Warning this page runs long. Abridged: I help avert the versions of the future that suck. Using borrowed genius, a bucket-list and brilliant friends. Building learning adventures to upgrade reality; totally my thing.
Nothing like a pandemic to bring on that uh-oh!-apocalypse-ahead-better-do-this-pronto 🔥 urgency to prioritise that one thing you will regret forever if you never gave it your all? (But maybe it's a little embarrassing which is why you haven't attempted it yet?! Or worse, you haven't a cooking clue what that thing is? Or you put it off for so long because your prestigious bullsh*t job sucked the gusto from your marrow).
To help make big decisions, I used my bucketlist as guidance-system >> 101 Things to Do Before I Die List. Alas, too many years ago - realising the error of this whimsical protocol, it was flung in favour of sensible-member-of-society status. I duly filed down my character edges to be more corporate- and government-digestible, as is the custom.
But by Toutatis! In the spirit of all the freaking realness of 2020, my best service to my fellow earthlings no longer includes being sensible. There is a crazy under-celebrated wealth of opportunity ready to be explored. I'm sending out invitations to those done with waiting fruitlessly for the old broken-ass, corrupted economy to revive - but jazzed for getting in early on building the next together. It doesn't need an 8 point strategic plan, passport or budget to begin. And frankly, I am a fantastic guide 📯 Don't die boring.
Maximillian Kaizen, yup really.
(Shoutout to my fellow weirdly-named people). My name may shimmer to mind a manly-sized teutonic fellow built to storm the dark fortresses of doom. Reality: smaller than standard issue XX chromosomer, sunny, skews nerdy, big on strong learning by way of merry adventure.
Hunter of Genius. Histo-futurist*. Edupunk.
(Tragically, I'm also a swashbuckling pirate with words).
My work experience is a wild sprawl of following my curiosity. Kind of like those nights when you realise you've drifted from opening a link in your email ... to 4 hours later realising you've meandered through all manner of weirdery; building a voice-controlled microwave with a Raspberry Pi; squinting at old ships logs for historical weather details; saving veggie seeds and somehow always gravitationally sucked into US politics before you eject, EJECT! Except where you actually make each of the stops a career choice because it looks fascinating.
Among my favourite but needlessly flamboyant ways to describe my work
* coinage by shy luminary of science-fiction, the time travelling Octavia Butler
I have done grown-up things like co-founding a company that pivoted after years in executive education to global campaigns for change, seeing changes to environmental, tech access and energy legislation to meet SDG goals. I've taught and curated programs at universities and business schools for over a decade. Was country lead for a global non-profit that changed how we share intellectual property online to expand the cultural and academic commons.
But, I've also done daft things like been a chef, at my own restaurant, started from scratch. I spent 18 months as an artist, and against good sense, the paintings sold through a fabulously stylish gallery (not because they were good, but because I know we buy luxuries for the story).
Spoken on a lot of stages and panels. (Chiefly on innovation, art and technology, pricing and fan powered marketing in for good measure). Including a truly awful TEDx fail, which I parlayed into being a TEDx speaker coach; so others may be spared. I've mentored a lot of ambitiously bright entrepreneurs, because I've almost certainly explored their field at some stage and have useful connections, empathy and a-ha's.
I've worked with global non-profit agencies, multinational corporates, startups, artists, ex-gangsters, local charities hustling hard, government departments, girls at the beginning of their computational literacy journey and worried parents trying to make good future decisions.
I kept a list as a navigation tool, my 101 Things to Do Before I Die.
Kind of a bucket-list, but less touristy stuff to see, more what to be. A character- or career-bucket-list, if that's a thing?
As a mechanism for INTERESTINGNESS; living many lives in one; developing a wide array of skills ... and stories, so many stories, it comes highly recommended. For the soothing clarity of settling on that one thing to do for the whole of your existence, eh not so much.
Usefulness to others to share hard-won lessons however, A+, per Eleanor Roosevelt: “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.”
I've put myself in so many ridiculous situations where I didn't belong or wasn't qualified (but went anyway), and embarrassed myself countless times. Scarred and scared myself silly. So far none fatal.
But I have LEARNED. I probably over-prepare for the just-in-case now. And I can often see trouble in all different shapes looming at the edges of view faster. Recognising the twinkle of overlooked opportunities comes easily when you've explored widely too.
Recommended as the renegade route for falling into being a futurist.
Know ahead, when you err on the side of bravely crazy quests in favour of sensible, you will unlock SO MUCH unsolicited advice from those around you. Pro tip: start styling yourself early as eccentric and/or collect the friends who cheer courageous moves.
WANT TO WORK TOGETHER?
Ha, I LIKE YOU already. I mean, you've made it this far down the page for a start. Grit, demonstrated.
It's CREATIVE BUILDING SEASON ahead, so I won't be available for new strategic projects until March 2021.
[Pandemic-pivot guidance for entrepreneurs remains as essential service. Hint: makes a welcome gift for beloved people battling to evolve their business & find breakthrough opportunities now].
Do check my PROJECTS page. I'll be adding opportunities to get involved in pioneering projects; research expeditions; creative retreats and microadventures. Learning online + (safely) realworld.
Or if you're a patron who loves flinging open the doors of opportunity, hoooray. Kindness and generosity of all shapes is how we build back better, smarter and - with more chances for genius to blossom, cross-pollinate and get scooped into usefulness.
Important: I am NOT TO EVERYONE'S TASTE, so please read the disclaimer below to save time and effort.
Strong business is my thing, but I am also a raging treehugger, wild-things-need-to-be-kept-safely-in-their-wild-homes kind of beast. Old, stale and filthy ways of doing business, or scoring status - not my arena. I have a bias for upgrading brains & value over growth metrics & stuffing bank accounts . Hellyeah to VIBRANT CAPITAL that works hard and parties healthily.
No matter your sector or scale of endeavour, I am probably going to find a circular economy or biodiversity angle for you.
Ah, and urge sharing intellectual property with some build-upon licensing to expand our collective intelligence for problem-solving and creative interestingness. Decide accordingly.
Our instincts prescribe lying low when reality gets rocked. But it's also the VERY best low-judgement, creative time to experiment - with our work and play, building badass skills and projects that will stand us in good stead for when it's go-time again >>
INTELLIGENT LEISURE wildly accelerates innovation; preparedness; connections; skills & unlikely ❤️ friendships.
Vocation vacations, brainy travel, field-trips, sabbaticals, second-chance maths, citizen science expeditions, or
just getting classy and teaching whatever peculiar things we've figured out. For those who are up for the kind of fun that helps you expand your world vs escaping reality ... it offers outsized strategic advantage in times like these.
History and the evolutionary record show that in every moment of crisis, there are always new kinds of winners. Those that learn to adapt fast enough to find their new niche to flourish. As a species we humans are relentless at figuring out how to make our context to suit us. We make opportunities and homes everywhere. Even in most extreme conditions. Rarely, if ever alone. Increasingly sophisticated tools, stories that can travel time and space and collective intelligence have been our unbeatable advantage.
As the product of all your countless ancestors of all sorts of species who made a survival plan (for long enough to mate at least) you have a lonnnnng run of luck on your side.
Ditto for every other creature and plant with which we share this ostentatiously gorgeous planet. For most other earthlings however, their lives got a lot less lucky in the last ±200 years as we humans went vertical.
Only 200 years ago yo
“Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”
In the words of Douglas Adams (who wrote a book that profoundly shaped how I saw the world: Last Chance to See).
We have the chance in our lifetime to make the epic story of bringing life roaring back. It shouldn't be terrifying and strewn with sacrifice nor boring and sanctimonious. This is a problem massive enough to mop up unemployment across strata of society. Though we don't yet have the will. We have the collective genius and the tools to pull off this caper - and make it a blockbuster. Officially bucket-list worthy. Join me.
PS. about getting the heck out when needed (which I did):
Hello World :) yes, it's been a while. About 4yrs ago years ago, I stripped my site down and opted out of social engagement online; even though I'm YES! to tech, I was a hard nope about horribly-incentivised-humans-with-internet-powers. I did the barest minimum social network presence to stop getting those calls to check if I was still alive. But ta-da! I've turned on the lights again. I blame Yancey Strickler's Dark Forest Theory of The Internet piece for the final straw. It's worth a read if you're flirting with going off the social grid. It's good to be back.
PPS. thank you friends who nudged me back in the water :)
“Why do you go away?
So that you can come back.
So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours.
And the people there see you differently, too.
Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
- Sir Terry Pratchett
(Through Tiffany Aching in A Hat Full of Sky)
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