20 Sep 18|Innovation

How do we overcome fear, especially in business? With a curious mind, by collaborating with other businesses and explorers, and by creating products and services that solve problems

The easiest way to think outside the box is to not know where the box is.

My mission is to unleash the boundaries around possibility. To make the impossible possible. If you think that’s fluffy, look at your phone. Or your car. Or think about the last time you caught a plane or looked up something on the internet. In the words of Amin Toufani, Faculty at SingularityU, “the easiest way to think outside the box is to not know where the box is”.

In the past 20 years we have made incredible advances in technology that have seen the sick healed and the lost found. We can prevent disease, travel to the moon and beyond, and fly in jet propelled suits.

Yes, that’s correct. Jet propelled suits. As in The Jetsons. I witnessed Richard Browning fly into a celebratory gathering in San Francisco recently when I attended the SingularityU Leadership Forum and Global Summit. Impressive.

I also managed to control a couple of small robots with a sensor attached to my brain. I’ve since tried it on my children. It works better on robots.

SingularityU (SU) is on a mission to educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanities’ grand challenges. The organisation is made up of people who strive to make that happen every day. I heard a talk from a Biotech company that was born out of the SU Global Startup Program (GSP) that produces wine. From molecules. Before you pull strange faces, think of how much water and time that saves. You can use the molecule of an aged wine to create an aged wine. Why wait 20 years to enjoy?

The mission of the GSP is to catapult MoonShot ideas to help positively transform the future of humanity.

What limits our potential to MoonShot? Fear. Fear of failure – along with success, ridicule, falling, looking stupid, feeling dumb, not belonging, being ostracised.

How do we overcome fear, especially in business? With a curious mind, by collaborating with other businesses and explorers, and by creating products and services that solve problems. How can we be fearful when what we are trying to achieve is doing good in the world? To do good in the world we need courage and bravery, topped with support and a dash of love. Mostly, we need a little inspiration and motivation from those that have accomplished great things – big and small!

There is so much fake news around about how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be the end of us all! But wait. We are emerging from the industrial age, an age where humans carried out robotic jobs and where education was repetitive and a memory test! If AI is taking over the mundane, repetitive, robotic tasks, aren’t we then empowered and liberated to follow our strengths, our core loves, our sense of contribution and purpose?

There is a reason why vision and values must be the fundamental pillars of your business operations. If you don’t have this right, if your vision and values are not the benchmarks for everything you do, and every client you embrace, STOP everything! Don’t make any business decisions until you know what you stand for.

And what about the future of work? Anyone claiming to know what the jobs of tomorrow will be is, at best, having you on! Eleven years ago, the smartphone hadn’t appeared. When it did, it fundamentally changed the future of work as we knew it. With technology advancing at exponential rates, we cannot know what will be invented that will again change the way we view the world or do business.

In the words of Ray Kurzweil, Co-founder SingularityU, “we are no longer computationally constrained, we are only imaginatively constrained”. The skills required to move us all into the future are creativity, imagination, adaptability, problem exploring, problem solving and critical thinking. In the words of Dr Vivienne Ming (who has read and studied every Future of Work report from Deloitte to McKinsey), the jobs of the future belong to the “creative, adaptive, problem explorers.”

Unleash curious minds. Ensure lifelong learning for yourself and your teams. Collaborate with those whose skillsets are far removed from yours. Invest in yourself and your staff through new experiences.

I founded UtopiaX to help guide people and organisations think differently about creating fearless change. I encourage you to discover and utilise your unique strengths then the impossible will not only seem possible, it will BE.

The easiest way to think outside the box is to not know where the box is.

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