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Rising From the Ashes


Peter Hinssen

In this week’s episode of The Futurists, Peter Hinssen joins the dynamic duo to talk the new normal of constant technology change and his new book The Phoenix and The Unicorn. A specialist in corporate forecast planning, Hinssen’s insights are compelling.

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[Music] this week on the futurist if i look at my kids that they're nevermore than probably one meter away from their smartphone and i mean it's not too small that youwould just you know lose it in say a shirt pocket or in in a sofa so i thinkthat's probably a really convenient form factor but i do believe that at one point it's going to be replaced by by what wesee i mean honestly i've been wearing regular glasses since i was 14 and themoment that we can actually think about an augmented reality with the form factor of you know these lightweightdevices that what i don't know what percentage of the population wears glasses but a hell of a lot more andmore i think that's the moment when we have the capability to really flip that to a new form factor[Music]well here we are back in the hosting chair robert and i are both outside of the u.s right now he's in eindhoven i'mat my apartment in bangkok um you know for those you've listened to the show for a while you know i spendsome time here um robert is on here on a a journey through europe over the nextfew weeks um what's eindhoven like today robert i know it's fine the weather is fabulousit's it's unusually warm but it's a perfect day for biking and that seems to be what everyone's doing what do youcall unusually warm in eindhoven uh so here it would be in the 20s um but inthe u.s that would be in the 80s right it was 34 degrees celsius in bangkok today sothat's a bit more unusually warm stay off the bike get on a long tail boatno we got a beautiful uh pool here so um and joining us uh for the show today ispeter henson um peter and i met about 10 years ago actually through our friendsat swift at sibos he's a serial entrepreneur a keynote speaker he's been involved in the startup world but he's athought leader on radical innovation leadership and the impact of digital on society and businesshe lectures currently at the london business school he's lectured also at mit in boston he founded a futurefocused organization called nex works to help organizations adapt um his uhsome of his books the new normal the day after tomorrow and his uh upcoming bookthe phoenix and the unicorn i'm sure we're gonna get into that today peter henson welcome to the futurists thankyou very much and and thank you brett and robert for having me happy to have you heregreat to meet you tell us about the room that you're in because uh for those who are watching video you'll see there's anawful lot of apple computer equipment behind you yeah i call it the apple chapel and and brett's actually beenthere um i i'm one of the largest collectors i think of apple computers in the world umi learned how to program on apple ii when i was 11 and that love for both the technology and for the brand neverdisappeared and i think contrary to my i never threw anything away soit was cluttering our house like crazy it was driving my wife up the wall and then three years ago i had the chance tobuy a church here in belgium an abandoned church that i renovatedand this was i think finished probably three or four days before we had the first lockdownand i thought damn what am i going to do so i started using the apple chapel as my office and i did webinars for youknow more than two years and honestly i i i don't think i'll ever have a better office than an abandonedrenovated church filled with vintage computers so tech is the new religion and i think that's what this applechapel really shows yeah it it is quite a spectacular location peter i'll give you that and uhyour um your love for it and your enthusiasm um for all things apple isclear not not just with the uh obviously the the incredible background we can seethis you know um but just also the passion with which you speak about how how this project came to be so umfantastic and speaking of apple we passed a big milestone this week uh the iphone is now 15 years oldand it's the world's first trillion dollar product so it's actually quite an extraordinary milestone in the sensethat um you know when i give talks now i ask people how many people have an iphone and it's extraordinary how many peopleraise their hand in the room uh of course that's you know going to be more likely the case in europe and inthe us less likely the case in asia and other parts of the world where android phones are more prevalentbut what's extraordinary about that is now you can walk into a room and say try to spot the windows computertry to spot the ibm computer right 15 years ago before the iphone the world was dominated by windowstoday the world seems to be dominated by apple and then everyone who's trying to be the next apple i supposebut along the way an awful lot has changed it's been a rather extraordinary ride the last 15 years peter were yourthoughts about that well i mean one of the things is that i i as as you can see behind me i collect a lotof the old computers but one of my fascinating things that i collect is the documentation and i think that tells apart of the story that isn't always told so one of the favorite objects that ihave and that's probably my most cherished one this is the prospectusthat um uh morgan stanley used to take apple public back in 1979.so this is one oh yeah the s1 and this is the document that they use to sell the force the first four million sixhundred thousand shares of apple computer inc and what is truly fascinating about that when you talk about the trillion dollar product one ofthe items in here is of course how big is the market going to be because in those days nobody knew what a computerwas and the fascinating thing about this document is that in the document says we actually believe at apple thatpersonal computers might at one day become a billion dollar market a billioni mean that's what apple does on a bad wednesday morning just onlineso in terms of being able to look at the future i think these types of historical documents are really interesting onething again throwing the history at it one thing i like to do is you might have seen me use this in akeynote previously is talk about the compute power we have in an iphone todaycompared with a notable computer that was a key part of human history being the apolloguidance computer from apollo 11. the current iphone has approximately 250million times the processing power of the apollo 11 computer that took neilarmstrong buzz aldrin and michael collins to the moon that is incredible um progress to think about itand of course you know it fits in a much smaller unit than the apollo guidance computer butwhat's astonishing about that is it doesn't just make your um personal computer irrelevant in a lot ofcontexts it's actually making a lot of products irrelevant i talk a lot about the way the phone has vaporized so manydifferent devices start sort of suck the functionality of different devices into it peter tell me about this form factorsince you're so interested in form factors how long are we going to be living with this this uh shiny rectangle that wouldstick in our pocket do you think that well the smart glasses just vaporize the smartphone yeahwell i think um the nice thing about um this the form factor is that it'sprobably gotten to the point where you don't lose it too much if i look at my kids they're never morethan probably one meter away from their smartphone and i mean it's not too small that youwould just you know lose it in say a shirt pocket or in in a sofa so i thinkthat's probably a really convenient form factor but i do believe that at one point it's going to be replaced by by what wesee i mean honestly i've been wearing regular glasses since i was 14 and themoment that we can actually think about an augmented reality with the form factor of you know these lightweightdevices that what i don't know what percentage of the population wears glasses but a hell of a lot more andmore i think that's the moment when we have the capability to really flip that to a new form factor interestingbattleground coming up because of course uh you know facebook or now meta is investing heavily in a new form factorfor your face whether that's glasses or a head-mounted display 64 of the population wears glassesthere's 64. exactly so and we've crossed you know across the halfway pointso yeah so so facebook is going to try to get you to wear a computer on your face but i suspect that's going tohappen with this uh long rumored ar goggles that apple is developing i think they're going to be extension of thephone the same way the apple watch is an extension of the phone in other words they're going to try to entrench theirmonopoly or their dominance in this form factor for a bit longer they have too many they have too much tolose there's too much at stake for apple and also frankly the head-mounted display space those are going to beunderpowered initially so it's better to put the heavy duty processing power and also theconnectivity you know the network connectivity put that in the phone where it belongs right now your apple iphone already has ultra widefan so they'll be able to transmit data high rates to headsets or glasses and i suspect this is going to be a big battlebetween apple and meta uh for what is the form factor for the future which is the dominant device apple's going to tryto reinforce their smartphone dominance i agree and i think if they get thatright that could be probably their next trillion dollar product if they get thatright and they've been mulling around for a long time everybody every single worldwide developers conference people say finally they'regoing to release it and they never do so yeah they really know how to you know keep the suspense going but i think themoment they do i think that is going to be a game changer so that's true i'm carrying a whole new chapel for thatyeah it's true the last earnings call everybody expected apple to talk at the worldwide developer conference they weresupposed to talk about these new air classes that we've been hearing so much about through the rumor bill and theyvery noticeably did not mention a word about it and i think part of that is applehas very smart strategic planning and very smart people who deal with investors and i think they noticed thatwhen facebook talked about their investment or i should say when meta talked about their investment during theearnings call and mentioned that they were pouring 10 billion dollars a year into vr with nono visible results they got smacked and a quarter of the company was erased overnight i thinkapple's very cautious about their position so they're like we're not going to talk about ar just yet it's likelet's talk about becoming a bank and putting more banking functionality into the phone so peter i do want to get intoum you know you've done a lot with adaptation um from a business perspective from apersonal perspective even just when when we look at your subtitles of of yourbooks the network always wins you talk about surviving in the age of uncertainty umyou know the new normal explore the limits of the digital world how to survive in times of radicalinnovation from your book the day after tomorrow so you you are thinking often aboutadaptability of humanity to the rate of change that we're undergoing we've just been talking about that from a computeperspective but um when was it that you realized that yourskill or that your passion was for this intersection of change and humanbehavior and sort of um being an architect of that or navigating that and and you knowdecided to make that your your core focus as a futurist well i think um um i'm a technologist bytraining so i'm an engineer and and i think for most of myyou know young life that's what i wanted to do i just loved technology and i wanted to see what technology could bring and whatit could do and and i think my biggest weakness is that i get easilyenthusiastic about new things i mean i i just love shiny new things which is a good thing as an engineerbut i think um the the reason i got into what i do now is i when i graduated i started working fora company called alcatel and i don't know if you remember that but it was a big french company building telecomsinfrastructure they later merged with lucent um you know who owned bell labs and wheni when i had a chance to join the company i thought wow this is one of the coolest technology companies in theworld that's where i see myself actually building out a career that's where i want to live for the rest of myprofessional life when i joined i had one ambition i wanted to be the chief technology officer of that company atone point but when i joined um this is the time early 90s when there was no world wideweb the world wide web actually burst onto the scene a few years later and in my personal life i got hooked onto thatnew technology i mean i started building websites and i started understanding how to program you know and and andconstruct the scripts to you know generate the html and i just love that andthe story is that you know i that obsession was like a few years afew hours every evening and then it became an all-nighter and then at a certain moment in 1995 i went toyou know alcatel in the morning i had not slept i had just been debugging a website allnight i walk out of the elevator and the chief technology officer of you know alcatelsees me staggering out of that elevator and says please come into my office andhe sits me down and he asks me the most important question everybody's anybody's ever asked me in my professional life hesaid are you on drugs and i said no no i'm i'm hooked on the world wide weband he said what's that and i showed him and at that moment he said nahjust if you have any of having a normal careerjust knock off this this will never work this is mickey mouse stuff focus on your real workand that's the moment you know brett robert when i decided to quit that afternoon and start my first startup anddo something with the world wide web and i had no idea what i was going to do but for me it was earth-shattering thatyou know some of the people that i really respected even in the form of technology actually didn't see a hugeradical shift that was happening in something that i saw very very clearly anyway long story short i ispent 15 years in startups ironically i sold my first startup to alcatel fiveyears later five years later the same guy called them said well you were right about this world wide web thing you knowcan we buy your company which i did but it was fascinating to see how large organizations had huge difficulty inactually not just understanding the future but then acting on the future andafter 15 years of startups that became really my my life's work i mean the last10 years i've spent mostly with very traditional companies whether they bebanks or retailers or you know insurance companies and trying to helpthem figure out how to make sense of the future but also how to not just get them aware but how to getthem to act on the future and that's been i think probably the feel rouge through my work that's been the feelrouge through my books when i wrote that book the day after tomorrow i had the you know in in you you'veprobably both had that right you're in a workshop and you think what the hell am i gonna do and write on that flip chartand i put something on that flip chart and said how much time you spend on today tomorrow and the day aftertomorrow what is today it's the hundreds of emails you get that eat up all of your time what's tomorrow and then isaid it's like the budget it's the classic way of looking at the future the budget is the yearly sarcastic corporateritual where people put fake news in excel that never works and then there's the day after tomorrow new ideas newinnovations new business models things that change the rule of the game and i asked them how much time do you spend onthat and they everyone in the room said 70 20 10. but the reality when you actually started to examine was not 70 2010 itwas 93 7 and 0. and then i realized that if you really wanted to have the capacity to reinvent what you did as anorganization you needed to focus on that day after tomorrow and that really has been the last 10 years of my life tryingto work with these large established organizations and there is in my opinion a huge difference betweenshowing them and making them aware and that is still relatively okay to doin the job that we do but then getting them to act on that and to actuallyleverage the power of the day after tomorrow that is a whole different kettle of fish no i was just going to follow up with that peter you know likeyour conversation at alcatel and you know um the the fact that you've chosen thiscourse of coaching people on preparing for the day after tomorrowwhy is it when we can look back at 300 years of technological disruption andtechnological development and we can see that every time technology wins and this is a point that many of ourguests make in in respect to adaptation why is it thenthat so many people when they look at something like the world wide web just discounted or like at the moment i meana crypto and fintech and and things like that that are you know potentially disrupting the space i mean you know somany traditionalists just like yeah it's it's much to do about nothing instead ofyou know inevitably you know the the like history teaches us that it's all going to get disrupted and vaporized asas as robert talks about well i and and i think to that point just just two things i mean one is ithink it's really an appetite for risk which is a really important element of thatand honestly if if you know when i was 25 and i decided that afternoon to justquit my job at alcatel and start on my own i i didn't know what the risks were i justdid that because it felt right but i'm sure that if you're a senior executive and you've always been doing it that waythat's maybe not the risk spectrum you want to get into and that was something when i look back in the first 15 yearsof that startup life i mean i was on the receiving end of venture capital i mean you know that business you know betterthan anyone else and this is a really tricky thing because you need you're convinced of something and you want tofind other people who will back you up and that's what the whole vc industry does really really well they make reallyrisky bets on people who have a dream more than anything else who have a belief more than anything elseand the venture capital is is a is a pretty tricky industry i always callvc's you know loan charts with teslas i mean that's basically what they are but they're capable of actually taking hugerisks and you know it pays off quite handsomely but they also know that if they investin 10 ideas seven are just going to die and the whole idea is to let them die as quickly as possible two are going to bemediocre performances one is going to be the the ballpark that you know takes the money homea few years ago i joined the advisory board of a private equity firm and i'd never done private equity and ithought i just want to understand what it means and they invest in traditional companies traditional industries and they makethem a little bit better and i remember in my first meeting i made a complete fool of myself there were 10 companiesin their portfolio nine were doing really well and one was a mediocreperformance and everybody was panicking about that well my god that was an introduction to a completely differentway of looking at a segment of that risk spectrum and i think in corporates what i've seen is there are so manymechanisms there is such a numbness that takes over where you are blind orreally really scared to get into that more adventurous side of risk-taking that from me brett is probably thenumber one reason why there is such a possibility of creative destruction imean i i had the great pleasure i had the book here um i did some work with carlota perez i know if you've you knowworked with carlota but she's the one who wrote that book technological revolutions of financial capital she's been studying these s-curves and shesays it's all over the place it's industrial evolution steam railways mass production over and over againbut one of the things that she also notices is the cycles are getting shorter and shorter and shorter andthat's why i think if you want to get corporate enterprises to think about new ways to adapt that risk spectrum they'regoing to have to realize that some of their timelines that they used to have say 20 30 40 years ago are not thereanymore and that's why i think you have to completely rethink that whole paradigm of thinking about the futurethe challenge is that vcs of course are rewarded for betting on disruption and nowadays they'll bet huge amountsbecause they're trying to disrupt entire industries not just a company so that makes sense perhaps for them fora company when the company but you know what traditional company bets on destruction they're really betting against themselvesand there are many many conservative voices that are going to come forth inside the organization and begin to lecture you about why that's never goingto work or why that'll cut off the core source of revenue and therefore it's not time yet we should waitceos are struggling i think to make the correct decision nobody wants to be the person to blow uptheir own company on the other hand nobody wants to miss the boat on the opportunity to change and certainly none of them want to bethe subject of disruption or the object i should say of disruption it's a very difficult balancewithin a company peter one thing i've noticed is that companies often company leadership will often try to create an uminnovation team they'll sort of dump the problem on the desk of a small team asif that team has the power to change the company and what i found is if corporations don't have support at the very top ifthe if the leadership doesn't come from the c-suite and everyone's aligned andthe financial incentives meaning the bonus structure is aligned towards destabilization and change andembracing new ideas then it's never going to happen because there are just too many videos too many voices ofdescent inside of the company that can slow it down that's a mouthful why don't you respond to that and then we'll have to go tobreak shortly after that absolutely and and the short answer is completely agree the longer answer is let me give you oneexample i mean um being in an apple chapel a lot of the technology that apple actually used to you know take itto the next level from the apple ii to eventually the macintosh was all technology that they stole from xeroxand xerox is probably the company if you if you go back in silicon valley and go to xerox park which is their you knowfar future research it's a shrine to actually inactivity because xerox was acompany that had revolutionized one industry namely you know photocopying and then they put their smartest peoplein silicon valley gave them an almost unlimited budget and said invent something you know what happens if youput a big bunch of nerds together with unlimited budget and say invent the future they will laser printer graphical user interfacepersonally all invented by xerox never commercialized the best book on that is called fumbling the feature um how xeroxinvented and then ignored the first personal computer i believe that if you read this book and do everythingcompletely different you'll be fine i mean that's that that i think is the logical conclusion but it shows thatmany companies when they isolate their future forward lookingthey're never capable of changing the mothership and i think if you really want to act on the day after tomorrowthat's what you need to do else you're just going to frustrate these people beyond belieffantastic you are listening to the futurists it's with brett king and myself rob tercek as your co-host andtoday we're speaking to peter henson an entrepreneur a future thinker a speakerand the author of a number of books he's been telling us about the day after tomorrow and soon we'll hear about the phoenix and the unicorn after the breakplease stay tuned after this we'll be right back [Music] welcome to breaking banks the number oneglobal fintech radio show and podcast i'm brett king and i'm jason henricksevery week since 2013 we explored the personalities startups innovators and industry players driving disruption infinancial services from incumbents to unicorns and from cutting edge technology to the peopleusing it to help create a more innovative inclusive and healthy financial futurei'm jp nichols and this is breaking banks [Music]welcome back to the futurists i'm brett king and i host the futurist with robert tursek he's uhwe're both outside of the us right now but we have peter henson with us joining us talking aboutum you know how corporations tackle this issue of thinking about adaptability uh and andhow the culture of these organizations must form to be able to successfully navigate the future so peterjust in terms of your role and the work you do at the corporate level at the board level andand in terms of this this advising space you know what is your methodology foryou know a looking at the future and picking those hot topics that thatdifferent organizations need need to build awareness for and how do you encourage that cultural development fromthe top down to to be more adaptable yeah and i think um if i go back to thatmodel we talked about earlier the the after tomorrow model i like to use that as a little bit of a framework actuallythe model's not complete but it's not just today tomorrow the after tomorrow the you know the element i always ask isthat there's a big red square next to that with negative energy which is typically the of yesterday becauseit's the mess of the past it's the legacy the technical debt that is often really dragging companies down but wheni talk about that day after tomorrow what i really try and do is force a management team or a force of board tosay okay why don't you spend a significant amount of time for you toactually understand what that day after tomorrow could be and when i talked earlier about the the 10that might be a lot because 10 of an executive time or a board time is a lot of time but even if it's just fivepercent of getting out of your normal day routine your normal you knowspreadsheets milestones and budgets and thinking about what could be the game changers in your industry and that fivepercent might be crucial for you to spot things and to to pick up thingsbut then you have to act on it and i think that's where you know going back to robert's question about isolating theinnovation that's the worst thing that you can do i picked up a model which i call the hourglass model which i reallylike we are we all know what the shape of an hourglass is but that that top part of the hourglass the wide part isthis is where you sense that the after tomorrow this is where you pick up the signals in the organization then youneed to reduce the sauce as that you know top part actually starts totaper to the middle this is where you experiment and figure out what is relevant for you in the organization andthen it falls into the bottom part of the organization this is where you run and scale and focus on the bottom lineand actually scaling solutions and what i always do with companies is say how much of your resources talent peopleare spending that top part in sense and try and how much is focused on run andscale and then a lot of companies start to figure out that they really need to beefup that capacity in that top part of the hourglass just to be able to understandwhat that day after tomorrow could mean the second thing and that goes back to robert's question about the isolation isee a lot of companies who do have that top part but it's not connected to that bottom part and then it basically justfalls on bearing ground and nothing happens with that and that is incredibly frustrating for those people who are inthe top part of that hourglass so that combination of forcing them to thinkabout the day after tomorrow and then trying to figure out what it means into the reshaping of their hourglass insidean organization is something that i found that is a very powerful mechanism for them to think and trigger and evenput resources people's numbers and money on that because if you don't do that itwon't happen by itself i'm sure you you both have had that where you get invited to like a strategic off-site you knowwhere two days in the summer they go to a wonderful resort and talk about the future and then i always say at the endi hope you don't ask me back because i've often had it where a year or two years later they ask me back andi think you know what i'm gonna go i wanna see what they've done and they've done nothing and i say but why do you ask me back oh it was so nice to talk tothe future about you it's like going to a zombie movie a horror movie but then you go back home and you think thatcould never happen to me that is the worst possible outcome actually you know thatthere's an interesting thing i mean the three of us you know and and many of the people we have on the showum you know we're constantly thinking about the future and as a result you know we do view theworld in different ways from normally well-adjusted people right you could argue right umbecause we're always looking at these trends we're looking at um you know we just talked about ar glasses you knowwe've all been watching that space for years now because we're very interested in the impact of thatwhereas i don't think the average person sort of gives it a second thought so um you know is there an element of thatwhich is training people to think like a futurist is is that acore skill that a ceo should have do you think peter i i do and i think um and i think atthis moment we probably agree that in almost every geography on the world thethe education system is the slowest moving part of society that is is almost everywhere the case and especially alsoin business education as i said i've been teaching at london business school for a while now andi mean i i do most of it in in the executive education but if i have a chance to talk to the mbagroup i always do that and i always make a really corny joke in the beginning i say well really glad to be here and i'mreally glad that you've chosen for the perfect perfect education for the last centuryand the reason is that a lot of the subjects we teach in an mba are about optimizing a current situation but notabout being open-minded to uncertainty or even dealing with uncertainty whereyou don't have all the ingredients and i think that's the type of education or re-education we're going to have to dobecause yeah i talk more and more about the never normal i wrote that book the new normal 10 years ago but we're in thenever normal we see a constantly changing world and i think if we're not going to train you know the nextgeneration of leaders to deal with that type of uncertainty and to make bold moves and then be flexible on thedetails but have a different way of dealing in in getting that message out in getting the troops rallying behindthat that's a different type of leadership and i really believe that might be one of the big challenges that we need to have we need to re-connectand rethink how we train that next generation of leaders in that never normal one of the things that'shappening right now as we speak we're recording this in mid 2022and there is a generation of leaders that's on the brink of retirement and these folks are not digital nativesthey didn't grow up with digital technology in many cases they don't have your background peter they're not engineers they don't write software someof them aren't even comfortable typing they'll handle email but not all enjoy digital technology and i'm referring tospecifically i can make an example to a company i worked with a few years ago major automaker one of the biggest in the worldeveryone who's successful in that company loves cars in fact they love internal combustionengines that's why they work for a motor company so no one in that organization is enthusiastic about electric vehicles orworse autonomous vehicles these are people that love to drive cars for a living right that's what they do that's why they're successfulin a culture like that if you're going to be talking about a future that is disruptive in other words autonomous vehicles self-driving carsmaybe doing away with cars and using some sort of like taxi system uh rethinking public transport in generalyou're really swimming against the stream you're really going up against the mainstream thought you're reallychallenging management in a way that might not be great for your career peter what advice do you have when youmeet someone like that inside of one of the companies that you're working with who takes you aside at a coffee break ata lunch break and says hey peter i got to tell you this place the words you're giving us are landing on dead soilthis these seeds are never going to grow let me tell you how bad it is here what do you tell themwell i let me make a distinction there and i think i've often seen that and heard thatand sometimes you have people who come up to you and say what what could we do to change this and sometimes i have to say well maybethere's nothing you can do maybe you have to find another place to actually make it happen and one of the things that i've seen and that is i thinkreally weird is that um and and i wrote the book uh the phoenix and unicorn also based on whati'd seen at walmart for example because walmart is a company that when i first met them five six years ago i i was notreally impressed i thought well you know they're old school and you know retailer of the past and then i got more and moreenthusiastic about their willingness to change and to see a company like that fight back against the amazons trying toreconfigure what they do and and honestly they are now more and more in a mode where they think you know what for50 60 years we had people coming to us we're now gonna have to go to them it's a fundamental rethinking of what they dobut i think one of the things that i've loved about working with a company like walmart is they are capable ofdeveloping a long-term vision and that for me has been one of the most important characteristics when i see theopportunity or not to act on the day after tomorrow and one of the strange things about a couple like walmart isthey're publicly traded i mean you can see the stock price every day but the walton family still has the controllingstake in the company and they are not there for this fiscal quarter or thisfiscal year they are really in it for the long game generational wealth absolutely and wheni see them empowering a ceo like doug macmillan and and doug is i i'll just quickly give thatexample doug is the the ceo of walmart he used to run walmart internationalbefore he did that walmart international is brazil and canada and mexico but india flipkart chinaand what doug saw there in the changing of retail gave him a perfect view thatit's not just fighting the guys from seattle this is about a whole retail landscape that is fundamentally going tochange and i think with that baggage and then that that leash on life to thinkabout the long game from the family that creates a perfect environment where you can actually act on the day aftertomorrow but isn't that what all corporations need to be doing now especially withclimate change and ai and all of these things impacting us shouldn't we have longer term plans shouldn't humanity bethinking about 20 year 50-year 100-year projects i mean we used to do that backin the renaissance right but what you know why can't humanity have that type ofinspirational like the only corporate leader you know you know fortune 100 you know leaderthat's really thinking like that these days you could argue tim cook maybe right um but is elon musk you know likethese really big plans for humanity you know what do we have to do to change it from this focus on next quarter'sbalance sheet and next year's budget and you know the next year in two years the election cycle toreally big picture stuff peter well you must case you know he's telling the truth right he believes it to his coreright absolutely i think if you're talking about a very typical corporate suit who's grown up through the ranks ofthe company if he were to say the exact same words about transporting humans to the planetmars those words would fall flat and ring hollow so that's part of the problem in in away yes but let me give you another example because the nice thing about elon is that is a unicorn right i meanhe starts from scratch has no legacy he can really build a completely new culture on the future from day oneand and i think keeping that day one spirit is essential if you want to be able to to have that capability you'reright about the corporate side which is often completely different let me give you one example and if you've read thisbook net positive by paul paulman so paul paulman used to be the ceo ofunilever now unilever is one of the huge giants in the world and andi think when he was running unilever he was one of those executives that did tryto fundamentally make a difference he said you know what we're we're just going to screw up our planet if we keepdoing what we're doing and he for the decade that he ran unilever saidwe're going to focus on esg he took you know the sustainable development goals and said you know what i want to double the business but i want a half ourenvironmental impact and i want to do more good for society that's the wholeyou know gist of the book net positive he says you know what i when i i had a chance to meet himearlier this year he said i hate companies who say oh in 2050 we'll be net zero he says that's horrible youknow you should do something now i mean one of his statements is is like he says it's like a serial killer if you're usedto killing well i say 10 people a year and you say you know what i'm going to cut down to only killing three peoplehere is that a good thing no you have to become net positive you have to do more good than less bad anywayduring his 10-year tenure at unilever that's exactly what he did and he was incredibly successful but when he leftyou could clearly see that everything he started to build started crackling down again for example one of the things hedid is he said you know what i'm not going to give you quarterly guidance anymore on the stock if you want me tothink about the long term don't every quarter just you know figure out i need a long-term capabilitygreat but the moment he left they went back to quarterly reporting now we have shareholder activists who are actuallycracking him down and i think that's the the really if you don't have that inherent structure to keep thatlong-term game going then even if you have a wonderful executive who actuallycan explain that to the market i think it's going to fall apart once that person isn't there yeah you need aculture of innovation a culture that loves innovation and is comfortable with being uncomfortable in a culture wherepeople aren't that concerned about certainty and a lot of people are not comfortable with uncertainty a lot of people thatthat causes great distress well you know finance departments love to have quarterly projections that goout that they can feel very confident about so they can communicate to investors the sales people are aretasked with that job of generating that sales pipeline right so that's how they're evaluated that's what they'retrained to do product people love to have a product pipeline where they can look five years out into the future somost people prefer stability and i think if you're going to work for someone like elon musk who's not afraid to break someglass you're probably a self-selecting group you're a member of a self-selecting group that says okay i could deal with adisrupter in charge because that's what i want as well and you start he starts to build a culture and that appreciatesexcellence and maybe breaking through limitations solving problems from first principlesas he always says uh you're going to attract a certain kind of person who's frustrated in a traditional company that wants toachieve at that level and so he kind of creates his own culture so if it all depends on a single executive that's notsustainable no but i do think um i i do think the pendulum isyou know changing i think um that long corporate culture we've hadwe are now you know paying down on that debt of that culture of of super capitalism and you know umresource conversion and so forth um i don't know whether you guys saw but stephen fry just released this videosupporting extinction rebellion in the uk it's a really interesting piece but umyou know we are starting to see a ground swell of pushback against corporationsthat are bad for humanity right and i do think that as climate change accelerates i dothink that that's going to become more common um and i do think that you know if you're in the fossil fuel industry orif you're in the the the um you know pharma sector um you know and you can't very quicklyturn that around to show the good that you're doing for human society i think in the 2030s you're screwed right as acorporation um but um you know and i i think that thatsort of that's part of what's missing um but you know what i like about elon's approachto that or his business side of things is he he he talks about getting up in themorning and be ex being excited about what humanity's doing and i think that's another element of we'vewe've lost a lot of that like yeah can you be excited about the next product innovation sure but you know at the endof the day you know where is it taking us yeah in the us right now everyone's focused on status quo and maintainingthe status quo whether that's the right move or whether that's a suicidal moveit's no accident that the three of us are having this call and we're coming from countries that are directly threatened by climate change you're inbangkok where there's a possibility that bangkok is going to sink under the chow prowl river sometime in the next 50 yearsi'm in the netherlands right now obviously climate change the challenge speaks for itself i think that's probably also true for belgium wherepeter is in the united states right now there's almost a willful denial of some forcesthat are shaping the future we're telling ourselves a story that we don't need to adapt or respondwhen i flew out of the u.s there were five major climate events happening wildfires record heat waves uh giganticstorms that washed away the bridges in yellowstone park and a huge electoral electrical storms on the east coast andyet everybody was saying look this is okay we can deal with this for all systems gothis notion of the status quo is good enough and we can put our resources into protecting that but you've got liketexas and you know like their grid is going to fail at some point right andthey're saying that's happening in australia right now you know it previously did in adelaide where youwere right but it's happening in in you know victoria new south wales there allbecause you know these conservative governments have not committed to sort of renewablesand um you know building up the grid i know we're going off off off track a little bit butthese forces are forces that shape the future you've got to respond to them right it's it's an absolute necessitypeople tell themselves a lullaby that says look you can stay asleep you don't have to wake up you don't have to changeyeah peter we're not letting you get a word in edgewise we should really let him let's let's let's do it this way umwhat excites you about the future and let you let's be a bit sci-fi here le i wanna i want you togo full futurist on us here you know take us out 20 30 you know 50 yearswhat is it about the future that really excites you for you know humanity and you know what areyou really interested in seeing develop well i mean being a technologist atheart i i think um i still get that giddiness when i see all the new opportunities that technology providesthe only maybe sad note in that is that i i thinkif i really wanted to have full full autonomy on my career i i would havewanted to be the chief engineer on on star trek enterprise i mean thatthat would have been my ideal dream job i mean just being a nerd in a starship right i i'm not going to see that in mylifetime i mean that is probably the most depressing part but i still have that enormous enthusiasm that technologyis going to be able to provide a better world but i think my my main concern i thinkwhat i really hope that we're going to be able to do in this century is that we're going to find global mechanisms to deal with more andmore global issues and i think that is something where look at something really mundane like thecloud right i mean the cloud there is there is no denial that that is a muchbetter more efficient more scalable more environmentally sound way to think about computing power than everybody havingtheir own little device under their desktop but then you get into the legal issueswhere we have cloud providers you have data sovereignty data residency yeah yeah and the whole idea of oh it's inthe cloud but you have to show that it's on a server in europe or in the us that is just nuts and it shows that more andmore we're seeing technology actually bounce against those old national boundaries where on a legal concept itmakes sense to do that 150 fiat currencies is another example yeah exactly and i think that's where we'regonna have to figure out how to overcome that i mean i'm a huge fan of ian bremer i had the chance to work with ian on afew occasions he has this you know concept which he calls g zero he said the united nationsdysfunctional g20 doesn't work g8 is a joke g7 a laughing stock we're down tog0 nobody gives a rat sass about the global picture it's everyone for themselves and i think that's what weneed to reverse because i think now with things like currencies or cloud that's the easy part but once we get into sayyou know the intertwinedness of healthcare and technology and innovation that's going to happen or what we need to do in the environmental space therewe need to think as global environments and i think honestly this 21st centuryis going to be you know fail or make it's going to be break or not but if we don't figure out a way todeal with these global issues as global mechanisms we are not going to advancethe society and i in fact hope that i'm going to not even we may not survive asa species if we don't fix this exactly yeah to your point and i think that's what i fundamentally hope thati'm still going to see before you know i pass away because i think if i see a shimmer of hope in that direction i'mconfident we'll figure it out technologically but i think we need to dream about these opportunities tofigure out global mechanisms to deal with these global possibilitiesglobal governance um and or in some capacity like share a sharedresponsibility the way i talk about it in techno-socialism is in the rise of techno-socialism book is i talk aboutthe fact that we have to start competing for the human species instead of against each other yeahthat's a nice way to phrase it yeah but i i i am still the dreamer withopen eyes and if you know that that wonderful poem by lawrence of arabia it's actually in literary machines oneof my favorite books this is the book you know that ted nelson wrote which is like the precursor of you know everything that we havebut one of the things he puts in the book which i love is he he puts that poem by thomas uh lawrence of arabia all mendream but not equally those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it wasjust vanity but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men for they may act theirdreams with open eyes make it possible i am still an absolute dreamer with open eyes and i think that's what all futuresshould be wow that's great that's a powerful note tell us tell us about your book yeahyeah tell us about the phoenix and the unicorn um and you know where can we order it and go tomy website www.peterhinston.com and the phoenix and unicorn was really iwas getting tired of some of the unicorn stories because every conference you went it was uber and airbnb you couldsee people in the audience thinking yeah it's nice but we're never gonna be airbnb and i wanted to find a ray ofhope for traditional companies that could reinvent themselves since then i've expanded the list of animals i talkabout ponies you know the small startups who want to be a unicorn i talk about the godzillas who are you know the big tech companies who seem to be out ofthis world and some companies might become phoenixes but not everyone some will become dinosaurs but most of them arewhat i call king kongs now they're big and loud and no idea how they got there but if you're interested in that youknow www.peterhinson.com very good fantastic peter it's been a great pleasure chatting with you you're very lively andengaging with super vivid examples i've enjoyed every minute of this it's been such a pleasure to have you on the showthanks for joining us today well thank you very much for having you and good luck with the rest of the show brett robert thank you yeah you know we're uhwe're i don't know we're like 14 weeks in so um but yeah it's it's just i youknow robert and i continue to comment on the fact that we we love listening to this stuff uh you know we'll oftenlisten back to our own episodes and i haven't done thatthanks for joining us you've been listening to the futurists it's produced by our us-based team uh in the producerschair today is elizabeth severance uh support from kevin hirschham on the audio desk and umuh kylo and sylvia sylvia on the social media side of things um if if you likethe show if you like the content make sure to tweet us out and tell other people about it that's how weget get more p more audience built that helps us in in turn uh support theongoing uh longevity of the show with sponsors and so forth leave us a five star review wherever you download thepodcast all of that will help um but uh you know from from us uh signing off forthis week uh we you know stay tuned join us again next week and we will see youin the future future [Music] well that's it for the futurists thisweek if you like the show we sure hope you did please subscribe and share it with people in your community and don'tforget to leave us a five star review that really helps other people find the showand you can ping us anytime on instagram and twitter at futurist podcastfor the folks that you'd like to see on the show or the questions you'd like us to 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