The Aftermath of Crises - The Next Normal

Futurist Rohit Talwar on Thinking the Unthinkable and Reframing Positions of Power to Positions of Responsibility

About This Episode

We kick off our 5th season with Rohit Talwar, the CEO of Fast Future, a UK based research and insights business that specializes in the fields of futures and foresight. In this dialogue, Rohit and Vanessa discuss the implications of the groundbreaking events that have occurred in the first half of 2020. In Rohit’s words: “This has been quite a good rehearsal for how we prepare better for the future. Whether it’s climate change, collapse of financial markets, radical breakthroughs in science and technology- we should now be more open to those things and more willing to think the unthinkable…Hopefully we broaden our lens, and start moving from talking about people being in positions of power to owning the fact that they’re in positions of responsibility, walking the corridors of responsibility, and their real job is to exercise that responsibility to create a fairer, more inclusive, and more sustainable world for all.”

About Rohit Talwar

Rohit Talwar is a global futurist and CEO of Fast Future – delivering keynote speeches, public webinars, research, consultancy, and publishing services. Rohit is the lead editor and a contributor to Fast Future’s books which share the thinking of leading future thinkers around the world, exploring critical developments shaping the way we might live, work, and play. These books are wide ranging and explore the possible impacts of new ideas, disruptive thinking, and exponential technologies such as AI. Through his speaking, consultancy, and writing, Rohit examines how these developments could reshape our underlying assumptions, paradigms, and governing systems and the resulting impact for individuals, societies, businesses, economies, governments, and the sectors of the future.

Fast Future has a particular focus on ensuring these advances are harnessed to unleash individual potential and enable a very human future.  Previous titles by Fast Future include: The Future of Business; Beyond Genuine Stupidity – Ensuring AI Serves Humanity; The Future Reinvented – Reimagining Life, Society, and BusinessA Very Human Future – Enriching Humanity in a Digitized World; and Opportunity at the Edge – Change, Challenge, and Transformation on the Path to 2025; and Aftershocks and Opportunities – Scenarios for a Post-Pandemic Future – published on June 1st, 2020.

 

Transcript

Vanessa:

Welcome to the Social Change Diaries, the show that looks behind the curtain at everything you want to know about the social justice and nonprofit landscape. I’m your host, Vanessa Wakeman.

Vanessa:

Welcome to the Social Change Diaries. I am your host, Vanessa Wakeman. So we are midway through 2020, although it feels like we’ve been through a few years in these short six months. We had planned to kick off season five earlier this year, focused on 2020 and beyond, like what predictions and trends should we expect or what should we be thinking about for the next 10 years. What is the decade going to bring us? And with the pandemic, the COVID-19, and then with the racially-motivated murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor bringing into the light racial injustices and the issue of racism in our country, we decided that maybe we should shift and think about what’s coming up, like what are these issues going to bring to the forefront.

Vanessa:

So I’ve heard people talk about like, “Oh, I can’t wait until we return to…things get back to normal.” And I am feeling like these two very serious incidents or pivotal moments in our time, that we’re not going to have a return to normal, that we’re going to experience something new and different, which I am referring to as the next normal. What will that look like as a result of all of what’s happened this year? So, we are speaking with a number of different guests who are going to share their perspective from philanthropy to general social change, human conditions, media organizing, civil liberties, civil rights, just wanting to get a few different perspectives.

Vanessa:

So I’m kicking off the season with a futurist, Rohit Talwar, and he is going to share his thoughts and feedback about what’s happening and what we should be thinking about as a society. I’m really excited for that conversation. I always enjoy speaking with a fellow futurist and getting an understanding of what they’re seeing and how they think we can shape what happens in the future or what things in the present and the past can help us to understand what’s possible for the future. So I hope you enjoy. As always, if you have any comments or thoughts or suggestions for other guests, please send them my way. Enjoy the interview.

Vanessa:

Hello, audience. I am speaking to a friend from across the pond today. We are speaking with Rohit Talwar, the CEO of Fast Futures. I’d like to welcome you, Rohit, to our show today.

Rohit:

Hi. Thank you very much for having me on the show, Vanessa.

Vanessa:

So, one of the things that I have always been interested in with the work that you and Fast Futures do is, you’ve really looked at a lot of different areas of our life, of the human condition, economics, technology, et cetera, and helped to frame what we should be thinking about for the future. And I guess before I jump into some of those themes, I’d love it if you could share with the audience, for those who are not familiar, what exactly you do as a futurist.

Rohit:

Thank you. So at Fast Future, we do a few things. We seek, we deliver executive education, research consulting, and we publish books about the future. So our most recent book, Aftershocks and Opportunities: Scenarios for a Post-Pandemic Future, is actually a collaboration between 25 future thinkers around the world, exploring how our world might play out as we navigate through and beyond the pandemic. That’s really our role as futurists, is to try and help people understand the forces, the ideas, trends, the development, and the things for which we can only see weak signals from the future to try and explore how they might come together in different scenarios.

Rohit:

We think it’s a fool’s game to get into making predictions because you tend to either be right or wrong, and that’s nearly not a good basis for planning. But if you can think about two or three different scenarios of how all these things might come together and play out, then you can effectively rehearse the future and hopefully make better decisions today. So you’re prepared for a range of possibilities. And right now, that’s exactly the situation we’re all in, where there are so many different scenarios for how things could play out in the next couple of years. To pin our hopes on one view is foolhardy in the extreme. So, the best organizations that we see now are really gearing up for a range of possible futures, and in particular, doing something that none of us really want to do, which is to think about the worst-case scenario.

Rohit:

In this case, the worst-case scenario is where we have a pandemic, which isn’t eradicated for a couple of years, and an economic downturn that lasts for two or three years. Whilst a lot of the people are aware that that’s possible and even think that might be the most likely scenario, we meet very few people who are actually putting any real effort into preparing for it. Most people are using hope as a strategy, and the hope is that things will just get better.

Rohit:

Particularly if you’re in the social change space, you’re a social change agent, a charity, a voluntary organization, social activist, then the real challenge is saying, “How do we survive and thrive in a world where we could have a prolonged pandemic and a prolonged economic downturn. How do we still deliver on our mandate? How do we still fulfill our responsibilities and commitments towards the particularly underserved communities that we’re focused on?” So that’s why I think it’s becoming so important for organizations, and there’s such demand at the moment to hear about the scenarios that we’re talking about in the book.

Vanessa:

As you said that last part about people not preparing, it makes me think about a lot of the conversations I had maybe late March, early April, trying to push this idea of innovation and disruption. For a number of reasons, the nonprofit/charity sector has been, in many ways, slow to innovate because of constraints around resources, the way money is given to them with specific criteria and parameters. To me, this particular crisis dictates and demands that everybody throw out the old playbook and try to prepare, as you just said, for what the possible worst scenarios are.

Vanessa:

I wonder, are there are any specific basic ways that someone who is not used to looking at things in that way, that they should at least…like maybe some primer questions or a starter, just to maybe help the thinking and brainstorming start around how to approach things in this manner?

Rohit:

Well, one of the things I would say is that I think a lot of people are overestimating how much will change in the next couple of years. I think if we stood there on December 31st, 2022, and we looked back, we’d be deeply and unpleasantly surprised by how much it stayed the same because the forces of retardation to go back to how it was are so strong.

Rohit:

Now, I think a lot will change. We’re seeing movements right around the world now where young people are getting mobilized, and we could see quite a lot change, but I think we also have to expect that some things won’t. The challenge now is around trying to identify who are those coalitions of the willing who want to tackle the causes we’re interested in, whether it’s providers of funds, providers of resources, or people who can somehow help us in some way, whether it’s volunteers or whatever, and the web becomes a critical glue to pull those together.

Rohit:

So the first thing is about getting smart around searching who is talking about these things, who’s showing an interest, who still have funds that they want to commit. A lot of corporates have their social responsibility budgets that they haven’t used up, and a lot of those things were going to big live physical projects that can’t happen anymore. So, trying to seek those out is really important, and that’s where your network is critical. Making it really clear to the people who are around you, your advisors, the people who’ve been through your programs, your friends, that you’re looking for support, whether it’s funding, whether it’s resources to help you, whether it’s people to provide technology skills, but really asking.

Rohit:

Now, this is the environment in which asking becomes a core currency. So the first is using the web to find the opportunity, asking, being very clear on what it is that you think you can do in this situation to make a difference. One of the things that I find is, corporates, governments, individuals, charities, not-for-profit, I often have to ask an awful lot of questions before I can find out what they do. They talk in a complex language that really isn’t clear. As publishers, we’ve trained our authors, our team, to write for intelligent twelve-year-olds. That’s the guidance The Times of London gives to its journalists.

Rohit:

And that’s the guidance we give to people. We know that people have a microsecond attention span. We can’t handle complex at the moment. A lot of people are overworked, overstressed, and their bandwidth is full. So if you want to try and find some way of squeezing into their consciousness, you’ve got to find really simple ways of communicating your message, and you’re not trying to get everything across in that one message. You’re trying to get across enough of a hook that they’ll ask you those follow-up questions. If you don’t do that, then you’ll just swipe to side and people just want to move on to something really simple.

Rohit:

I’ll give you an example. One of the most incredible social ventures I know has a very simple message. We take disused fire hoses, we turn them into high-end handbags, and we give half the profits back to the fire service charity. And by the way, we save the fire service in the UK over $500 per ton because they don’t have to pay disposal charges anymore. In that little message, my audience is hooked. The number of times I’ve presented about that in different presentations around the world, and afterwards, people have told me that they bought a handbag, they bought a gift because of it. Some people have tried to invest in that venture simply because I’ve been able to tell that story, and in a really clear and distinct message with no clever words and no clever concept. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have clever words or clever concepts, but wait before you share them. Keep it simple. Really, this is about enrolling people with the power of very simple messaging. In a world where we’re overwhelmed right now, that’s what’s working.

Rohit:

I think, interestingly enough, if I look at some of the big political campaigns recently from the US and from the UK, “Make America Great Again,” “Take Back Control in the UK to Get Brexit Done,” and then, “Get Brexit Done to Get the Conservative Party Elected.” But then we’ve seen that power of that simple messaging resonate around the world with one simple message. “I can’t breathe.” Then Al Sharpton picked up on it, and his second message, which was “Get your knee off our neck,” has now become a global rallying cry. Very simple. I think that’s what a lot of causes need to recognize, is that the world is so busy right now, its head is so full, that if you want to get your message across, you have to make it very simple.

Vanessa:

That is helpful. That is helpful. So I want to go to the book for a moment. So Aftershocks and Opportunities, are there a couple of specific examples from the book, let’s say on the aftershock side, that will be surprising to most people, or anything that sort of stood out to you as like, “Hmm, I wasn’t thinking about this,” but this is definitely something that people should be concerned about or should be on the radar so that people can, as you talk about, prepare.

Rohit:

Yeah. I mean, I think if we’re taking shocks, then I think the scale of social deprivation and the scale of social challenges that could arise out of this crisis is really, truly shocking. We’re used to talking about it in the West, 40 million unemployed in the US, 3 million in the UK. But when you look at some countries and you’re talking about 80 to 90% of their population now being unemployed, we’re talking about death rates of a million plus in individual countries. That’s truly shocking. And if we look at things like domestic violence, we look at mental health issues, we look at issues like divorce, all of those things are likely to continue rising for some time after this crisis is over or after lockdowns end.

Rohit:

I think the other big one is a real recognition that as a society, as individuals, as businesses and as governments, we were woefully underprepared for a shock of this scale. We shouldn’t have been, as governments and businesses. We should have horizon scanning, scenario planning, risk assessment, contingency planning for these things, because nothing that governments have done during the crisis should have come as a surprise. There are protocols for dealing with this kind of scale of challenge, whether it’s a health epidemic or a climate crisis, whatever. But what it shows is that a lot of countries were just woefully underprepared. That’s the thing I think many people worry about, particularly on the health front, because the people who benefited most from this are our would-be aggressors, whether it’s terrorist, non-state actors, hostile nations. They’ve seen the fragilities in our nations, in our behavior, and they’ve learned from that. If I’m a terror organization now, I can now really see how I can be truly disruptive with a bioterror weapon. That’s scary, because we showed ourselves to be very unprepared to deal with that kind of shock.

Rohit:

So those are some of the big things that have come through. I think the other thing that’s come through is just how deep the support has been for the financial markets again. A lot of people are just unaware of the trillions of dollars that are going in to stabilize financial markets, and it’s way more than is going into the physical economy. I think there’s a real call now for a different way, a different way of stabilizing those markets without having to pour huge amounts of money, and putting different kinds of controls on the worst excesses of the financial markets, so that they’re harnessed to support the real economy, not put it at risk. I think those things come through quite strongly through the book from different authors.

Vanessa:

And then on the opportunity side, what do you see there?

Rohit:

This has been quite a good rehearsal for how do we prepare better for the future. So hopefully we’ll all be better prepared. Very clearly, it’s shown us that this is maybe a one-in-200-year event, and therefore we should be open to others, whether it’s climate change, collapse of financial markets, radical breakthroughs in science and technology, all sorts of things, that we should now be more open to those things and more willing to think the unthinkable.

Rohit:

Secondly, I think there’s been a renewed awareness of essential workers. We’ve begun to realize who are the really important people in society, who creates the real value for society, and it is the nurses, the doctors, the porters, the cleaners, the grocery store workers, the delivery drivers, the road cleaners, the police, fire service. We’ve discovered who it is that really holds our society together and our approach to serving them, supporting them, I think…and obviously in the US in particular, the police also have some challenges at the moment, which the hope is that there’ll be a renewed way of thinking about how to do genuine, community, colorblind policing. That is a big hope, I think, but a lot of real hope coming through on those fronts.

Rohit:

Secondly, we’re seeing that there’s a willingness to try new ways of working, ideas that in the past, everyone would reject and say, “We’re not going to do that.” Now they’ve been forced upon us because we’re having to work remotely, and we’re learning fast. We’re raising digital literacy for many people. We’re trying new experiments, and not everyone wants to spend their entire day doing all their meetings via Zoom. We’re learning new tools to do dialogue, to appreciate different points of view, to hear all the voices in the room, and to reach an informed decision, even if it’s not in consensus, but it’s more powerful tools than we would have imagined possible via the online space.

Rohit:

Finally, I think there’s a kind of refreshing recognition that a lot of the work that people did was a little boring, a little dull, and we’re automating a lot of that now. In the short term, that could lead to job losses, but hopefully that also leads to deeper thinking about how do we create richer and more rewarding jobs, and how do we retrain people for the jobs of the future.

Rohit:

The other big thing is, there’s now a very powerful debate around the world around the idea of guaranteed basic incomes or universal basic incomes. A few countries are getting close. The UK has put 9 million people on furlough, and they’re effectively getting a guaranteed basic income every month. That, I think, is a really interesting development, because it’s allowing them to continue feeding their families. The next step, I think, is to tie that to retraining, so that people are paid to learn new skills, to develop new personal capability so that they can move into new jobs or create their own business in the future.

Rohit:

And I think there will be, once the recovery starts, new jobs created in a lot of new sectors, vibrancy in terms of people starting new businesses, and hopefully renewed optimism. Depending on which scenario we look at, that could be 18 months to four years away, but we certainly believe that in the long term, we’ll have a healthier, more vibrant society and also greater commitment to sustainability. We’ve seen the reduced emissions. We’ve seen reduced air pollution. We’ve seen better-quality water. We’ve seen wildlife emerging that we haven’t seen in years. I think there’s a genuine desire in society to say, “How do we retain some of that? How do we embed the Sustainable Development Goals from the UN in our practices? How do we make sure that we’re making the world a better place with every new initiative we do, rather than contributing to the problem?”

Vanessa:

Yes, yes, yes, yes. So you touched on essential workers, and the shifting and the reframing of who’s really important and critical for our society. I know that there’s been some data that shows that the majority of essential workers are women. I’m wondering if any of the research that came out or any of the patterns that you’ve been looking at point to any sort of hope around, is there an opportunity here for more deeper…and progress movement, or around the idea of gender parity, and finally looking at the role that women play in our society around the world. I would love to know if there are any things that you can speak to about that.

Rohit:

Well, there are really conflicting forces at play here, aren’t they? Before the pandemic, we were seeing data that was getting worse, and it was suggesting that it would take up to 200 years before- [crosstalk 00:21:41].

Vanessa:

Yes. Yes. I’ve seen that.

Rohit:

-parity, and that had gone up from 177 the previous year. You look at some countries… I’m from the UK. We have a terrible story around the representation of women on the boards of the largest companies, and the representation of black women in particular is horrendous. In many cases, it’s got worse. On the negative side, we also see that women seem to, in many countries, have been disproportionately represented in those who’ve lost their jobs or those who’ve been furloughed. Then there’s different data in different countries about infection and mortality rates, but certainly the black and minority ethnic community have been disproportionately represented in many countries.

Rohit:

On the plus side, the leaders who seem to be gaining the most kudos around the world in terms of the way they’ve behaved, the clarity of their communications, the honesty of the information they provide, the directness of their action and the speed at which they’re acting, and the sheer pragmatism of what they’re doing that feels like good, common sense, it’s largely women coming to the floor. You think of Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand, you think of the Prime Minister of Finland, of Iceland. You think of Germany. We look around the world and there’s a number of countries where women seem to be in the lead, in leadership roles, and doing the right thing, and it’s very hard to challenge what they’re doing from a societal perspective, from a political perspective, from an economic perspective. You can argue whether or not it’s the fact that they’re women, but I think it’s a good thing that you’ve got a group of women who are demonstrating how to do good leadership in a complex world.

Rohit:

Contrast that with the countries led by strong male characters, UK, US. The leaders aren’t universally popular. They’re controversial. Then we take the two biggest countries in the world, India and China, both led by strong and controversial leaders, and they’ve chosen the middle of a pandemic as a time to start a border wall. So there’s this quite stark contrast here between the two camps, and hopefully that will be inspirational to women, but also systemically around the world. I think there’ll just be more space created, hopefully, for more women to step in.

Rohit:

I saw a poster a while back. We used to have posters that said, “If not now, then when?” Now you’re seeing a lot of posters that say, “If not now, why not?”, which I think is much more powerful. It’s like, what are we going to do… Now I know that it’s very controversial, but if you look at hiring policies in corporations, I’ve been inside law firms, consulting firms, all sorts who I’ve advised, who tell me that based on their own data, it’s going to take 30 years to get women to the point where there’s an equal representation of women on the top partnership level, or they’re actually having the gall to say to me, “Well, by 2030, we’re hoping to have 30% of our partnership be women.” How can you, in the 21st century, even allow those words to come out of your mouth, to allow the idea that you are still going to be completely imbalanced?

Rohit:

So the only way we’re going to do that, and a lot of people don’t like this idea, is you are going to have to say that we’re going to have to skew the policy in favor of women, and they will go, “That’s not, that’s not fair, that’s, that’s biased.” Well, for 200-plus years, it’s been biased the other way, so it’s okay when it’s in your favor, but [crosstalk 00:25:48] do that. I just think that men are going to have to suck it up and accept that, if there are 10 promotions this year to partnership in a law firm, eight are going to go to women, two are going to go to men.

Vanessa:

Yes, yes, yes. Actually, I was having a conversation with someone about a similar scenario this morning, and I was like, you know what, those who have had the most favorable conditions may need to take it on the chin for a little while, so that we can sort of equalize and have some equality in these various scenarios. So I agree with that.

Vanessa:

I know we are quickly running out of time, and I’m loving all of this conversation. I wanted to ask you about these protests and the movement that has sort of taken shape around the globe, started here in the US in response to the murder of George Floyd, and everyone… There have been Black Lives Matter protests all around the world. I personally have not seen this level of intensity connected to outrage around racism at this scale, and ongoing protests are still happening almost daily…actually daily. To me, it seems like we are ripe for some long-term transformation and changes.

Vanessa:

I’m wondering from a futurist perspective, is there anything that you can glean from what you’re seeing, relative to why this one is different from what we’ve seen in the past, that could point to… Is this the time when we are going to be able to go through the discomfort of really changing systems, and restructuring and re-imagining all of the ways that racism is built into institutions and systems and processes? Or do you think that, sadly, there’s a possibility that people will start to return to their old habits? So we’re seeing companies all around the globe who are making these very bold statements about their commitment, and in some cases, they don’t align with the history of the organization, how they’ve presented themselves to the world and to their internal staff and teams. I’m wondering what you see there, and what might we start to see unfold as this continues.

Rohit:

Well, I think three things happened at the same time that have really allowed this movement to gain momentum. One was, a lot of people were locked down at home, so you could reach people and get messages to people far more easily. There wasn’t that kind of diversity of activity going on that meant you weren’t sure whether people would get the message. So when that video went out, a lot of people saw it.

Rohit:

Secondly, the news media were all over this, because they needed something else to talk about. They were bored rigid of talking about coronavirus and the pandemic, and we were bored rigid of hearing them talk about coronavirus and the pandemic. So the news media jumped all over this, and it’s become a cause célèbre for them.

Rohit:

And the third thing is the black community has mobilized on a number of occasions and has made real stuff happen. But I think this time, their voice has been amplified by the number of young white people in particular, who have kind of jumped on this cause and realized that, if we want a fair and more equal society, then they’ve got to use their white privilege to change their white privilege, and I think that’s been very important.

Rohit:

A friend of mine lives in a town outside London. He was telling me the other day that, on Saturday, there was a protest in the area where he lives, St Albans. He and his wife noted that 95% of the people on the march were white, and the majority of them would probably only have voted in an election for the first time in December. That is a very powerful, angry force, and they found something to coalesce around.

Rohit:

I think what needs to happen next is, and I think the movement will do this, will be to really focus in on a set of concrete change actions. Because being angry is great. It moves things. It gets people mobilized. But then we need to channel that energy into a whole set of concrete change actions. I think there’s a growing understanding amongst those with power that the answer is not to tell black people what we’re going to do for or to you, but to start listening, to really listen to, what is it you’re upset about? What are your concerns? What do we need to do to make you feel like you have a fair deal in society? The institutions, policies, policing, promotion, everything in our world is color-blind. How do we get there? I think we have to ask the people who have been most victimized by this for their view, and I think we’re seeing some of that.

Rohit:

I think we have to expect this to be messy and unequal in different parts of the world. I think there ought to be a law passed tomorrow to ban any company from making stupid statements until they make real changes. I don’t care about you putting a Black Lives Matter poster on your dating app or your website or your email that you send me trying to sell me something. No. I want you to start a dialogue with your own workforce, with the people in your customer community or whatever, about what are the ways that you don’t even know you are causing offense or you are discriminating. That’s the most powerful thing you can do. Sure, if your message is, “We apologize that this company was built on slavery, we’ve made fortunes out of slavery, and we’re going to give that money back to causes to change the world,” bless you. Right? That’s a tangible action, but just to jump on the bandwagon and have your “me too” statement, if you like, about Black Lives Matter, no. It makes no difference, and I think it’s cynical.

Rohit:

Do real things. Make real change. Show you’re listening. Make real commitments. Make demonstrable, breakthrough achievements of the claims that we saw, where people moved their entire workplace from a physical workplace to a working-from-home workplace in 10 days. Let’s see that happen around the way you treat black and minority ethnic people. Let’s see that. Let’s see that in the criminal justice system. Let’s see that in the way you promote people, to portray people. Let’s see that in all those institutions. If we see that, then people are going to start to believe it, because, rightfully so, the people who feel like they’ve had the dirty end of the stick don’t have much trust, and they need to see tangible change upon tangible change upon tangible change.

Rohit:

One of the issues, I think, is that the people with power will still want to hear thank you, thank you, thank you every time something happens. They’re not going to necessarily hear thank you all the time, because what they’re wanting is people to say thank you for doing what they should have been doing anyway. [crosstalk 00:33:17]

Rohit:

So, it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be messy. It’s going to be fractious. There’ll be a lot of people who don’t like what’s happening. We don’t necessarily know how they’re going to react, possibly not in good ways, but ultimately I think the most positive things have come out of this pandemic will be that movement of change, which I hope will extend to not just lack of minority ethnic discrimination in all its forms, but also the situation for all sorts of people who have been underserved in society, that hopefully we broaden our lens, and that we start moving from talking about people being in positions of power and walking the corridors of power, to start really owning the fact that they’re in positions of responsibility, walking the corridors of responsibility, and their real job is to exercise that responsibility in order to create a fairer, more inclusive, and more sustainable world for all.

Vanessa:

I love the idea of position of responsibility. That reshapes everything. Oh my god. I love that, I love that, I love that. I’m afraid to ask another question because I feel like that’s such a high note to this conversation. I want to end there. Is there anything else that you would like to share with our audience?

Rohit:

I should just say that that responsibility thing comes from Bruce Lloyd, one of the authors in the book. No, I mean, I love this conversation. It’s been great. I love talking about these issues, as you can tell. I firmly believe that we can kind of change our destiny now. The pandemic has woken us up to the fact that we don’t know what’s around the corner, and that old systems, old structures, old behaviors don’t just have to become solidified and locked in. We can change things and we can make this a better world for all of its 8 billion-plus residents, and not just the wealthy and those in positions of power and privilege.

Vanessa:

Yes. Well, Rohit, as always, it was an absolute pleasure to speak with you. I thank you so much for taking some time to talk with my listeners about what’s on your mind and what should be on our mind, and please, please, please come back again soon. I feel like as things evolve within this crazy upside-down world of ours and all that we’re experiencing, that some of these things will sort of be more pronounced, and there could be some possible shifts and areas and things that we’re focusing on, and ways that people need to pivot and even further re-imagine their next step. So, I’m just asking now to please consider coming back again in the future before the end of the year.

Rohit:

Sure, sure.

Vanessa:

Perfect. Well, I thank you. And can you share, if people want to find out more information about Fast Futures or the book, where should they go?

Rohit:

Yeah. So you can contact me by [email protected], no S at the end, just F-A-S-T-F-U-T-U-R-E.com. That’s also the website where you can find the book and all our other books and all of our other research reports. You can find me on LinkedIn, on Facebook, on Twitter, and you can also find our books on Amazon, of course. And by all means, get in touch. I love having conversations with people after these events, because you always have such a rich dialogue, and hopefully different perspectives get stimulated and people want to have interesting and challenging debates.

Vanessa:

Again, thank you so much, Rohit. Look forward to talking again soon.

Rohit:

My pleasure.

Vanessa:

As I predicted, this conversation with Rohit was the perfect one to kick off season five around the next normal. So thank you again, Rohit, and thank you to all of our listeners. As always, feel free to send in your questions or comments, or if you have other suggestions, I’m always welcome to those.

Vanessa:

I also want to just take a moment to mention an initiative that the Wakeman Agency, that we are working on, I’m super excited about it. It’s the Narrative Justice Project, and it’s a free media training program being offered to individuals around the country from communities of color. We have noticed a huge disparity in the way the stories of people of color are shared in the media, or sometimes don’t make it into the media, and wanting to help people understand how to use the various tools and resources, and to understand how to leverage the media to make sure that their stories are being told. We are hoping that this will be one small step toward fair and equal and accurate representation in the media, and that voices aren’t silenced.

Vanessa:

So, if you are interested, if you are a person of color and interested in this training, you can find out information on our website, thewakemanagency.com, and just go to the Narrative Justice Project. There is a registration link there for the trainings, which we are offering twice per week. Open to… Folks, it’s online, so there’s no barriers to entry. The initial focus of this program was to go to 20 cities around the country this year, but COVID has sort of grounded us, but that’s not going to stop us. We are offering it online. So I hope you can join us, and hope you can join us next week for our next guest, Becky Ferguson, who is the VP of Global Philanthropy at Salesforce. Thank you