We caught up with #StradaFuturePros Futurist Phil Sang G. Yim to learn a little bit more about his job has a futurist and what its like to work in such an interesting field!
How did you come to work in such an interesting field?
Well, I guess the simplest way to explain it is … I was kind of lucky and was able to evolve into it. I suppose that I am able to do what I do because I know a little about a lot of things, especially about discontinuous changes in technology, customers, and business models and have relevant work experience; including jobs as a technology consultant, entrepreneur, innovation consultant, trend researcher, innovation manager and strategy manager. These experiences have given me the knowledge I need to formally explore possible futures and create a meaningful narrative for decision-makers.
What’s a typical working day for you?
I spend about half of my day doing Environmental Scanning, identifying “relevant” trends for strategy development – looking for disruptive trends that can transform our world. Specifically, I look for discontinuous changes in technology, society, organizations, and other relevant fields (including the economy, environment, politics, and values). Yes, I read a lot! (Or listen to podcasts or videos). Outside of meetings and other team interactions, I then spend the rest of the day writing (mostly preparing formal Trend Briefs or Trend Reports).
What’s the one item you couldn’t do your job without?
Actually, it would be two items or, more specifically, two different types of Operating Systems to access technology and technological innovations: a laptop and a mobile. For me, it’s not Mobile Only but Mobile First, as I use different devices throughout the day (both sequentially and simultaneously). However, like most of my peers, my smartphone is currently the center for my digital life.
What do you think will be the most exciting thing about the future professional environment?
For the longer-term future, it’s terribly exciting to envision a world where we would primarily work to make things bigger and better or create new experiences for the benefit of our families, friends, neighbors, and communities. Today, we have our best minds working to make money, to maximize profits. What would happen if our best minds were put to work to solve really challenging issues that will make life on earth better for all? It’ll be interesting to see how we as a collective resolve this.
Was there anything that surprised you while compiling the report?
Actually I was rather surprised that the overall tone in the report was very positive and optimistic. I realize that this is in stark contrast to the current wall of worries. However, I believe that technology will enable and empower our society to move away from scarcity and move towards abundance. In other words, as we move away from an industrial-based productivity model and move towards a knowledge-based productivity model, we’ll figure out how to stop working to maximize profits and begin to work to maximize happiness. Personally, I agree with the prevailing notion that we are in the midst of a change in paradigm and are ripe for new visions and structures. I have hope in humanity and believe that we will get to a future where “work” means an opportunity to be generous and do meaningful things for others.
In your experience what countries are the most forward looking in terms of their working practices?
I believe that the Scandinavian countries are doing really interesting things in this regard by approaching education/formation differently. Most of Europe’s current educational system is geared to prepare professionals/workers for the industrial economy. However, the northern countries are preparing students how to identify and solve problems and dilemmas; as opposed to subjecting students to memory and recall in core subjects (math, reading, and science).
How do you use your Smartphone to help your work?
My smartphone is my “life” dashboard: all my “micro-moments” or digital experiences begin with my smartphone – organizing my day; catching up with family, friends, and communities; doing some work; and playing around a bit. At the office, I often use my smartphone as a second screen or computer (listening to podcasts, watching videos, etc.) while I take notes on the PC. Increasingly, I often find myself micro-working on the smartphone: reading an article, reviewing notes, organizing my thoughts, managing projects, and other stuff that I can get done in a few minutes. In short, my smartphone has increased my productivity but … I find myself working a bit more. Maybe I should find the “off” button go offline from time to time (!)