  • Helicopters – Leonardo Da Vinci, Jules Verne’s in Robur the Conqueror
  • TV News – Jules Verne’s 1989 article “In the Year 2889” also wrote about skywriting and videoconferencing
  • Ear Buds –Ray Bradbury (22/08/1920 – 6/6/2012) had in ear buds called “seashells” in Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
  • Credit Cards – Edward Bellamy’s (26/3/1850 – 22/5/1898) book Looking Backward (1887)
  • Smart watch – Dick Tracy, James Bond, Star Trek
  • Cyborgs – 6 million dollar man
  • Skype / Video Chat – Hugo Gernsback 12 part sci-fi novel serial called “Ralph 124 C 41+” written in 1911 for Modern Electrics magazine
  • iPad / Tablet – Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • Fritz Lang’s Woman in the Moon (1929) showed us a rocket taking off to the moon, 28 years before Sputnik attempted it
  • Antidepressants – Aldus Huxley Brave New World 1931
  • Connected World – Arthur C Clarke “The Space Station”
  • Electric Cars – John Brunner in 1969 published “Stand on Zanzibar” also mentioned a Detroit wasteland, decline in marriage replaced with short term hook ups

We had a tonne of callers and so many more we couldn’t get to and honestly it was one of the best sessions in a very long time and well worth a listen (50 minutes and 56 seconds)


 

Live from Singapore – Lessons from the Singaporean innovation ecosytem – Hong Kong Radio 3

IMAG3032It’s always a hoot to be in Asia and this week I’m broadcasting live from Singapore into Hong Kong, where Phil Whelan and I ponder why a small country like Singapore seems to be so on top of their game when it comes to tech adoption, innovation and “can-do” attitude.

We explored the driverless buses that are set to make their way on to some Singaporean roadways later this year, an education system that is heavily based on STEM (Science, Technology, Maths and Engineering) and is usually near the top of any global Education excellence survey and how a government can structure and incentivise a business ecosystem to become the Asian hub for business and technology.

We also took a look at the notion of freedom on information online and on the anniversary of Alan Turing’s wartime code breaking discovery we explored the notion of discovery, how we come up with ideas and how “human” an act this is.

Great segment, great location, have a listen now (15 minutes 59 seconds)

 

And now for my next trick, I’ll turn Google into the Alphabet / Hong Kong radio 3

google_alphabet_website_11_Aug_15Today’s announcement by Google that its changing its holding company’s name to Alphabet is an inspired decision and one that all innovators and companies should take a lesson from.

I know there are pragmatic reason for it, Larry Page and Sergey Brin seem to want to get out of full-time search engine mode and thinking and concentrate full-time on invention; some projects and new thinking conflict or cannibilise Google search, some projects lack of progress or expensive overheads impact on Google proper, the investment marketplace wants more clarity around Google search and Google’s myriad of other projects and the list goes on.

As radio Hong Kong 3’s Phil Whelan and I chatted about this week in our regular catch up, to me its more about sending a statement that we are damn good at search engines and have been for a long time, to the point where Google is a verb not just a noun, but the reality is that search will not be around for ever and we are positing ourselves today in a time of strength to explore the future and branch out.

This type of thinking often prevents a company from becoming like Nokia the biggest global mobile brand 9 years ago and today gone and forgotten.

When our kids think of Google 20 years from now they will ask if it’s true that were once a search engine and that’s why we need to make sure that our company, brand and products don’t rest on the laurels of past success, but rather use them to catapult from and evolve.

Take a listen to this segment now (14 minutes 54 seconds)

We are hard wired to love change, so stop fighting it / Hong Kong Radio 3

index As an animal species humans are hard-wired to intuitively recognise the need for change and to react accordingly.

Our ancestors knew when the land was fallow and they had to move on; when the weather was too hot or too cold and find an alternative living space. We knew food was running low and we went out to find more. We knew our body was not working properly and we sought to remedy it.

As much as change meant effort, we also knew that not making the effort might have rendered us extinct, hungry, cold, thirsty, lonely and a myriad of other negative outcomes, so we innovated and changed.

And then somewhere in our history we decided to congregate together on mass, to allow an individual or group to rule us and make laws that dictate the confines of what we can do and to ensure allegiance and community safeguard we accepted these norms and learned that change was not all that good if it wasn’t community sanctioned or pre-approved.

In our recent history the industrial revolution decided that many hands make light work and we got a workforce together in one place at one time, told them what, when and how to do things and knocked out of them the desire to deviate from these set tasks by marking anyone that tried to innovate as insubordinate and marking repeat offenders as potentially unemployable.

Now this is not meant to be bleak and it is a very quick overview of a much larger discussion, but it’s where Phil Whelan of Hong Kong Radio 3 and I started our regular chat, trying to come to understand whether innovation and change are merely today’s newest buzzwords, or part of what makes us human.

A great discussion looking at all things innovation, placing technology as the catalyst not the cause for the upsurge in “innovation” and exploring examples of the good, bad and ugly of tomorrow’s innovative world.

Have a listen to the segment now (14 minutes 48 seconds)

 

 

 

 

What I’ve learnt from old sci-fi movies and cartoons – ABC Wide Bay Radio

startreknology.jpgoriginalMovies and books do more than just spark our imagination and send us on a virtual journey, for many they provide the spark for a lifelong quest to bring to life the objects and gadgets that the characters are using.

Star Trek (1966) spawned a dozen or more of today’s technologies including the mobile phone, the tricorder, replicators (3D printers).

Back to the Future (1989) gave us garbage fueled cars, goggles that let us see the real and virtual world, hoverboards and video calls.

Fritz Lang’s Woman in the Moon (1929) showed us a rocket taking off to the moon, 28 years before Sputnik attempted it and long before we knew how to do it and all of these and hundreds of other tantalizing glimpses in our books, television and movies have been the muse for innovators to say “why not” and to bring the impossible to life and to everyday.

This search through past inspiration for future technology was the topic for this weeks chat with Scott Lamond on radio ABC Wide Bay, have a listen now and then share what you would still like to see invented from a movie you watched or a book you read.

Morris on Sky News Business

me_and_switzer_8_April_14 The Future is an incredible space, it allows us to wonder and imagine, to invent and to innovate and to take the best of what we are and have done and mix it with the possibilities of what we might yet become.

In this Sky News Business TV segment Peter Switzer and I chat about what a Futurist is and does, explore some of the key future business impacts including 3D printing, crowdsourcing and a world where most businesses are still missing out on their innovation possibilities because they still think in silos when it comes to their physical and digital business.

Watch this segment now and then share what innovation lies ahead for your business.