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Scenario Thinking for Entrepreneurs: Why Every Business Needs a Long-Term Strategy

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As an entrepreneur, you know that planning is key. But while it’s important to have short-term goals and strategies, what about the long-term? Wouldn’t it be better if you have a business long-term strategy in place? 

Yes, you need to have a plan for the future, but it’s not enough just to set goals. You also need to anticipate what might go wrong and how you can prepare for it. That’s where scenario thinking comes in.

But let me stop you right there. Let’s talk about what scenario thinking truly is. 

Boss Your Business - Scenario Thinking for Entrepreneurs_ Why Every Business Needs a Long-Term Strategy-story

Scenario thinking is nothing like looking at a crystal ball, so you can predict the future and prepare for it. Rather, it’s a structured process of brainstorming and discussing the different possible scenarios that could happen in your business. It helps you to think about how you would respond to different situations so that if they do arise, you’re not caught off-guard.

Why? Because the truth of the matter is, our brains are lazy. We often don’t think about the worst-case scenarios until they actually happen, and more often than not, it’s too late to do anything. And unfortunately, that’s where most business owners go wrong (and sometimes, fail). 

So, if you don’t want to be caught off guard by the unknowns of tomorrow, scenario planning is the key to future-proofing your business and making sure that no matter what happens, you can handle it. 

And lucky for us, we’re joined by Ursula Eysin, Founder of Red Swan, a consultancy focusing on the development of future scenarios. If you’re interested in learning more about scenario planning or just plain curious about what Ursula does, stay tuned for her talk on the topic! 

Get ready to dump your crystal ball and start future-proofing your business with scenario planning. Read the full transcript below:

📕 Show Notes & Links

📄 Video Transcription:

[00:00:00] Yvonne: Hey, hey everybody, and we are back for another episode of Boss Your Business. And if you are not driving while listening, you better get your notepads ready because I already read the bio of Ursula, who I have today. This is going to be a fun and really interesting episode. So to introduce you, I have a fellow European here today.

[00:00:24] Ursula Eysin is the founder of Red Swan, a consultancy focusing on the development of future scenarios. She is a trained ballerina and I wanna hear more about that one, place the flute, speaks seven languages, does the math and reads chemistry books for fun.

[00:00:42] Okay, this, this episode, you guys see why I’m excited about this episode. And besides that, Ursula is a mentor to various Austrian and international startups while also giving lectures at five universities. Girl, have you found like a time machine or something? Um, like, you’re giving lectures, you are consulting with startups.

[00:01:07] You used to be a ballerina and you look like you were 25. How do you cramp all of this into your life?

[00:01:13] Ursula: Oh, that’s so kind of you to say. And thank you for the generous introduction. I really look good on paper, but believe me, it’s, it’s totally doable. I, I don’t even think yet. I’m doing so much.

[00:01:26] Yvonne: You’re enjoying what you’re doing. I’m assuming.

[00:01:29] Ursula: I am. I am.

Ursula’s Experience

[00:01:30] Yvonne: So tell me, how, how did Ursula become who she is today? How did you get here? I’m like that resume is mind boggling. So, tell me. How, how did you get, where are you today, where you’re today?

[00:01:48] Ursula: Yeah. Thank you so much again. Makes me blush. First of all, I, my mother joked that I could dance before I could walk.

[00:02:00] Uh, so I kind of was really talented for dancing and singing and performing. So all, I started very early. I stepped on a stage, uh, when I was four years old to speak, actually. To speak. Huh. And, um, I loved it ever since. I loved it ever since, and I performed a lot until I was 21. And at the age of 21 I decided, well, I go to college.

[00:02:30] I studied Sinology, theater, film, and media sciences. Uh, also started a while in China. That’s why I speak Mandarin Chinese. And, um, at this time, um, I decided now I go behind the stage, so I become a, became a production manager in opera and musical productions and also in film productions. Then in China, I worked for the Chinese television for CCTV.

[00:02:59] I was the narrator, main narrator in a documentary called The Chinese Opera, which was really fun because they painted my face with all these colorful masks and it was actually really hurtful, I have to say, because you have to wipe it off, and then the next, and then the next , but it was really great.

[00:03:22] Yvonne: Imagine having to take off waterproof mascara, and then you have all of that paint on you need to take it off and you’re getting the next home.

Realizations

[00:03:30] Ursula: Yes, yes, yes. So they wrapped it off and then you have all these costumes with all really, really heavy, but it was really a fun experience. Uh, so I did both, like in front of the camera, behind the scenes. Uh, but behind the scenes, I found out, um, actually this business is not as beautiful as the front stage, you know, the front stage in general.

[00:03:57] I think that’s also many people might not imagine how that is. The front stage is always very beautiful, but the backstage is usually not very beautiful. Not at all. Not at all. A lot of things going on there can be very messy and not really presentable. And I would also say the cultural business kind of disappointed me.

[00:04:18] As I said, I grew up with that and I had kind of this impression that you would always find money for that. And, uh, because, um, I grew up, um, in a German City. I went to school in a German City, which is very rich because they have Chemistry there. They have the OMV, the oil company, and they’re very, very rich.

[00:04:39] So every time we started a new cultural project performances, dance, we just went to the mayor and got money. So I had this totally delusional impression that there would always be money for culture. Uh, when I got into this business more seriously and saw all the things behind that and all the politics that go into that, it was like, okay, these people dunno how to manage.

[00:05:04] There’s a lot of misallocation of funds. Yeah. Here. So I decided I want to learn how to manage things. So I went to, uh, to study, um, Business Administration on the one hand, and also Communication, Public Relations, and, uh, this path actually then, guided me first to a technology consultancy. That’s how I became a technology consultant.

[00:05:32] And then also to Austria’s biggest PR and lobbying agency, which is really, really very influential. We made half of the news every day, and we did influence politics a lot. So I saw this business, just imagine. Imagine I got out of culture because it was too corrupt, and then I go into politics.

[00:05:59] Yvonne: I believe though you used your influence for the good.

[00:06:03] I’m like, it’s sure. Listen, listening to that, my brain is working. I’m like, okay. So, you pretty much can cross map all of this to social media where it’s like you got this perfect public stage and everything is nice and polished, and then you look behind the actual social media images and it’s like there is real life behind the scenes.

[00:06:26] It’s, it’s human nature. It’s messy, it’s chaotic. You are trying to combine so many different personalities and, and goals and all the things. This is, this is one of the reasons why I love asking this question, because it’s just looking at how this progressed and it’s like, yeah, I just saw a need. I saw an interest.

[00:06:49] I saw something I’m passionate about, so I wanted to learn more and love that. So how did you get from making half of the news to stepping into your own?

Business Long-Term Strategy: Scenario Planning

[00:07:05] Ursula: In 2010, I came across, uh, another Austrian who came back from 25 years as the chief strategist of the oil company, Royal Dutch Shell. And, um, with him he brought a very interesting methodology.

[00:07:26] It’s called, um, scenario planning, or I rather call it scenario thinking because it’s not so much planning the future. Uh, it’s more about, um, dealing with uncertainty in a better way. Um, when we met, it was really like immediately I think that’s interesting. And for him it was like, I would like to teach you this methodology.

[00:07:49] And we immediately started, uh, to develop future scenarios for different ministries and also federal ministries. Um, and it was really very, very interesting. The whole methodology originally comes, um, it was invented by the US Air Force in the 1940s, um, for strategic planning and dealing with uncertainty. And the biggest uncertainty they had is what will the enemy do?

[00:08:15] And how can you find out? Uh, well, as, espionage is the not so elegant way to do that, and they came up with another very creative solution. Um, they were thinking about different future scenarios and, uh, it’s really very interesting, um, methodology, which was then in the 1960s and seventies adapted by Royal Dutch Shell that is why the shell guy was able to teach me that.

Future-Proofing Your Business

They used it very successfully for business. They were able to predict the oil shock in the 1970s when others didn’t even think about it, and they already had something in the drawer to take out and to react to that. Um, and they do it ever since then, since 50 years.

[00:09:00] Yvonne: So, to to look at this scenario, thinking for a second, and I think we align pretty much with that. If I understand this right, it’s kind of like a practice of, what would happen if we are looking into the future and we are just going through different case of scenarios. We have an idea of what human nature looks like.

[00:09:25] We can predict certain things, and combining that information leads us down a path of this is what the future could look like, which then brings up potential issues as the crisis you were talking about. Am I, am I seeing this right?

[00:09:43] Ursula: You totally nailed it. Yes.

[00:09:45] Yvonne: So guys, what she is talking about is pretty much what I’ve been preaching of future proofing your business.

[00:09:51] Sit down and see what could break. So that’s how I approach this kind of scenario thinking, where it’s like, as an entrepreneur, we are often reactive. We started a business cause of the passion. We are reacting to clients coming to us and I’m like, great. You can double your business, but you need to know what’s gonna break.

[00:10:11] You want to future proof. So going through this scenario, thinking of, okay, if I double my clients, what would happen if I lose this employee? What would happen? So this scenario, thinking of figuring out what the future could look like. So you were ready to act to it, and it sounds like Shell had just completely polished their thinking. They, they figured it out and they were ready for, for the crisis when it happened.

[00:10:43] Ursula: Yes, absolutely. I totally love it that you bring that up because very often my clients sometimes say we, we develop different scenarios and especially if it’s for technology, they’re always a lot of bad scenarios because there are a lot of things we have to be cautious about.

[00:11:00] So once I had the Ministry of Technology in Austria, we developed future scenarios for, it was called Next Generation Internet, the Internet for People 2014, as opposed to the internet against people. And it was very interesting because it’s never the main drive, it’s never the technology. It’s much more the, the values you have and how you deal with the technology.

[00:11:22] And of course we had several really bad scenarios. So the, the ministry, the guys from the ministry came up to me and said, Ursula, why are so many of our scenarios so bad?

[00:11:35] And it was exactly what you said. I can only change things when I live in reality. Yeah. I have to play it out really in extreme ways. And also, um, that’s how the human mind works. Of course we always have a really good scenario, which is usually kind of a utopia when I ask the people and that there can be noble laureates among them, when I ask them so how do you get into the best case scenario? Nobody has an idea. Nobody has an idea because the human mind is really lazy. It’s just like in this scenario already have everything. Why should it change anything? Yep. Then you go to the worst case scenario. When I do that with startups, for example, in this scenario, they do not have the right supply partners.

[00:12:25] They, they didn’t set up a good supply chain. They do not have, um, the right clients. The clients don’t want the, the services. They’re not offering the right processes and services, so everything is bad and immediately they get very, very creative. So the human mind needs the obstacles. It’s not bad. That’s life.

[00:12:44] It’s meant to be like that. Just imagine. Imagine the movie Titanic. Everyone gets on the boat, they cross the ocean, everyone gets off the boat. No obstacle. You won’t have a movie . And then in life we always expect that it’s like the smooth sailing across the ocean, but that’s not how it is. And especially as you know, as business owners, there are nice obstacles thrown our way every single day.

[00:13:14] Yvonne: Oh God. Yeah. And it’s like, it’s, as you said, I’m like, it’s, it’s human nature. It’s, that’s what’s so deep in our DNA. If we literally just go back to the ice age, yes, we were safe there because we were afraid of all the animals and the weather out there. So it’s ingrained in our DNA and no matter how much we want to be grateful and do the grateful training, do the journaling, doing all the things.

[00:13:44] We are still, how, how are we grateful for something? Because we have been in a situation before where it’s like, I couldn’t. It’s as simple as I couldn’t sleep. Believe me, I’m gonna be happy again and totally grateful for the eight hours of sleep I’m getting the next day. But if I’m always getting my eight hours of sleep, I’m not gonna be as grateful for it.

[00:14:09] And it’s, I think it’s a double edged sword with us as humans for that. Mm-hmm. , um, me being in the States. I don’t know how news in Europe are going by now, but it’s like I can’t even watch news because it’s all feeding into, into that negativity that we humans react to. Um, but it, it just is. So using that in our business for, hey, you can come up with a worst case scenario at, on a dime’s notice on a turnaround.

[00:14:42] Cool. We know what worst case scenario is for that. So how can we prep accordingly that you are prepared and now suddenly, you help your clients that way. Take out that uncertainty because you know the worst case scenario, you have Plan A, B, C, and D to prevent that from happening or to react to it, if it happens. Now, suddenly you are like, I don’t have to worry because I got, I got a file folder full of solutions for me to handle it when it comes. And believe me, guys, if you are just starting out as an entrepreneur, that is priceless.

On Dealing with Uncertainties

[00:15:24] Ursula: Hmm. It totally is. And of course I think we, we have to become comfortable with a certain degree of uncertainty.

[00:15:33] And to deal with it in a better way, that also entrepreneurs know that a lot every day. There are nice things that come up. That’s also why I don’t think, um, I don’t like, uh, the term scenario planning so much because that sounds like you could really plan your future step by step. It’s much more important that you have these core goals, these long time goals and values, like a beacon of light and it can you really take through every crisis. I must say I was very, um, happy that I had thought of my core values, my core principles and priorities prior to the whole crisis because then, you know, this is where I want to go some 10 years in the future and it still guides me there.

[00:16:20] Yvonne: Guys to reiterate what Ursula is saying right now, and this is one of the big things I do with every single of my clients. What are your values? We are getting inundated with the perfect solution for everything. Everybody tells you. You are supposed to do this, you’re supposed to do that. This is how your business, it doesn’t matter. It’s your business. You need to know what your business needs to do for you to be happy in it. That’s where, where the core values come in. For me, looking at it, I’m European. I want a certain amount of safety in my business, which means things need to be a certain way to generate that safety rather than just…

[00:17:05] It can be as simple as different offers, where it’s more of a group coaching rather than a one-on-one with clients. Again, coming down to your values and where do you as a person want to be before you are even figuring out what your business looks like, because it needs to align with your values.

[00:17:22] Absolutely. So I love that you brought that up. Absolutely. So go ahead.

The Role of Your Own Beliefs

[00:17:30] Ursula: Yeah, I think, uh, that’s, um, when you find found your own business, it’s like a huge growth process. That’s also why I offer this, um, process. I do also to, to company founders because I know myself, what a deep dive into my own beliefs.

[00:17:51] It was to found the business and it, it’s such a huge chance to find that out and really find your core driving forces. That’s what we always do first. And, um, imagine different scenarios and how it could go and what you want to avoid.

Risk vs Comfort

As I mentioned, uh, you see the, the obstacles and then what are inspired action steps to not fall into traps or to avoid obstacles or to deal with obstacles, you will not be able to avoid it. We also shouldn’t, I think we shouldn’t aim at that because we cannot, you cannot avoid life, right? Yeah. Uh, you have to dive into it and really get into all the messiness. But on the other hand, as you just mentioned, if you have this core value, like in this area, needs safety to be adventurous in another area, I think that’s also very important. You talked already a bit about this. You have to, to have, it can be a slippery slope. If you say, as a business owner, I only take risks. What are your values and your priorities?

[00:18:53] You will have to have an area where you have a comfort base. Yeah, I do not agree with that like you always have to get out of your comfort zone. Yes. Some cases, in some areas that’s true, but there are other areas where you have to have a safe base. And if you, if you don’t have that, you cannot venture out.

[00:19:14] And I think that’s also in our nature. As far as I know, children who are very much loved and contained can venture out the most because they know mommy is there. Mommy and daddy are there. They have my back. Yeah. So they become very adventurous and we as entrepreneurs are the same. You need some basis.

[00:19:36] Find that, find that in good business partners, find that in your family, but you have to have it somewhere. If it’s only risk, if it’s only on safety, I think we get crazy.

[00:19:47] Yvonne: And the, the problem also is with that always taking risk is you are putting your nervous system in a constant fight or flight mode.

[00:19:57] Your body does not have a chance to recoup. So having that home base, having an area in your business that you feel safe and secure at, that you can come back when you are in that fight and flight mode, then allows you to recharge, get back into a flow state and go back out and take a risk somewhere else.

[00:20:20] So I think it’s really a balancing act of this introverted extroverted. It’s the balancing act between sitting on the couch, not talking to anybody, and then going out to a huge party and running in about 250 people. I think that’s, that’s kind of where there’s this balancing act is happening and we, as entrepreneurs, we need to take care of our body too.

[00:20:43] If we are constantly just in fight or flight mode, you’re not gonna make it. You’re gonna burn out at some point.

[00:20:51] Ursula: Yeah. I love that you bring, bring that up. I, I see it exactly the same way and I also experience it exactly the same way. You think maybe what brought me to the whole uncertainty, I grew up in a pretty uncertain environment.

[00:21:07] I grew up in a narcissistic household, so everything was unpredictable. I now help people with uncertainty, right? Because I knew how to deal with uncertainty from a very early age. And very often, um, girlfriends, mainly women, ask me, how can you do that? I could not venture out and have my own business.

[00:21:29] Uh, that’s much too risky. And I thought about that. And I think part of it was because I never had safety. So for me, it was easy. Just take a risk. Why not? I didn’t know safety, but that comes the time, as you said, when your nervous system gets so overwhelmed that you have to find safety in something. Yeah.

[00:21:52] And as a business owner, you have that a lot that a lot of things that trigger your fight and flight mode. So you have to find that. It was really, that was a long process to find that and say, I need that. I need safety. And this was also, I used my own process to find that out. Dive deep. What are your driving forces?

[00:22:10] Why are you doing that? Why is it so easy for you to take risks? Is it healthy? Should you change that? So ? Mm-hmm. . I changed it.

[00:22:19] Yvonne: Yeah. It’s like I can, yeah, I can completely relate to that. My last long term relationship was narcissistic. I was fine in in my parents. I’m like, it’s looking back at the strategies we run based on relationships and based on family, where it’s like, I knew why I was a pain in the ass as a kid because I only got attention when something went wrong.

[00:22:44] I’m still working on that one today where it’s like, okay, I want positive, but when I do positive, I get less attention than when I do negative, doesn’t matter, Yvi. Like, it’s, it’s so interesting just seeing the strategies we do and it’s our, it’s, it’s our choice to either way grow and stick in it.

[00:23:07] Just, you guys listening, know there is tools out there, there’s exercises out there, there’s people out there that can help reframe your thinking, that can help get out of all the things that are happening. So, in your own business now, you help people, what I call life proofing their business.

[00:23:32] So life always happens, right? So let’s make sure your business and you are ready to handle it.

Ursula’s Workflow and Processes

With running your own business. And we’ve heard a lot about your growth and the learnings you have and all the knowledge you have. What are some of your workflows and processes that allow you to live the life you are living now?

[00:23:58] Ursula: First of all, I really use my own process, the future scenario thinking process to find out about my motivations. Uh, maybe I illustrate it with a personal example. Um, I happened, uh, to attract a lot of bad business partners. Among them were also, were also, uh, psychopathic leaders, covered narcissists, and of course, coming from that kind of a background…

[00:24:26] Yvonne: Guys, I, I think, I think a lot of us can relate to that one.

[00:24:31] Ursula: Good, good. So I’m not alone. Good teaching that. So, um, I discovered, well, that’s a problem. I want to change that. Yeah. I don’t want to repeat this pattern again and again and again. So I sat down, uh, and became clear about the driving forces that’s what we, uh, gather first. Uh, that’s part of the methodology.

[00:24:51] What are driving forces for me to, to look for a business partner? What do I want to see in a business partner? So I gathered a lot of the striving forces and then you analyze them according to how important is that for finding a business partner and how certain or uncertain is the development?

[00:25:09] Can I manifest that in my life? Can I manage to find the, that in my life? So, um, then you take two of critical uncertainties of the future. These are the things that are still uncertain and form, it’s called a scenario cross. You have two dimensions. And my two dimensions were trust on the one hand, um, can I trust in you to capitalize on my best interest or not?

[00:25:37] And the other thing, uh, was, uh, thriving for excellence. And interestingly enough, it was totally hard, uh, for me to accept that because, um, when I was little, I did a lot of things and then I excelled in a lot of things. But then there were people in my lives who said, oh, you always think you’re so good, but you’re not that good, or it’s not important.

[00:26:01] So for me it was so hard to really think of that, that that is a driving force. So it was a long process until I came up with the two dimensions and these two dimensions form four different business partners, four different, uh, personalities. So the best of course would be an empathetic leader, and I found empathetic leaders later.

[00:26:26] Then I already mentioned, the psychopathic leader, uh, covered narcissist. And then you have the people who might not strive for excellence but can greatly support your business. That’s okay too. You know, you don’t have, this goal, this common goal. So, uh, different types and of course, you play that the end.

[00:26:49] Uh, well, I already had experienced the psychopathic leaders in the covert narcissist, so it was very easy to imagine these future scenarios.

[00:26:57] Yvonne: I’m only, I’m only laughing here because it’s like, yeah, we’ve, we’ve, we’ve been there. It’s like, it’s so, you gotta love human nature that it’s so much easier to just envision the bat than it is to get.

[00:27:12] But guys, again, this is, this is a practicing. This is a also rewiring your brain. If you do this regularly, the moment you see the bad, you’re also gonna see the good and it, it takes less and less practice to to make those connections.

[00:27:27] Ursula: That’s right. And then from there, um, I think this was, is an, um, an exercise in awareness, but awareness is, is very good, but it’s not enough.

[00:27:37] Next you have to take inspired action steps, as I call it. What did you learn from these scenarios? And for me it was like, oh wow, my networks come, my main networks come from, uh, the PR agency, from media, from politics, and these areas attract a lot of psychopaths and narcissists. So, um, I have to change my networks.

[00:28:03] I have to go to other network meetings. I have to find, to venture out, to venture out out of my, of my network. And I did that. I actually did that.

[00:28:15] Yvonne: Um, for everybody listening and not seeing the video, I am sitting here kind of shaking my head because it’s really interesting listening to you right now because I’m in a similar situation where I realized I don’t like something in my business, and I’m like, I need to step out of the circles that I’m in.

[00:28:37] I am not exposed to the people that have the thinking. To elevate to, for me to elevate in that area. I, I am not exposed to the right strategies. I’m not exposed to the right people. I’m not exposed to the right language and the right thinking. So, so I’m sitting here listening to you where I’m like, okay. Maybe I am on a good path to change this thing in my business that’s bugging me because taking myself out of those circles that are not bringing… it, it, it’s not feeding me. It’s not bringing the solutions that I’m looking for and putting myself into new circles where I’m hoping, literally this is just happening in this month right now.

[00:29:21] So I am in the point of testing my thinking that in the circle where I’m I’m at that I just joined is going to bring those positive results. So I’m like, guys, if you are getting results, you don’t want change your circles. There is a reason people say you are the sum of the five people closest to you.

[00:29:43] Ursula: Yes, yes. And it’s hard. It is very hard if you belonging, for example. Belonging is very important for us. It’s even a question of life or death because in ancient times, if we didn’t have belonging to the group, we would die. Yeah, we wouldn’t get fat. We would get nothing to drink, no shelter. So that’s it pretty much.

[00:30:07] Um, So it’s really coming back to the fight or flight reaction that can cause a lot of fight or flight reaction because it’s like dying.

[00:30:17] Yvonne: It can, it can most certainly feel like that. I’m like, that’s, that’s that belonging and that on the other side that the fear of loss is, is a big challenge on me personally after losing my husband and then a whole bunch of things.

[00:30:31] Oh, I’m just happening. Oh, I’m, yeah. Thank you. Like. It’s, it’s in the forefront, I’m fine, I’m good. But my subconscious is still dealing with some of that where it’s like suddenly I’m jealous of something. I’m like, where the hell did that come from? And I dig into it and I’m like, oh. And it comes back to this wanting to belong, or the fear of loss and the negative where it’s like, okay, let’s dig deeper. Let’s clean this up. I’m like, we humans are onions. It’s like you peel off one layer and, and one thing is taken care of and you just go deeper and deeper. But that’s, that’s our personal, um, evolvement, that’s our personal growth. And it’s, it can be really interesting and really entertaining at times when you realize how stupid your unconscious can be sometimes.

[00:31:21] Ursula: Yes, but that’s why it’s so important to bring the unconscious to the conscious mind, then we can understand it. Otherwise the unconscious or the subconscious runs to show without us knowing it.

[00:31:34] Yvonne: Yep. And suddenly dialog, what just happened? How, what? Yep. Um, with that, I love your process. I love, it’s like I’m, I’m sitting here, I’m like taking notes. I’m gonna have to actually listen myself to this podcast.

[00:31:48] You are aligning so much also with my NLP training and everything. Hmm. Now I have a lot of tool notes and implementers in the audience. Chill. Let’s, let’s note about a little about tools. So what, what are some of your most used tools in your business that allow you to do all the things you do nowadays?

[00:32:14] Ursula: Well, I must say it’s much more, uh, the psychological processes or tech, uh, than technological tools. And then that might come, um, a bit as a surprise because I’m a technology consultant of more than 20 years. And, um, I work with, uh, technology companies to develop technology for people and not against people.

[00:32:39] Um, but in the moment, there are lot of things that are actually either dumbing people down. For example, a lot of people, uh, realized when we had to have all these Zoom calls, that they are completely exhausted after a day of Zoom calls. And a lot of people, me included, were quite surprised because you didn’t run around, right?

[00:33:05] You didn’t run from one meeting to the other. Um, and I recently heard a psychologist talking about that, and he said, uh, well, , it’s when you meet someone in person, your, it’s not only, uh, that we need this belonging and the have a conversation, our whole body, our pheromones try to connect with this person.

[00:33:28] So when you have only have a screen. The brain says, hey, there’s another person. So the body starts to connect, to connect, to connect, and it doesn’t get a response. So it gets really, really exhausted. So in the moment, I’m working with technologies just to put the human in the center of all that collaboration and, um, immersive technologies to make it in a way that is also healthy for the human body.

[00:33:58] So we are more and more stepping away from these tools or thinking about… Actually the technology is not the problem. It’s the way we use it, right? Mm-hmm. , and how can we use it in a better way? Maybe it has to be another technology. Maybe we always have to combine it with real physical meetings. So it’s, um, not so much, uh, really technical devices.

[00:34:22] Of course, I use my smartphone, I use email, et cetera, but I try to step away from a lot of technological support. Of course, I, I must say like if you have invitations, calendars, et cetera, if this is automated, of course it’s, that’s great. Everywhere, where technology helped people and, um, I talk a lot to AI experts of decades, and they’re very surprised about the whole media hype AI and, uh, what they say is, is very interesting because we actually, it’s for us, it’s completely boring to have artificial intelligence that is like a human being. What we want to do is, um, define a problem and find a solution. That is why we have mowing robots or we have vacuum cleaning robots because that’s a very, that’s a narrow problem and the machine can solve it. So, um, for me, that’s very interesting. They also brought up the question, if robots steal our jobs, which we hear since many, many years, where have these robots been during the crisis?

[00:35:33] We actually would’ve needed them then, right? Yeah. And their answer is actually because the technology is isn’t on there. It’s a media hype and a narrative, but it’s actually not there. So, and also very important, as we talked about values and we think about a lot about the values of how to use technology.

[00:35:54] Um, I think, uh, you always have to decide according to your values of, uh, if you want to use a technology or not. That helps me actually a lot if I have to decide you do I, for example, do I use, um, do I download a tracking app so that I’m allowed to go on vacation? And this is for me. And no, then I don’t go on vacation.

[00:36:17] If, if this is the prerequisite for me to go on vacation, I will not do it. Because as I mentioned, I lived in China for a while. Yeah. And this is a full surveillance state, and I experienced that. Everything, everything. Uh, my room was survailed and, uh, my phone calls, my Skype calls. I had a shadow who was following me.

[00:36:39] That’s not fun. And, uh, if you allow the technology into your life, as soon as you have it, it’s really hard to, to step out of it.

[00:36:49] Yvonne: Yeah. Yeah. I love, on one hand I love where AI is going. Um, like it’s, I still believe it’s in its infancy of what it will be able to do, but on the, on the same side, on the, on the, on the coin of the other side of the coin, it’s like, but that also means we as the humans need to evolve and use it for good rather than for bad. So it’s, it’s this, it’s this double edge sword of are we, as a whole, as humans actually ready for what AI will be able to do?

[00:37:30] Ursula: And for a lot of other technologies as well. I think this question is very old. It started with the knife. You know, you can use the knife technology to cut your bread and you can use it to stab your neighbor in the back. And this is exactly what is the problem. We have to evolve, we have to be conscious and, um, of course, bad people use technology in bad ways. But why are they bad? I think nobody, no one is born as a bad person. I don’t believe that.

[00:38:05] And, uh, I think every person has an intrinsic value, which cannot be increased or decreased. It’s just there. And, uh, that means for bad people, bad people, um, there was something that happened to them. So maybe we can try to help them to become conscious about that.

[00:38:29] Yvonne: Yeah, which then opens up a whole nother can of worms, especially when you are living in the States because supporting others is yep, yep, that is, that is a topic for another show. Um, so guys, as you know, all of the links are always in the description. Ursula has an amazing monthly column called Code Red, where you are talking technology, madness and the future of humanity, you guys gonna be able to find the link for that in the show description no matter where you’re listening or watching.

[00:39:04] This was fun. I’m gonna have to actually re-listen. There was so many great tidbits and knowledge bites in it. So guys, if you’re listening, go hit the Like button and the Save button on the episode. Get your notes down. It is one to worth definitely re-listen. Thanks so much for joining me today.

[00:39:24] Ursula: Thank you so much, Yvonne.

[00:39:26] I really loved it. You really nailed it. Uh, I really, I’m surprised you understand what I do in such a perfect way. It seems we had a lot of similar experiences also as a business owner, and I really just loved our conversation. Thank you so much.

[00:39:44] Yvonne: Thank you so much. Bye everybody. Bye.

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