Fusing Futures
Fusing Futures

Season 1, Episode 4 · 2 years ago

Innovation Wanted: Fusing of the Worlds


How tech can help businesses in adapting to the new reality caused by the coronavirus pandemic and mitigating related risks? In the second episode, join us for a conversation with Predrag Topic, a Belgrade Open School alumnus and business developing manager and designer at ICT Hub in Belgrade. 


The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of the Belgrade Open School.

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Hello, hello, is anyone there? Okay, that's jacking here me. Are you there? Hear me? Can you hear me? Hello? Okay, okay, I hear you. Using easy to use your future futures, using futures, like them up, using futures, using futures them up, using futures, light them up, setting up home studios, thinking about how to help all of us grasp the crisis that we are in and find some suitable answers is pretty much what occupied our attention recently. I can tell you one thing. Setting up a home studio is very interesting. My grandparents were fascinated with the microphone that I brought home and I think that for a brief moment in time, they thought I have an ambition to become a professional singer. So improvising with the studio in the making this episode has all helped us, you know, ease our minds a little bit and ease the concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and the outbreak of the coronavirus and help threats are definitely unprecedented, something that we haven't witnessed in our time and, of course, we need to in the language of the Internet, improvised adapt and overcome. Many people, especially business owners, already have tons of questions, tons of problems and they're already looking forward to finding new solutions, how to keep their businesses up and running and how to recover after this. This is second episode of this season of the fusing futures podcast. Innovation wanted, fusing with the world's I'm delighted to welcome my fellow Bosh Alumnus, Frederick toppitch in this show.

Predregi is business development manager and busines designer in the IC D hub. He is the owner of a bridges and creations Boutique Consulting and one of the initiators of the Brice start up. If I have not tested entrepreneurial waters, I would have never been as resilient to new challenges as I am now, including the latest caused by Covid nineteen. Back in the mid two thousands, when a startup was not even a word in Serbia, one bottle at my desk continuously reminded me of what my ultimate goal was. That bottle was produced by innocent drinks, a company that, from the very beginning, resonated entrepreneurship with me. It was led by founders passion by consumers, feedback and lots and lots of fun in between. On the other side, corporations in Serbia at a time where, like well oil machines, they were running on strict processes, procedures and rules very different from innocent drinks and similar companies. This is the way lots of corporations are functioning now as well. And don't get me wrong, corporations have their good sides, but for me they slowly started wearing down my enthusiasm, motivation and space for innovation and for my dream to survive. I made one of the best decisions and my life to dive into entrepreneurship. I found it a startup called Bryce. Then I joined three very talented persons in a company called D X Lab and, from beginning of two thousand and twenty, I joined icee t hub to promote and work on corporate innovation. Empowered by the professional shift, I feel not that I'm just resilient,...

...but then I have something to share with others to make them adapt, innovate and overcome outliers in life and in business. The images of Swan's reclaiming various water surfaces in cities during the curfew is something that made people think about how nature is going back to some more optimal state while humans are at home. I can tell you there is one scientist who's very much into swans, but not the real ones, rather metaphorical ones, the surprising swans, the black and white swans. His name is Nasty Nicholas Talb and he's famous for his theory of black swans as unprecedented events that we could not have foreseen and that have profound impact on the way we function. Talent himself claims that the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic was not in fact that Black Swan, the surprising one, but rather something that we could have predicted and prepared for it. So my first question is how can businesses adapt and be ready to face these challenges that we can see coming in the future? In other words, what are these socalled predictable events, white swans, for businesses, and how can they prepare to be resilient to the upcoming risks? With enormous amounts of data processed each day globally and advanced analytics technology is available to mankind, I can hardly accept that there can be almost any black swans. So I take Gollips side... For example, Johns Hopkins University, together with Bill Gates Foundation, made up tabletop simulation in October two thousand and nineteen of a pandemic caused by a coronavirus, not exactly covid nineteen, but very similar and thus predictable in a sense, and one closer to things that I do. I see the behaviors and habits of consumers change drastically as we speak and will shift significantly even after the virus storm passes. The best preparation for this is to start talking and learning from your customers already, but yesterday. The ones who do it late will have a really hard time adapting and surviving the new realities. For businesses, The Times of crisis are not two times to sit home and stay safe, but rather a time when they need to find new ways to function. Basically, it's a time for innovation. As we could see, who innovates faster? Is it startups, who are smaller and we can maybe assume more agile, or is it the big systems, the big companies? And since you know that this podcast were all about fusing, my next question is, do you think that this crisis can maybe accelerate a potential fusion between the world of corporations and startups. So maybe we can see the world of socalled corpos startups coming out of this crisis. It may surprise you, but covid nineteen situation is more or less an everyday reality for the majority of startups, as they are used to running businesses in uncertain environments just like this one. Corporations, on the other hand, are very prone to predictability, and economic...

...and market development in the past fifteen to twenty years is forcing them to adapt and innovate, and that is the reason why they should look up to startups. Unlike current corporation practices, which are heavily focused on product innovation, they should really in best more resources in innovating their entire business models. Of course, among many questions that came together with the situation that we're in, one of the questions that concerns most of the people is actually the treatment of the labor force. So I wanted to ask so far, what are there? Are Lessons learned how to provide decent work and encourage human centered approach in this crisis? Well, it is still too early to speak of some definitive lessons learned. A huge positive for me is that a significant majority of the companies realized that people are their most important resource. The health and survival risks made a human centered approach a necessity in order to endure the first way of a crisis. However, the risk which is next in line is the economic one, and the downturn projections differ, but the figures discussed at the moment are significant, and they even go to minus twenty or minus twenty five percent, which will reflect in higher unemployment rates. And in order to overcome these effects, there is a need to establish socalled new social settlement. I know it is a very broad term, but I believe it should address and resolve issues such as economic inequality, strength and accessibility of our healthcare systems. How much...

...profit is enough profit, for example, how much our front line workers paid, etc. And I don't have a magic wand for this, but a definite first action step would be to create efficient structures for an open social dialog on these topics, and if this can happen, it will make a great start. There are many states of emergency in a life, especially into these longer ones. We have created some personal states of emergencies others who are created beyond our control. We fight against such states in various ways in order to remain human. Back in one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine, when the bombing started, the hold all great open school team was into this situation. The first thing we did was stop the lectures. However, not a few days have passed since the Hayes began. Students suggested restoring the lectures is means to stay alive. We all realize the fullness of our capabilities to adopt and overcome uncertainty of that period. We were proud of the whole team and efforts they invested to grow resilient. No amount of money or business models who do it better than our ideas. When it ended, we thought never again. As far as the people of Fel gride open school are concerned, no state of emergency exists when there is the strength and well to overcome it. At...

...the beginning of the crisis, I see the hub wanted to explore what companies in Serbia already did to respond to new reality. As we believe in constant dialog with companies and the power of data, we designed a research and disseminated it across all sectors and in just a few days we were able to draw conclusions as we got all the responses, which helped us to grasp their strategies. While the feedback gave us glimpses of the future business practices, it also showed us the companies should be sensitive to multiple complexities, but mainly the consumers behaviors, and aware that they can only thrive if they adjust to change in consumers needs, regardless of a broader environment. We know that business always has been and always is result oriented and although we are in this crisis for a couple weeks, I assume that businesses already think about the results when it comes to facing the coronavirus pandemic. So how do we measure the success rate in adapting in mitigating risks that emerge from the coronavirus pandemic? How do we know, and what are the indicators, whether a company or startup has adjusted to the coronavirus pandemic risks? In our research, we ask the companies how much they had to adapt their business on a scale of one to five, and fifty two percent of the company's responded with five. I eat their adaptation had...

...a full extent. The average answer here was four point two. On the other hand, the satisfaction with the changes they made had an average mark of two point six, and one of the reasons for the satisfaction could be relatively weak results achieved since the crisis outbreak. And speaking about adaptation, the overall strategies ranged from switching to remote work up to online communication with consumers and online sales. Some decided to decrease price decreased prices. However, that's a very short term tactic, tactic which should be very limited because it undermines profits and, as such, as unsustainable. My conclusion is that adaptation is an ongoing process and will be an everyday activity of companies for a longer period of time. If there is one of the outcomes of what's going on right now, it's simply this whole situation reminded us of how connected the world is and that we cannot be at this age and isolated island in the global economy and global society. So I wanted to ask you what are some best case practices from the region in facing this situation that could be maybe multiplied elsewhere. The reaction of the entire innovation ecosystem in Serbia was extremely quick and valuable. The Serbian Innovation Fund called on projects to help in fighting threats caused by Covid nineteen, and twelve great projects were selected, among which are the first Serbian produced ventilator, disinfection cabins and multi use protective suits. On the other side, as...

...someone who is very much into using data for the public good, I'm more than eager to find out what great solutions will come out of the initiative led by U and DP Serbia and exploring how data can be used to fight covid nineteen. Well then, I think that, if anything, we dedicated this second episode of our podcast to adapting to this situation with new knowledge, information in ideas. So for our listeners, there is nothing else to do after this, then to take concrete action and concrete steps. So how can we light up our listeners and maybe give them some inspiration to go on on their quest to create, maybe some new solutions and make everybody ready to face these white swans that are coming in our way? About a month ago, my son Costa turned six and as a present my friend, former mentee and current co founder and Bryce Vanna Knesevitch gave him Sabina Radevas on the origin of species. It is basically Charles Darwin for kids, and it should serve as a perfect teaching tool for kids and a constant reminder for us adults as well that it is not the strongest that survived, but the most adaptable. And how to do that? One of the ways is to dive into entrepreneurship, for sure. There is one famous concept, lean startup, which preaches very simple three steps to make your startup succeed, and those are build, measure, learn. For any of us to become more adaptable, I would tweak these...

...steps a bit into do, measure, overcome. I tried it and and I'm still alive and kicking. All right everyone. So this was the second episode of the Fusing Futures, light them up podcast. Till our next time, stay safe, stay resilient and, of course, stay tuned. This episode was presented by me Ogden pantage and by a fellow member of Bosh Alumni Network, prederick toppach. The topic was researched by my colleagues Gordon a boy and each and Yelena shop each. Music and sound design by Marcomitri Vich and Alex a Rachich. Belgrade open school and it's alumni network are producers. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to click subscribe at Apple podcast or any other application you use for listening to podcasts. For more updates, follow us on instagram and twitter.

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