Host Dave Anderson recently sat down with Anders Sörman-Nilsson, a Swedish-Australian Global Futurist, and made a striking observation about the very table where they were having their chat—there was no spittoon. This may not seem surprising in 2022, but prior to the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, most restaurants and bars would have featured a spittoon next to the bar.
So things do change. I do think we’re going to see that same change to the physical infrastructure, but also who’s going to be living in cities, who’s going to be investing in the central business district, et cetera.”
Anders—who states that futurists are a bit like “reverse historians”—uses his love of history and deep knowledge of past and present technology to predict what the future and a more intelligent tomorrow might look like.
Don’t Throw the Analog Baby Out with the Digital Bathwater
A profound maxim lies at the heart of Anders’s philosophy: One need not necessarily throw out the analog baby—the physical baby—along with the digital bathwater. He believes that digital transformation can combine the best of both worlds and that the pandemic compressed 10 years worth of digital transformation into two—but that everything in the physical world needn’t go the way of the spittoon.
Anders states that digital transformation,
…doesn’t mean that we’re going to [fully] live our lives in the metaverse. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to disconnect from the physical world. [It] just means [that] now as the world is starting to open up that we’re going to crave the best of the face-to-face or the best of the interface to interface.”
Anders cites examples of his positive personal experiences of delivering in-person presentations compared with Zoom sync ups.
The physical world actually allows some of the perfect imperfections to come through a little bit better.”
He also explains what it was like to take an online course through a traditional university, the University of Cambridge:
I think some of the learning experiences lift some things to be desired, but it just showed you [that] the way we consume now and keep reeducating ourselves as needed is evolving.”
This experience is directly related to a core message he delivers when consulting various companies:
Content is really just chemistry wrapped in narrative—or content is chemistry wrapped in story.”
Good Stewardship Protects the Environment and Attracts Investors
The iPhone, meanwhile, represents the best of total digital transformation—particularly Apple’s massive investment into the circular economy through product stewardship and recycling.
They’ve got Liam and Daisy, the recycling robots. I think Daisy is built from parts of Liam, who was her predecessor. They recycle 200 iPhones every hour and split the components. And as a result, Apple’s now one of the largest gold miners in the world.”
Anders also observes that the only way to truly be sustainably profitable is to ensure that you’re not a climate risk so that investors will keep backing you.
Consumers will punish you as well. If your products and services are not seen as being sustainable and achieving environmental, social and governance [goals].”
Listen to this episode of More Intelligent Tomorrow to learn about:
- Becoming a good storyteller in a digitally democratized world and giving people a platform to produce and publish new works.
- Understanding how technology is enabling the world to decouple from planetary constraints.
- Finding ways to be sustainably profitable and to ensure that investors keep backing you.
- Switching from fast thinking to slow thinking.
- Pinpointing the overlapping concentric circles of doing something that you’re really good at and also passionate about.