What is your most surprising prediction about cities?
What Alex McDowell did on the production design of Minority Report is just outstanding. Many of the technologies that appear in the film are today a reality, like driverless cars, wearable technology, or 3D Video. This is a film from 2002 set in 2054. So, I guess that Minority Report can give us an idea of how the cities will look like in the future.
We will see cities where the technologies that are shaping the future will be present everywhere – AI, robotics, or IoT. Denmark is the home of Cobots (collaborative robots) and their first application was in manufacturing, but now we are seeing more and more companies building solutions for the construction sector. In fact, Esben Ostergaard, founder of Universal Robots, said the construction will be the next step. And in the TechMatch program, we can already see some very interesting robotics and AI applications for this sector.
Of course, we will also see cities in which sustainability is a core element – cities addressing the goals of the 2030 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think about cities and technology?
I am a fan of technology and storytelling mainly in cinema and new media. So people like Elan Lee, Jordan Weisman, or Evan Williams are always in my mind. All of them are entrepreneurs that founded several companies always following their passion and the intersection between technology and storytelling.
What 2-3 books / podcasts would you recommend?
The following books are the ones that really changed my life at some point:
- The Art of Immersion by Frank Rose
- Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder
- The 4-hour workweek by Tim Ferriss
The podcast that I most enjoy right now is one about personal development, Kaizen, in Spanish. And, I would also recommend some newsletters like Sifted, CBS Insights, Finimize, or Suma Positiva, this last one again in Spanish. Those give you a good view of the startup and investment ecosystem in the main geographies and the trends in technology.
Where’s the best place for new ideas?
When I am tired, after a long week of work, or even better after several weeks of being really busy. At this moment when the brain seems to work slower, I can connect the dots in a really amazing way, and it is when the best ideas come to my mind.
Besides that, there are tools to source new ideas like brainstorming, the Tom Kelley approach from IDEO is my favorite or NABC developed by Stanford Research. There are a couple of books to which I come back quite often when I looking for new ideas: A User Guide to the Creative Mind by Dave Birss, and Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon.
Who inspires you?
My grandfather. When he was at the mandatory military service in the North of Africa, he got promoted for being able of writing his name on a blackboard. This day, when he was 19 or 20 years old, he said to himself I didn’t have the possibility to study but my children will, and he achieved it. He emigrated to France, was a dealer of as many things as you can imagine from chickens to artworks. But beyond that, his way of facing life was just admirable. For example, he was completely sure that he would never die and that he was immortal.
What are the skills we’ll need in 10 years?
The most important skills will not differ from the ones today: respect for others and yourself, and empathy. Those are the key skills to be part of this world.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
“Carpe diem”, be more patient, be more constant, and don’t fear failure. Those are things with which I am struggling still today.
It is funny because “carpe diem” is something that I had in my mind since I watched “Dead Poets Society” when I was 12 or 13 years old. And I thought for a long time that I was applying it but I wasn’t. I was always living in the future, I am still struggling with it. John Lennon summarized it the best way: “Life is what happens while you are busy making plans”.
And related to the other point, learning is what I most like to do in life, and this led me to learning about different subjects and changing my career path several times. In this regard, Bruce Lee has several quotes that I love around being constant, not fearing failure, learning and creating habits, …. a good one is: “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily towards your goal”
What is your call to action?
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