Simon Dingle, Forward Thinker
This morning I had the privilege of spending an hour or so with a few of South Africa’s more fascinating human beings. We managed to put politics, war and wildlife in distress aside for a while and chat about technology and the human condition. Being a bit of a technophobe I had wondered how much of Simon Dingle’s chat I was going to understand because you know these techie types, the run on acronyms and abbreviations and sometimes they use really long technical terms that the plebs amongst us have no absolutely no understanding of.
I was most pleasantly surprised, and if Simon did throw in a long word here and there it was quickly explained and of course the long words made perfect sense in the context in which they were used. I think I managed to keep up 🙂
The basic premise being that human beings, though being at the pinnacle of the evolutionary table are not necessarily logical thinkers and do not necessarily make rational decisions and choices. Given the example of the car salesman who is about the clinch the deal on your fabulous new R400k vehicle, tossing the suggestion of one or two minor extras into the mix. In the “hot state” or emotional context the odds are you are going to take the extras and to hell with the extra costs involved; in for a penny, in for a pound so to speak.
Simon Dingle’s core belief is that “Innovation starts with understanding people”, and that the sooner that big corporations understand this the soon things will start to turn around, this being particularly evident in industries like banking and telecommunications. When was the last time your bank understood your needs and assisted you according to those needs? Do you even know what your needs are?
Simon’s desire is to work with companies who wish to change their business models in as far as how they look at and deal with their clients. The important question as a business being, how are you going to change lives, moving towards being a force for good instead of a force for evil, which is exactly what prompted Simon to answer my emails requesting him to come and speak at Indulgence Cafe … “That’s why I will reply to Mandi’s email when I won’t respond to some of the major banks “, he was just showing appreciation of me as an end user… 🙂
As technology forces the consolidation of many items into one, i.e. your smartphone now having replaced your radio, camera, diary, alarm clock, diary, book, torch, map book and social life etc. to name just a few gave rise to a conversation that touched on “Contextual Computing”; Information looking for human beings instead of humans having to look for the information, finding out who that information is most relevant to, and giving you answers to questions you don’t even know you should be asking. This is an area that Google has taken the lead on with Ray Kurzweil at the helm, Google being the world’s most powerful contextual computing engine and the world’s biggest brand.
The next logical step? Between all the available social media platforms, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, your Garmin etc, there is enough information out there in the ether to form a virtual blueprint of the person you are and behavioural patterns can be observed at which point the computer, your virtual PA can start to make decisions on your behalf from ordering your lunch at your local nosh stop to notifying the client you’re going to be late for a meeting due to the traffic! Scary much? I think so, but, Simon finds it an incredibly exciting space to be in. His view being that if the computer handled those types of things, it would give him more time to spend with his children.
Out-sourced Consciousness, artificial/synthetic intelligence, I have to wonder if the human species will survive its own inventions. Synthetic Intelligence may question the ultimate good mankind has done to the planet and decide that we need to be eradicated. Movies like Terminator may very well become reality shows.
In summing up, Simon said….:)
It doesn’t matter what your business is, whether you are selling a cup of coffee or a vehicle, the fundamental question remains…….How can you make a positive impact on someone’s life, they won’t know, how do we go and find out that will really a make difference!
Simon’s chat with us was incredibly informative and very, very thought provoking and I can only, most humbly, thank him for giving us his time…………The most precious resource that there is!
A little recommended light reading:
Ray Kurzweil – How to create a mind
Tom Kelly – The Ten Faces of Innovation
Who is Simon Dingle……
Simon loves disruptive new things that deal with finance,
technology, design and behavioural sciences. He is an advisor to 22seven and hosts a radio show on 5FM that focuses on consumer tech. He also co-presents a podcast called Take Back the Day and writes about technology and trends for Finweek magazine.
He is often asked to discuss innovation, behavioural economics, disruptive technology and business trends on television, radio and as a keynote speaker at conferences.
Until next time
Love ‘n Lollipops