Go to a magazine store, grab some magazines on topics you would never think to read and see what’s going on in the world outside your fields of interest.
This exercise was presented by futurist Joel Barker on The Leaderonomics Show as he chatted with host Roshan Thiran on the importance of stepping outside our comfort zones, advising that the future “comes from many directions” and that opportunities arise “in places you would not expect”.
Joel Barker is one of the world’s leading futurists, and he took time out of his busy schedule to visit Leaderonomics CEO Roshan to discuss the concept of paradigm shifts in helping to transform the future for organisations and nations alike.
Photo source: James Madison University
Barker is a highly sought-after educator, and has been enlisted by a number of governments to drive forward progress in countries including Singapore, Canada, the United States and, of course, Malaysia – a country he has visited many times and been left “impressed by its complexity and courage”.
Joel Barker is also an author and film maker. He has spoken about his work to more than one million people worldwide, and his films have been watched by over 250 million people across the globe.
In 1986, Barker released his first film, “Discovering the Future: The Business of Paradigms”, which went on to become the best-selling business video in history. In 2001 he updated this film, which has been translated into 16 languages and continues to be a significant influence for many people to this day.
In 1990, he produced his second film, “The Power of Vision”. This became his second best-seller, and has also been translated into a number of languages. Barker’s other educational films include “Wealth, Innovation, and Diversity”, “Leadershift”, and his latest video, “Innovation at the Verge”.
Appearing on The Leaderonomics Show, Barker describes himself as a “process futurist”. The other type of futurist, he says, is a “content futurist”.
The difference between the two is that content futurists tell us what the future will hold in terms of business, technology, social progress and other key aspects, while process futurists teach us the ways in which to think about and analyse the what that will help us gain a greater advantage in using whatever the future comes to offer us.
Discussing the process of paradigm shifts and how businesses can profit from spotting and making use of them, Barker says: “As soon as you’re aware of what it can do, it releases you, because you can look and say, ‘OK when I say that, it’s because of my paradigm – not because it [your business approach] is absolutely true’ and then you can say, ‘OK, is there another way to look at this?’”
To help businesses look toward the future and establish a foundation conducive for success, Barker asserts that the success of his own work is to avoid being prescriptive in helping his clients.
Rather, he leads them to realise their own way forward by pointing them in the right direction through adopting a certain way to approach obstacles and challenges.
He says: “If you understand the way the system works, you can choose to see the world anew.
“It’s why human beings have such power.”
“If we look at most creatures, they’re genetically programmed into a very tight paradigm. They do it really well but, if you ask for a massive adaptation, you don’t see very many animals go, ‘Well, let’s do an iron age instead of a bronze age’.