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Massive change ahead. Are you ready for the ride?

Massive change is ahead (or maybe it is already here.) Change in our workplaces, change in our society, change in how we live our life, change in how business operates, change in the type of jobs that we will be doing. You name it … we are living within a time of massive change.

We have a choice; to get on board and reap the rewards that are available to us by being part of this change… or resist and be left behind.

This is the primary message I took from the Wired For Wonder conference held in Melbourne last week.

My brain is tingling from the fresh ideas, the innovation and out of the box thinking, from taking a peak into the future and from the fabulous conversations with many forward thinking people.

The team at Wired For Wonder fired up my wonderings from the moment I stepped into the reception area of the venue.   They had set the scene with a team of white coat clad mad scientist types serving tomato infused tea amidst the theatre of smoking dry ice. At morning tea there were gorgeous flavoured donuts on plates suspended from the ceiling. And a magical table laden with sweet treats of all types that resembled a fairy’s garden greeted us at afternoon tea.

Clearly this was not going to be any ordinary conference.

Here are just a few of the ideas that have remained swimming in my mind over the last few days

1. Don’t be a zombie  Technology pioneer, Nolan Bushnell warned us not to be part of the “zombie apocalypse,” that is taking over many workplaces. He reminded us that we were all once creative, curious and willing to give things a go but somewhere along the way we have been trained to regurgitate the “right” answers and follow the status quo.

Innovative employers such as Apple and Google are regularly hiring people straight from high school who are passionate, self taught and making things happen. They are hiring on credentials, experience and merit rather than university degrees and marks.

2.  Embrace Entrepreneurial Thinking. Successful 21st Century leaders will be those people who can develop entrepreneurial thinking. To get ahead and stand out from the crowd, leaders must develop the ability to innovate, create and engage teams. Most importantly they must have clarity of vision and always be striving to do great work, focused on building trust with their community of customers.

Rachel Botsman made this clear in her presentation on the power of collaboration and sharing. The leaders of both Uber and Airbnb have done this brilliantly, rallying a tidal wave of loyal followers to their businesses. Regardless of the resistance from the traditional players in these industries, “the genie is now out of the bottle” with customers embracing this new way of business. There is clearly no going back from here.

3.  Persistence. Failure and rejection is the norm. The awe inspiringly brilliant Jack Andraka who at only 15 invented an inexpensive early detection test for pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancers had his request for lab space rejected by dozens of institutions before convincing an eminent cancer researcher to let him use his lab to develop his theory.

What a great reminder. If we want to achieve great things we must be prepared to back ourselves and to persist in the face of rejection and failure.

You will win some. You will loose some… that’s life.

And then there was Cindy Gallop who is on a mission to disrupt the way we view sex with her Make Love Not porn Website. Given that this website is all about showcasing real sex (rather than sanitized, commercialized and acted out porn sex) she has encounter a range of obstacles; including difficulty securing funding, finding a video platform that would allow her to show adult material and identifying a payment system that was prepared to be associated with her product.

This is a great example of new business thinking bumping up against old world standards and rules. Persistence will definitely be required to find new world solutions!

4.  Focus your mind. Within our mind is untapped potential. Tapping into that potential is ever so simple…. but not at all easy in the busyness of our world.

Aleks Krotosk shared with us that we do our best work when we are in “flow.” But more often than not we get into the state of flow not with important work but with responding to the constant disruption of emails. She asked “Are you focusing on emails because it is useful and productive or because you have been drawn into the vortex through trance?”

We all know that exercise is important. The fabulously high octane Libby Babet bounced onto the stage to get us out of our seats and moving. After 90 minutes of sitting our minds were starting to wander. But did you know that just 20 minutes of walking will increase your focus? And that a 20 minute nap will increase our effectiveness by up to 30%?

And one of my personal favourite moments of the day was being guided through a meditation by Hindu Priest and Mind Coach; Dandapani. Meditation has recently become a regular part of my day. Dandapani reaffirmed that meditation is not something we will get instantaneous gratification from, but the positive effects will come over time, through consistently including as part of our lifestyle.

The challenge from here….

We have no choice. Change is upon us and resistance will be fruitless. Lets embrace the new world and get on board for the ride. I know for one, I am excited about what the future holds.

Thank you Women In Focus for the opportunity to attend this event that has changed the way I think and see the world as it now is.

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