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Humility and Curiosity: The Antidote to Hubris


Zoe Routh

Australia’s foremost trainer of futurist leaders, Zoe Routh, shares practical insight into her business. She explains how senior executives can improve the entire organization when they master the skill of foresight. Zoe is the author of five books about futurism and leadership.  https://www.zoerouth.com

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[Music] this week on the futurists Zoe Rath it'sall about the cautionary tale we present a future I think every leader is aspiring to a better future and yet whenwe try and create those things there's always things that hold us back[Music] welcome back to the futurist with myselfand robbed her sick hey how are you super thanks good to see youagain bro good so we have another futurist on I guess that's like you knowpart of the stick now everyone's futurist on our show or sci-fi author orsomething Zoe Routh is a leadership futurist a podcaster she's got her own podcast sound boost setup where she'scoming to us from today and of course a multiple award-winning author and she's a leadership futurist she works withleaders and teams looking at Future Horizons um she's Canadian originallyum but uh Lives Down Under in Australia and we're going to talk to her aboutum her fifth book A near near future sci-fi book called The olympius Olympusproject a dystopian future so uh you know we get into that too on on thisshow but Zoe Welcome to the futurists thank you so much Brett and Robin reallydelighted to be here we're glad to have you yeah yeah so um uh you know let me start with a simplequestion when did you first realize you wanted to be a futuristuh well I think what I was thinking about my futurist journey I thoughtwouldn't I become self-aware as a futurist that's probably a good way of understanding and that probably was morerecently and yet the Genesis of the work that I do started in a very specificpoint in time with the Collision of two experiences and that was in 2009 where Iwent to a conference and I saw Craig rispin who is an Australian futurist andhe did a presentation on the future and I spent the entire keynote with my mouse hanging open going oh my God what isgoing on I had no idea all these things were happening and my head exploded with opportunities and possibilities andbasically scenarios I guess in terms of what the future was holding and I got really super excited and I went up tohim straight afterwards and said give me your details I want to know more I want to know about how you do this how you stay on top of all this stuff and thatwas sort of the start of trying to understand and navigate the futuresounds like a podcast just like that that's how you respond tofuturists yeah well there's so much amazing stuff happening and it's really wonderful tobe able to decipher what does this mean um I think the other the other important thing that happened in that very sameyear I started working at the Australian rural Leadership Foundation and that gave me exposure to a an adultdevelopment theory in in leadership called uh leadership maturity framework and it was about the concept that asadults we continue to grow and evolve we evolve Our World Views our values and the way that we see ourselves in theworld around us and those two things came together in kind of like an amazing synthesis where I went wow if this isthe future and all these things are happening we absolutely need to evolve as leaders in order to be able tonavigate that and deal with it and so the the compunction and the thecompunction to actually help develop people and their thinking and their value system became an imperative for meas a leadership professional so those two things came together and went wow there's a lot of work to be done and tohelp us as humans to be able to contend with the context that's that we find ourselves in that we didn't necessarilyplan uh and yet we need to to deal with it's an interesting point you make it'sand it does affect leadership uh there's there's kind of an epiphany right that you have and a moment we realize likewow I really need to understand this stuff better you know there's all this future technology coming and with it allkinds of social change and economic change and business change and I think many many people areconditioned if you work in a big Corporation particularly you may be conditioned to think it's not my job myjob is to focus on this you know operational thing that we that we do every single day and we're going to do it next year the same way we did it lastyear and I think increasingly that's no longer the case uh increasingly the the situation is that everybody in theorganization Marketing sales operations product development manufacturing distribution every single one of thoseis subject to some significant change sometimes multiple changes at once and so there's a leadership moment therein the organization who knows about these things and can help make an informed decision about how to proceedyeah a lot of leadership tends to be quite defensive of the Legacy as wellright you know um particularly if the organization has developed DNA where that Legacy is whathas made it successful so um you know how do you you know that sort of self-awareness as a leader to beable to adapt is is pretty unique you know oh it takes a lot of work yeah it takesa lot of work to drop the ego out of being attached to Legacy uh that's for sure that's one of the major obstaclesthat people find in terms of leaders getting their staff or their their teamsto be more aware that's also a big challenge it's one of the biggest complaints I get from CEOs is how do Iget my teams to think more strategically get them out of their silos and doing their job to think about the whole oforganization where we're heading and there's there's some significant barriers to that not least of which isjust the urge and important in getting the job done and one of the other ones I've found as an obstacle which is aninteresting one which ties in a little bit to Legacy and ego stuff is that itdepends on how the organization is measuring success and how they're rewarding people so if they're rewardingpeople for individual accomplishments of course people are going to focus on that they're not going to think about the whole of the organization because theyput themselves first all of us do we're all centered of our own universe and so we're rewarded for our own individualperformance we're not going to get our head above the parapet because why so those are some of the challenges thatare yeah why bother it because because it's not they're not in the job definition you know people say well I've got plenty of work to do with my deskthat's for the here and now I'll let somebody else strategic planning they can handle that yeah yeah so you justtouched on a couple of themes that I think are important uh one is the idea of allocating responsibilities andrewards you know that's that's a leadership function uh and another one is thinking about what comes next or having some Vision down ahead can youtell us broadly what is your definition of leadership sure I believe that leadership is aboutgalvanizing others in pursuit of a better future I really have that in my definitionand I think all of us aspire to live in a better future to improve things tomake a contribution to having a positive impact and so leadership is about how do we get together as humans and to toaccomplish that together yeah this is I I mean I I obvious obviously wholeheartedly agree with thatbut um you know Commerce and the operation of businessesyou know but particularly over the last 50 years you know because if you lookback maybe 150 years I think you'd find different sort of cultures around Innovation and industry butum it's become a lot more about performance of the business in terms ofRevenue generation that has been producing necessarily positive outcomes for people outside of the influence ofthe corporation except for the products and services you know not not like like there's not a netum Collective view that industry is there for the purpose of betteringHumanity necessarily like if as long as it's making a dollar you were totally talking to my favoritetopic Brett and I know this you know capitalism needs a reform has been atopic that's popped up on your show already and I wholeheartedly agree with that I think rubs sick of me talkingabout this but no no I'm with you because uh Milton Friedman stuff from 50 years ago still answers to this daywe've sort of optimized around that idea of shareholder value is the only thing a corporation needs to focus on I thinkit's completely incorrect yes there are stakeholders besides the shareholders whose voice yeah so what do you thinkwill be the Catalyst for for that change you know in terms of the mission of thehuman race I think it needs a Tipping Point and if we look at adult leadership Theory itsays that we need about 10 of the population to adopt a set of values and World Views before it becomes amainstream thing before we have a collective change and so I think it's rather than there's rather than a singleCatalyst that's going to provoke us into this way of thinking I think it's going to be a drip feed and a and aGroundswell that's going to to happen and I think as leading thinkers keeptalking about this keep sharing their perspectives then and keep doing our work around the planet then we'll start to get uh more of an awareness around itand I see that I see it happening like there's there's some bigger platforms that are helping with this likeum uh like B Corp for example you know and certifying organizations that arehave commitment to sustainable development goals and are doing carbon accounting we have books like donuteconomics by Kate rayworth which came out five years ago I only discovered recently when like ah here's our here'sour road map of how we actually get this done so there is a bigger interest and it's interesting right now like it's apoint in time to watch the pendulum swing between bold ways of doing and new ways of doing and we see that in thetide of uh autocracy and con and conservative values swinging back toProgressive values and I use that outside of the uh the United Statesexplicit reference to more of a global reference and we see this happening uh in in the UK in the U.S in Australia aswell and sort of this is how development works it's not a linear progression it's not an exponential one in some ways it'smore of this messy backwards and forwards exploration negotiation yeah and negotiation right because we don'twant to throw out everything that's good about past World Views we want to take the best of that with us and this ispart of the challenge with development in in order to progress we have to reject the earlier stages of leadershipmaturity in order to embrace the newness and it's in the rejection that we cause conflict with our neighbors and with oursiblings and and our our friends because if two World Views don't exist side byside very well until we are able to see the value in each and it's a it's a it'sa it's a careful Journey that needs nurturing so will there be a catalyst I thought the pandemic would be a hugeCatalyst and this is me and my naivety thinking oh my God this is the one thing that's going to unite the planet unitethe globe we are all facing this all humans on the planet are facing this crisis we must unite we will unite andto a certain degree that happened but not in the utopian version of of what happened becauseyes there was lots of things that we did collaboratively to find Solutions as humans and there was plenty of thingsthat we didn't we we had a reversal into uh parochialism isolationism nationalismas people buckled down and just looked after their own so I think there was a bit of both happeningum idealistically I thought it would be the one thing that would help draw us forward but it didn't draw us forward ina major leap just more in a match it didn't factor in the Trump Factorbut but also there's this desire you saw you see this right now now that the the pandemic is easing up uh it seems Iwouldn't say it's over because Winter's coming here in the Northern Hemisphere and we're going to find out just how much more there is to this particularvirus but the but but it's easing up right and so uh what you see now is this incredibly deep-seated desire to revertback to how things were in 2019 and I keep telling people it's not going to go back some things no some things willcontinue but some things have changed irrevocably one example is now that people have learned that they can work anywhere it's no longer a theory and umand I think the universities have taken exactly the wrong lessons here many universities are doubling down on theon-campus experience because they bungled the remote learnings so badly but that's not really the right lessonto take away I think the right to the lesson to take away is resilience demands that you develop remote learning and thereby knockout half the cost ofeducation and you know make it accessible to many many more people that's how you Scout learning yeah youknow as a leadership coach or leadership trainer what do you do when you run into those kinds of um hide-bound you knowkind of uh resistance or I guess uh you know reactionary responses immunesystems change yeah yeah corporate immune system exactly yeah well it'stough right so these are all speaking to a lot of um unconscious biases the sunk cost fallacy with the universities is aclassic one they have all this infrastructure what are we going to do with it now like it seems like a huge way space if we don't get people backinto the office or back into the classrooms and the same thing with a lot of office people so part of the work ispointing that out that there's some biases that are at play here and to to ask better questions so in terms of howdo I help organizations really Shine the Light on the stuff thatthey don't need to see uh it's gently gently because this is terrifying stuff for people right it's it's it triggersall sorts of survival mode mechanisms and when people are in survival mode biologically their cortisol adrenalinegoes up their peripheral vision gets shut off they go into tunnel vision and they don't want to listen so it's gentlygently is the strategy in terms of methodology one of the things I like to do isactually ask careful questions you know so what would have to be true for this in order to worklooking at for example their blind spot and gently gently saying well let's explore the context and I I do threethings to help help them understand connectual contextualum situation they find themselves one is look far so look far is all about two things looking on time Horizons what hashappened in the past to lead us to this point and into the future what could happen in the next 10 years and solooking far people have a hard time with timelines it's a meth it's a muscle thatneeds to be developed and I think about when I was 32 and a guru was a personaldevelopment group said what's your 10-year plan I'm like I'm 32. 42 seems really old and really ancient I canbarely get through the year like I have goals for the year so our sense of time is actually tied to our leadershipmaturity as well so helping our leaders sort of get comfortable looking into thepast and looking like what's happened in the last 10 years 20 years 50 years that has led to this point helps them stretchthe capability of understanding patterns and and changes over time so they can better project so looking far is thefirst piece going deep is another one and I use some futurist methodologies there such as the problem tree to diginto the problems that they're seeing looking below the surface and the complexity that's that's there that'sthe systems thinking methodology as well and the the third piece is to be wideand that's to look at Ripple effects of their actions so if we're looking at a blind spot of let's say a leader whosays everybody must come back into the office that's it 100 percent and they're thankfully few the fewerpeople doing that in my experience but let's say you have somebody who's got a blind spot like that it's like okay let's look at the ramifications of thatwhat does that mean for your individual worker who was grateful during the pandemic that they didn't have to drivean hour and a half in back-to-back traffic each day uh so three hours they got back with their family so if youmake this call the ramifications for them and their family is this were you aware of that and the ramifications onthose kids growing up is this and the ramifications of having more vehicles on the road is this and so you startteasing out with them what are the implications of that so that future consequence wheel is an element in termsof practice that I use as well so uh look far go deep and be wide are the three principles to help leaders atfirst understand their context before we look deeply at the at their decision andtheir blind spots and I think that helps like I like it I believe that that makes sense it's a handy checklist too andthey're easy to remember look Fargo when you first encounter a companyum when you let's say the first encounter the management of a corporation that you're going to go be an advisor or trainer fordo you do like a little evaluation do you try to assess the client and tell me what that's like like what do you dowhat's your mental checklist when you're talking to the people that you're going to be working withhumility and curiosity are the two main ones because those are antidotes tohubris and hubris absolutely is a blind spot yeah so humility and curiosity andare they interested in learning more do uh do they have this niggling self-doubt which is actually a useful thing itdoesn't always have to be a paralyzing thing because the niggling self-doubt Keeps Us humble Keeps Us curious and Ithink that's a really important piece so a lot of leaders have come to me and say I want to have more confidence I want to feel more capable and like great let'swork with that because that will serve you so well and they're like what self-doubt is helpful like absolutely itis so let's turn it into a superpower by tuning into your curiosity and humilityso in terms of prospective clients that's what I do and then once we start working together I put them through theleadership maturity framework so that gives a detailed map of theirperspective where are they sitting in terms of their world view and their values and is this fit for purpose dothey need to do do some vertical development in terms of expanding their point of view and their perspective and their ability to navigate complexity andthat points us off into horizontal development which is all about what's in your tool kit what are the skills that you need to develop in order to helpprogress vertically and horizontally so that you're you're able to deal with the context in which you find yourselfI do want to get into into the book but this is a very interesting conversationum you know are there any particular characteristics that make for anadaptable leader in your experience ah characteristics in terms of Virtues Ithink any of the virtues will serve in terms of Love curiosity humilitypassion that kind of thing all of them are useful and and helpful in terms ofbeing a good leader in terms of skills and abilities the the primary one tohelp us unlock any of the leadership abilities is is developing self-awarenessand that's easier said than done you know so understanding who am I being curious about who am I being curiousabout how am I thinking being able to do some meta thinking about your thinking doing some meta thinking about yourvalues and beliefs is is probably the Keystone one that unlocks a lot of capabilities later because unless you dothat work then just picking up and learning new skills not going to really help because you will apply it blindlywithout being able to explore context and you really need to have blinkers down for that and open-hearted curiosityto handle the context like like you said sometimes it's scary it's almost aspiritual quality right that that higher order Consciousness the ability to step outside of yourself and you know examineyour your values and your value systems and things like that it's interesting I do want to get I do want to get into thebook um and and then you know because you know we said we're going to start with the book and here we are we're justabout to get a break but um let me ask you this to frame so we can talk about the book after The Breakum when did you decide that um you know being a futurist tacticallyor you know in terms of day-to-day strategy for businesses and so forthwasn't enough that you wanted to be a Sci-Fi author uh in 2020 when I was doing a writingcourse with Stephen Cotler who is co-author of a bunch of amazing books and author of in his own right ofboth non-fiction and fiction and is done some work with Peter demandis in that field in the non-fiction world andfell in love with the writing process all over again with that writing course called flow for writers and I had aquestion that was niggling at me I'm like I'm wondering if fiction might be a more powerful way of advancingleadership ideas because story sucks you in it gives you emotional Gump it getsyou to kneel away at an issue or an idea in a way that non-fiction doesn't alwaysand I thought hmm I wonder if this is my next opportunity in terms of helpingAdvance some of these ideas around leadership and what the world needs for the future of leadership so that wassort of the initiating kernel I was in the middle of writing people stuff my fourth non-fiction leadership book andso it just parked it for a little while but had this kind of idea like I think this might be next and so once peoplestuff came out I started playing with scenes and writing scenes and then that was the startthat's very cool now we'll definitely dig more into that in the second half but before we go to our break what welike to do is do a rapid fire question around the lightning round and burnt runs this part of the show I know you'refamiliar with this so it's I'm ready this is much fun as getting a tooth extracted at the dentist's office is itthat bad do I need easier questions anyway all right [Music]um you remember being exposed to on TV or books 2001 A Space Odyssey and I rememberwatching that going wow cool spaceships and then thinking what the hell what'sthe story about what is that big Obelisk thing yeah and that movie for years and years and with the monkeysmonkeys Obelisk what the hell so that was my first exposure and I think even though I was a Star Wars fan immediatelyas soon as it came out as I was a little kid then I didn't really see that as science fiction that was just fun itdidn't stimulate the thinking brain the way that 2001 Space Odyssey did so that was my first exposure and then the firsttime oh he's amazing and then the other one was Dune I read that early as a teenagerand loved the story and thought woohoo sand worms cool and then my immaturebrain was sort of percolating on the bigger picture stuff didn't really get it of course in terms of environmentalism and social uh progressand all that kind of bigger leadership stuff but those two things were probably the two big forces that guarded mename a futurist or entrepreneur that has influenced you and why oh David Matton I love his work hewrites a Blog called New World same humans it's fabulous he picks up all the really interesting news tidbits aroundwhat's happening around the world and answers the question so what about this what does this mean so that's my my restmust read blog every week Joanna Penn who has a podcast called the creativepen she's a writer and a writing futurist and she's always ahead of the curve in terms of what's coming inpublication of books and lastly author slash entrepreneur Peter diamandis can'tgo past him and he's a good guy oh my God and Elon of course and why those twobecause they get stuff done they talk about the future but they do stuff and I think they're boundless optimism andenergy is something that I really admire yeah we're gonna get Peter on the showat one point um he's been on he's been on breaking Banks before so hopefully yeah we'll get him on this fairly soonwhat's the best prediction an entrepreneur or a futurist or a science fiction author has made in your opinionI think anything by Jules Verne has been pretty interesting over the timeum yeah yeah and Leonardo a few a few of your past guests have mentioned Leonardo da Vinci and I think yeah awesome thoseearly ones are are pretty prophetic and is there a science fiction story orworld that most is most representative of the future you hope for no because largely they're prettydystopian and you know sci-fi and my own sci-fi isa little bit like that way too is is cautionary tale though more recently what I really have enjoyed it's been aseries out on on God I can't remember which platform For All Mankind I think this is an amazing retelling like ahistory revisionist and I really enjoyed that show in terms of why I find itinspiring about the future is that yes we've committed to going to the moon and to Mars and and I'm exploring all thechallenges that come with that from a human point of view as well as a tech point of view so that's probably my inspirational vision of the future showsyou what we could have done you know yes and what we might still yet do yes absolutely fantastic well let'stake a quick break you're listening to the futurist with myself uh Brett King and Rob turcek Our Guest this week sorryRalph and uh we'll be back right after this break provoked media is proud to sponsorproduce and support the futurist podcast provoke.fm is a global podcast Networkand content creation company with the world's leading fintech podcast and radio show Breaking Banks and of courseit's spin-off podcast breaking Bank to Europe breaking Banks Asia Pacific and the fintech 5.but we also produce the official phenovate podcast Tech on reg emergeeverywhere the podcast of the Financial Health Network and next-gen Banker from fishing about all our podcasts go toprovoke.fm or check out breaking Banks the world's number one fintech podcastand radio show welcome back to the futurists and uh I'myour host Brett King and Robert turczak and uh you're you know this part of the show we like to do a bit of a deep diveso I'm going to hand over to Rob what can you tell us about the world of industrial robotics Rob well some morenews from the future uh this week I'm going to talk a little bit about Robotics and breakthroughs in robotics uh in the context for it is that lastweek uh Tesla's AI day Elon Musk made some big pronouncements so he's alwaysin the news and you know he's going to keep turning up on this show from time to time what I thought I'd do is put some of those announcements in contextbecause uh whenever he makes an announcement people pay attention but they may not have the full context ofwhat's happening in the robotics field and there's a lot of news there so uh what happened is uh at the AI day atTesla um mosque unveiled a new robot a humanoid robot called Optimus and thisis a kind of payoff to something he teased last year at the 2021 AI day hementioned that Tesla was building a robot and then they had a guy in a body suit come out and pretend to be robot it's a bit of a goof and in a way that'sset up an expectation that's really quite dangerous because um in the field of Robotics they always want to avoid comparisons to humanbeings because humans are capable so much robots candidly aren't that graceful and so in a way some peoplethought oh that's kind of a backfire you know that's not my backfire on him so anyway this was his chance to show theirhumanoid robots and really it's a remarkable progress for just under a year uh since the time when they teasedit last year um at this time they showed a walking humanoid robot in the in terms of the form factor there's nothing new aboutthis uh this form factor of like a robot that sort of shaped like a human being that's been visualized by a number ofRobotics companies since 2015. so in that sense uh the Tesla is not really breaking any new ground uh and as usualwith everything musk related there's a whole bunch of blather that's you know Pie in the Sky talk about General artificial intelligence and changing theworld and so forth I think we can set that stuff aside because that remains to be seen what we're seeing right now is a prototype and so what's reallynewsworthy and I think worth paying attention to is to things first is the price performance promisemusk's goal is to sell millions of these robots at a price of twenty thousanddollars and he said it's specifically less than the price of a car that's really a an incredible price point toshoot for and to support the the Optimus robot is being designed for manufacturing at scale which is clearlysomething that Tesla knows a few things about the goal is to drive the price point down to less than like the cost ofa car and what you'll get for that is a um a robot with a 2.3 kilowatt hour 52volt battery pack which is sufficient for a full day of work so what they've done is set out somespecs that are truly awesome if they can get this they can deliver that for twenty thousand dollars and of course uhTesla knows a lot about battery management Power Systems right now at this point so that seems like it might be plausible we shall see the second bigtakeaway for me is real world use cases and so one of the demonstrators not musk mentioned that Tesla Engineers were ableto Port over the autonomous navigation system the autopilot navigation system that is used in the cars and they'reusing that for the robot it's not entirely clear if like an automotive collision avoidance system is going to be useful for a robot that's meant to behandling machines and we're working close up lifting and handling other things so it's not so clear that that's an advantage but if it is well obviouslyTesla has 10 years of learning on those on those Auto navigation systems and sothat could be if that's easy to Port over and they claim it is that will be a tremendous Advantage so those are two big advantagesum and the key thing there that they're taking away there is that they're saying that they're going to start to use this robot in the production lines at theTesla Factory so they have a built-in use this case a real world use case because at the end of the day all these announcements that you hear about robotsthe one thing to be listening for is what is the real world use case we see demo after demo you know things like Boston robotics of like you know walkingdogs and walking horses and walking people and so on but they don't ever show them doing anything useful so you really need to ask that question becauseotherwise what you're looking at is basically a glorified Tech demo so we're going to find out soon enough uh howthey're using this Optimus robot in the Tesla case in these two areas I think Tesla has some great advantages butTesla is going to face stiff competition uh this is not like you know electric cars and going up against old worldAutomotive companies in Japan you've got FANUC um yasukawa electric Mitsubishi ElectricKawasaki heavy Industries Seiko Epson nachi fujikoshi and den suit so likeJapan has a whole Suite of really Advanced industrial robot manufacturers and in Switzerland there's ABB andGerman of course has Kuka which is very well known in the in a manufacturing world and another firm called doer sothere are quite a few competitors now the background on this why Tesla is interested in getting into this spaceand why they're making noise about it is that it's growing remarkably fast so as I mentioned we've been hearing aboutthese kinds of humanoid robots since 2015. during the last four years particularly during the pandemic whenfactories were continuing to try to run the population of industrial robots has skyrocketed it's doubled in size and themarket is growing at a remarkable rate a compound annual growth rate of about 15 percent 20 20 35 is the year that umit's the robots will overtake humans in terms of population oh that'sinteresting already the population of human so be kind of robots you never know what's going to happen in thefuture and that that population has increased by 34 in the last four four years so it's growing very very quicklyum so that market will grow the industrial robot Market will grow from about 16 billion uh this year to about30 billion in the next five years so it's going to double in size so that's the Target that uh that uh Tesla'sshooting for interesting and this information comes from a new report from the International Federation of robotsrobotics IFR so last year some 500 000 industrial robots were added to the globalWorkforce and that brings the total figure to about 3.5 million uh that's from that IFR report the industrial theInternational Federation of Robotics um now one of the areas is really growing in you probably noticeddifferent examples of companies I mentioned a minute ago is Asia and in particular in Japan and in China andthat is directly related to a topic we've covered on the show in the past which is aging populations thepopulation starts to get older and older if you don't have immigration and you don't have another way to replace that population then you're going to have toturn to automation the Japanese uh for a long time had the you know the biggest problem with aging that's they no longerhave that they're no longer the suffering but from that alone uh South Korea and China on the same track butfor that reason the Japanese are very far ahead in robotics that's their plan um the uh so that's why this industrialrobot field is growing now there's a distinction I should make which is really important the differences between industrial robots and service robotsindustrial robots are nothing new we've had those since the 1980s every Auto Factory is full of them you know if yougo to the auto plant the the body not the body part where they're putting on the finishing touches uh yeah you seethe giant mechanical arms those are industrial robots and they are lethal they will kill you that's why they'reusually in a cage humans are kept out of the area you're not allowed to get anywhere near those robots because they're moving at high speed and it'sthis big gigantic arm that could crush you and it has uh a factory worker in Japan one in Europe and one in theUnited States have been killed in automotive plants in industrial accidents with those big robotic arms that's because those robotic arms aredeaf dumb and blind they can do one thing it's like a big arm but it can't see it's not aware of you it has no sense of youthe distinction of drawing is between industrial robots like that and service robots and you're going to start to hearthis term service robots more and more service robots can move around uh soit's that machine but now it can move around and once it can move around it has to have vision and it's got to have some sense of other things includingpeople that's why Tesla's Collision detection Vehicles drones that deliver Amazon packages willbe service robots yeah you got it that's the connection Tesla's trying to make in their favor is to say well we know a lot about autonomous driving so thereforewe're going to know a lot about robotics that's a bit of a leap but they do know the part about the autonomous driving and um now the biggest sectors for thisof course are automotive that's that's always been the case that will remain the case and the second biggest sector is electronics and generally theelectrics industry those are two big and growing sectors in Asia so no wonder that's an area that this is being usedwhat's interesting about service robots is that they can do things what they call handling activities like pick andplace palletizing putting items on a pallet packaging things loading up shipments unloading shipments even veryspecific things like bin picking which is really important for e-commerce fulfillment you know they use humanworkers to do this today in say you know an Amazon just so destroying jobs as well yeah it's a terrible job it's likeusing a human as a robot you're doing this incredibly repetitive work that work can be done better by robots for alonger period of time so we're seeing that grow and grow and this idea of service robots is expected to grow at 45to be 45 of this uh of this industrial robot sector so it's going to grow very quickly so that's a bit of an updatefrom the world of Robotics a topic we've covered before on the show with Harry klore and we'll certainly haven't beenwell we've got been good it's all coming up so Ben and Ben will be great talking about this stuff one of the thingsnotice also is the intersection of AI and Robotics yeah you know actually when you talk to AI researchers they use thetwo terms interchangeably for most of us when we think of a robot we think of a machine that's out in the world and we think of automation as software wherethat exists on a network or on a computer the combination of those two things using artificial intelligence ina robot is what makes it possible for it to humiliate and operate in the world around us and respond to people it givesit autonomy yeah yeah yeah well that and so that's and it's not but it's not justAI in sort of a general sense in terms of programming it's things like imagerecognition right you know which is yeah you know so anyway let's dive back in Zoe into uhthe the Olympus project um now um you know one of the thingsthat I I do notice about when you when you start with this it it it it feels itfeels achievable this future you know you start off with VR you've got elements of climate um you you talkabout rolling pandemics which again as futurists we know that um because ofglacial melt and climate change we know there's going to be more pandemics so you've pulled a lot of these elementsinto the story but tell us a little bit about the uh you know how the book cameabout and and um you know what it is you're trying to to say with itthanks um it's a near future science fiction one so I haven't projected out thousands ofyears into the future it's it's more like in the next 30 to 50 years in terms of uh projections about some of theexisting Trends and how they might play out the Genesis of the book I mentioned earlier was around how might a story bemore impactful and then specifically I started thinking about power as a themehow does power play out uh how how does power affect our leadership and Istarted with sort of toying around with that idea you know how are we going to manage power in a future which is veryvolatile and uncertain with all these potential challenges ahead of us and can we overcomesome of the traps of power which show up in the earlier stages of leadership maturity so that was sort of like thestarting point in terms of the scene setting and then the and then the concept and theme I wanted to exploreand that evolved a little bit too so from power we also started looking at had his leadership maturity affectpeople's ability to come together as a cohort and deal with these challenges and probably the third piece which cameout as the characters unfolded was how do our relationships affect ourleadership goals and all those three factors sort of came out as I wrote the book so it's fairly organic process I'mnot a detailed planner I tend to take a journal ask questions of myself and thencome up with ideas as a result scenes pop into my imagination I write those out and then the and then threading itall together is one of the things I worked with extensively with my editor in terms of the overarching pace of thebook and the structure and so on so that was sort of the origins for me asking big questions which I think whatfuturists do right they ask really good questions and that generates insights hopefully or curiosity to explore newinsights and the book is called the Olympus project tell us what you mean by that what does that refer to in the storywell originally I was going to call it World Builders and uh myname yeah um yeah that's right my editor said um too jarring because in in sciencefiction tropes we there's a whole thing about World building about creating new places and so on he's like I can't do itit's it's just it brings up too much of that so I had to let that baby drop and he said it sounds a lot like uh youngadult fiction too I'm like it's not a young adult fiction so that was the original title that got tossed out theOlympus project um he said maybe you need to have something more aspirational and like a lot of Science Fiction uh and even NASAnamed a lot of their projects about ancient Roman gods you know with the Apollo project and Artemis and so on soI'm like okay so I did a bit of research and Googling around themes in space and umand Olympus actually is home of the Gods in both Greek mythology and Roman mythology I'm like that's perfectbecause the old idea is about Community design World design so change from World Builders to Worlddesign and in the future we will have to design communities and housing differently in order to contend with thevolatility of the climate factor and if we're going to be building on the moon and on Mars then how are we going todesign these places and how will these places affect how we interact as humans and can we build places that actuallyaccelerate human development that was one of the interesting ideas I wanted to explore as well so the Olympus projectis is the concept in terms of what it means in the book it's essential to thelunar commission which is putting out a tender or asking for people to pitch to build the first community on the moonand that is the the plot storyline so guy Enterprise is one of lead World designers and they are putting togethera cohort of designers and other Specialists they've never built offplanet to put together a prototype as part of the bit and it's a competitive story that has a resolution in the endnice so there's a little bit of space drama there a little bit of interpersonal action going on some toughdecisions and I gather there's some corporate ruthlessness there's sort of like a you know skullduggery I supposethat's that's a foot as well in your story to keep it excitingdo you see this as a as like an alternate um reality or like an alternate universeor are you trying to write it in our universeit's not an alternative Universe I think it sails pretty close to the wind in terms of taking elements from existingoh corporations politics all that kind of stuff the human drama is very much immersed in this world is it analternative Universe I I don't know in terms of I believe we're going to end up on the moon pretty quickly so I thinkthat's definitely coming to fruition it's alternative in terms of offering hey hang on a minute we need to considerthe the human the human element around this because I look at the for example whenever they have International SpaceStation pictures I'm like did they think about the interior design of this place like it'spretty awful in terms of yeah it's interesting yeah ISS with the Chinese space station youknow the ISS looks so cluttered and so but you know you think about it you knowthis is one of the things of the with the you know you've got Prime real estate you don't have a lot of space soyou use every surface and that's the thing with zero g or microgravity is that you can store stuff anywhere rightas long as you can you can tie it down so is that designed for comfort those are not luxurious no although we havingsaid that you know you've got space hotels and stuff coming up where that's going to be an argument for alternativedesigns right yeah the issue though is every additional pound of the luxury that you put in space you have to justify the cost of that pillow yeah butso Zoe you know you are an optimist do your person who is thinking is encouraging uh other people to think ina positive way about the future formula future you know future plans that are optimistic yeah and yet you've writtenthis book that's full of uh this sort of dark vision and you know the funny thing we just had this conversation with ramazNam who is very similar in the respect that he's trying to encourage people to think about renewable energy in positiveways and he's very optimistic he's unabashedly optimistic and yet he writes these stories that are about darkdystopian future so what's going on with you writers tell me what the story is yeah why can't you write utopian stuffman uh okay so great question you know why why be so all dark and I don't think mybook is all dark actually I think like a lot of sci-fi writers it's all about the cautionary tale we present a future Ithink every leader is aspiring to a better future and yet when we try and create those things there's alwaysthings that hold us back and I think in thinking about this I like what hansi freynocht says and he's got two booksout which I recommend when we're talking about leadership maturity and future of societies he's got listening society andNordic ideology and he talks about relative Utopia and I think this is areally useful Paradigm for us to think about and it's where we find ourselvesnow is Utopia compared to what has been previously so if we look 100 years agothe world that we're living in now is a relative Utopia it's fan bloody tastic and yet we are we are full of problemsthat generated or had Genesis 100 years ago well it's not that we're not we're notnever happy it's that as we create new opportunities and new situations and newtechnologies they come with drawbacks and it's the same as we evolved it'sit's complex and there's always upsides and downsides and it's the same in leadership maturity framework as we growand evolve there's absolutely new benefits into seeing the world from a more complex inclusive place and yetthere are blind sides or blind spots and downsides to each of those stages and so that's sort of what I Breathe Into thebook as well it's like yes we are aspiring to this and there are things that we still have to continue to contend with it's not always going to berose rose colored glasses and everything's going to be solved into the future I think we have to have that as apicture and move towards that and deal with Legacy issues as well as new challenges that show up hansi talksabout you know in terms of one of the challenges that we face now with all this burgeoning technology liberating usfrom all sorts of mechanical um awful jobs as you mentionedpreviously is the growing challenge in our community and we've seen this through the pandemic is isolationism andpeople feeling lonely and the real huge need for dealing with mental health and emotional intelligence so this is risingto the top is one of the thicknesses or illnesses that we have to contend with in this relative Utopia that we'vecreated and there'll always be something if we clear that up we move into the next stage of humanities society andcivilization there'll be stuff that we need to deal with then that is a unintended possibly consequence of theseadvancements so that's what I believe you know relative Utopia is what we contend with and that's why my bookisn't like rah-rah this is what we need to do and this will solve everything because I think that's naive and I'veexperienced that as I mentioned previously with the experience of the pandemic that this naivety of like yesthis will be the thing that changes everything and it doesn't so your book is like a thought experiment uhthinking about this possibility opening up to the possibility now would you say it's more didactic and learning orientedor is it more entertainment and excitement oriented is it you know where do you fall on that Spectrum[Music] um I think it's more on the entertainment side of things it's meant to be an emotional journey through thereI've seated in different ideas in terms of the quotes at the beginning of the chapter for people to kind of chew on ifthey want to so at the beginning of each chapter there's a quote from either the guy is Code of Conduct or the worlddesign Manifesto or from one of the characters about one of their principles and values and practice and it's meantto be seeding thoughts about what we could be working with into the future that also serves a story so some peoplemay gloss over those and just keep going the story so it's a little bit of that I'd say it might be 10 15 didactic it'sdefinitely not a fable or a parable God I I really don't like those kinds of stories so it's definitely not that allright let me sift gears here a little bit I want to bring us back down the planet Earth uh so we're living at a time where leadership has become kind ofcontentious styles of leadership have become kind of contentious around the world we're seeing the rise of theseauthoritarian leaders in some cases straight up dictators uh you know in China president XI is now president forlife and he's reverse policies that were set in place after Mount seitung uh died where they were trying to prevent thepossibility of anyone taking on a Rolex that he seems to have recreated that possibility for China um and of course in Russia we're seeingPresident Putin behave in a similar fashion and one thing we know about autocrats is uh as they isolatethemselves and try to assume more and more power and keep other people out of power structure they start to make baddecisions uh I think certainly we can all agree that the decision to invade the Ukraine was one of the epically baddecisions of the 21st Century tell us what you see happening what's your perspective on the rise ofauthoritarian leaders around the world because you've been here in the United States that's becoming a big themeoh yeah so there's two ways to answer this uh one is I turned to the work ofMoises name I'm not even sure if that's how you pronounce his name but his two books on power the latest one revenge ofpower talks about the rise of autocracy around the planet and it's incredibly instructive in terms of looking at thePlaybook that the each of the autocrats is used to get there and polarization is one destruction of Truth is another ortwo of the tactics that they use and populism is the third strategy in terms of how they actually get to power dothey hang onto power history has shown that no they usually things that usually end badly for autocrats and yet I'mreally I if anything makes me nervous it's what's happening in Russia and Chinabecause the difference in China say for example and actually to Russia to a lesser extent is the command of umI.T and electronic surveillance that each of those com each of those countries has and that's a really bigdifference to historical despots in the past and so the ability to manipulate mindset and attitudes is really reallypowerful there and this is the the technocratic control of the population that China is going for is terrifying infact David Matton who I mentioned uh earlier is showing up on my leadership podcast in a week or so and we had aconversation about this I'm like that is terrifying what can we do and a lot ofit is about this whole idea of how do we disseminate truth how do we actually filter truth isone of the things that we we need to deal with what's causing the rise of the deaf spots around the world some of itis is the pendulum swing backwards you know as we have a moreum prosperous Society in some ways that division between rich and poor has accelerated and so that is causing a lotof distress uh for people and so people tend to turn to strong men leaders andinclude strong women leaders in that as well who say this is the way it is that black and white thinking is the way togo it's Us Versus Them There is a comfort to that even though it's an earlier stage of leadership maturity itactually doesn't serve the context in which we find ourselves globally it does serve those who are under duress tobelieve in a future where certainty which is being flanked and shopped around by the autocrats is the wayforward so that is how they're growing in in popularity and that's one of the reasons why Trump is so popular as wellbecause he's like nah this is the way it is black and white thinking you're with us or against us they're right we'resorry we're right there wrong and that is that's a comforting blank to put onwhen you're having trouble feeding yourself you don't know what your future is going to hold here's somebody saying we can fix itit's true a lot of times people don't want freedom of choice they want freedom from choice and if anything right now welive in a world of of really complex choices and decisions and cascadingconsequences and it's very difficult to think through those cascading consequences that's that's why we run the program here because we're trying toget more and more people to think like a futurist so that they can develop that muscle a little bit you know project forward consider scenarios think aboutthe consequences of those scenarios but admittedly that's a tough skill to build a lot of people want to avoid it one wayto avoid it is to Simply to listen to that strong man who's got an answer for everything even if it's not right whomakes the decision for you and then therefore you don't have the freedom of choice you've got freedom from choice that that that element of economicuncertainty though I think cannot be and and uh emphasized you knowum if you look at AI climate change the pandemic what uncertainty did it createuncertainty about the economic future you know so you know this this is where these these guys capitalize on thisbecause they're like we're going to solve this problem we're going to solve all of these problems but the reality isum rarely do they talk about the systemic um breakdowns the functional issues youknow um if they talk about inequality They Don't Really offer a solution to inequality demonize a group that's howthey always do it and also with every autocrat you get a rise in corruption and inefficiency that's part of the poordecision-making process okay so we're delving into kind of the gram reality of today we love to do in this show isthinking about a future think about a different future and this the part of the show Zoe we love you to put on yourfuturist thinking cap for a second big picture stuff give us some far-range Visions it's not just about populatingthe moon or maybe travel to Mars where do you see things 10 years 20 years 30years down the road and if you can tie that into your practice uh of leadership training I'd love to hear about thefuture of leadership 10 20 years from now okay uh right so I think the one that'ssort of burning into my skull right now is biotech and it's probably because I have a injury on my knee I'm like oh Godif technology was a little bit more advanced we'd fix this really quickly and rather having to struggle and suffer with it and I think about that sort ofled to thinking about um our bodies Our human bodies are limiting factors in terms of how we cancontinue to evolve and contribute and if we can sustain our bodies through biotech and Amplified biology likecomputer brain interface I think that will be a massive step forward in terms of helping us accelerate solutions toour complex challenges so I think there's that in terms of the future of leadership30 50 years into the future I think you mentioned one of the things I wanted topick up on that you talked about you know Futures thinking is so important to help us navigate uncertainty and complexity this is the number one thingthat we need as Leaders to evolve to and it's sort of at the Tipping Point into conventional leadership thinking whichis uh linear based A to B planning project planning in terms of one to three year time frames that'scharacteristics of earlier stages of leadership maturity we need to nudge people into the systems thinking that'srequired to navigate complexity and futurist thinking is is an aspect to that and so in order to move towards afuture where we are dealing with setting up energy so that it's sustainable and not Planet destroyingand decentralization of our systems like our Health Care system for exampleum and our supply of food production systems then we need leaders who can actually understand as you mentioned previously like the whole systems aspectof this and so we tweak one thing what's ripple effect so these are skills that we need now that leaders need to embracesystematically and systemically across their organizations and and industries so that we contend with the stuff and Ithink interesting I do a lot of work in agriculture and in some ways they're quite advanced interms of considering this I mean farmers are so embedded in the in the earth so they understand ecosystems and long-termthinking because that's the world in which they navigate and they're pretty advanced in their technology and they've been hit pretty hard with a lot of thecrises lately in terms of Supply chains so they're already set up in a context in which they need to think that wayotherwise they their businesses won't survive they can't actually get a lettuce off their off their Farm out toout the door and into consumers houses and so on so uh long-winded question theanswer is complexity is the thing that we need to navigate we need to learn how to understand systems and we need tolearn how to do projections and we need to know emotionally the emotional Mastery control this is the otherleadership skill that we need how we can actually sit with thethe physical the physiological reactions to uncertainty which is a biochemicalthing and that's the same biological equipment we've had for a hundred thousand years so we need to learn how uh deep emotional self-mastery piece ispart of it so that's that's what I think is in the future of leadership that was a sweetthing sweeping response to that question thanks for such a thorough response so thanks for being so prepared for thisshow you've you've filled our heads with lots of good ideas about leadership in the futureI think if we could just do three things you know it which is look for go deep bewide as a starting pointyeah I love it and read science fiction that's the that's probably the fourth one the world would be a far betterplace if everyone traveled and read science fiction that's my viewthe author of the of the Olympus project and Leadership trainer and Coach advisorand podcaster thank you so much for joining us this week on the futurist we've enjoyed this conversation immensely how can people find more aboutthe Olympus project and um the work you do Zoe uh well they can find it onlineuh the book The Olympus project if you Google it it'll be on Amazon and the other Distributors it's also you can geta personally signed copy uh from me from my website zoeyrath.comI'm on all the social platforms on Twitter LinkedIn insta YouTubeawesome thanks very much um so that's it for the futurist this week if you like the show don't forgetwhat to do tweet us out to let people know about the uh the show give us a five star rating um you know whateveryou can do to help we'd appreciate it because that helps us in turn monetize the show and keep it goingum we want we want to reach out and thank the team from provoke media help us put together the show this weekincluding Elizabeth Severance Uh Kevin hersham and on the social media side uh Sylvie Johnson and Carla Navara butthat's it for us this week we will be back next week with another uh imaginative futurist thinking guestuntil then we'll see you in the future [Music]well that's it for the futurists this week if you like the show we sure hope you did please subscribe and share itwith people in your community and don't forget to leave us a five star review that really helps other people find theshow and you can ping us anytime on Instagram and Twitter at futuristpodcastfor the folks that you'd like to see on the show or the questions that you'd like us to ask thanks for joining and as always we'llsee you in the future [Music]

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