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In this episode of The Speaker Show, Sean Pillot de Chenecey interviews Peter Fisk.

He’s an inspiring business thinker & advisor, author & speaker, whose career was forged in a superconductivity lab, accelerated by supersonic travel, evolved in a digital start-up, and formalised as CEO of the world’s largest marketing network.

His 8 books in 35 languages fuse the brains of Einstein and Picasso, explore the world’s most innovative companies, and include the new “Business Recoded”.

He now leads GeniusWorks, an innovation accelerator based in London, working with business leaders from Adidas to Aeroflot, Cartier and Coca Cola, McKinsey to Microsoft, P&G and Pfizer.

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Episode #142

Future Growth: defining an inspiring purpose, vision and strategy to grow in fast-changing markets

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (00:11): Hello, this podcast is care of Speakers Associates, the global speaker bureau representing a select group of the business world’s finest thinkers and thought leaders founded in 1999. Today Speakers Associates operate out of nine offices across seven countries covering the UK, Europe and Middle East. I’m Sean Pillot de Chenecey author of The Post-Truth Business and Influencers & Revolutionaries, which are being followed by The New Abnormal. In this series, I interview a range of fascinating individuals, proudly represented by the bureau. These change agents and industry experts give an update on their specialist areas of knowledge, and also on their motivations and viewpoints regarding the future of business.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (01:10): So today I’m really pleased to be joined by an incredibly dynamic individual, Peter Fisk. He’s an inspiring business thinker, advisor, author, and speaker, whose career was forged in a super conductivity lab accelerated by supersonic travel evolved in a digital startup, formalized a CEO of the world’s largest marketing network. His eight books in 35 languages fuse the brains of Einstein and Picasso explore the world’s most innovative companies and include the new Business Recoded. He now leads GeniusWorks, an innovation accelerator based in London, working with business leaders from a ATA Alot Cartier and Coca-Cola, McKinsey to Microsoft, P&G and Pfizer he’s thinkers, 50 global director and founder of the European business forum and a professor of leadership strategy and innovation at I E business school in Madrid, where he leads their flagship executive programs. Peter helps leaders to drive smarter innovation and faster growth. So Peter hi and how are you?

Peter Fisk (02:23): I’m very well, Sean. Great to be part of the program.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (02:26): Very good, indeed. Well here we are on a sort of a glorious autumn day. I’m down in Brighton. I know you are in London, Peter. Just tell me, I’ve just been looking some of your many brilliant videos, but also looking at your CV. Be great. If you could take us through your background because anyone whose career has let them from studying particle physics, a Concord to thinkers50 has had an extraordinary path. So yeah, go on then give us the, the potted history of your extraordinary career.

Peter Fisk (02:53): Okay. I’ll make it really simple and, and let’s do it in three acts if you like. So the, the first act was, was super conduct conductivity. My my, my curiosity about nature and how the world works, took me to CERN in Switzerland and to a super conductivity land. Super conductivity is when material starts to behave in strange ways. When you call them down to absolute zero minus 273 degrees centigrade. And I went down into the lab each day under the ground, and I did this experiments and I kind of watched the print out for about a week and then I’d do it again. I’d do it again. And it was fascinating, but it was the most boring thing in the world. So I gave up on that and I decided that business was the thing I wanted to do and particularly customers and brand and marketing, and that’s where Concord came in.

Peter Fisk (03:42): And so I worked in brand management for British airways and then for the, a series of other organizations like American Express and Microsoft, and really what I got from that was that that’s the whole idea of delivering a customer experience really matters in terms of aligning the whole organization to deliver a promise in a coherent in a, a connected way. But more than that, I also learned that people tend to kind of stereotype you. And when they heard that I had a, a physics background or a scientific background, they always said, you can do the spreadsheet, you’re the analyst. And that was great for your, your left brain, if you like in simple terms, the logic side of your brain. But it wasn’t great for the thing, which I loved, which was the more intuitive side and the more human side.

Peter Fisk (04:30): And so what happened as a real result of that was that gradually I kind of realized that you don’t have to be one or the either it’s about how you connect the two ideas together. It’s how you can net kind of deep analysis and kind of a structured way of strategic thinking with more intuitive, bigger ideas and ways which are more random. And that kinda connection is actually what people describe as creativity when you connect the two sides of your brain together, which is where Einstein Picasso comes from. And that was actually the theme of my first book, which I wrote about 10 years ago which was called marketing genius. And it said, how would Einstein and Picasso do business in today’s world? So in a very short way, that’s, that’s the kind of the three act in terms of how I evolve from kind of doing one thing to kind of growing up in to, to the point today where I’m effectively writing books and talking about them and helping people to apply them.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (05:29): Absolutely fascinating. And so in terms of bringing things, bang up to date, I mean, I know you’ve got a, a book coming out very soon, which would be fantastic to talk about. And so from the point of view of that, I mean, class Schwab, obviously CEO at from the world economic forum has talked about this year from the point of view of, you know, COVID, as he said, has torn up the script. And when I, when I’ve been reading about your forthcoming book, business recoded I think one of the sort of key things you are saying there is the business needs a new code, things like that, the old ones don’t work. So perhaps just take us through that. Exactly what the book is about, how have you you’ve approached this and, and what your advice is for the, the businesses and, and business leaders of tomorrow.

Peter Fisk (06:16): Okay. So I guess the first question is why, what are the old codes and why don’t they work? Yeah, I guess, you know, if we, if we, if we’re honest with ourselves about business, that most of us work in organizations, which are pretty structured, they’re pretty hierarchical. They’re pretty obsessed with financial results. And we kind of, we all kind of work towards those financial goals and our performance in terms of how well we do and how well we contribute and our talents are measured essentially by those financial goals. And so I guess that’s one of those codes. The second code is that we tend to kind of really kind of look at our future based on our past. So we, we, we always follow those kind of those dreaded things called core competences, the things which made you successful in the past. And we, they are the things which are gonna make us successful in the future.

Peter Fisk (07:08): We adopt, we, we look at what made us successful as a business model in the past, and we say, well, let’s hang that and keep trying to squeeze more out of it to make it successful in the future. And we, we looked at all of these things, which kind of are, if you like the, the givens, the, the, the, the ways in which we approach business today and said, well, do they actually work in a world where there is so many new challenges where, you know, society expects business to do more and business could actually do more for society itself and for the involved in a world, which is changing incredibly fast, is it realistic to keep doing what you’ve always done and keep trying to kind of squeeze a bit more of efficiency or improvement out of the things which made you successful in previous years and the answer’s probably not.

Peter Fisk (07:57): And so, you know, the codes are really based around the shift from being a profit machine, to being much more about enlightened progress from being just surviving to like thinking about how can you be much more futuristic about growth from, from just competing in markets to thinking, well, how can you actually create your own market or create your own space in a market place, and then own that space from innovation, which used to be about products and deep technology today to really about ingenuity, how can you solve real problems better? And then think thinking hierarchies instead thinking about ecosystems and thinking, how can you work much more collaboratively with different people and partner organizations. And then this idea of kind of, you know, when I started in business, we used to have change programs, which would kind of go on for a short period of time, and then everything would get back to normal.

Peter Fisk (08:50): But in this world we have constant change because the outside world keeps changing incredibly fast. And so we need to sustain transformation over time. So this, this whole idea leads to something which is, you know, more than anything else. It’s the challenge for the leader, the challenge for not just to be a manager of the status quo, or even the manager of performance improvement, but to be a leader of the future to be who can actually look forwards and can combine the short term and the long term can think kind of purpose and profit, but can also think in terms of, you know, what is that future I want to create or even shape to my advantage. And I think, you know, now is the time really when we need leaders who are not just ordinary, but extra ordinary. And that’s what the book’s about having the courage to be extraordinary as a leader.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (09:40): Mm mm. Well, obviously fantastic. I mean, it’d be really good to go through those, those issues in detail. But perhaps to back up slightly and look at the really, really macro picture that you’ve identified as as existing and or you say where all of these other issues exist within. I know you talk about things like you know as you say, we’re likely to see more change in the next 10 years in the last 250. You talk, there are about sort of markets, accelerating people be more cap and consumer attitudes changing. So perhaps you just talk about initially about, about those really big macro issues before we then go into more detail about the specific points you’re making in the book.

Peter Fisk (10:32): Okay. So, you know, more change in the next 10 years than two 50 years, seems quite an extreme thing to say in some ways, but, you know, I think it’s, you know, if you think about what’s happened the last 250 years, think about how things like, you know, automation or the machine, the steam engine even changed industry. You know, it meant that we could mass produce things in factories. Think about how travel from the automobile to the airplane changed our ability to kind of connect the work connect towns and then connect the world together and import and exports. Think about how the more recently the kind of the, the digital technologies, the 25 years of, of, of digital tsunami, if you like, have really transformed every aspect of, of our lives. And then we say more change than all of that in the next 10 years.

Peter Fisk (11:21): Sounds absolutely crazy. And I think, you know, where’s that change gonna come from? Well, there’s, there’s really five things. And, you know, I call them the megatrends and five megatrends I really focus on are, are firstly the, the aging world. And so, you know, the world is aging quite dramatically at the moment. And what’s interesting is that, you know, that’s I think it’s 80% of the world’s over sixties will be in Asia in, in, in, by, by 2030. So this whole idea of kind of, not just Western society, but Eastern society as well, aging quite rapidly. And how do we support people, both in terms of pensions and healthcares, but also in terms of long careers and and, and being fitting on second one is really about kind of the shift to Asia. I’m a big fan of Asian companies and how they’re really doing things in, in much faster and smarter ways.

Peter Fisk (12:17): And so really thinking about different ways in which you can organize and develop companies and, and be entrepreneurial. The third, the third mega trend is really about cognitive technologies. So, you know, the technologies which can sync. So we all know about, you know, the, the blockchains and the AI OTs, and so on of the world, three printing and so on. But when you add intelligence to all of those things and you start to connect them together, I think that’s when you truly get you know, what the world economic forum calls the fourth industrial evolution, and either two are two things, which we really know very well. One is the urbanization. So people really clustering together and that sort of is exemplified by the rise of Asian and then African mega cities and environmental renewals. So the, the huge crisis, both in terms of climate, but also in terms of socialist usage, such as social inequality and how in a sense business can be a better platform to do address many of those challenges.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (13:14): Mm, okay. Then, and then in terms of the way that you then approach the new book, cause I mean, it sounds so interesting. And, and it sound in early December, is that correct?

Peter Fisk (13:23): First is December that’s

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (13:25): Right. Fantastic. Okay. So mark, Danny D is everyone standby, but okay. So first of all, so in terms of the, the first shift that you talk about talk about, you know, recoding your feature for the point of view of potential mindset, business, purpose stories, impact, and sort of optimism. So perhaps just unpack those for the listeners.

Peter Fisk (13:47): You know, one of the one of the things which really kind of impressed me when I went to Microsoft is I spent about a year last year working with Microsoft and sat Adela. Their CEO has truly transformed the organization from the days of Steve, ER, you know, if you remember art gates was the great entrepreneurial visionary, but then Steve ER, came along, he was the salesman. So he didn’t really make much change, but he just tried to squeeze every sense out the products, which they Hadio arrived about five years ago. And he was a kinda, you know, a real breath breath of fresh air. He actually had been there 22 years and he stepped up to become the business leader. And, and the one thing he really did more than anything else was to introduce a growth mindset and growth mindset, which was developed originally by lady called Carol Dweck.

Peter Fisk (14:39): It’s really about saying don’t live with that fixed mindset, which is characterized by doing what you’ve always done by being the kind of the hierarchical ego driven manager who never wants to be wrong by always looking backwards more than looking forwards, to keep trying to optimize the world, as you see today, as opposed to looking to how could you do it differently? The growth mindset is the opposite of all those. It’s an experiment. It’s an entrepreneur, it’s a person who is always asking why it’s a person, person who is happy to it’s a person who’s happy to try new things constantly and to see what are the new ways in which you can grow. And what sat Adella said was that of all the things I could do, I could restructure the organization. I could develop a million strategy documents and all less of it, but instead, what I want you to do is to shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

Peter Fisk (15:31): And when you do that and it could be in kids. So it could be in business managers when you do that, your mind opens and kind of liberates you to think about the future in a much bigger and better way. And that’s really what the first code is all about. It’s about being able to see the future much more distantly, much more fast and much more kind of opportunistically and being able to see all of the ways in which you could move forward, which perhaps you haven’t thought about it adds in purpose to go alongside profit, which kind of stretches you in terms of you thinking why you here. And then it drives you to kind of really think about what is your story. So as leader, if you’re gonna Des describe the story to your people as to what you see the organization of the future, looking like, what would that be? And so we turn to, you know, those great storytellers of Pixar to say, well, how could you apply their methodologies to a leader? Being able to tell the story of the future and also a leader who can kind of think in a different way of what success looks like and what success looks like for each individual, as well as for the organization as a whole.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (16:41): Mm. Can I, on one of the points you mentioned there I thought was fascinating when, and I know you, you interviewed an extraordinary array of business leaders, organizational leaders, dynamic thinkers, and doers around the world. Just to take one of them random, cause I’ve been reading a lot of of the data and information you put out recently. So one of them JK row that point about being happy to fail is fascinating when you interviewed her. And as that, you know, she’s saying it’s impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously, you might as well have not lived at all. In which case you failed by default to get through life without failing, wouldn’t be a life worth living, incredibly inspiring. Just as an aside mean both with regards to her and the other, you know, really dynamic people you met. I just, as a scientist, just talk about you. Some of the people you met who really, really stood out to you as being quite exceptional.

Peter Fisk (17:46): Well, I mean, Jacob Allen, you know, her story starts really as a secretary in a publishing firm in bloom school. And you know, what, what really struck me was that she sat there and she watched all these publishers come in with their manuscripts and, you know, get their books published and be relatively successful. And she would kind of, you know, she would, she’d greet them at the door and she’d show them into the office and then she’d go home again. And it was kind of in her, in her, in her commutes to, and from work where she dreamed of doing what they did of being able to write a novel herself. And, you know, this story of Harry Potter had been shaping in her mind on her train as she kind of tred into London each day for many years. And it wasn’t actually until she, until she left that organization that she kind of she actually kind of took the bold step to say, let’s write it down.

Peter Fisk (18:38): Let’s kind of see whether I could do something. And then she sent it off to the publisher. And the publisher said no way, it sounds too ridiculous, too fantastical to, to, to whoever put in the marketplace. But then the, the, the, the daughter, I think it was of the actual publisher who eventually took it on said, said, Doug, I just read this manuscript, which you gave me to read and started reading it. And it’s, it’s amazing. It’s about this guy called Harry Potter. And because, because his daughter said it was amazing. He said, well, maybe who should give and, and what strikes me when I met so many other great leaders as they are today, is that, you know, they, they are truly normal people. So they’re normal people who do quite amazing things, you know, they, they, they, they, they just need that bit of guts to step up and to do something different, you know you know, completely different example would be Debbie Shetty.

Peter Fisk (19:34): He mm-hmm, , he’s a, he’s a doctor from India and he actually spent his early career looking after mother Terraza in her five, four years. And he was her, his, her personal nurse in hospital caring for her. And he spent many hours with her as she laid in bed. And she was kind of spoke so many things. And, and as, as she spoke to him, he realized that, you know, the gift he had of medicine and to, to care for people was a, a great one. So when she passed away and he went on to develop his career as a heart surgeon, he came back to India after having studied. And he said, well, how can I solve the health crisis in India? And he actually created a new business model for healthcare across India. Starting off with heart surgery, which was his specialization.

Peter Fisk (20:22): And he kind of then trained other people. And he effectively ed his, his, his model out so that he could oversee around about 300 heart of per day with and then developed hospitals were to people were on low incomes. He developed a low health insurance scheme, which was never affords beforehand. And so he’s single handedly because partly of that inspiration, which mother gave him he stepped up and he’s, he’s, he’s a guy who’s kind of he’s, he he’s solving the health crisis if you like in India or, you know, one of my favorite people was and Gigi she’s she’s the founder of 23 in me. So, oh yeah. A DNA profiling business. Mm-Hmm she started her life. She was an intern in wall street. She was reading investment reports, just like Jeff, Jeff Bezos was actually, he was a wall street banker reading investment reports.

Peter Fisk (21:24): Mm-Hmm . And, and with she’s you read about the future of healthcare, and it said, the report said that, you know, data will be the, the future of healthcare and data about individuals who allow you eventually to develop personalized medicines, which sounded phenomenal. And she had no background in medicine but what she did, she was, she, she got up from, from her desk in wall street, and she headed off to, to Seattle. She immersed herself in a, in an environment, if you like an ecosystem of, of people who were kind of experimenting with new technologies and also with bio technologies as well at the same time. And she set up 23 in me, and at that stage, it cost nine. It, so, yeah, it cost $9,000 to proof on your DNA . And what she did was she kind of thought differently about how can you solve this problem?

Peter Fisk (22:13): And rather trying to profile it an absolute minutia for every person. She said, let’s profile the bits, which identify whether you’re prone to a certain disease or not. And that boosted down to $900. And then she kind of tweaked a bit further. And eventually she got down the says by which you can take a thing off a pharmacy, you can spit into a tube, you can send it to the lab. And for $99 today, she will profile your entire DNA. She’ll tell you everything, which is about your life’s ancestry, but also about the diseases you are prone to and how you can live a better, healthier life as a result of that. And just year in 2020, she’s formed a relationship with GSK to start developing personalized medicines for the first time. So, you know, I guess, you know, the, the, the, the, the message from these stories is that really normal people, you know, they find their way partly by accident.

Peter Fisk (23:06): Actually, it’s all these things with all these experie is which you have, and the, the culmination of your experiences leads you in all sorts of amazing directions. What these people tend to do is they tend to have a, at some point they have the guts to, to, to see the opportunity of things and to do something about them. And it’s not necessarily about lots of money, like Debbie she’s example. So you don’t certainly need investors and all that kinda stuff, but you need to think about how can you do things in a better way? And what, what, what really struck me was most of them are guided by making people’s lives better in some way. Yeah. Which was really

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (23:44): Absolutely fascinating. And then moving on to the next one, also the next shift you, which is titled Recode your growth I thought it’s fascinating how you, again, a whole array of really, really standout organization, stroke brands there, everything from SpaceX to Patagonia. And it also utilize all use the Japanese term Camra to link with recoding growth. So perhaps, yeah. Talk about that. And why use that term, what it means as some of the examples that you have in the book?

Peter Fisk (24:16): Well, com Camra the Japanese word is means that when you, when you are in the middle of a forest and you look up, you see a dense canopy of trees and you can’t see a lot of a lot else, and it kind of shelters you from the sunlight and you you’re lost in the midst of that undergrowth. But if you can climb to the top of the tree, or if you can find a, a high spot within that forest, you can suddenly look out typically and you see the most amazing view. So, so the point is, if you can change your perspective, you can see E growth, which perhaps you couldn’t see otherwise. And so by being able to change your perspective and being able to see kind of further forwards, or being able to see adjacent markets, for example, rather than just being obsessed with looking at your own marketplace, or being able to see new types of customers, then you’re able to see new spaces, new opportunities to grow in different ways. And so I think that’s really kind of what I was trying to get at from KA baby.

Peter Fisk (25:13): You know, if I, if I look at kinda who are some of those companies who’ve grown most successfully in that way you know, some of the Chinese companies I mentioned Asia a little bit earlier, but you know, some of the companies which we really look at this point companies like Pingan Pingan for a number of years now has been a very large Chinese financial services company. But they, about three years ago, they they recruited a COO, a lady called Jessica tan. Their job was to say, well, how can we use the, the platform of the, the bank and insurance company, the financial BA platform, which we have, how can we use it to kinda extend our business into new areas? How can we grow? And she looked at this and she said, well, you know, effectively, if you are a technology, if you have a technology platform by which you can kinda bring ideas together and you can bring customers together, you could almost do anything.

Peter Fisk (26:12): And so what she looked at was healthcare, first of all. And and from there, she said, well, how can I actually offer telemedicine or digital healthcare to people in a, in a, in a huge, scalable way. And she developed a, a, a service called good doctor as part of Pingan, which has now become the world’s largest digital healthcare company. And it has over 200 million subscribers. So if you, if you, if you fall little within China, you can get out your mobile phone, you can talk to while you do it, probably do a artificial intelligence diagnostic, first of all, to find out what’s, what’s wrong with you. And whether you actually need to talk to somebody, if you mm-hmm then talk to them remotely by, by, by video conference. If you do need to get a medicine, they might refer you to their vending machines, which in all shopping miles in major Chinese cities or you could go to local pharmacy, and if you go to a hospital or clinic, then they have a wide network of physical partners, too.

Peter Fisk (27:13): So this is an example of really a, a company, one sector being able to say, well, actually, I’ve got everything which it takes to move into another sector. And, you know, if you look at the converse of that, you jump down to Singapore from, from China, there’s a, the great bank there, which has been voted the world’s most innovative bank for the last three years, DBS mm-hmm GUP is the CEO there and Gupta, you know, he’s, he, he’s got a strategy called he wants to create DBS as the invisible bank. Because what he, what he says is that, you know, money, money is part of life. Money is part of everything. So really what I want is DBS to be part of travel or DBS, to be part of education or DBS, to be part of retail or DBS, to be part of anything.

Peter Fisk (28:02): And so being able embed his kind of financial services within those different things to make it easier for the customer. So if you’re buying a new house, for example, you can, you can get a mortgage or you can kind of work out how much you can afford incredibly easy within the space of the, the, the home buying experience, rather than having to go to your buying separate. And so DPS is embedded within all of these adjacent markets. So I think, you know, adjacent markets is a particular way to grow. The other thing which really came out in this section was the power of networks. And you know, Robert Metcal, he was the founder of Threecom. He has a great law, which most people have never heard of. They’ve all heard of Moores law, which is the powering increases over time every 18 months.

Peter Fisk (28:55): But law says that power or the, of a network is proportional to the, the number of, so it, you get an exponential impact. So it’s proportional square. So every time you add one extra person to a network, so you’ve got five people, one extra person comes along and they’re the six person, and it’s not just adding one extra as in person, it’s adding six extra connections. And so every time you get an, a person, you get a multiplying effect in terms of the number of connections, which are possible. This is why so many digital technologies can drive exponential growth into today’s world. And why we see companies like Airbnb or Uber for example, are able to scale incredibly quick. And, and my contention is really that we’re not making enough of these networks yet. And if you look at, you know, the biggest network or latent network, whichever organization have, it’s probably it’s customer network, it’s customer base, but most people don’t connect it’s customers together. You know, think about people going into a shop, for example, they never connect them together, but, you know, if it’s a fairly specialist shop, they probably share a, a passion for whatever they do. And there are, there are some examples of, of great networks to creating great communities like Lafa cycling, for example, Oria in the beauty industry, but cases we, we don’t yet harness those networks as effectively as we could do.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (30:26): Mm-Hmm OK. And just in terms of during that point, you talking about just how incredibly innovative, for instance, you mentioned their DBS bank were. So again, so in the shift for, is it put it, you know but, you know, Recode your innovation, you talk a lot then about, about what it takes to drive more radical innovation. You know, you talk about sort of ingenuity and searching for better ideas. You having the, the designer mindset creating unusual connections as you were just mentioning, et cetera, and dream crazy. So I know they have, you have an array of samples from brew dog to stitch fix. So again, yeah, perhaps just talk us through the sort of people or organizations that you looked at when you were looking at leading edge innovation and, and just what it is that, that, that are the sort of things that you think companies and brands need to lock onto now to order to be innovative for the world of tomorrow.

Peter Fisk (31:26): Well, I think ingenuity is a good starting point. You know, ingenuity to me is, is not just about creativity or innovation, but it’s really about using the power of humanity using the power of imagination to be able to, to take you to a new space or, you know, I’m, I’m a great fan of reef framing things, being able to frame things in a different way from how you thought about them beforehand. So, you know, like I dunno, so reframing a magazine as an entertainment platform, for example. So instead of it just being a, a news platform or media platform, it certainly becomes entertainment platform. So being able to kind of reframe things suddenly gives you different space in which to operate. And the way to reframe things is to see things from the customer’s perspective, as opposed to from, from the business or the product perspective, SOS to starting point, you know, ingenuity thing is, is about human imagination.

Peter Fisk (32:24): Being able to imagine things in a better way. And actually there’s a bit of scientific thinking coming in here because, you know, we’re all familiar with design thinking and lean startup and all those kinds of methodologies of innovation today. The real thing behind all of that is the ability to use a hypothesis and then to test it. And that’s, that is scientific method. You know, I learned that 35 years ago in a physics lab. And and the idea of being able to conjure up an idea like Einstein did actually that there was a connection between energy and matter, and then being able to see whether it was to be able to prove it or disprove it. And so that way, in which you kind of imagine an idea, or you develop a prototype in today’s world and, and then you test it with customers or you test it with the marketplace and then you gradually improve it, you gradually improve it.

Peter Fisk (33:14): You gradually improve. It really is, is, is dramatically different from the tradit, always in which we used to think about. You never launch anything unless it’s perfect before go. So I, I think that’s kinda a big part of it and connected to that is actually Leonard DaVinci’s definition of innovation, which is about making unusual connections. So, you know, the idea about being able to connect is which come from different places and a great way in which we can connect things which come from different places. You know, one of them is, is actually thinking about nature and connecting nature and business. So commonly known as biomimicry. But for example, at you know, the, the the, the let’s think about, so the, both the bullet train in Japan, so the bullet train its nose cone was developed from the beak of a king Fisher bird because looking for a way in which you can go faster, or if you look at mountaineers today, lots of them, when they’re using the most, when they’re doing the most extreme lock climbing, they use Vibram five finger shoes, which actually modeled on the exoskeleton of a Geco and gecos are incredibly good at climbing up, climbing up, you know, very steep, vertical surfaces.

Peter Fisk (34:31): Or if you look at something like let’s think about it VECO VECO came from those, those, those very sticky spiky buds, which you, you see in some kinds of cacti. And so, you know, the ability to, to take ideas from nature and to apply them in new ways. So the ability to connect ideas from different marketplaces, the ability to connect components of ideas, which are physical and digital together, you know, I think certainly over the last nine months of COVID 19, we’ve seen this big shift to digital living and working, but actually what’s now happening is developing of much more liquid business models. So the combination not, not omnichannel where you either go to a digital or fiscal, but a combination physical and digital components within any, within any channel. And so that, that becomes really interesting. And I think ultimately innovation today is more about business innovation rather than just product or service innovation.

Peter Fisk (35:36): So how can you really think about the whole business system or the whole business model by which, by which you can kind of move forward and, and ultimately a bit like we talked about earlier in a world of relentless change, you really need a portfolio of innovations a P which kind of will kind of help you in the short term, but also a portfolio, a longer term. So kind of combining multiple ideas together, so you can progress through them. And in a sense bit like Fuji Fuji film, which was a great story Fuji you know, we all familiar with as from camera film many, many years ago, but then they had to adapt when mobile phones came along and cam took photos better. So Fuji film said, well, you know, how can we actually evolve? How can we innovate? And they said, well, let’s take the idea of, of film technology.

Peter Fisk (36:27): And they moved into medical imaging. So x-ray and scans for example. But from there they said, well, you know, actually most cosmetics are made of, of, of, of time, of very thin films. And so they’re now the largest producer of cosmetics in Asia. And they also then from there moved into to, to, to medicines or drugs, and they now have one of the, the leading antiviral drugs addressing COVID 19. So, so you see there a company which is relentlessly. So this idea of, you know, innovation, isn’t just a one off, it’s not just a product, but thinking about as a business, how can you develop a portfolio where you innovate at every level you innovate, not just your services, but you innovate the entire way the organization works and creates value.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (37:15): Mm, absolutely fascinating. And then moving on because the book is so interesting. And what about when you’re talking about in one of your other shifts, in terms of recoding organizations, I find it really interesting there, how you, you, you look at that from everywhere from you know building ecosystems where you refer to butterflies through to you know, extreme team building where you refer to, you know, the all blacks and, and, and in particular you talk about this again, I think links into an early point, you made about, you know, the power of humanity. When you talk about, you know, work as a living organization, you know, you talk there about you know, few complex systems in nature, organized through hierarchies, so need to develop businesses as living adaptive, collectively conscious organizations. Yeah. Perhaps talk a bit about that and, and just why that is so so important and why you think that’s really showing us how organizations should be. So yeah, run put together led et cetera. Well,

Peter Fisk (38:18): I think the, the biggest, the biggest change, which we’ll see during the next 10 years for organizations is, is the power of technology and automating routine processes, which, which many people have spent lots of time doing. So I think you know, around about 70% of all jobs will be affected to at least a 30 degree propensity. So, you know, most people’s jobs will be affected in some ways by technology. The point really is not to be scared of that. It’s to say, wow, fantastic. That liberates us from doing the boring routine things. How can we be more human? How can we be more imaginative? How can we kind of connect our diverse backgrounds and skills and capabilities together to do more as groups of people, you know, in ways which did beforehand. So I think in the whole idea of being able to unleash our humanness, if you like, or our imagination and creative skills is really exciting to, to, to move forward with, in terms of looking how can work be better, but in order to do that, we need to liberate people from the shackles, from the organization, hierarchies, the functional boxes, if you like which, which they lived in or worked in in the past.

Peter Fisk (39:33): And so the living organization is much more about an organization, which is self-managed. So rather than having layers and layers of bosses, which kind of like pass down control, you have self-managing teams and these self-management teams can make decisions themselves. They can solve problems much better. They become much more entrepreneurial just like startups, but they have all the benefits of being in a large organization with all the resources and support that gives them at the same time. So being able to create a more living organization is really kind of, you know, something which I think is incredibly possible. When you look at companies, you know, like , or you look at Patagonia, or you look at Ben and Jerry’s, or you look at higher in, in and is actually one of the, the really interesting ones I interviewed their CEO, Z Luin and Z Luin he’s he’s the, the leader of, of higher the world’s largest white goods or home appliances company today, he’s a physicist as well.

Peter Fisk (40:35): So we talked about, we talked are quantum mechanics, but I won’t Bo you with . Excellent. Well, actually what he said, what, what he said was that at the organizations actually, like they’re a bit like quantum mechanics, I’m gonna, I’m gonna dare to in the sense that the idea of quantum mechanics is that any, any, any, any, any material is actually made of incredibly small particles which, which are constantly kind of interacting together. And even if you look at ATO and atom inside, it is actually a constantly vibrating mixture of electrons and Cotons. And so they’re dynamic, they’re energetic, they’re always working. And so he drew that analogy to how he, he sees the, you know, the, the, the, the, the hundred thousand people who work in higher, but they’re small groups of people they’re highly energized.

Peter Fisk (41:30): And what he, what he wants, what he has done actually is, is created 10,000. Microbusinesses inside his company. And, you know, each of them never have more than a hundred people. They, they, everybody has a stake in the game. They all have equity in, in their small microbusinesses, but they all work for hire. And so this allows them to be incredibly close to their customer, and it also allows them to be incredibly innovative or entrepreneurial at the same time, their real teams are problem solvers. And so, you know, what he’s done is got rid of many, many middle managers in that traditional organization structure, which stifles the ability to do things and really kind of created an of the future. And you know, I then went to super cell, super cell is one of the leading gaming companies in Finland. And I met a, a, a fantastic leader called IANA and CEO of super cell.

Peter Fisk (42:28): And he says, he’s the least powerful CEO in the world. And the is because, you know, all of his teams are fanatical about gaming. They, they, they love the games they develop. And they work on these teams and they, you know, they, they get in their huddles, they get into the, the little groups and they might not even work in the same office. They might find their own places to work and develop amazing stuff for their audiences. And you know, what he’s is, he’s providing the infrastructure, the connections, the integration he’s being a coach. If you like a bit like a sports team, he’s being a coach, his power comes from supporting as opposed to telling. And, and that final point about extreme teams, which you asked about, you know, extreme teams like the all blacks. You know, if you look at every sporting coach, every sporting coach will tell you that they can do all they can on the warmer pitch in the, in, in the dressing room beforehand.

Peter Fisk (43:23): But when the whistle blows and the game starts, the teams are on their own and the team need to kind of be able to kind of make their own decisions, respond to what happens and to be able to kind of work as a unit where they’re all leaders effect effectively, and they can all kind of, you know, adjust and they, they can take what they they’re told and what they’ve learned, but, but then they kind of, they, they improvise it they’ve play jazz if you like, and they do it in a way, which is right in order to, to achieve what they want to achieve.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (43:56): So, I mean, I, I mean that, I think links totally into the other points you’re making in the other shifts, in terms of things like when you talk about recoding or transformation, you talk there about as you just did transforming your business and, you know, starting from the outside, in and inside, out building rocket ships to the future et cetera. So perhaps just to begin to sort of, you know, crystallize a lot of that thinking, so understand. So, so the book is organized around those seven key shifts of enlightened progress, futuristic growth market, creating human ingenuity, dynamic ecosystems, sustained transformation, and extraordinary leaders can ask when you were putting the book together and doing your research and traveling around the world. And I mentioned with regards to innovation, how sort of full of admiration you are for a lot of the innovation coming out of Asian based companies. What about business in general, we can put it in that broader term. Where do you see the or is there a, a particular bit of the planet that is just getting business more right? than the other a bit

Peter Fisk (45:13): Scandinavia?

Peter Fisk (45:17): I think I think the Nordic, the Nordic approach to, to business is really quite interesting. And if you think about most scan comp countries, you know, so Denmark or Sweden or Norway then most of them have a come from a very socialist or very democratic society. And so the whole idea that business needs to be part of society and needs, needs to create a higher purpose needs to contribute more than just making conflicts for a small number of shareholders. They get that they get that immediate. What they also get is that they, they, they, they get the importance of embracing new possibilities, new technologies. So, you know, if you go to somewhere like or in Denmark, which is the third largest city there, probably never heard of it in the largest robotics hub in Europe at the moment, and particularly for drone technologies and so on.

Peter Fisk (46:20): And it’s a bit like, you know, a bit like the way Silicon valley demand, Stanford university, it’s developed around a particular university there, the, the S D and also developed around a unused airport actually, which is where they could test their drone technology. So that was one extra benefit. If you look at some scan Arabia in general, then I think, you know, the whole idea of being able to think about what is business here for. So, you know, we’re here in order to kind of create value for all of our stakeholders. We’re here to kind of sink in new ways in order to move the way world forward to achieve progressively, like not just profit mm-hmm, embracing the new technologies and that pretty technology savvy people in general, but also to do it with the social conscience. And I think it’s really that, that the, the combination of those things is, is really powerful.

Peter Fisk (47:15): What I think they could do better if you like is then I think, you know, if they had a bit of the, the dreaming of Silicon valley you know, sometimes they don’t stretch far enough. They’re, they’re a bit complacent, you can argue you know, a bit of the moonshot thinking a bit of the kinda dream crazy of, of Google and, and all that stuff, like thinking about 10 X rather than 10%. Yeah. And a bit of the, kinda the, the kind of the thing which Asia really has is speed and vibrancy. And so, you know, the, the speed of entrepreneurship, if you look in a, in a city like Shen for example, you know, so many entrepreneurs trying so many new things that most of them fail, but they just pick themselves up and keep trying and keep adapting and pivoting, and, and eventually they work. And so, you know, if you combine that, that energy of, of Western east, and if you apply it to the Nordic business model, then I think you get a pretty good, good blueprint if you like for the future of business.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (48:20): OK. And on that exact point, when you again, I was watching a, a video of you earlier on talking about this, and you’re saying that you, you, you know, started off when you were talking with the business leaders around the world, by asking them two questions, you know, what does the future look like for you? And what are the most important ways you need to change your business? Now, with regards to the point you were just making and the, the mega trends you identified earlier on in terms of, you know, aging world shift to age, cognitive technologies, urbanization environment through renewal. So when you ask them, what does the future look like for you? Did you tend to have the answers reflecting your five mega trends in that order, Or depending on where you physically were at that time when you were talking with with with business leaders or not?

Peter Fisk (49:12): No, I, I, I don’t necessarily think there is an upward to them. So mm-hmm, the reason I described the mega trends in that order is that they go a, B, C, D, E, and I can remember them.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (49:23): OK.

Peter Fisk (49:25): But you know, the, the trends effective in people in different ways, and, you know, you don’t have to all the mega it trends, it’s, it’s understanding which ones are affecting your particular business, or which ones are the biggest opportunities for your business,

Peter Fisk (49:39): But the trend is really not your future. The future is what you want it to be. What, what strikes me between the kind of the more enlightened leaders and the ones who are more passive are that are that enlightened want to shape the future to what they want it to be. And so they shape it in a way which is good for them, hopefully good for the world as well, if they’re enlightened. But they shape it to their advantage in some way, they, they they’re active in terms of how they look at their future as opposed or passive ones who kind of, they’re waiting for it to come to them. So, in a sense, that’s, that’s what I’m really getting at. How do you see your future and how will you shape it? How will you shape the future to your advantage? And that’s ultimately, I think what leaders need to do in the world today, you know, there’s plenty of people working with their heads down in organizations trying to deliver in the short term, we need more people.

Peter Fisk (50:36): Who’ve got their heads up thinking about where we’re going as well and not need to combine those two things together, long term and short term, but we need a bit more short, long termism as opposed to too much short-termism, you know, even during moments of crisis, like COVID 19, you know, 57% of companies were founded during a downturn of one kind or another. So everybody McDonald’s when they developed a, a super, super speedy flying machine through to Microsoft apple who kind of brought in digital technologies to challenge the old ways or Airbnb Uber in the in the 2008 financial crisis. You know, every time we get a downturn, we get a shake up and a shake up is the moment when people start to see new opportunities. And when you get startups kind of daring to do new things, and also bigger companies realizing that they have to do new things. So now is the time when it’s not just about kind of battling down the hatches and trying to survive. Obviously you do need to survive, but now is also the time when you need to be thinking about how to thrive, how do you create next generation or the next decade? So, you know, now I would argue that there’s probably many of the next generation of companies being born by seeing the world differently from how we saw it even a year ago.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (52:01): Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Well, as we begin to finish off and it’s been absolutely super talking with Peter so I know that you’ve developed your latest range of online programs and resources, and eventually obviously getting back into physical workshops as well. So perhaps just talk the listeners through the, the sort of the, the shape that the programs are taking at the moment. And if there is a sort of a, a, a sort of a standardish type approach that you can then adapt obviously to each particular client, but yeah. But how, how you’re approaching putting those online programs and resources at the disposal of clients. Yeah,

Peter Fisk (52:36): I, I, the starting point is really business Recode gives you inspiration because business recoded more than anything else is about having the courage, the courage to step up the courage, to create a better future for yourself and, and for your business. And so that’s a, a very personal thing. So the rest of December, but really the book is just a starting point. The real kinda thing I get motivated by is how can I help people? How can I help them to adopt that, to apply that and, and to, to slide from that. And, you know, one of the ways is obviously through education. So I do a lot look at IE business school. So we have a global advance management program, which in embraces all of this stuff and brings fantastic faculty together from all over the world. People like Jim Hardman, SNA, the chairman of of Siemens and Meers, who to Antonio NATO Rodriguez, the world’s leading project manager, and so on.

Peter Fisk (53:29): So many, many actually over 30 different faculties. So that’s a great way in terms of you want to do more business schooly kind of education. What I’ve also done is I’ve, I’ve, I’ve kind of taken business recorded is five master classes, and they’re they’re will be available online either as a interactive program where I will provide half day a week kinda coaching sessions, and then you’d have additional resources to work through yourself, or as an entirely online self-guided program for people using videos. But it’s also about helping people so solve real problems. So, you know what, I kind of see myself as, as, as a kind of a consultant and educator, and also a speaker. So, so being able to combine those different things together. So being able to solve real problems is really where I get the best insight in terms of what works and what doesn’t, and being able to kind of work with companies like my Microsoft, you know, they, they, they, last year we worked together really to think about how can you Recode other people’s businesses, not so how can not, not just how can they sell stuff themselves, but how can, you know, new capabilities like cloud computing and so on?

Peter Fisk (54:40): How can that help Microsoft’s clients, you know, who are many of the world’s largest organizations, how help them to Recode their businesses. And so to really fundamentally think differently now that I’ve got cloud computing on now that I’ve got access to artificial intelligence, what could I do? So instead of being stuck in one geographical location, I could be anywhere instead of being just a bank, I could be, you know, offering all sorts of different services. So the, that kind of way of think, getting people to think differently, or I worked recently with a textile company and they spend most of their time working in designing and then manufacturing clothing for some of the high street retailers, like like marks and Spencer and and so on top shop. And instead of thinking in the traditional way of just making things for other people, what they said, well, we live in a world where actually we could reach the consumer ourselves.

Peter Fisk (55:40): And so they’ve now developed their own design studio. They’re developing their own brands and they’re looking at well, how could we direct to the consumer direct to market with our own channels? And you know, that kind of thing’s entirely possible by recoding your business. So, so I, I guess what I’m saying is you can work from the kind of the intellectual level, the high level in terms of how can you change the world and how does the organization fundamentally need to change as we talk through, but you can all work at it from the practical level, in the sense of your organization, or even your team in the organization and say, how can you change fundamentally the, the ways in which you see the future and the ways in which you can create a better future as a result of that?

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (56:26): Well, fantastic. Well, Peter, that just ask you and I just a, a last couple of minor sort of points. And that really is I mean, presumably after you’ve, after the next book is out you’ll, I presume you’ll be well, anyone else will be taking a, a long rest, but you being, you I’m sure you’re not. So , what’s coming up for you once the the book is out there?

Peter Fisk (56:50): , well the launching a book is like launching any product, you know I think too many product managers think, wow, we’ve got it out. The door, we’ve launched our new product. And, and the danger is author is to think, wow, my book. Fantastic. But that’s the point when it starts, you know, writing a book can take, you know, a couple of years actually, in terms of thinking through it, then kinda writing it and then, then the whole production process. But actually, you know, now is the time, once it’s published is to say, well, how can I help people actually use that book? So, so that’s where I focus. My that’s, what I’m focused on. Some new things which are coming up, we have a, a future accelerator, which is really combining leadership foresight with fitness and impact and, and really spending a lot of time in terms of thinking about business impact as well. So I have a, a business impact lab, which is just launching, which is really thinking about how can brands be the most powerful, inspiring platforms for change in a world where we have so many environmental and social crises or challenges, which we have. So, you know, I think really businesses, not governments and so on, but businesses are the ways in which we can solve the big, big challenges in the world. And we can create a better world and a better future for all of us.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (58:10): Well, I’m into that and what a fantastic way of ending the conversations. So Peter, what can I say? That was absolutely inspiring. Super interesting. So thank you very much, indeed. So yep. Peter Fisk, the business thinker, an advisor, author, and speaker who’s latest book, Business Recoded: Have the Courage to Create a Better Future for Yourself and Your Business is out on 1st of December. Thank you very much, indeed.

Peter Fisk (58:40): Thank you, Sean. Be bold, brave and brilliant. As I always say,

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (58:53): Thank you for listening to The Speakers Show podcast. Please leave a rating on iTunes. We’d really appreciate it. And also it’d be great. If you could subscribe to the podcast itself, you’ll find it also on Google podcasts, SoundCloud or favorite podcast app. Thank you.

Podcast host

Sean Pillot de Chenecey speaker

Sean Pillot de Chenecey

Foresight strategist, author and podcast host Sean Pillot de Chenecey is an inspirational speaker, who’s also consulted for some of the world’s biggest brands.

Sean has a very deep level of knowledge regarding the genuine issues impacting brands from a cultural, social and business perspective.

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