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In this episode of #TheSpeakerShow, Sean Pillot de Chenecey interviews the trends interpreter Thimon De Jong, an expert on future human behaviour and how culture influences business.

Over the last ten years, de Jong has worked as keynote speaker and leadership trainer for organisations like Morgan Stanley, Microsoft, HP, Ikea, Vodafone, Tetra Pak, Novartis, Kellogg, Merck and Luxottica.

He is one of the most sought-after speakers of his generation, able to use socio-psychnological and cultural change to meet the strategic needs of different industries.

Episode #130

Leadership and the ‘Nurse Mentality’

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (00:06): 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 (00:58): So today I’m really pleased to be joined by an absolutely fascinating individual and a renowned speaker Thimon De Jong examining how human behavior and societal change influence businesses has never been more important syncing a business strategy with rapid societal changes and dynamic human behavior is a challenge. Luckily, a new style of expert has emerged with De Jong proving to be one of the most successful over the last 10 years, he’s worked as a keynote speaker and leadership trainer for organizations like Morgan Stanley, Microsoft, HP, Ikea, Vodafone, Tetra Pack, Novartis, Kellogg, Merck and Luxottica. After studying cultural studies and international business, he wrote his master’s thesis on subcultures and started his working career in journalism. In 2010, he started as a jury member in Holland’s best idea, a primetime TV show. In 2011, he co-produced an executive program for decision makers at Utrecht University on the topic of using sociocultural trends for strategic decision making. In 2014, he founded WHETSTON a strategic foresight think tank focusing on human behavior and societal change and the impact on strategic decision making. De Jong is determined not only to inform his audiences as research insight and business cases, but also to provide them with practical, strategic takeaways on how to utilize the information and help their business grow. So Thimon, good morning and how are you?

Thimon De Jong (02:36): Good morning, Sean. Thank you for having me on the show. Well I’m, I’m quite well. It is a bit of a summer here in Amsterdam, so the vacation is coming up and, and there’s a bit of light at the end of the, the Corona pandemic tunnel in, in at least here in this part of the world. It is so I’m, I’m good. How are you?

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (02:55): I’m fine. It’s been saying that I’m, I’m done over in, in the UK in in sunny Brighton where perhaps the light isn’t quite so bright as the one in Holland in terms of being the end of the tunnel. But we look forward to it.

Thimon De Jong (03:08): I think, you know, both our countries, we’re opening up a bit, bit by bit you know, with, with some mistakes and experiments and, and going on learning by doing

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (03:24): . Exactly. Exactly. Well, as you just saying earlier on the according to the most of the international press, I think are the last few days the UK sort of recovery has been sort of alcohol led, so we’ll see where it takes us. But but in terms of in terms of this podcast and I mean, I know, I mean recently there was the the absolute renowned recovery summit that was organized by, by speakers associates, which was absolutely superb. And I saw you gave an absolute great talk there following actually a, a previous one. So perhaps just before we go into the subject matter that you spoke about then perhaps just take us through for any of the if there is anyone out there who, who isn’t aware of you, I can’t believe there is, but if there is perhaps just, you know, talk us through, you know, your background, how you got to be where you are now.

Thimon De Jong (04:18): Well, so I’m, I’m a people researcher, you know, that’s my academic start, but when I finished university, I went into journalism for quite a long time. And I was, so I was in media for quite some years and, and the highlight was being in an editor-in-chief of a youth magazine. And when I was in media, I started working as a youth expert because I was editor in chief. People saw me as a, a youth expert and we had a website and we had a community and this was before Facebook and YouTube, et cetera. And then slowly I discovered that I like the people researching side, the, you know, the practical people researching side and doing keynotes and, you know, I was working with Unilever at the time and a few larger media companies advising them. I love that.

Thimon De Jong (05:15): So I switched careers from, from media to doing actual practical people, research, trend research, and future studies. But I think it was a great combination to start in media because there, I learned the skills of, you know, storytelling and there’s so much research out there, but how do you get that message across? And I think traditional people research it, you know, it’s, it ends up in a report and the reports ends up somewhere in a drawer in a desk, or it’s not read. And I have discovered that speaking and also training so workshop, but just, you know, live with a group of people that is, you know, my preferred way. And in, in practice, I think it works best to get research and insights and inspiration across.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (06:04): Mm.

Thimon De Jong (06:05): So I’ve worked for, you know, for a, a, a small agency here in the Netherlands. And then in 2014, I decided to venture out on my own and start my own think tank. And we’re now four people. So we’re a small think tank boutique, some say

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (06:22): yeah, yeah, yeah. Very good.

Thimon De Jong (06:24): That is a fancy way of saying small but having lots of fun doing that speaking training and, and doing lots of research, especially now in these crazy times.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (06:36): Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And, and in terms of, of the think tank, are there any sort of, you know, recent sort of a perhaps sort of case histories and dunno if they’re sort of secret or, or sort of a restricted and confidential to your clients, or if there are any things you can talk us through in terms of specific subject matters that you’ve looked into that?

Thimon De Jong (06:55): Yeah, so, so, so the big theme, so what we do is we, we study human behavior. So the field of social psychology, and we look at the future of human behavior. So we look at current research, academic research, historical research, and see, can we predict, and here I’m doing the air thing with my fingers, if we can predict human behavior, the next three to five years. So we’re not looking at 20, 50 or 2080, where we all have bionic bodies and, you know, the craziest stuff. So the practical three to five years and we have a few themes within that. One of course is digitalization. So I always say, I know nothing of the iPhone 20, or, you know, the, the, the next wave of Teslas. But I do know how you can get people to step aboard a cell driving car or how people will respond to certain kinds of new technologies that are coming. Another research topic is trust. So how people make decisions and what kind of information do they trust, what kind of people do they trust and how that is changing, and specifically in this time during the pandemic, their lows largest changes, mm-hmm, generations also research theme, and specifically generation Z. So these are, that’s the generation that comes after the millennials and ethics and mental health are research term theme three and four.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (08:27): Yeah, that’s really interesting Thimon. So just to take those points in turn, I mean, the first one you mentioned there in terms of a theme was digital, and, and as you were saying, it’s not a case of yours, of you trying to predict what Mr. Elon Musk is going to be doing in 30 years time when he’s living on Mars, but far more practical advice for, for brands and organizations. So perhaps you could just talk us through a, a, a bit more detail about that in terms of how you do it and the sort of things that you are looking into.

Thimon De Jong (08:54): Yeah. So, so currently we’re very much looking into the digitalization that’s happening now. You know, everyone was forced to go into zoom and the, the Skypes and the, you know, the, the virtual meetings and you hear a lot of, you know, happy people from the Silicon valleys of this world that say, oh, finally this was the, the, the push that we needed because in three weeks or three months time, we have seen a push for digitalization and acceleration that would have normally taken a few years. And they actually say this behavior that we have now meeting up more digitally will stick. I don’t know if you’ve heard that, you know, that, that famous 66 days that it takes for a habit to be formed. Yeah. Yeah. They say we’ve been in this lockdown semi lockdown phase for now over 66 days.

Thimon De Jong (09:49): So new habits will have formed. So here we are this is what it will be. And even after Corona, we’re gonna bounce back maybe a little bit, but people think we’re, we’re gonna stay here in this, you know, very much digital. We are having a digital conversation right now, remote mm-hmm . So looking into, is that really true? What does the research tell us? What does history tell us? And you know, if, if we actually look at, you know, historical events, and if we look at the research I’m, I’m quite convinced that we’re not gonna stay virtual and that we might do a bit more zoom when the pandemic is over. But there’s so much human interaction and actually physical interaction. There’s so much lacking in, you know, if you have a digital, if you have a virtual meeting that we’re gonna go bounce back very, very soon. Mm-Hmm . And actually there might be a new habit formed in these six, six days. But if the pandemic is over, if we have a vaccine or we have a medicine, then it will only take 66 days for us to bounce back into normal.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (11:03): Very, very interesting.

Thimon De Jong (11:04): For example, not flying, I used to fly a lot now I’m not flying. So you might say, oh, are new habit is formed. You’re not flying anymore 66 days, but then, you know, if everything opens up skies, open up again, the prices go back to where they were relatively, where they were, then, you know, it, it will only take two or three months and then people will be flying again. Mm-Hmm so that’s this big question that we’re looking at right now, what will stay, what will, what will disappear and will we bounce back to how it was in 2019 Precor? That’s a wonderful thing to, to, to to research and,

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (11:44): And yeah. Yeah, sure. Make scenario. And, and, and what about I saw you give a a talk at the to one of these speakers, associates events recently, and it’s really interesting what you were talk, what you were were concentrating on then with regards to your viewpoints on trust and where trust is now you were talking about I’ve got my I’ve got my notes here from when I watched your talk. And you’re talking about ourselves now being at the end of a 15 year sort of a trend, which you described as a, as a sort of pendulum shift in trust. Perhaps just talk us through that.

Thimon De Jong (12:17): Yeah. So one of the, there several ways of measuring trust in society and one of the ways is look at an axis where on one hand you have the so-called formal and institutional, and on the other end, you have the informal and personal spheres and you look, where is trust and where is it going? And what we’ve seen for the past 15 years, that trust has been shifting towards the personal and informal spheres. Well, how can you see that in? You can see that in people research well, trust is moving for example, to social media and not to traditional media, it’s moving to, if you want to buy something to a peer review over an expert review yeah, it’s moving away from academia, scientist, academics, and more to opinion leaders. It’s moving to populist politicians and not the boring political parties or politicians in the middle.

Thimon De Jong (13:16): And the instinct thing is that, that this shift has been happening for 15 years. Getting more personal, getting more informal. This is also where all the influencer culture is. That is on the personal informal side mm-hmm . But what we’ve seen happening in February, March, April is that, and that’s why I call the trust pendulum. The pendulum has shifted the other way, it’s the end, but it’s immediately going back towards the formal and institutional. And we see that, well, you have to be a bit lucky because this is not applicable to all countries, but most countries have governments that actually take care of their people, put the right measures, restrictions, et cetera, in place. That trust in, in government has gone up. For example, in, in the Netherlands where I live trust in our government in April and may has gone up with 30%, three, zero 30%, which is mm-hmm, unprecedented.

Thimon De Jong (14:12): That’s a huge spike in trust. We’ve seen in global research that if people were asked, so who would you like to have more information from? People said, we want to hear more from scientists, the academics, the people that actually study this pandemic now to many people that sounds like a logical thing. Well, of course we want to hear from scientists. But it’s actually not. Because if you compare to last year where we had all the street protests with global warming Tumba, et cetera, it was not that people you know, the general public said, oh, let us hear more from client scientists, let us hear more from the IPCC, the client panel experts, you know, we want to hear more from them. No, it was, you know, the opinion leaders, the people who have, you know, these great quotes in talk shows it, it was those people who got to the podium and people said, well, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m going with them.

Thimon De Jong (15:06): It’s, you know, it’s Donald Trump saying global warming. It’s snowing outside what you’re talking about. Yeah, yeah. That was last year. And now we see trust moving back to, you know academia scientist. We see the traditional media doing well. If you just look at the numbers, trust in social media has decreased. Yes. There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there and traditional media, you know, to my personal opinion, give them too much of a podium, but there’s a lot of conspiracy theories around the coronavirus out there. But if you look at the general public, and if you look at trust research happening these months, right now, we see that trust has decreased in social media. Mm-Hmm and celebrities and influencers. They’re suffering quite a bit. This is not a time for, you know, this is not a good time for the Kim Kardashians of this world in their super fancy villas showing of their latest designer. Clothing’s alright. You know, we we’ll see you after Corona.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (16:09): Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Thimon De Jong (16:12): It’s it, it’s great that you’re having fun with your designer clothing in your million dollar mention, but

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (16:17): No, not now. . And then what about generation Z? So you’re talking there about what is happening and what is different about this, this

Thimon De Jong (16:27): Group? Add one more thing. Oh, of course. What’s also interesting. Is that the, the list of key workers divided professions? I don’t know how you call them in the UK.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (16:36): Yeah, yeah, sure. Yeah. Key workers. Yeah.

Thimon De Jong (16:37): Key workers. Most of these groups of workers are from the so-called formal institutional spheres, a local government, for example. And the instinct thing is that trust is now rapidly moving back to these people. And for 10, 15 years, trust has been moving away from them literally. And sometimes in, in training workshops or after keynotes, they actually say this, we, we, people are not trusting us. We actually have felt, you know, people have worked longer in, for example, local government. They say you know, we, we felt this when I started 20 or 30 years ago, it was different. And now, you know, people do not trust anymore. And now it’s bouncing back to them, especially because we now go to a situation where we have more local lockdowns. So it won’t be national things, but it will be local governments, city councils. And this is actually, I don’t know if they’re prepared for that, and this is actually a great thing, but they’re still in, how shall I say a bit of a defensive mode? People don’t trust us, but it’s, it’s different. It, it’s actually a big, you know, a bounds, it’s a pendulum and it’s rapidly moving back. So they have to change for example, their communication strategy. They can, they can actually change it because the trust is, is, is, is at their side. Now it’s moving to them. So just to add that as a last thing.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (18:01): Yeah, yeah. How interesting

Thimon De Jong (18:02): Thing? Not from the private side, but the public sector side these are great times and, and enjoy it.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (18:10): Mm-Hmm yeah. Yeah. Okay. Then, and then moving on to the the generational issue, the the, the generation Zed situation.

Thimon De Jong (18:18): Oh, yes. Well, I can talk for an hour in gen Zed. I actually have two, two gen Zed colleagues. It might be interest start with them. So, so gen Zed they were born from late 1990s onwards. So the oldest members of gen Zed are 21, 22, 23 years old.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (18:40): Yeah.

Thimon De Jong (18:40): Yeah. And that’s beyond that D the millennial start. So I actually have two gen Z colleagues, 21 and 22 year olds. And the instinct thing is this generation is on the one hand their mental health. They’re not in a good place already before the pandemic started. So if you look at mental health statistics globally, different generations, they’re not doing too well stressed a lot of pressure on them, you know, to find their passion, to succeed. Social media plays a large role in this. So the instinct thing is, and now the Corona pandemic hit them. So the oldest ones of this generation, you know, if you look at the outlook on the job market, so, so you think that they’re not in a good place, but what does the research show they’re actually I, I thought this generation would be, how shall we say this in a nice English, quite grumpy towards the older generations?

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (19:44): yeah,

Thimon De Jong (19:46): Because this whole, you lock down semi lockdown. They’re fine. Their generation is fine. And, and you know, if, if the coronavirus hits them, they, they might get a bit ill, but, you know, they are the least

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (19:58): Yeah, yeah.

Thimon De Jong (19:59): Vulnerable generation. But, you know, from an economical standpoint, they’re hit quite hard, but they’re actually very empathetic. So they’re actually very, to older generations they, they respond with kindness and patience in a sense. Mm. And that’s thing for me to see as a gen Xer in my forties.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (20:21): yeah. Yeah.

Thimon De Jong (20:23): If I was them with my mentality in a way I’d, you know, I’d be like, come on don’t, you know?

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (20:30): Yeah, yeah.

Thimon De Jong (20:31): And I had, one of them say, well, the way all these older people feel about the coronavirus, the pandemic that’s going, that’s how I’ve been feeling about global warming for a long time.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (20:42): Wow. Okay. But the way

Thimon De Jong (20:43): The old are feeling about Corona, that’s the way I feel this, this fear is, is about global warming. So now you feel what, what we feel. Now the instinct thing is that on this empathy part there’s actually research. I, I don’t know if you have show notes and I can share you the study, people can read into it. So the advice that we’re giving now is actually to use this, if you have an organization and you have gen Z employees or gen Z interns, yeah. You can actually use this for some reverse mentoring. Are, are you familiar with reverse mentoring?

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (21:23): Yeah. Yeah. I think fascinating subject.

Thimon De Jong (21:24): Yeah. So gen Z is mostly used for reverse mentoring in the digital sphere. So please explain me TikTok or Snapchat. Yeah. I have no idea. Can you show me on your phone or how does Tinder work in those things? But the way they actually so their, their empathy towards us and this brings me to another big theme of our, our mental health. They can actually help us with that. And especially older males like myself, who mm-hmm might be suffering, might not know how to lead their teams with the youngsters. And the advice we actually give them is use your gen Z members and ask them some questions. So, you know, what should I do? I’m, I’m struggling with this. We’re in this virtual meeting, I am the 45 year old manager or leader. I’m the, I’m the meeting leader. How can I boost some engagement in this virtual meeting? What, what would you recommend me to do? Or, you know, I’m stressed out. I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m nervous about this. So this is not a thing we’re used to be asking our youngsters and I actually advise it might be counterintuitive to actually do just that.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (22:40): Mm, absolutely. Super

Thimon De Jong (22:42): Use their empathy and compassion. Yeah. Yeah. Towards us, the older generations they have a lot of experience with talking about their mental health and their mental health issues. They’re a lot more open than we are. I don’t know how shop, but I assume you’re not a gen Z member. And gen remember

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (22:59): Proud gen X, bring it on the finest generation of all time.

Thimon De Jong (23:03): I don’t know about that. We’re generation, but I don’t know if I would say finest

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (23:11): And then what about,

Thimon De Jong (23:12): Yeah. So to open up for our, our gen Z emotionally and let them help you.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (23:19): Mm mm. Very, very interesting. Very inspiring. And then what about the point you also, the other subject matter? Ethics. Mm.

Thimon De Jong (23:29): Yeah, so gen Z and ethics, very instinct. Oh, so of course we saw them last year street protesting. Yeah. Interesting is that many people thought, well, young people are not gonna street protest anymore. We saw the street protest in the eighties, our generation still street protesting economic downturn, then a lot of other things happening you know, nuclear weapons, et cetera, is more cebo, but the millennials and I, I, I, but that’s a different topic but there’s a lot of millennial bashing going on. One of the millennial bashes that you hear a lot, it’s a cliche is that they’re click to fists. So actively click to, is that their way of protesting is clicking, liking, sharing a campaign on Facebook and yeah. Yeah. That you can’t get them to actually act just sitting behind their screen. Yeah.

Thimon De Jong (24:24): I actually think J gen Z and also the young millennials have proved them wrong because they actually last year was the largest youth protest in decades. Sure. Yeah. Yeah. And actually young people, you know, they, they, yes, , they love their screens. But actually this ethical issue of global warming they’re taking to the street, they’re protesting striking for climate GRA Berg as an example, but she’s, that’s just, you know, that’s just one person, but this is a global movement. And we actually see young people very much involved, very informed about the challenges the world is facing. And the climate is still number one, coronavirus they’re empathetic and compassionate to us and the older generations and the situation and, and stand the lockdown and okay. You know, we’ll have a virtual, you know, high school class and it’s fine for now. We’ll do all that, the social distancing, but the climate is still their main concern.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (25:28): Yeah. Okay.

Thimon De Jong (25:30): So I, I know a lot of organizations are yeah. Climate, all right. Let’s first fix the economy and fix society. And when we got that, you know, you know, when we’re, when we’re, when we have that, you know, the ball rolling again, then we’re gonna deep dive into you know, where we left off with sustainability. I recommend don’t do that. Do both at the same time.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (25:53): Okay. Very interesting. Okay. Then just moving up to right up to the to the moment in terms of events and your speaking. So, I mean, last month there was the, say that the recovery summit organized by speakers associates. I think it was probably the biggest event of the year from any speaking organization. You can just have eight and a half thousand delegates were sort of viewing all the speakers from around the world over an extraordinary array of talks. So just talk us through exactly what you were speaking about when you gave your keynote.

Thimon De Jong (26:28): Yeah. So I was speaking on the nurse mentality for leaders. So this was on what kind of leadership do we need during this crisis beyond and the nurse mentality can be summarized. You know, it’s a response to the main emotion. The majority of the people have globally in response to the crisis that we’re in. And the main emotion that people have is actually concern or a, a fear, and that people are worried about who will take care of me. If I get the coronavirus, what will happen to me, who will take care of me if I lose my job, or, you know, I’ll lose half my job, or my wife lose, you know, my partner lose their job. Mm-Hmm . And if people are not worried about themselves, they worried about friends, family members, children neighbors, local community, they’re friends and family, their loved ones, their community.

Thimon De Jong (27:26): So it’s a concern who will take care of me, who will take care of us. Mm-Hmm and if we look at the true heroes of this crisis globally, it is the nurses, the symbols very symbolic. The, the people, the true hears of this Christ are the nurses. This is globally mm-hmm . And I actually combine those two because the nurses are actually globally and still are maybe not now in the Netherlands and in the UK, because this peak is over. But in other parts of the world, it’s, the nurses are on the frontline, risking their own health, risking their own life, treating Corona patients for very little pay.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (28:06): Yep.

Thimon De Jong (28:07): And taking care of us, not only physically because they physically take care of us, but also mentally we have doctors and surgeons, et cetera, as well. But it’s the, nursess actually there all the time. Before you go into surgery, when you get outta surgery hand on your shoulder, you have this button next to your hospital bed, you can press it. And the nurse is there and ask, how can I take care of you? Yeah. Are you in pain? Are you scared? Are you anxious? I am here. How can I help? So the nurse mentality for a Corona or so this real nurse for a Corona patient in a hospital, you can take this mentality and adapt that to leadership because yes, you have people at work in organization, but they’re concerned that they have maybe in a private life, they also take this to work. And they might have a concern, you know, will I be fired or they might have a concern. My neighbor is ill, or my, my partners ill, or my friends and family, you know, there’s something with that. So this concern is there all the time. And I advise leaders, managers to next to all the leadership skills they have. So this is an addition mm-hmm to adopt a so-called nurse mentality.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (29:21): Yep.

Thimon De Jong (29:21): And then I can practically explain a little bit what it means, but that is yeah, yeah, yeah. That was my topic.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (29:26): Okay. And just, and also linked into that point about the actual reality of that event, and also the way that, that you are delivering your talks. I mean, so here we are, as we were saying earlier on summer 2020 there aren’t the moment, you know, no or minimal amounts of big sort of face to face interactive events going on anywhere. So where, where do you see this going in terms of yeah. Next steps for live events, you know, like the future for the keynote speaker.

Thimon De Jong (30:02): That’s a great question. So my keynotes for March, April, may, June, so that it’s, it’s only been virtual mm-hmm after a few months of silence, I must say so now it’s virtual I think we’re, we’re slowly going to startup again. So there will be smaller events, or if you have a very large venue, you can have actually quite a large group of people in there with social distancing or with actual screens. So I think there will be some creative, innovative solutions to actually have a life event because people are actually craving for life gatherings again. And then we can, you know, we already talked about what happened, in the UK when the pubs opened now. Yeah. I wouldn’t compare immediately, you know, one on one, a corporate gathering to what happened in, in London over the weekend. But

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (30:56): Perhaps the, perhaps the reception afterwards

Thimon De Jong (30:58): Well, yeah, well, yes. But it’s the, you know, people want to physically meet up together, see each other. And the virtual presentations are, are great for now. But you miss the, you miss the body language and we all know cliché, the majority of our complications, you missed the body language, you missed the energy, you missed a direct response because in the virtual there’s this mini lag mini delay, which wears us out. And one of the main reasons why zoom is so exhausting, if you spend a few hours virtual meeting, so there’s this whole list why it will never replace a physical get together. Yeah. So I think we’ll see this, this fall, we see a lot of innovative solutions and I think we’ll see hybrids solutions. So for example what I expect is that we’ll have a mini life event.

Thimon De Jong (31:49): So in London, there might be live event. You might have 50 people present, but then it will be live streamed to let’s say EDRO and instead of people watching it on their own personal device in their office, or at home, you’ll have an, EDRO also a physical get together. And there, you also have 30, 40, 50 people together in a room, maybe with a local moderator, maybe in a cinema with a huge screen. Mm-Hmm so yes, it will be like the recovery summit, but then not people watching it on their own, but people getting together to watch it in a group and maybe have facilitated discussion afterwards, locally. Yeah. Instead of 500 or 5,000 people in one super big room or theater in London, and that we all traveled that we get this, this hybrid model yeah. Where you combine a little bit the best of both worlds. Mm. But I think in the long run, I think we’re going back to the, to the, the the physical meetings, but that may be a bit of hybrid on this side compared to four days of working at the office and one day working from home, or maybe three days at the office and two days at home, but not the other way around. We’re

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (33:04): Gonna, yeah.

Thimon De Jong (33:04): Yeah, yeah. We’re not gonna have the virtual as the majority of things. And then a little bit of physical or the majority working from home and then a little bit of the office. It will be the other way around.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (33:14): Yeah. Okay. Okay. Very interesting. Okay. Now what about the world of sort of inspiration? I mean, your known as being a very, very inspiring speaker, but go on then. Where do you get your inspiration from Thimon?

Thimon De Jong (33:30): That’s a good question. Well, I, I read a lot I read a lot, I watch a lot of, you know, video because I actually like watching other speakers or videos or documentaries online. I speak to a lot of people. I’m a bit of an information sponge. Yeah. I like stories the best in the sense of when you told me a story that, you know, you’re going to Cornwall, or your wife went to Soho it’s in these little conversations, it’s always the, for example, this, yeah. I don’t know if that’s correct anyways, but the side conversation. So it often the true inspiration is not in the main thing people say or the main story, but it’s in the, you the subtext decide.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (34:19): Yeah. Yeah, sure.

Thimon De Jong (34:21): That is where the instinct things happen.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (34:24): I think it’s very interesting point. You saying again, perhaps linking into your earlier point about the, you know, the things we miss from from live events and, and it’s been fascinating doing this series of of, of podcast for speakers, associates that, you know, when I’m talking with you know you other speakers, how often this point comes up about and it, it’s always interesting to hear it from the speakers, as opposed to the audience where one would obviously would normally hear it when the speakers themselves, like you are saying, you know, what, a lot of the really powerful things about events are what happens off the stage? You know, it is that the interaction between the audiences, these people, you know, whatever, perhaps sort of flying in, meeting up with colleagues, I haven’t seen for a while talking about what people perhaps like you have just been talking about having their own discussions about it. You mentioned the point you’d saying about where’s it all going? Could well be yes. So, you know, a small group group turn up to view you live and then other small groups in various parts of the world are then watching you speaking via a screen and then having a moderator there to talk about, what’s just being said. So again, that whole thing about, you know, the subtext and the, and the conversations that happen afterwards. Yeah.

Thimon De Jong (35:40): And, and what a lot of people don’t realize is that most professional speakers or let’s say what maybe not most, but many professional speakers adapt their pacing stories, interactivity on the stage, on the spot. Mm. So yes, of course you have your story, but you feel that I, I can only describe it as feeling, I feel the audience, it sounds very but you feel alright I need to speed up here or I need to slow down, or I need an, an extra case or an extra example to explain this, or

Thimon De Jong (36:18): They’re getting a bit tired. I’m gonna give them an exercise and I’m gonna do this exercise and an one minute exercise, but a five minute. So you can actually adapt and improvise based on what you feel. And of course see cuz many audience, you know, you can see, you have the big, the big stage with loads of light. You don’t see anyone yeah, yeah. The first row, but then still those ones, you still feel the energy. And if you present to a camera that is, to me, it’s extremely hard because I, I, I kind of have to think in a parallel track, how would they normally feel respond, react to when I’m saying this, should I pause? Will they laugh here? Will they be shocked here? Will they take a note here? So I’m, I’m the fact that I can’t feel the energy. Geez. I, I sound like like the bug one the energy that makes it extremely challenging to do, to, to give the same kind of the same kind of quality. Yeah. I, you know, practice makes perfect, so I’m getting better at it, but I very miss that. Mm-Hmm and I think the audience as well.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (37:43): Yeah, yeah. Oh, completely going back to your, as say the core areas that you specialize in via Western. So you talked talking about sort of digital and trust generation Z ethics and health. Yeah. So let’s say, so you are giving a talk on digital, or you are giving a talk on generation Z or health or whatever would you, I mean, again, would you, perhaps you need to be using you know, specific brands and say, you know what, here’s a great example of a brand that markets generation Z in a really, really good way, or here’s an organization that acts in a really ethical way, and this is what we can learn from them.

Thimon De Jong (38:18): Yeah. That, yeah. That’s, that’s great. So gen Z, I think we have a I think it’s Gucci. We have Gucci in there who have a shadow board of young people. Mm-Hmm, who actually interact with the real board, but then if you look at sustainability so, so the production, et cetera. And so there might be some question marks. So that’s often the case is that a brand or an organization you can use part of what they do you know, as an example, as a case study mm-hmm but then to your point yeah, so no, it, it very much differs from topic to topic. So brands that do great digitally might when it comes to ethics or trust might be in a, you know, you, you almost want to use them as a counter example because they make many mistakes.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (39:16): Yeah. Yeah.

Thimon De Jong (39:18): So we don’t do much brand bashing because yeah. I think people know the negative example, so it I’d rather show a positive or this brand is very much future focused.

Thimon De Jong (39:33): So you know, now in these Corona times, we have examples of brands doing great things. But they’re also, you know, organizations that lay off people while it’s not necessary yet. So they’re still, you know, because they do everything to keep the shareholders happy and just layoffs, lays layoffs of the shareholders. You know, they still get their dividends. But I don’t have to put them in my presentation. I rather mm-hmm, give inspiring examples of the brands that are doing the right thing or with the nurse mentality leaders who have done just that.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (40:07): Okay. Absolutely understood. Okay. So in that case, what looking to the future then I mean, certainly you say in the shortest term future this being the summer, I know you, you are often holiday lucky, man. But in, in terms of the sort of things you’ll be getting up to over the next few months, any sort of any specific plans or, or things coming up that you can tell us about?

Thimon De Jong (40:30): Well, we, we’ve made a, a, a, a little home studio. You saw that in the recovery summit already.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (40:37): Oh

Thimon De Jong (40:37): Yeah. I think if you have a virtual virtual offering now as a speaker, so this is for all the, the, the, the other virtual speakers out there to to have a virtual session with your webcam filming, you know, the inside of your nose and, you know, eye contact. That is, that was okay in March and April, but not anymore. So, you know, we have a 4k camera and a proper microphone and studio lights, et cetera. And so I think we’ll see more of that. So I see the virtual offerings and I’ve seen other speakers work with green screens and crazy backgrounds. You might have seen a few examples that,

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (41:18): Yeah. Yeah, sure. I,

Thimon De Jong (41:19): I think we see and I have actually also seen speaker who go into a full TV studio. I’m going to Stockholm in September, and then I’m actually flying there not to be in the event, but to, to, to well, my, my presentation will be live streamed from a television studio in Stockholm. mm-hmm

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (41:40): wow. Yeah,

Thimon De Jong (41:41): Wait, wait. It was kind of wow. But yeah, of course I’ll, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll come. And you can record me in TV studio. So I think we’ll see that personally, I, I was finishing my first book and then the coronavirus hit, I was on my last chapter. So I’m rewriting that I’m not have to rewrite the whole book, but to have chapters on the digital and trust and gen Z and not have the coronavirus running through that is impossible. So but I’m actually glad I was finishing it and that it was not just published because I think if you wrote a book on the future of human behavior and it came out a few months before the coronavirus, then it would feel odded immediately, unfortunately.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (42:28): And, and what is your book called?

Thimon De Jong (42:30): Well, the, the working title, we still have a rewarding title it’s called future proof. Yep. But we have a few other titles, so I’m, I’m we have yet to decide but working titles, future proof.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (42:42): And, and when will it now be out of your rescheduling that Or is that the, the million dollar

Thimon De Jong (42:49): Question? I don’t know. That’s that’s the, yeah, that’s the million dollar question. I don’t know. I, I have to feel comfortable with putting it out cuz I think it will come out during that we don’t have a vaccine yet. And I know Donald Trump has recently said we’ll have a vaccine before the end of the year. Most likely, I don’t think so. I’ve heard on say it will be five or six years, so we’ll go in and yeah. To an in between. Yeah. So, so we have to live with this coronavirus being here for a few more years. So, and then of course the question was the economy going to do world economy and yeah. So to your politics, et cetera. So probably early next year, But that is a wild guess.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (43:36): And then in terms of what the actual, the book looks into specifically is any pointers that the listeners can, can find online about that or? Yeah.

Thimon De Jong (43:46): Well, it’s just, it has seven different, so it’s not one, so I’m not, it’s not a whole book on trust or not a whole book on digital or not a whole book on gen set. So it has seven chapters and seven different topics. So it’s actually, it’s almost like seven keynote presentations in a book.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (44:00): Oh, okay.

Thimon De Jong (44:01): It’s, it’s quite broad. It will be full color loads of pictures. So it it’s a bit it’s, it’s, it’s not your standard management book, which is just text and black and white, you know, just it’s a bit in between a management book, a let’s say a monocle magazine and

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (44:21): Oh yeah, yeah.

Thimon De Jong (44:23): Well maybe a newspaper or, yeah. So it’s a bit, and then I’m trying to find a little bit of a blue ocean .

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (44:30): Yeah, sure.

Thimon De Jong (44:33): And I hope people will like that when it comes out.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (44:35): Fantastic. Very good to be linking to the mighty monocle. Remember going down to Melbourne with Tyler Bly a while ago and yeah. What it’s such a, a such a standalone title monocle very, very well put together to put it mildly. It is Okay then internet. So last couple things Thimon before we go. And it’s been an absolutely fascinating conversation. Thank you very much, indeed. Any other points in that, that that we should be covering off that I may have emitted to ask you?

Thimon De Jong (45:04): I don’t know. I don’t know. You’ve done quite a few of these. Well, what, what I’d like to ask, how do you, how do you foresee the near and the, the long term future? Are you positive? Are you negative? Are you you, are you realistic? at the, how do you feel?

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (45:21): Is it certainly on my side? I am positive. I mean, certainly I think so. I mean, just in terms of the basic realities of COVID I think it’s very clear that it’s yet to do its worst, you know as they say, you know people may be beginning to lose interest in it in certain parts of the world, but you know, as they say it hasn’t lost interest in us. I mean, yeah, so, I mean, I’m hanging the whole thing on as I say, you know, in, in my next book on hope community and resilience, which I think are the the three key things that one can focus on in terms of where it’s all going.

Thimon De Jong (45:55): There was hope what was the second one,

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (45:57): Hope community and resilience. So I think it’s yeah, those certainly, I mean, and that’s a sort of a separate sort of podcast. You

Thimon De Jong (46:05): Could, you could go into politics with that, the

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (46:07): Payoff, well, there we are very inspiring as they always say, always have three things to use as a, sort of a, as a book sort of a subheading or indeed sort of a, sort of a, a talk. So one of those but that’d be fascinating to read, to read your to read your book and it sounds it’s gonna be absolutely wonderful. And I really like the idea that you’re saying there about having a, a very, very different approach, very creative approach to putting out a, a business book, as opposed to the if like to, to, as opposed to the standard approach, which is very, very, you know, as, as, or they are always are, you know purely text driven and not visually or creatively sort of positioned. So I think, I think you’ve got a really fascinating angle, then

Thimon De Jong (46:51): Find a publisher who wants to publish a book like that because it will make it four or five times, you know, as expensive to print.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (46:59): Yep.

Thimon De Jong (47:01): And, and, you know, we, we live in virtual digital time, so a physical book to print a full color. Yeah. That’s, it’s insanely expensive. So, but luckily I have the speaking and the training, so so I don’t have to make money on the book. Of course, but it’s, it’s, you know, I’d rather make no money on the book and have something, you know, beautiful, you know, as a, you know, something that people love to read then to actually money on the book and then have something that I think, ah, man, you know it’s not as beautiful or inspirational as it could have been.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (47:40): Mm-Hmm well, as has a sort of a, a sort of creative link to monocle, find out Mr. Tyler Brule and do something with them. So there we are.

Thimon De Jong (47:49): That’s, that’s, that’s quite a character

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (47:54): To put it mildly very good. But Thimon that’s been absolutely fascinating. So so thank you so much for for sharing me the, the time and yeah, so renowned speaker soon to be renowned author and fascinating, inspirational think tank runner. Thimon De Jong, thank you very much.

Thimon De Jong (48:16): Thank you Sean. It has been a pleasure talking to you for this cheer.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (48:25): Thank you for listening to The Speaker 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 your favorite podcast app. Thank you.

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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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