The more often I meet people that challenge the status quo, the more inspired and creative I become in my own life. It’s like the words, actions and energy of these disruptors and change makers carry a special type of DNA. I believe we have entered the ‘people revolution’ – where the new way of operating evolves around value exchange between people.
BEING A DISRUPTOR
If I look back, growing up I was a bit of a disruptor – I questioned the teachers, argued why I didn’t want to be part of something when it didn’t feel right and also asked to be included where I might have been deliberately left out. Let’s just say I didn’t make many friends along the way but those who were my friends, all went about their life achieving some pretty ‘bad ass’ careers – and we are still in touch. I reckon it’s my time to ‘disrupt’ and make some visible changes in the way we live our lives. Living your purpose and standing up for it in the face of criticism and risking being the odd one out, is the exact disruption kind I am talking about. If it feels right and you believe in it, then pursue it. But it’s not always easy – I am an energetic being and it takes effort for me to protect my own energy especially amongst people that worship the 9 to 5 rhythm of life.
CONNECT WITH LIKE MINDED PEOPLE
In the past 12 months, I’ve had the great pleasure connecting with some inspiring people both online and in person. Forming genuine connections and belonging to a community who support eachother was, to say the least, a very new world to me.
One of the most anticipated events in Sydney for me is the Vivid Festival. I especially look forward to the speaker events and this year’s line up was even more spectacular than last year.
I’ve attended 2 talks: one titled ‘Shake, Rattle and Roll’ organised by my favourite magazine ‘The Collective’ and the ‘Start up Revolution’ organised by ‘By The People Agency’. Both of the events had something in common: the panelists were super passionate about what they were doing, knowledgeable in their area of expertise and definitely pushing the boundaries on industries that are lagging behind in innovation and understanding how customers want to interact with them.
I surely learned a lot by just being there and exercising curious and active listening. Matt Symons from Society One made a real impression on me. Not only did he seem funny, approachable and of course incredibly knowledgeable but he understood the industry he is disrupting very well. I am speaking about banking, lending and anything finance – definitely not the easiest nut-cracker.
“Incremental innovation sustains industries; disruptive innovation changes the structure of the industry” Matt Symons
Large organisations are still capable of attracting savvy and clever entrepreneurs to build technology platforms that offer cheaper and faster alternatives to current challenges – in essence there is still the trap for ‘money hungry’ creatives to exploit these large ‘money rich’ corporations by offering a semi decent solution.
But true disruption only occurs when that technology creates a new customer value, which frankly is not how most large corporations think. The prime example is hotels vs. ‘air bnb’. The customer value air bnb offers far super-seeds that of a hotel. In what ways? It is unlocking the power of people to connect and have an experience that a hotel would not be able to deliver. It’s heavily based around trust but also builds an incredible community of like minded people who are open to fresh ‘out of the box’ adventures. It’s called the ‘great trust shift’ – from institutions to individuals.
Often times ideas around disruption come from our own frustrations with process or outcomes, or actually the lack of any. Starting small and thinking boldly is the key. Partnering with people who might have come across the same struggle or obstacle is beneficial for support and further fine tuning of your idea. Putting yourself out there and openly talking about your ideas, your purpose and your why, will provide feedback about your direction and ‘how’. Don’t let people discourage you. If you believe in what you are doing, then there is no such thing as a glass ceiling.
I loved when Lisa Messenger defined her core principle behind everything she does as ‘value exchange’. She is an entrepreneur for entrepreneurs and boy she is doing some fabulous work getting people out and about talking about their passions, believes and ideas openly and freely. I must confess she is my role model and since I started following her story, reading her books and of course subscribing to the fabulous ‘Collective’ magazine I felt like I belong to a community that really ‘gets me’. Now I believe there is so much more that this journey holds for Lisa and her team and no doubt this sense of value exchange will manifest in different forms in the coming months and years.
A couple of days after the Collective event, Andrea and I rocked up at the MCA on Saturday morning to listen to the start up ideas – a very different crowd yet still so on message around disruption and different ways of approaching problems.
Damian Borchok, the co-founder of the ‘By the People Agency’ made a real impactful presentation with such passion, you really heard every single word he was saying. He started off with a funny graphic – a dinosaur on one side and a unicorn on the other. Clearly comparing industries that are slow to innovate to those that are innovation central.
“There needs to be a people revolution before the tech revolution can take place.” Damian Borchok
Some of the key points he mentioned that really resonated with me were:
+ the world is no longer slow; large corporations already lag behind innovation; this will only be amplified in the coming years
+ emergence rather than planning
+ customer funding rather than shareholders
+ culture is the binding agent; it is the operating system
+ less management, more leadership
+ middle management will be replaced by systems/machinery
+ technology is the platform for the re-invention of how we do things
+ fearless commitment
+ shape something from nothing
+ create conditions
+ strong trust based culture is important rather than processes
“What do you want to be when you give up?” Alexander Chung
Another person who had a real impact on me was Alexander Chung, an author and strategist. With his subtle humour but unapologetic conviction about his own believes he not only questioned some responses given to the audience from the panel but definitely made some really great points. Among many these stood out:
+ the car industry has not yet seen true innovation – it’s a huge opportunity
+ stay as a manager in a company or leave a maker and create something that’s never been done before
+ do you want to compete or collaborate
And the best conversation happened after this talk was over and Andrea and I decided to grab some breakfast at the MCA cafe. We happened to be seated next to the Global Director of Arup, Chris Luebkeman who was enjoying a cup of coffee admiring the view of the Opera House.
We had no idea where our conversation will take us as we engaged into a rather amazing discussion about modern city dwelling, town planning and the future of co-working spaces. I must say for a well traveled, educated, extremely talented and forward thinking person, Chris was the most humble, open minded and attentive listener. I admire talent like Chris who doesn’t feel the ‘need’ to talk about his ego to attract attention. In a matter of fact all his credentials I discovered after a routine Google search (which is what you do when you meet someone who really made an impact on you). I also found out that he was one of the key note speakers at an earlier event at Vivid that week – what a small world.
Thank you Universe for another incredible week in my life; for the connections I was able to make and the new found knowledge I will aim to incorporate into my daily life.
Keep on creating and engaging in value exchange, Lovers. It’s the only way forward…
SIDE HUSTLE TO FREEDOM
and find out how I turned my side hustle
into my main business.