Transcript for "Futurism - with Karena de Souza"

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00:00.00
podcomm
Hello I’m Craig Constantonine hi Karna welcome I love doing these things I get to talk to people day after day after day an embarrassment of riches as I love to say we have a little prechat and we were talking about the.

00:01.46
Karena
Hi and I’m Karina desouza.

00:18.66
podcomm
Podcasting Journey is like a really obvious I get a podcaster or somebody who’s been a podcaster or somebody who’s taken a podcasting course. That’s the obvious place to start and but I think you have more than just the journey to talk about I think you’re I’m going to say your story about. Like you started podcasting and then in my opinion you realized it was actually a book that you needed to write really not just a podcast. So unless I’m stuffing words in your mouth. Can you tell me about how the how what you thought was going to be a podcasting journey turned into a book journey.

00:49.16
Karena
Um I think it’s best described as being an akimbo junkie to start off with so my invitation. Um I Guess what best describes me is someone who is always looking to learn.

00:54.51
podcomm
He.

01:03.81
Karena
And with that in mind I’d come into the akimbo community um done ah the marketing seminar bumped into people like Maria where is and do and one day in our Linkedin conversations. She mentioned that there was this podcasting class coming up and would I like to try it out. Um, so. I actually joined the podcasting group just to figure out how this audio thing works um and almost as anyone who’s listening who’s been through the podcasting fellowship or the podcasting classes now knows that almost in the first three days they ask you. Well, what are you going to have the podcast button I’m like no no no I’m invisible here I’m just like behind the scenes I don’t want anything else but you know as in all things I thought ha what the heck and um I ah in my other life or in my other my real life I’m a futurist I talk about the future of work. And I predominantly want to talk to directly to generations that so this is anyone who’s born after Ninety Ninety five and the reason I wanted to figure out a technology that would um, talk to them or relate to them is they are the first generation born after the internet. They will never know a world without the internet but um, they are also on the cusp of a huge sea change because the internet has come along. We’re no longer the industrial era. We’re now the knowledge workers and that is going to really play into.

02:19.14
podcomm
Yes.

02:29.84
podcomm
Um, yes.

02:35.52
Karena
What we think of as work and therefore how society is organized. It’s going to ripple through how education how we look at Education. So I knew that I had a number of really big topics to put on the radar of this particular generation. And they are a transition generation. What is true for them will not be true for the generation after because someone will have figured things out, but it’s also not true as to what our generation had to go through because we so we were working to a set of rules that somebody else had decided for us. So This is literally a generation of explorers.

02:59.63
podcomm
My.

03:08.35
Karena
And so I came to the podcasting class thinking. Okay can I use sound as a way of of getting on the radar of this group. Um I’m also looking at Instagram looking at a whole bunch of other tools. So yes I was here to explore a technology and I found myself in the world of of podcasting. So I called my podcast tilt the future which is also the name of my organization. Um, it’s because I completely believe that each of us has the ability to make small changes that can pivot us towards a better future. We’ll never be able to forecast what it is but we each have within ourselves the ability to respond. In a way that improves our future. So that’s a little bit of a long intro. But um.

03:49.30
podcomm
Know that I think that’s good. It. It shows like I love the word futurist I think that’s a great description for what you’re doing like trying to um I think it is Saul Alinsky who can’t pull the exact quote but made a comment about I don’t know if it’s from the um, the book that he’s famous for writing which title escapes me rules for radicals I think it is um, he made a quote about he takes the future exactly sorry takes the present exactly as it is not as he wants it to be. And and that in no way depowers the value of his vision or like how much energy. Yeah, you should put into things when you’re trying to affect change. So I think your your point of view your perspective of looking towards the future um is really inspiring and that’s um, energizing for people who brush up against that.

04:41.32
Karena
Um.

04:44.78
podcomm
Um, did it become a so um I just love hearing people’s stories like did it become a struggle to like stick it out through the podcasting workshop like you you get the lesson 7 or 8 and you’re just like oh no, there’s so much I want to do beyond this and then it’s like did you just like run away to the next thing and and work on the book or or.

04:55.48
Karena
Ah. Ah, no I Um I got halfway through I got stuck on who my audience is ah you will soon discover that there is. There’s a part to this that that will make its way into the conversation about the Book. Um.

05:09.30
podcomm
Um, Amen it’s hard.

05:18.59
Karena
Because I I know what I know about the future which is nothing to be honest, right? It’s it’s each of us has yep, it’s it’s you know, but I know what I want for the future and I know ah my sister calleds me a prophetess which you know.

05:25.24
podcomm
Um, radical honesty I Love it. Um.

05:36.43
Karena
Really grated on me. The first time I heard it. But then I thought ah yes I understand that I understand the fact that people will hate me because they don’t understand what I’m saying so I have to be comfortable with the fact that I bring truths or visions to people that they will get to see so I’ve started I did this and like I started on this cake in 2015 way before. Covid so everything that covid has made um visible is something that I envisioned because I just saw the way the dominoes were stacked up so I’m not saying that I’m a brilliant in any way and I’m definitely not a forecaster so I don’t predict the future I just envision. A couple of different ways. It can go and um, you know and half the time I’m wrong which is what I love about what I do I love the fact that I can imagine things in the future and I can ah and I can willingly be wrong. That.

06:19.22
podcomm
Yeah, yeah.

06:30.27
Karena
Um, you know, even with my own children. They’ve proven to me that I can imagine what I think their next five years should be like and then they just completely blow it away. You know, like like they go down a different path I go that makes no sense and then they turn around and show me something that was like 10 times. Better so that is what I like about being a futurist futurist is someone who imagines but also imagines the negative. Um you know scenarios and tries to figure out even in that negative scenario. How would I survive how would I recover from that what can I take that is good from that situation and make better so that’s what I like about futurism it’s um it’s I think more a mindset than ah than a career. Um, but anyway so coming back to the whole idea of of audience as you can tell from you know my conversation I actually ended up in this in this particular field because at the time. I was writing about the future of money and 142013 2014 is when bitcoin came about when um Apple watch was literally launching the whole concept of being able to tap to pay was something that was at its beginnings and I was writing about all these things.

07:32.20
podcomm
Right.

07:42.76
podcomm
Dip.

07:45.18
Karena
And as an extension of that I began to see that the technology was going to drive how the workplace was going to change and at the same time I had my kids at my dinner table and we were debating. Okay, what class are you going to take you know and and and and you know as an immigrant mother as a middle class person. You know my instinct was.

08:03.16
podcomm
With what’s known right.

08:03.48
Karena
Stick with us with the stuff that has proven itself right? It’s like go be a doctor go be and ah you know a lawyer go be you know? um an engineer go to call exactly this is your path to success and that part now was coming slap bang up against what I was discovering for myself.

08:08.51
podcomm
Um, go to college is you just even go to college is the standard and you know.

08:23.45
Karena
So I realized that the future that I thought as a parent who grew up as somebody else’s child I was parenting as I was parented not as my intellect was telling me I should parent and so that’s when I started having deeper conversations with my kids exposing them to these these probably.

08:30.40
podcomm
3

08:43.31
Karena
Probabilities of what might happen and it just rippled. It started started with my kids you know ripple through to their friends and then I realized that I needed. Talking to parents because regardless of where the kids were. They were very attuned to what technology was going to do for them like these are kids who have grown up with Xboxes and you know nintendos and exactly yeah they are so instinctive about it. You know.

08:59.52
podcomm
Right? right? Digital native as I call them. Um I’m an I’m an import I can kind of do with my thumbs when I’m slow.

09:10.81
Karena
And ah, but I realized that especially at that age group that my kids were at is the parents who are holding purse strings into the higher education and many of them were ah I’ll I’ll use a phrase sabotaging what a 14 year old in you know instincts were. Now every parent wants to protect and they want the best for their child but that does absolutely um, so but when someone says no, you can’t go to school for doing you know game design. Well you know the past five years has proven that not to be the wisest.

09:31.33
podcomm
Certain instincts. We do want to suppress do not run across the street. You know like.

09:43.90
podcomm
Right? these? yes.

09:48.74
Karena
Advice that we could have given our kid so that’s where I come in I come in to be that interrupt in the conversation with parents to say you know take a step back is the future exactly the way it was when you were their age I’m telling you it isn’t and therefore what therefore can you hand to your child.

10:02.95
podcomm
No.

10:08.50
Karena
That positions them to be able to take advantage of a future that is very uncertain even more uncertain now with climate change and still position them for prosperity for happiness. All the things that a parent brings a child into the world for so that’s where I am. Um, and and it was that tussle between like you know how do you speak to generations that and how do you speak to the parent that that hosed me. Yeah.

10:31.53
podcomm
To the parents of 2 different different audiences have you found any I was gonna say have you found a mastermind group or have you found anyone else that not necessarily on the same journey as you but you know so it sounds like when you started discovering that. Being a futurist and being super interested in the future. It’s hilting the future when you figured out that that was the path you wanted to go on that sounds very alone very solo that can be good that can be bad but have you found other people and that that you find yourself talking to where they like. Get everything that you’re saying and and if you have found those people wherever you found them.

11:07.51
Karena
Um I I actually tend to be almost right now. A party of 1 in terms of talking to the parents. There are more and more as I imagined you know when I came out in 2015 I came out she says um when I started this work in 2015? Um, most of my work was talking about what the technologies were that inhibited the world of the future of work and then as I expanded um I began to focus primarily on what are the transition skills. You need to be able to make it from this generation to the future generations.

11:38.47
podcomm
Um.

11:41.24
Karena
What what skill does my child need to make it to the age of 100 is really the way I position it? Um, and in that everyone has caught up in terms of being able to talk to students being able to talk to educators ah being able to talk to and the employers. So those. Tended to be people that I was focusing on before but till now there are very few if anyone that I do know I don’t think there is anyone else that I know of who speaks to the parents and you know once again, it’s ah it’s a community of people who the people that I speak to are highly intelligent. And very often bringing Ai and robotics and algorithms and that they totally understand what the technologies are required for their workspace. Many of them are sea level parents themselves yet when they come home they parent as they were parented.

12:33.83
podcomm
Um.

12:35.43
Karena
And so like I said all I am is that conversation that 5 minute that five second interrupt in their thought process that says wait a second you just told me in this cocktail conversation that this is what you’re doing at the board level for your organization and now you’re coming home and you’re tutoring your child in a completely different direction.

12:46.40
podcomm
This is your vision right.

12:55.00
Karena
Ah, you including a conversation on how as an ah ah thalmic surgeon that they should you know they should also understand how to use a joystick you know that they should understand gaming. They should understand how robotics is going to play into their skill fifteen years from now when they’ve graduated and they’re sitting at the you know at the bottom of a patient’s bed.

13:01.77
podcomm
Right.

13:14.83
Karena
Managing this entire operation. You know you’re virtually so that is the conversation I want them to have with their kids not to ah reign on the parade or instincts of any child or you know young adult or any ambitions that they have but to have them be alert enough that they don’t.

13:17.53
podcomm
Virtually right.

13:31.66
Karena
End up having invested all this energy and then come away with not knowing um that they should have incorporated a little bit of either disaster control or technology skills in their training. So even someone like a musician if you look at musicians now. It’s interesting. How jazz musicians are almost like yes and and there are so much in demand for Ai development in robotics because we want robots that feel more human that are able to react in the way, a jazz musician picks up on a chord. So.

13:52.36
podcomm
Yeah, the virtuosity of of what goes in that work.

14:10.32
Karena
Those are skills that they are actually studying so that they can bring that skill into robotics and into Ai so there is a huge melding of these worlds and if if someone coming into higher education is aware of it. They’re perfectly placed but if they’ve got their blinkers On. They might end up not being well served and that’s all I’m here for.

14:33.38
podcomm
So we’ve been talking a lot about your your vision like what you are working on where you’re going and who you’re trying to reach and I’m I’m wondering about mediums so you’re talking about. You know these 2 very different audiences like oh you know the the jen.

14:47.65
Karena
Um, gens. Yeah yeah.

14:51.10
podcomm
AhZ sorry I’m bad I think I’m gen x gen z gen z and then the parents like our generation. Um, and they’re very different obviously very different types of people and I’m just wondering what your experience or um or your advice might be for people trying to reach either one of those generations like. Does audio seem to work better for 1 versus the other are there differences in maybe the amount like you know duration like 5 minutes versus 50 minutes in different mediums and just because you’ve got a unique perspective here I think having actually intentionally tried to contact 2 very different generations.

15:13.92
Karena
Um.

15:24.37
Karena
Yeah, um, where I’ve landed is ah you know going into the podcasting conversation. Um I started off in in the podcasting class doing everything what everybody else does which is doing the interviews and processing them. Um, what I very quickly gravitated towards was a I have 0 skills when it comes to reading sound waves. Um I read music and music has a different way of looking than the sound waves so sound waves I’ve got to keep reminding myself. This is volume. This is not pitch. Um so it it.

15:49.26
podcomm
Yeah.

15:58.83
Karena
Wrex Havoc on my brain. Um, but that’s learning That’s good. Um, where I ended up was doing a lot more host on mic events because I felt like I was more in control of getting those out on time so that was my um, that’s where I was going with this was trying not to publish whenever I had the opportunity but trying to keep up with a. Rhythm and so for those I found that I had host on mic was a better solution for me and with that I also started doing shorter host on mic episodes I imagined that my typical audience would either be um, someone who’s like 2025 you know, commuting into work. This is Pre-covid. Or a parent who’s sitting you know in the lineup to pick up kids from school or sitting by the side exactly and so um, you know there are a lot of really good interviews out there. But honestly I very rarely make them through a single through a whole episode right? because life gets in my Way. So I.

16:40.77
podcomm
Yeah, waiting for something right.

16:57.10
Karena
I I um focused my podcast on my sisters myself as an audience so something that is like bite size 5 minutes 8 minutes I think um, the interviews tend to be a little bit longer and the few interviews that I have included. Got the pushback saying okay that was way too long. What what was the calls notes version of that. Yeah, and so I I did try it. So there’s a series that I have in my podcast. Um, which was interviewing generation ed people. Ah kids who are very focused on technology.

17:14.70
podcomm
When when people expect 1 thing and you deliver another ah, you’ll find out right.

17:30.29
Karena
So that’s a great um leadership segment that I incorporated as a series. Um, the other thing that is a passion for me and it’s actually you know as a futurist. It’s like you know once everyone else catches up with me I’m no longer a futurist I’m a currentist so my next futurism. Focus is really climate change which it has been for a couple of years now and now of course you know everything’s catching up so I tend to talk at the intersection of climate change and future of work. How these 2 things um, impacting this. Particular generation but also how did we create hope in this environment. How do we take those messages and turn them away from doom and gloom. How do I create a positive environment for you know a child who’s going to lift the age of a hundred I want them to be you know motivated? Yes, yes.

18:15.96
podcomm
Right? And and how do they do something to make a tip like that’s that’s the whole. What’s this next thing. What’s the first thing that I can actually do.

18:23.55
Karena
How do you get them? there. Yeah yeah, and so that’s actually how I ended up writing the book. Um, same kind of thing I joined a group that said you know right between the solstices and this time around I went in with no intention of doing anything work based so um, as happens about. 17 venteen years ago now um we moved from the Us to Canada and we did a long way around instead of just taking a 7 hour trip straight north we actually went around the world for nine months and we had 3 young children with us. They were 18 years old at the time we did 16 countries. Um. And my husband said I’ve always asked you to write about that trip and I’m like I blogged it. You know what more do you need? Anyway. So I started off writing about the trip and halfway through that class. Um people kept saying you know this.

19:04.65
podcomm
Um, yeah.

19:16.22
Karena
This is not just for your family. You know we’re getting so much joy and so much value out of this and someone made a really insightful comment. They’re like can’t you like I said this is very private This is and I hadn’t up until recently talked about my trip as something public mainly. But.

19:27.98
podcomm
Rain.

19:33.53
Karena
Because I thought people would think that it was um that I was you know, incredibly rich and I did this but we didn’t we did it on a budget. We did very frugally. Um we it. It was predominantly a friends and family trip. Um that we went and stayed with people around the world. We had very distinct motivations for doing it. Um. And but I didn’t want that to color I didn’t want that to be the first thing someone knew about me and say oh yeah, that that rich broad. You know she doesn’t know. Yeah, exactly? Um, but what someone said to me is don’t you understand how that trip is indicative of the kind of person you are and what you’re trying to put out in the world for generations said this whole idea of.

19:55.10
podcomm
Yeah, you get pigeonholed.

20:12.75
Karena
Being flexible of making decisions on the fly of being exactly taking taking risk and when I repositioned my conversation this was right in the middle of covid obviously so um, that conversation happened around October and I was also coming off having done a class.

20:14.30
podcomm
Right? Don’t be afraid take the challenge.

20:32.80
Karena
On decision skills. So a lot of what I talk about when I talk about ah future of work is the value of eq skills that is something that we as parents have within our portfolio to be able to pass on to our so kids like iq skills are going to be date stamped. You know the the value of the. What they are changes so rapidly that if I tell my child. Um, you know a particular formula. For instance, there’s a chance that 15 years from now someone has come up with something better. But if I’m teaching them phonetics if I’m teaching them the alphabet those core skills. That is in essence what an eq skill is for us going forward. It’s how do we cope with every evolving future and so I talk a lot about eq skills I’d been looking at the decision skills I’d done a class and so this book was I took um the 12 decision skills. Components of how you make a decision which none of us think about because we do it so rote. It’s so automatic. Um, and I started breaking pairing them with trip with a little scenarios from my trip exactly like.

21:36.36
podcomm
Right? The lad The anecdotes are a particular thing that illuminates like go look here’s the thing that’s underneath the experience. Yeah.

21:43.65
Karena
This is the time this happened? Yeah, so for instance, a great one is one where I talk about the elements. It’s called halted which is hungry angry late. Um, you know, distracted and and it’s you know and I.

21:52.96
podcomm
Um, right.

21:58.19
Karena
And I talked about how when you’re traveling with three young children If you don’t bear these things in mind you can have as a fantastic plan. But you going to derail it because you didn’t look after something as basic as making sure they had enough sleep. So so trying to show people how that these decision theories.

22:07.61
podcomm
Ah, right.

22:16.42
Karena
Might sound very mechanical but they really play into how you can cope with life more? Um, effectively. So that’s what ended up I ended up writing that book. Um, it is now published. It’s called contours of courageous parenting which now I’m beginning to. Own The fact that I’m in this parenting space. Um I resisted for a long time I’m not a parent. Yeah I’m not a parent coach. Um, you know I always felt like okay to be a parent Coach. You had to have like a Ph D in in Psychology or be an educator I’m not none of those. But.

22:35.65
podcomm
Um, yeah I think clearly in that space right.

22:54.50
Karena
Um, but I do coach parents as to how they can help their young people have a very positive view on the future and I talk about the skills they can know that they as parents can pass along to do that. So that’s that is the book.

23:07.86
podcomm
Yeah, the second book. Thank you? Um, well thank you for sharing. Um I’m going to say a glimpse into your journey and and providing um a very unique perspective on what futurism is and and what like the way that someone who is.

23:14.60
Karena
Thank you.

23:24.77
podcomm
Going to say hellbent on changing the world but like that’s a way to actually get there by finding people and showing them how to tip the future to tilt the future. So thanks for taking this time today. Karina it was a pleasure to get a chance to sit down and chat. Thanks.

23:33.61
Karena
My pleasure. Well thank you take care.