It infuriates me that we're permanently losing so much hard-won aliveness and intelligence as my species rips through this planet like a plague. The more I've worked across the layers of complexity, terrible incentives and systemic corruption as a cross-functional strategist and researcher, the more I was like, nope. It feels f***ng impossible.
I am a technologist, teacher and histofuturist* yo, not a politician, New York Times bestselling author nor big pimpin' billionaire.
But dammit, this gorgeous awe-inspiring majesty of this only-one-we've-found-that-supports-life planet is worth fighting for, even if you are just a little molecule in the immune defence shield. And if nothing else in this pandemic, I learned that you can be nano-sized and vulnerable to soap, yet bring humanity to its knees. That structural cultural change can turn on a dime and unusual alliances are how we win.
My work is changing. I'm getting back in the game from out of the intellectually safe refuge of strategy. Life is too precious to let the bozos win.
MORE? BIO BELOW
Name: Maximillian Kaizen, yup. Giant Teutonic man, nope.
Maximillian Kaizen is a lifelong-learning and foresight specialist.
Most recently, co-founder of Treeshake, an award-winning strategic storymaking firm helping visionaries and global organisations build participative campaigns for change with their fans and stakeholders to change behaviour or policy. Clients include Lewis Pugh, UN Patron of the Ocean; Thirst; UNFPA; Western Cape Gov; World Economic Forum.
Max has taught innovative and popular programs for the last 12 years at universities, major corporations & business schools like UCT Graduate School of Business; Rhodes; GIBS; Ogilvy; Duke (Corporate Education) in the opportunity-rich overlap of tech, finance, creativity and business innovation, including the legendary Business Acumen for Artists.
Tech startups have been her happy zone though. Since 2007 she's organised unconferences, hackathons, mentored for accelerators like Techstars and Seedstars, and taught a swiss army knife of skills to entrepreneurs and intrepreneurs. In 2017 she was recognised among the Inspiring Fifty for women progressing STEM fields in South Africa.
Max has a rich history of media skills and innovation, working with newsrooms and pioneering journalists. She served on the editorial board of the Duke Menell Media Exchange strengthening the future of journalism.
Former lead for Creative Commons in South Africa, she worked with global pioneers to advance the sometimes counter-intuitive solutions offered by expanding legal infrastructure, particularly copyrights for cultural and scientific works online. Open science, open data and their business models are still a key part of her work.
Against good counsel to specialise, she's devoted to the vocation vacation - worklife as adrenaline sport - extreme skill-seeking in a variety of worlds with no prior competence. From profoundly nerdy to the horrifyingly practical, like owning a restaurant, where she was the chef; or exhibiting and selling her paintings. She's a champion of high quality hobbies and intelligent leisure.
Max is currently working on projects to regenerate biodiversity and awe with tech; storymaking; economics; citizen science; unlikely friendships and travel.
WORD ON THE STREETS
SHARING KNOWLEDGE and INSPIRING THE BRAINY FIRE.
TEACHING & TALKS
I've served as a source for fresh insight and evidence-backed strategic guidance to luminous people taking on daring, and often dangerous things. This is just the moment for popping the shackles of sensible social expectations, for flexing into a version of ourselves that would make our 8 year-old selves cheer. Even if I'm a ninja by default, I'm here for that swashbuckling spirit.