Fusing Futures
Fusing Futures

Season 1, Episode 4 · 1 year 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.

Follow us on Instagram @bos_podcast_fusingfutures and Twitter @FusingFutures and share your thoughts and comments. 



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. Usingeasy 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 thecrisis that we are in and find some suitable answers is pretty much what occupiedour attention recently. I can tell you one thing. Setting up a homestudio is very interesting. My grandparents were fascinated with the microphone that I broughthome and I think that for a brief moment in time, they thought Ihave an ambition to become a professional singer. So improvising with the studio in themaking this episode has all helped us, you know, ease our minds alittle bit and ease the concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and the outbreak ofthe coronavirus and help threats are definitely unprecedented, something that we haven't witnessed in ourtime and, of course, we need to in the language of theInternet, improvised adapt and overcome. Many people, especially business owners, alreadyhave tons of questions, tons of problems and they're already looking forward to findingnew solutions, how to keep their businesses up and running and how to recoverafter 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 BoshAlumnus, Frederick toppitch in this show.

Predregi is business development manager and businesdesigner in the IC D hub. He is the owner of a bridges andcreations Boutique Consulting and one of the initiators of the Brice start up. IfI have not tested entrepreneurial waters, I would have never been as resilient tonew 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 wordin Serbia, one bottle at my desk continuously reminded me of what my ultimategoal was. That bottle was produced by innocent drinks, a company that,from the very beginning, resonated entrepreneurship with me. It was led by founderspassion by consumers, feedback and lots and lots of fun in between. Onthe other side, corporations in Serbia at a time where, like well oilmachines, they were running on strict processes, procedures and rules very different from innocentdrinks and similar companies. This is the way lots of corporations are functioningnow 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 spacefor innovation and for my dream to survive. I made one of the best decisionsand 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 XLab and, from beginning of two thousand and twenty, I joined icee thub to promote and work on corporate innovation. Empowered by the professional shift, Ifeel not that I'm just resilient,...

...but then I have something to sharewith others to make them adapt, innovate and overcome outliers in life and inbusiness. The images of Swan's reclaiming various water surfaces in cities during the curfewis something that made people think about how nature is going back to some moreoptimal state while humans are at home. I can tell you there is onescientist who's very much into swans, but not the real ones, rather metaphoricalones, the surprising swans, the black and white swans. His name isNasty Nicholas Talb and he's famous for his theory of black swans as unprecedented eventsthat we could not have foreseen and that have profound impact on the way wefunction. Talent himself claims that the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic was not infact that Black Swan, the surprising one, but rather something that we could havepredicted and prepared for it. So my first question is how can businessesadapt and be ready to face these challenges that we can see coming in thefuture? In other words, what are these socalled predictable events, white swans, for businesses, and how can they prepare to be resilient to the upcomingrisks? With enormous amounts of data processed each day globally and advanced analytics technologyis available to mankind, I can hardly accept that there can be almost anyblack swans. So I take Gollips side... For example, Johns HopkinsUniversity, together with Bill Gates Foundation, made up tabletop simulation in October twothousand 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 tothings that I do. I see the behaviors and habits of consumers change drasticallyas we speak and will shift significantly even after the virus storm passes. Thebest 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 timeadapting and surviving the new realities. For businesses, The Times of crisis arenot two times to sit home and stay safe, but rather a time whenthey 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 thebig systems, the big companies? And since you know that this podcast wereall about fusing, my next question is, do you think that this crisis canmaybe accelerate a potential fusion between the world of corporations and startups. Somaybe 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 aneveryday reality for the majority of startups, as they are used to running businessesin uncertain environments just like this one. Corporations, on the other hand,are very prone to predictability, and economic...

...and market development in the past fifteento twenty years is forcing them to adapt and innovate, and that is thereason why they should look up to startups. Unlike current corporation practices, which areheavily focused on product innovation, they should really in best more resources ininnovating their entire business models. Of course, among many questions that came together withthe situation that we're in, one of the questions that concerns most ofthe people is actually the treatment of the labor force. So I wanted toask so far, what are there? Are Lessons learned how to provide decentwork and encourage human centered approach in this crisis? Well, it is stilltoo early to speak of some definitive lessons learned. A huge positive for meis that a significant majority of the companies realized that people are their most importantresource. The health and survival risks made a human centered approach a necessity inorder to endure the first way of a crisis. However, the risk whichis next in line is the economic one, and the downturn projections differ, butthe figures discussed at the moment are significant, and they even go tominus 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 socallednew social settlement. I know it is a very broad term, butI believe it should address and resolve issues such as economic inequality, strength andaccessibility 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 amagic wand for this, but a definite first action step would be tocreate efficient structures for an open social dialog on these topics, and if thiscan happen, it will make a great start. There are many states ofemergency in a life, especially into these longer ones. We have created somepersonal states of emergencies others who are created beyond our control. We fight againstsuch states in various ways in order to remain human. Back in one thousandnine hundred and ninety nine, when the bombing started, the hold all greatopen school team was into this situation. The first thing we did was stopthe lectures. However, not a few days have passed since the Hayes began. Students suggested restoring the lectures is means to stay alive. We all realizethe fullness of our capabilities to adopt and overcome uncertainty of that period. Wewere proud of the whole team and efforts they invested to grow resilient. Noamount of money or business models who do it better than our ideas. Whenit ended, we thought never again. As far as the people of Felgride open school are concerned, no state of emergency exists when there is thestrength and well to overcome it. At...

...the beginning of the crisis, Isee the hub wanted to explore what companies in Serbia already did to respond tonew reality. As we believe in constant dialog with companies and the power ofdata, we designed a research and disseminated it across all sectors and in justa 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 ofthe future business practices, it also showed us the companies should be sensitiveto multiple complexities, but mainly the consumers behaviors, and aware that they canonly thrive if they adjust to change in consumers needs, regardless of a broaderenvironment. We know that business always has been and always is result oriented andalthough we are in this crisis for a couple weeks, I assume that businessesalready think about the results when it comes to facing the coronavirus pandemic. Sohow do we measure the success rate in adapting in mitigating risks that emerge fromthe coronavirus pandemic? How do we know, and what are the indicators, whethera company or startup has adjusted to the coronavirus pandemic risks? In ourresearch, we ask the companies how much they had to adapt their business ona scale of one to five, and fifty two percent of the company's respondedwith five. I eat their adaptation had...

...a full extent. The average answerhere was four point two. On the other hand, the satisfaction with thechanges they made had an average mark of two point six, and one ofthe 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 workup to online communication with consumers and online sales. Some decided to decrease pricedecreased prices. However, that's a very short term tactic, tactic which shouldbe very limited because it undermines profits and, as such, as unsustainable. Myconclusion is that adaptation is an ongoing process and will be an everyday activityof companies for a longer period of time. If there is one of the outcomesof what's going on right now, it's simply this whole situation reminded usof how connected the world is and that we cannot be at this age andisolated island in the global economy and global society. So I wanted to askyou what are some best case practices from the region in facing this situation thatcould be maybe multiplied elsewhere. The reaction of the entire innovation ecosystem in Serbiawas extremely quick and valuable. The Serbian Innovation Fund called on projects to helpin 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 usingdata for the public good, I'm more than eager to find out what greatsolutions will come out of the initiative led by U and DP Serbia and exploringhow data can be used to fight covid nineteen. Well then, I thinkthat, if anything, we dedicated this second episode of our podcast to adaptingto this situation with new knowledge, information in ideas. So for our listeners, there is nothing else to do after this, then to take concrete actionand concrete steps. So how can we light up our listeners and maybe givethem some inspiration to go on on their quest to create, maybe some newsolutions and make everybody ready to face these white swans that are coming in ourway? About a month ago, my son Costa turned six and as apresent my friend, former mentee and current co founder and Bryce Vanna Knesevitch gavehim 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 aconstant 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 theways 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 tobecome more adaptable, I would tweak these...

...steps a bit into do, measure, overcome. I tried it and and I'm still alive and kicking. Allright everyone. So this was the second episode of the Fusing Futures, lightthem up podcast. Till our next time, stay safe, stay resilient and,of course, stay tuned. This episode was presented by me Ogden pantageand by a fellow member of Bosh Alumni Network, prederick toppach. The topicwas 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 schooland it's alumni network are producers. If you enjoyed this episode, make sureto click subscribe at Apple podcast or any other application you use for listening topodcasts. For more updates, follow us on instagram and twitter.

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