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Fusing Futures
Fusing Futures

Season 1, Episode 10 · 1 year ago

Next Moonshots in Fusing Futures: Where Should We Begin?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In the final episode of the first season, we delve deeper into steps needed to make a leapfrog to a knowledge-based economy and society. We invited Dragana Petkovic, Co-Founder of StartIt, Owner at Themis Consulting, as well as the co-founder and board member of the Serbian coworking association, who presented her main takeaways after years of building the innovation ecosystem in Serbia and in the region. Her answers may surprise you! 

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Until the second season release, follow us on Instagram @bos_podcast_fusingfutures and Twitter @FusingFutures and share your thoughts and comments.

#fusingfutures #bospodcastFF

Since we're still spending most of ourtime at home and we have more spare time. I'm pretty sure that allof us are into a lot of thinking and having a lot of new ideas, using us to us future futures, using futures, light them up,in futures, using futures them up, fusing futures, light them up.Some ideas are about redecorating our homes, since we spend a lot of timein them right now. Others maybe came to discover that this slower pace ofliving is something that is actually enjoyable and maybe have new ideas about how toreorganize their life and not rushing to the usual fast paced living as it wasbefore the covid nineteen crisis. These small and big dilemmas are exactly the topicof our episode number eight of the fusing futures podcast. I'm delighted to welcomea fellow member of the boss Alemni Network, Miss Dragona Petku, which co founderof started owner at them is consulting, as well as the CO founder andboard member of the Serbian coworking association, as my guest in the episode numbereight of the fusing futures podcast. I'm currently moving houses, I'm movingcities actually, and I'm buying new home appliances. So I've noticed the trendof smart refrigerators, smart dishwashers, smart ovens and other kitchen stuff that usedto be simple and straightforward, but now everything is connected to Wi fi andhas its own phone APP, and I guess that these appliances offer solutions tononexisting problems. I really don't need the ability to turn my dishwasher on frommy bed, from my iphone, or check on the chicken in the oventhrough my camera Lens. The problem is that, firstly, these appliances usedto be reliable. Now, if my Wifi stops working, my oven getsconfused and then I need to call a repairment to fix it. Secondly,this trend of convenience. It makes us even more distant from the simple,every day choice we used to do with our hands, with our bodies,getting up, going to the oven, checking on our meal, enjoying theprocess with all of our senses. Instead of slowing down, taking the timeto prepare something, to take care of our household, we are rushed.We're making this part of life secondary to work. I guess I feel likewe are being sent this message that everything except our work has no value.It should be on quickly in between other more important tasks or, even better, completely outsourced. I realized during this quarantine how much joy and mindfulness comesfrom being present and doing these simple things,...

...cooking, cleaning, creating something withmy two hands, being present and active during these tasks. For example, I took some time and energy to properly clean a super dirty, oily, a really ugly, old, Rusty Pan. I probably would have justthrown it away before, and I was so happy to see shine again likelook, I've done this dirty job by myself and now this pan is shinylike new. It's such a good feeling. Immediate Ratification, unlike my consulting workand talking about the investments, product market fit, traction, validation,Minimum Bible product. No Bullshit, just a lovely clean Pan, a directresult of my hard work. Although necessary and beneficial, this continuous tide ofinnovation apparently isn't all smiles and sunshine. They are going to could you tellus a bit more about the other side of the metal, the consequences ofthe constant innovation that remains hidden in plain sight? I think that this strandof innovation in terms of Internet of things and solving non existing problems actually contributesto piling up of unnecessary information that needs to be stored somewhere that uses moreenergy and creates even more carbon emissions, so that I can take a lookat my fridge from my phone and see if I should buy more milk ordid I can turn on my washing machine remotely to save I don't know,I guess, five minutes of my precious time to use it to watch iton motivational youtube video. It's a good example of the law of diminishing returns, or even negative returns, in terms of my eyeballs being increasingly glued tosome type of a screen, because I'll take my phone to check on myfridge and an hour later I'm still on it. I'm checking my email,twitter, instagram. I'm receiving and emitting even more unnecessary information, I'm usingmore energy, I'm piling up and storing more mostly useless information. I personallydon't feel more productive with these toys. I feel less productive. My attentionspan is shorter, I'm more snappy, I'm restless, I have less patientsand I didn't think it's only me. I see this happening for many ofmy younger friends and colleagues. We just don't have enough attention and patients forbooks. We're in constant mode of multitasking between our screens and other things we'retrying to do. So I have to strive towards the more minimal, simplifiedlifestyle. I'm trying, I'm to disconnect from the technology from time to timeat least, and connect to some form of physical creation and manual labor.It heals, it brings you back to reality. I think a big silverlining to the pandemic is actually realizing what is essential for our living and wellbeing. What are the things we can do without? Finding what the less ismore really means for us, which I...

...think is ultimately better for the planet. Less consumerism, spending on durable quality items and repurposing what we already have, using things we have for longer. I think that all equals less pollutionin general. Let's talk about this hidden side of innovation a little bit more. Definitely, the profit isn't the only criterion that we should meet when developingbusiness. What about ethical principles towards humanity nature? What about sustainability in general. Is there a way for us to stay on the pace of innovation whilewe remain profitable and responsible towards the environment? Can we meet all of these criteria? I think this is the key question, and I don't know ifit's even possible, for example, in the fashion and retail industry, tohave a production that is both ethical, economically sustainable and environmentally sustainable. Canwe even produce garments from ethically sourced materials, made the workers who are paid andit it fairly, in factories that hold key environmental standards, that don'toverly pollute water and air, and then, in the end, that the productdoesn't cost a fortune in the store for the end consumer? I canhardly imagine that happening with margins in today's fashion and I think that small localdesigners and fashion productions really can't compete with fast fashion in terms of price.And in Serbia, unfortunately, with such a low standard of living, evenfast fashion brands are considered a luxury for most people. With our current mindset, sadly, most people would rather buy low quality plastic designer items than higherquality locally made items, even when the price is the same. But whatbrings some hope is the growing fashion, a handmade market in Serbia, whereobviously some groups of consumers are capable and willing to spend money and local clothesand food, and not only people in Serbia. I think that our designers, fashion designers and food producers are exporting when they can, and the differentpeople from a broader actually buying these items. I think that having a handmade fashionpiece, for example a sweater that a grandma or single mom from arural area needed for you, did you know who made it, and thatyou are supporting this brand and these people by buying it, makes a lotof sense to the conscious consumer. She will cherish this piece, she willhope to leave it to her daughter to be worn for years to come.I have a hard time picturing on living in ancient times better to later generations. I guess our only way out is, on one hand, in changing themindset and on the other hand, it's in changing the regulations, holdinghigher standards and holding companies accountable, which at least is not happening since theNana Plaza tragedy in two thousand and thirteen, when a fast fashion factory collapsed inBangladesh. And killed more than one thousand and one hundred people. Nothinghas changed. This factory used to produce garments for many brands, such asBennett on, primark, product, wouchiever such, you name it, andtoday these and similar brands decided during the...

...pandemic not to respect the contracts withthese factories and refused to pay for the produced goods because they claim they can'tsell them. So we try to influence corporations and governments. I think influencingand education the consumers is the path to take simultaneously. I believe that campaignsthat promote buying locally produced products work, especially in times like this, whenthe borders are closed. Of course, there are many underlying issues production chains, but we have a larger number of small producers of food or fashion itemsfurniture. I think it's completely doable. When our fathers and grandfathers were talkingabout the importance of having industrial production and not basing the economy solely on services, we brush that away, but it doesn't sound as crazy anymore when ninetypercent of everything is produced in China and we're dependent on them for things likegeneric medication in various materials. Your professional background is related to supporting guide itentrepreneurs and startups through your work. We all know that the entire economy wasunder a great impact during the covid nineteen crisis, but it seems that thissector has found its way out. So, in your view, what comes nextfor digital entrepreneurs? The world of startups is massively growing, with smallcompanies and entrepreneurs disrupting every industry imaginable. But having a startup is also avery trendy thing to do, with so many young people wanting to be independentdigital nomads working from beaches. For a time, it seemed that any APPcan become a Unicorn, a billion dollar worth APP. I believe the timesare changing and the hype is passing, so solving real, essential problems iswhat I would love to see more of. If the world economy has this hugeenergy, motivation and creativity of young people at its disposal, it issuch a waste to focus it on apps that bring no real value. Youngpeople in the Silicon Valley and other similar tech hubs around the world experience abnormalworking hours, crazy fatigue, unsustainable working models to try to reach dreams,and the end up drained too early in their careers. Working Smarter, notharder, should be the goal. Using technology to help us become more productive, not less, and I'm not talking about productivity APPs and individual productivities such. I'm talking about creating products and services that will bring us valuable innovation inthe fields of health and medicine, in the fields of insurance, banking andfinancial systems, in the fields of transport and agriculture. I would love tosee deep changes in these systems, this innovation and creativity employed to bring usto a more sustainable way of living. It's obvious with correctly most popular APPSand games, that the excessive knowledge of human behavior and psychology is available.Sadly, many companies use this knowledge to...

...capitalize on our natural natural shortcomings,fear addictive behaviors, not to nudge positive behaviors. For me, the futureof digital entrepreneurship would ideally focus this disruptive force towards solving big problems, notonly bringing more convenience and entertainment to people, which changes lives in marginal ways andleads to more waste and pollution. I just put a book from myfriend with a short dedication saying what's for dinner, how vivid memories it broughtback. That's your dinner is for all of you, the most common,an and recurring question, isn't it here in the time and time again?Maybe annoying. Nonetheless, it reminds me of an amazing night when a groupof enthusiasts succeeded in bringing the Far East into the balcons. We decided toWHO's telling Monday for more than two hundred and fifty Bush alumni as an opportunityto enjoy the taste and smells of ty cuisine. Our focus wasn't just beinerice to get stub to floral or am and the soft, sticky texture ofthe food. As with a jasmine rice flower, when you smell it,you immediately fall in love. Sweet smelling scent of Jasmine Rice was spreading crowdour kitchen. Other eyes so seris at least five times. No shortcuts,no one click solutions. No, instead, fun, very different from our dailyhabits. However, that's night cooking trace the path for a new habit. What's for dinner became our invite for upcoming life and adventures. Ten yearsago, I almost threw away a handmade rug from Burot, thinking that itlooked day. It did than to rural for my interior decoration style. Butfortunately my mom was there and she explained that the rug was actually priceless.It was made by my grant grandma from the wool that she gathered from herown sheep. Mind blow. Today this rug has a special place in myhome. I can't imagine putting a price on it. That is value forme. Surely a rug like this, or an imitation of it, canbe bought in furniture stores. It will probably be treated the printed zone orsomething, but this old craft is dying and having a piece of it isamazing and I believe that people are going to cherish and respect he had madethings even more in the future. Since we mentioned home decoration and refreshing ofclosets a little bit earlier in this episode, let's talk about fashion industry through theprism of our discussion today. Mass...

...fashion production, of course, leavesa massive impact on the environment. I'll just give a little bit of numbersto support that. So the average EU citizen annually buys more than twelve kilogramsand clothing, the production of which contributes to emission of one hundred and ninetyfive million tons of cut to the atmosphere and in addition to that, theproduction of this uses forty six billion cubic meters of water. And yet thisaverage European citizen only where is about thirty percent of its closet. So whatare the alternatives among local initiatives to this mass and fast fashion? In Serbia, correctly, there are more than three hundred different small entrepreneurs and designers inthe fashion industry. They are producing clothes, shoes, accessories as well as handmadeitems, and it's pretty hard to have an overview of this field andinformation about them is scattered everywhere, but mostly on instagram and facebook. Soa project I have been supporting and Co operating with the ZANTIA. For example, they created an online craft market place. They are gathering many of these producersin a single online store, so you can order all of the stuffonline. And another great initiative is the Fab living concept store in Belgrade increw and scull, led by UN any college, and she offers an amazingselection of items both in store and online through their government CACO website. Butthere is also a great facebook group. I absolutely love it. It's calledMolly Bruce, which Chi Harano Serby actually like small producers of food in Serbia, where many small, local Serbian producers of food are gathering and selling theirproducts. This group has almost fortyzero members and in this group can buy everythingfrom fruits to dairy products and meat. So I guess this is a greatexample of how the Internet and social media and is ready to use ecommerce solutions, are bringing key information to people and making these products available to them.So these local initiatives are really great alternatives to mass produce goods, and I'mconsidering doing a personal experiment of using only local food producers for a few months. I'll try to avoid supermarkets and see how it goes. I'm ready tosacrifice a bit of convenience, not being able to buy food any time ofthe day, having to plan the meals a bit more closely, respecting shorterexpiring dates for fresh food, having to wait for the delivery a bit,but it's all part of my journal slowing down in this period of life.I'll let you know how it goes. As you mentioned, going local isapparently a good alternative in today's world. is going local and becoming off gridtotal independent, really the only right path? We are apparently at a cross road. So I want to ask you...

...what is the right way for thefuture. Should you stry towards completely decentralized society and economy, or should wesomehow try to make the past in the future meet the halfway? Well,I think that being totally independent it's not the goal. So we are interdependentand we rely on each other. It's what made us rapidly progress economically.But on the other hand, being completely dependent on others and expecting constant availabilityof cheap goods and being completely remote from how our food is made, howit magically appears on our tables, our closer made, I think it makesus more vulnerable as individuals and this countries and communities. Something breaks and yousit around waiting for someone to fix it. Prices of oil or electricity raise andyou have to pay. So finding ways to be more reliant on ourselves, I think it brings more power and believe in our own ability to sustainourselves and our family. For some it means having a garden growing your ownfood. For others it means buying locally grown food from your neighbors. Forother people it is having solar panels and using more natural energy. In theirhouse. For many, it is moving away from the cities there are becomingunfunctional, crowded and polluted. It's moving to the countryside or a smaller town, which actually is my own example, buying a house or a flat.It's actually becoming increasingly hard for many people, and I'm glad to see the somenew solutions and emerging in this field as well, thankfully, and enabledby good use of technology, for example call living, sharing housing expenses orcrowd funding real estate projects. Let's help our listeners cast a new light intheir future. What's your key take and key message to them? I thinkfinding a sustainable way of living today it relies upon our ability to distinguish whatis important for us personally in the long run. Every season of life hasits own challenges and its own beauty. Today is a twenty year old.You probably find living in a fast Bas city, with all that it offersa great opportunity and lifestyle for you, and that's completely okay. Sees everythingit gives you. At the same time, simply be aware of how this rhythmis affecting you. What is the price you are paying long term?Be Aware of your ambitions and goals. Keep it real, because you don'twant to get stuck with chasing the very same things. Fifteen years from now, your ambitions might change. They probably should, and that is perfectly natural. I believe that new initiatives always start from a personal vantage points, solvingour own challenges, Co operating with people who share them and finding solutions together. But these solutions are often simpler than we think. They consist of takingaway something, not necessarily adding something new. They rely on connecting to the verybase of our needs. Why do...

...we want to such shut this shinyobject? What do we believe that it will bring us? visit? Security, freedom, recognition, connection, Shan can we find a simpler way tohave this need met? I believe one important mode of the innovation today isactually taking away the tech for a moment. In Art, for example, whilemaking an image, for example some letters on fire, taking a photographof actual burning letters, instead of digitally producing the fire, metaphorically speaking,creates some real fire, sometimes not just virtual fire. Try living the reallife away from the screen. It will be an incredible advantage for you inthe future. Use the screen is a useful tool and be the master ofthe screen, masterfully using it and not letting it control you. Using futureslight them up. Is Belgrade open schools audio podcast. Members of Bosh AlumniNetwork, dragon a Petkovich, Gordon, a boyinage, yell and a shopeach and myself, organ advantage, took part in making this eight episode AlexRachich and Markomitri which supported us by designing the sound and audio effects.

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