For me, 2012 was an intense year of encounters and meeting of the minds. As I was replaying it in my mind, I remembered three unusual job titles, and three special persons behind those job titles.
These persons and their titles also represent what I wish to be hot topics for 2013 - possibilities, innovation and the “internet of things”.
PlayMoolah was the winner of the Innotribe Startup Challenge 2012, and I had the pleasure of giving Min and Audrey Tan (the other co-founder of PlayMoolah) the $50,000 prize at Innotribe@Sibos Osaka in November 2012. More about PlayMoolah in my earlier post on this blog.
Min has chosen the “Princess of Possibility” job title, and I find it goes perfectly with her – she is all smiles, outgoing and very kind. At the same time, she (and Audrey) relentlessly pursue a very ambitious and noble goal related to kids (educating them to master money and finance). And she manages to pull some magic (which really is all about perseverance and passion) to make this small startup grow.
The second best job title of 2012 is “Chief Happiness Officer”, and is a title that has been acquired after considerable effort by Laurence Vanhée (twitter:@happy_laurence, LinkedIn). Surely by now you must be thinking Laurence works in some startup in the Silicon Valley to claim a title like that. Well, not really. Laurence works as the head of human resources at the Belgian Ministry of Social Security. One of her basic beliefs (to which I subscribe 100%) is that people should be happy at work. Here is her TEDx talk explaining some of the ways she uses to make this happen in a governmental organisation. Don’t do the mistake of considering this as wishful thinking. Laurence is a woman on a mission, and she has many success to demonstrate that, yes, being happy at work is possible and necessary.
The Innotribe team has recently run an “Ignite” event at SWIFT – a kind of a TED event for the SWIFT employees, where we have brought some of the best 2012 Innotribe speakers (in fact we call them “Igniters”) to inspire our people. Laurence was with us and here is my sketch of her talk.
I really love the way Laurence says it – “Don’t Complain, Innovate!”. It’s a mantra that helps me at many occasions.
The third best job title of 2012 goes to Erik Kruse, “Networked Society Evangelist” at Ericsson. I got in touch with Erik (LinkedIn) when organising a SWIFT Business Forum is Oslo earlier in October 2012, and he simply … evangelised … me. I’m a technologist at heart, and he talks about pervasive technology, hyper-connectivity, and the “internet of things” (the internet where billions of humans but also hundreds of billions of things – computers, cars, fridges, micro-drones – will be connected and interacting). I’ve heard similar speeches before, and they tend to be threatening (at least to me). The big difference with Erik is that he explains this simply, in a non agressive manner. He is very humble and he talks in a kind of “around an open fire” manner. I also like the way he uses the life of his son to illustrate many of his concepts. Here is his TEDx talk for you to enjoy.
I also invited Erik at the Ignite event at SWIFT, and here is my sketch of his talk.
Erik Kruse uses the expression “Digital Transfomation” which I vibrate in sync with, see here for my thoughts about the digital transformation of finance.
2012 is drawing to a close, and as I said I had the privilege of meeting and interacting with incredibly creative and innovative people. I’ve highlighted three of them in this post, as they have what I thought to be inspiring job titles, but if you read this blog you will find out about many others.
On to 2013 - I think the above three job titles are the perfect representation of my wishes -
- Possibilities. We need to be open, to scan and understand the tremendous change we’re going through, driven by technology.
- Don’t complain, innovate. For the financial industry, this means: yes, we have more regulation, more rules, more costs. And yes, we have to do all of that with flat or reduced budgets. The only way ahead is innovation.
- The “internet of things” or hyper-connectivity. This drives tremendous changes in the social fabric, especially with the younger generation, soon to become our new employees and/or consumers. Focusing and understanding this new generation will be of paramount importance.
I want to use the opportunity to wish you an innovative, sparkling, exciting 2013.
A HAPPY 2013.