Interview with Author Andrew Vorster

To interview different people on my blog is to grow more for me. Having people related to different subjects is very fascinating for me. It daily equips me with lots of knowledge and hopefully the same applies to you all. Today I am having Andrew Vorster on my blog who is an Innovation Catalyst, futurist, author and public speaker.

Most importantly, he is a wonderful person who always wants to share his knowledge with people so they can learn his way to success. Thanks to him for accepting my request first and then let’s get started to chat with him to learn more…

 

1. What is the idea behind “Preparing for the World in 2028”? I mean why 28? It could be 2020 or 2025 etc. What is the secret behind the title of your entrepreneurship magazine?

That’s an easy one! The book was written and published in 2018 – ten years after the global launch of the first Apple iPhone. Looking back over those ten years, it is astonishing how quickly so many aspects of our lives had changed due to global smartphone adoption. Before smartphones, we owned or carried multiple devices – music players, reading books, notebooks, Satellite Navigation systems, voice recorders, cameras – the list goes on and on. We also bought physical things like music CD’s, DVD’s, paper books, newspapers – you get the picture. In just ten (short) years, suddenly everyone with a smart phone had the power of a supercomputer in their pocket and now subscribed to music streaming services, summoned taxis, ordered movie tickets, paid for the train – I’m not going to carry on with the list – you just have to think of how much you can do with your smart phone. 
NOW – the brief for the book “Preparing for the World in 2028” was “what technology has already been developed in 2018, that has the power to transform our lives within the next 10 years?” – therefore “by 2028”. There were 10 of us that collaborated on the book and each of us wrote one chapter for it. My chapter was a fictional story set as a morning scene in a family in 2028 – if your readers are interested in discovering what I think that could look like, they can get a copy of my chapter here for free:- http://bit.ly/TheWorldIn2028

2. Your words: “The story of future is not yet written, don’t wait to read about it is history made by someone else” are so inspiring so how can we be working on our future? Especially when we have no idea that what is going to happen in our lives?

I grew up in rural Africa in a region with a rich storytelling heritage that has remained with me ever since. As a professional Futurist, I know there is no such thing as “the” future. “The” is singular and implies that there is only one possible path that we can follow. I help my clients explore multiple possible futures (plural) that could come about and then I help them to decide which of those they would most like to see become the reality that is written down in history. 

I do this by teaching them a very simple and fast way of constructing stories – “scenarios” for the future. Some of those stories will sound like fairytale where everyone lives happily ever after. Some of those will sound like they come straight out of a sci-fi movie and others will be their worst nightmares – horror stories that end badly for everyone. Once we have have all come up with multiple different possible stories of the future, we then look for the things that we can stop doing or prevent from happening (so that the nightmares do not become reality) and we look at the things we need to start doing in order to enable and accelerate our desired future to become reality.

Individuals can make use of this same technique to consider their own personal futures – for example:-

Fairytale story :- I continue to work hard in my job and I get promoted every year. Because of this I can afford a nice house and good education for my children. I can retire at the end of a long life and tell my grandchildren about my journey through life.

Horror story :- I work hard in my job but the company is disrupted by a new company that enters the market, selling goods and services for far less than my company does. I lose my job and struggle to find a new job because my skills are outdated and I am not employable in the new world. I die a poor, unhappy and lonely person.

Sci-Fi story :- I work hard in my job – but robots and AI are brought into the workplace to do what I do today. I go on a training course to control robots and I become the person in the company in charge of all robots. People from other companies come and offer me lots of money to help them with the robots in their company. I start a new business helping many companies with robots and automation and I open a training academy to train many more people to control the robots. I retire in a world where humans are served by robots and not one that looks like a Terminator movie 🙂
I can carry on all day with this – it’s fun – but at some point I then need to sit back and see what the stories are telling me:-

  • Life is uncertain and much is out of my hands – I need to be adaptable and embrace change in order to survive
  • I need to remain constantly curious about what may happen and not fear the future – if robots are going to take my job then I want to be their boss, not to work for them
  • I must not fear failure – it is part of the learning experience (anyone who has ever learned to ride a bicycle knows that you fail many times before you finally learn how to ride smoothly!)

So while we do not know what is going to happen in the future, we can think about the things that could possibly happen and we can prepare for them and even play our own part in making them happen.

3. When we think about our future the very first thing come in our mind is fear of failure…so how can we deal with this? 

I must be honest – I used to fear failure. When I was a child, I was taught that failure is bad and the goal is always to succeed. This is not a healthy mindset! A university lecturer changed my thinking about this – he told me to consider everything as an experiment. I must formulate an “hypothesis” and consider what I think the outcome of my actions (my “experiment”) will be. If the outcomes are not what I thought would happen, then I haven’t failed, I have learned. I now need to take what I have learned and reconsider my hypothesis – what do I need to change to achieve the outcomes I predicted or how has what I have learned changed my predictions of my outcomes. Then I must try again and again – repeatedly learning from my lessons. This is the way all great scientists work – continuous experimentation. 

The same applies to business and to life itself. We need to embrace failure as part of our learning – this is the way we succeed!

4.  Why did you chose to learn technology? And how far have you learned the subject. Any advice for the students who wants to learn about technology like me?

Another confession … I am a LAZY person 🙂

Lazy people are always looking for ways to make their life easier — don’t believe me? Look around at your friends — find the lazy ones — they will have tricks for getting things done in an easy way that requires the least effort from them

From a very early age, I was fascinated by the way that technology could make my life easy. I also found out that deep down, everybody wants an easy life – there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done that we need to do and definitely not enough hours to do the things we WANT to do. For example, I would love to have more hours in the day to do things I really enjoy – like photography, motorbike riding and scuba diving…

So I decided to study technology to find out how I could make life easy for as many people as possible – I figured that there would always be a demand for this and my hunch seems to be correct – technology is a huge enabler in every aspect of our life. 

My advice to anyone interested in studying technology is “do not study technology just for its own sake” – you need to constantly think about how it can be applied to solve problems and make life easy for other people.

What problem does this technology solve?How can it make life easy for somebody?How can I help them using this technology?

Are there enough people that would pay for this technology to make their life easy?

There is no doubt in my mind that the lives of the next generations will be significantly shaped by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Many people are fearful about “the robots taking our jobs” – but I am excited because I think of the “superpowers” that AI can give us as humans and make our lives easier – but this is only one possible “future story” – the future will be full of technology enabled stories – start thinking about which ones you are going to be writing into the history books.  

5. I really want to know about idea from your TED talk “The Future of Technology and Virtually Everything”?

Ahhhh – I wish it was as an actual TED talk, but I haven’t officially done a TED talk (yet) although many of my presentations are done in a “TED style” talk and this is one of them.

The title is a play on the word “virtual” and covers the way our physical lives are being replicated in a “virtual” world of technology. More and more we are creating a “digital double” of ourselves online. Our smart-phones go wherever we go – creating a virtual record of our every footstep. Every interaction we have online, buying things, browsing things of interest, liking and commenting on social media posts, adds to our virtual selves to the point where our life online replicates our life in the physical world. This is now extended to the things around us via The Internet Of Things (IoT) – the physical objects now also have their own digital doubles online – this concept is core to the “Industry 4.0” revolution sweeping through factories as we can interact with the physical equipment via their digital doubles instead of having to be physically in front of the machine. 
Now the secret that lies at the centre of this is that the IoT (and even the IoP “Internet of People” if you don’t want to think of us as “things”) is not about the “Internet” OR about the “things” – it’s about the DATA about the things (and the people) and what insights we can gain from this data. 
The implications of this are huge.

6. How to find a purpose in life and most importantly how to stay working on that purpose without any fear of future?

Wow! I’m not sure I’m qualified to give a response to such a deep, philosophical question! 

“What is the purpose of life?” has been debated by philosophers and religious leaders since the beginning of recorded history and probably before that too – but I don’t think anyone has ever come up with a satisfactory answer that makes sense for everyone as we are all motivated by very different circumstances. 

I can only answer that question from a personal perspective – I don’t consider myself as “having a purpose” that drives me. I am motivated by happiness – both in myself and in others. My goal in life is to be happy doing what I do, without doing any harm to others. 

This is my personal philosophy and I try my best to help others to be happy in what they do, without them doing harm to others. It’s a simple philosophy – but people perform their best when they are happy so this is my inspiration and my motivation.

“Without any fear of the future” – I think I’ve covered that above – I constantly experiment by doing new things and stopping to do other things depending on the outcomes. I don’t fear the future, I face it.

If I can help companies and people build towards futures that incorporate my very simple philosophy, I think the world would be a better place for us all – perhaps that is my purpose? 
I’ll leave that for your readers to decide.

7. What kinds of products and services do you sell and what advantages do people get from your product and services?

My products and services are aimed at companies that have an interest in Innovation and the Future. 
As a professional public speaker I offer keynotes about the changes in TIPS – Technologies, Innovations, Patents and Startups that are shaping the world around us today and in the near future. I also offer keynotes and workshops on the topic of “how to be more innovative” – aimed at inspiring everyone in an organization to think more innovatively about everything that they do.
As a professional Futurist, I offer my services as an advisor on a part time basis to companies across the world.
Most companies do not spend enough of their time contemplating the impacts and implications that the future will have on society, their industry, their organization and their employees. I help them by opening their eyes and their minds to “the Art of the Possible” and I inspire them to start working on the future that they would most like to see become reality. 

8. Any message for our readers? How can they reach out if they are looking for professional help from you?

If you are looking for the spark to Ignite your Innovation Initiatives, please get in contact at hello@andrewvorster.com

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