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Finbar O'Hanlon - Corporate Advisor and Innovation Expert | Proactive Podcast Ep 140


Chris welcomes Corporate Advisor and Innovation Expert Finbar O'Hanlon to the podcast to discuss human potential in the face of emerging technologies like AI.





Find out more about Finbar and his achievements at


Video Transcript:

- [Presenter] Welcome to the "ProActive Podcast", brought to you by MeMedia.

- G'day world, Chris Hogan coming to you live from MeMedia Studio here at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast. And I've teleported in Finbar O'Hanlon from Melbourne in his awesome studio. And today, I wanna talk about Fin and his awesome career and what he's up to now. So Fin is an entrepreneur, musician, inventor, polymath, AKA Imagineer. So Fin is currently helping people explore their human capability in this crazy world we live in right now with so many opportunities. And I think if you just went and dived into Fin's LinkedIn feed, you'd know, just like me, how I think full on the information that's coming out right now about, I think what we need to do now and what we're gonna need to do in the future. It can be really overwhelming. And that's why I've got Fin on because nearly every time Fin posts something on LinkedIn, I wanna pick up the phone and have a conversation about every article that you post, mate. So thanks for joining me. That was a massive intro.

- Great to be here, mate. Thanks for having me. Hopefully I can make sense of all this craziness.

- Mate, obviously we need to just do a back step there and I think I wanna go back to some of your inventions that you've created and also I think maybe just before that your musical talents. So could you just highlight, I guess, some of your musical talents of background and-

- Well, yeah. Like, so 17 I was in a band, I was put into a band in Australia called Jump Incorporated. We were charting on the top charts. We had a single called "Sex and Fame", signed at Mushroom Records. After that, I taught at the Australian Institute of Music, the Conservatorium. I taught jazz fundamentals and instrumental major. And then from there on, I just did lots of clinics for guitar companies. I was a bit of a guitar player guy. And then, you know, I'd done instrumental albums. I've worked with guys from members of The Cure and Limp Bizkit. I've worked with Dave Stewart from the Eurhythmics, got a platinum record for working with Van Halen. So, you know, travelled all over the world, done all sorts of different projects in and around the music business. And so, you know, I play music, I've got a pretty full on studio here. Released a new album last year which was part science experiment, part music where it's called "The Code", where I've infused different codified messages in each track. I play a thing called the Warr Guitar, which is, it's an interesting instrument. There's probably, I don't know, 20 or 30 people in the world that play it. It's a bit like a bass and a guitar that you play like a keyboard, a string instrument. So I love the constant challenge that music brings that's constantly evolving. There's never an end. And I love challenging myself. And so music's been this great thing for me where I've got to meet a lot of my heroes and work with them and got to see multiple facets of the music industry, both here, particularly in the US. So yeah, it's been a great journey.

- And, mate, I love the Warr Guitar. When I was trying to explain to someone who you are and how your mind works, I just said, "Listen, you know how people play like a six string guitar? Well, Fin plays a 12-string guitar, and he does like this, and all the fingers are moving at once." So that just gives you an idea of what might be going on inside his brain to work. It's just fascinating that you took that on, and it does help explain to people 'cause they go.

- Yeah. Yeah, it's a good challenge.

- So the musical side for you was obviously, you know, just expressing your creativity on a visual scale, but is that what, I guess, projected you into the inventing side of your life?

- Yeah, look, it's a great question, Chris. For me, I've always been a bit of a weird musician because I'm not happy just playing the song, same song every night. That's just not the sort of musician I am. I like to constantly explore. I'm much more into the Brian Eno guys, the soundtrack guys. I love techno, I love heavy metal, I love jazz fusion, I love learning all the stuff about composing orchestral music. So I don't fit into one genre. For me, music is a multiple dimension language whereby if you read music, which I do, it's basically like hieroglyphics. When you read music, it's basically symbols. And the symbols don't just represent the note; they represent the place in time that the note exists. It also has other symbols that relate to how hard you play, how soft you play, whether you pull back. And so it's a multi-level language. And so as I started to learn music, when I first was interested in coding, God, what, '95, '96 or something, for me it was just like music. It was a multi-dimensional language that if I put together things in the right order, I could actually see something come about. Now, I'm not an academic by any means, I'm much more of a street person, and I learn in a non-traditional, non-linear way. I'm very much a non-linear learner. So for me, I was actually working with Apple at the time as a specialist in media. I started to download blocks of code and I would reverse-engineer that. That's how I learned, by not actually going a course, by actually just getting stuff and then pulling it apart. That's just the way I work. So for me, how I got into inventions was this constant thirst for looking for problems to solve and trying to think of creative ways to find the cracks that no one else can see. And it was about how do I smash things together that don't fit together? And what happens, as an experiment, when I smash things, that don't fit together? For example, if I smashed music and coding, you know, I ended up working on an amazing project with Scott Humphrey, who's a big producer, worked with Metallica on "The Black Album", worked with Rob Zombie and Tommy Lee on this project called Jammit, which was a music app, was huge in America. And it was really fascinating for me that, you know, it went full circle. I went from music into coding, building software, launching software and inventing things, and then coming back and working with my heroes on building software to help people learn music. It was just really fascinating. So yeah, I got into invention by accident. I never planned to be an inventor. I just love being curious and I love asking really dumb questions. For me, the dumb questions are often where the gold lies. It's just that, you know, I don't know, I fell into it in a way. But even today, when you see me playing the Warr Guitar, you can't get lessons on the Warr Guitar. There's no sheet music for Warr Guitar. You just gotta sorta work it out. And for me, just that puzzle is like the puzzle of life, it's like the puzzle of code, it's like whether I'm doing business strategy, whatever it is. For me, it's what are the artefacts? How do I use creativity in a problem-solving method of convergent and divergent thinking to see things and come up with solutions to problems? And that leads to innovation basically. I don't know if that makes sense, but-

- [Chris] No-

- That's the map.

- That's fine. That's a good map. Interestingly, I think I followed a different path, oh, sorry, a similar path with the code. Yeah, learning how to code. Yeah, I basically had to just get code and hack it to pieces to learn how to use it. So yeah, that's interesting for me. Innovation, I think that term has, I think, confused a lot of people, you know. Are they being innovative? Are they an innovator? How do they innovate their organisation or even themselves in their careers? Could you explain in your words what innovation is?

- Yeah, sure. So just to give some background to this, I'm the APAC chapter president of the Global Innovation Institute, which is a global organisation, it's the biggest, most world-renowned organisation for innovation certification, that came outta Boeing, Whirlpool, and NASA, applied innovation. So it's very structured, good applied innovation principles. And so the method, the story goes a bit like this. There are four connected things that need to happen to get to innovation, typically. Let me start with first one, imagination. And imagination is unbound thinking. So it's a thought process with no barriers, okay? That's imagination. Creativity is a thought process by creating solutions to problems by the reorganisation of existing things. Now, let me explain that in a little bit more simpler terms. To do anything creatively, you've gotta break something, anything into parts. Once you have parts, like think of it like Lego. You've got something, whether it's a business process, whether it's a product, whether it's a service, break it into some parts. Once you have the parts, you can reorganise those parts. The reorganisation, the removing of it, the remapping or pulling something from somewhere else is creativity, right? That's the process, reorganisation of existing things. Invention is when you create something, when that creativity fuels the actual making of something. So when you invent something, you make something, you create it. And innovation is when that creation could be measured by someone else other than the creator. So it has to be measured, and its impact needs to be measured. So the difference between invention and innovation, invention is the creation of something that doesn't necessarily have any measurement to it; innovation is when you can measure the impact that that invention has on someone else. And so in all my workshops, when I talk about this, I start by getting a baseline understanding. 'Cause you're right, a lot of people don't even understand what creativity is. They think creativity is playing guitar, and it is in some cases, writing music it is, but it's not just that, Creativity is a thought, is a way to create conceived solutions to problems. And you do that by looking at a process methodology. It's systematised creativity, not just flippant. Because when you've got a system, you can measure that system. I don't know, does that make sense?

- Yeah, it does. It does. On that point about people not understanding what creativity is and the importance of it, I think that's exactly, you know, where we are right now, and we'll dive into that a bit later. But yeah, they think it's painting or drawing or, like you say, playing guitar, playing an instrument, and how is that even relevant to business careers, you know, and creating new products and solving complex problems, you know. So how is painting-

- That's a really good point. So let's think about painting. When you paint, you have a number of different paint colours and a number of different brushes and you have a canvas, and you decide which ones to pick and you put them in different orders to create a picture, right? You reorganise the colours and the paints in whatever order you want to create an outcome. You have parts like Lego bits and you put them together in a way to create a painting. When you write music, you have different instruments, you have different note choices. When you put them together, the synthesis of that, the orchestration of that creates an output. Creativity is the process of putting the notes together. When you have a business process and you start to say, "Okay, I'm gonna break that business process down into a flow or a map or a jobs to be done framework," whichever way methodology you wanna use, once you understand the key value points of that framework, they're either a positive value or a negative value, you can start to go, "If I remove that from that, what does it look like?" I'll give you a good example. In the early days, I don't know if you remember this, Chris, but there used to be a store called Blockbuster and it was a video rental store. And the way you would get movies to watch was you'd decide you wanna rent a movie. You would drive to a store, you would park up, you'd go into a building, you'd look at a library, you would go and find a title, you'd take it to a counter, then you would rent it. Then you would go and drive home, you'd put in the player, you'd play it. You'd have to rewind it, you'd take it out, you'd drive it back to the store. That would be the map. Then Apple TV came out. And if we look at that map and we said we're gonna move all the driving steps out of that, drive to store, drive back, parking, remove all of that out, then it helps you ask the question, "How might we still watch a movie without driving to a store?" And so by the process of taking things out of the flow chart is creativity and business. And it helps you come up with a new innovation, which was Apple TV. Then when it got to Netflix, it was, "Why do I have to buy a movie? What would it be like if I didn't have to buy a movie?" And then a subscription model came out where you just pay one fee and you watch everything. And so by putting a system in place, it provides the groundwork and the framework that allows you to come up with innovative ideas. It's not just sitting around on bean bags with Slush Puppies, you know, listening to jazz music going, "Hey, man, I've got this great idea." And a really interesting thing is ideas are often the enemy of innovation. People don't understand that, because it's so easy to have exciting ideas. I'm sure we've all been there, where someone goes, "Oh, I know. We could do this. We'll get a surfboard. We'll put a jet engine on it. It's amazing." And people go, "Well, that's great." "And then what happens if we put wings on it?" And you're like, "Stop." How do we turn an idea into an opportunity? And then you start going down a path and someone else has an idea and it distracts you. So it's about turning these ideas and validating them into opportunities. So that's where creativity really comes into its form.

- Bang on. And I think what you just explained there was diversion thinking but enmassed with multiple minds. The real challenge is convergent thinking, right?

- Well, yeah. Well, it's not if you practise it. It's like going to the gym.

- No.

- Right? It's the association. Being able to sorta connect the dots. You're right. It's hard because we're not used to it, right? I'll give you an example. I run these things called smash seminars where I take two different organisations that don't belong together and I smash them together, right? So I recently did a mining company and a toy company, right? And the mining company, they dig holes in the ground. And after a certain amount of years, when their lease is up, they have to fill a hole up, cost them tonnes of money, and they have to return this thing back to the ground. A toy company makes toys and licences toys. Out of that workshop, we learned that the mining company was like, well, actually if we licence that plot of land to someone who wants to regenerate it, not us, who wants to build jobs back in that town, we can look at ourselves as a licencing company. We will fix our issue of actually filling the hole in the ground, we'll provide jobs to the community 'cause this company is looking for a big plot of land and they've got a tonne of money and they're trying to build something here. The toy company looks at it like, when you mine, you've got no idea how much it's gonna cost. You're putting all this infrastructure into the ground to pull something out and you don't know, so you're putting all this research. So they looked at it from, they looked at applying the mining company's methodology in understanding how to detect where value lies in a process before they go into the production process. So it's really interesting when you smash these, and I've done it with lots of big companies, but this is where convergent thinking comes in. You've gotta smash yourself out of your own paradigm to be able to start to go, "Where do I start?" Because otherwise it gets really hard, 'cause you go, "How does that work?" But when you hold someone's hand through a creative process and you map it out, it becomes a lot easier. Without the map, it becomes really, really hard.

- Yeah.

- It's like a treasure chest. Without a treasure map, you gotta go and find that gold over there. So hard. When you got a treasure map, you can follow it.

- True. And I think when I've listened to some of your past podcasts with others, that helped me realise that I had something of value in my methodology that I use with my clients. And also, just validating that whole, it's so much easier for someone outside of the business to come in and see the gaps than, you know, you inside it, you know, you can't see the forest for the trees, the whole analogy-

- 100%.

- And that always like bothered me to be perfectly honest. Why isn't anyone in this organisation seeing this? Some of it's because they're too busy. You got the blinkers on, stuck in the trenches, you know. As Lee Kelson, our friend would say, "You need to raise your gaze, Chris." So.

- But it's easy to say and it's hard to do, right? And look, this is exactly what I do. So I provide innovation as a service or I provide an innovator and residence programme where I'll come in and I'll work with an organisation and build a capability or attach a capability when they don't have the time because a lot of people think it's gonna distract them too much. But, you know, the purpose of innovation, which, again, a lot of people don't understand, why innovate? The purpose of innovation is to stay relevant to markets. And that sounds really obvious, but let's take AI, for example. ChatGPT comes out, AI comes out. Very soon everyone's used to ChatGPT and they expect a whole heap of extra functionality. They're now used to a way of working that a couple of months ago is completely groundbreaking. Now you've got people with Midjourney or Dall-E, you know, just writing new prompts and demanding that there's different aspect ratios. So take that for a moment. If we look at a scale as capability improves, so does the demand for more capability. And what ends up happening if a business isn't careful, they find that the markets evolved from where they were and they're not keeping ahead of the market and understanding that market and staying relevant to it. So innovation can be in multiple ways. It can be incremental innovation, just making a subtle change to something to make it relevant, or it could be groundbreaking or transformative innovation. So innovation gets a bad rap because it's actually done by people who don't understand it. They just go, "Oh, I've got my definition of innovation and I'm gonna build a new widget." Well, that's fine but that's not applied innovation and that can't be replicated throughout the organisation and it can't be measured. Innovation should be de-risking the business, not making it riskier.

- Yeah, true.

- So I know I went off on a bit of a tangent, but a lot of people can't see beyond the wood for the trees because they haven't been taught how to.

- Yeah, that's right. And so is this a good segue into, is it the stuff you're doing with the creativity stuff or is it the-

- Yeah. There's Dr. Marcus Bowles, he's been around 30 or 40 years in the space, he's been promoting a methodology which, well, not so much a methodology, it's more the concept that I shape individuals, people who have specific skills. I'm a marketer, I'm a brand marketer, I am a mathematician, I'm a dancer, we call them I-shaped individuals, and organisations hire people to put them in roles. I'm a DBA, I'm a software developer, blah, blah blah, and that's fine as they know what they need. The problem with that is, in today's times, with everything changing so fast, that when the market changes, give you an example, COVID. Someone goes and hires all their baggage, fires all their baggage handlers, goes and hires new people. You end up with this hiring and firing cycle, which now organisations are realising to hire people costs so much money to train them, to get 'em up to speed; and to fire them costs them so much money. And the flux in them, of just that process, is unattainable in a market where the markets keeps evolving. So we need to build a new level of capability in people where their core skill sets are intact, but they're called I-shaped individuals, they turn into T-shaped individuals. So they learn not only, they haven't got their, just their skills, they learn how to, they learn adaptive thinking, they learn empathy, they learn how to innovate, they learn the art of creativity, they learn, you know, all of that sort of stuff. And what that does is when you bolt that on top of their skill sets, it means you've build an organisation that can flex and can adapt. And you also uncover people's passions rather than just going, "Well, you are in that job 'cause that's your role," you can actually uncover their core capabilities and go, "Well, actually you're doing that job, but would you like this job," 'cause you see that they're better suited to it. So you end up with a happier workforce, you end up with a much less issue in the fragmentation of the business through hiring and firing cycles, and you're building this capability which builds a much greater ability to output valuable product and being innovative. So my role in that organisation, it's called the Australian Human Capability Standards. It's approved by many universities, there's micro-credentials, you get all your, I don't understand all this stuff, but there's credits that apply to universities. But I'm a subject matter expert in creativity. So I help organisations use creativity processes to teach them new ways to think, to uncover better, to give them better intelligence. And so that's how I'm involved with Capco and Institute of Working Futures.

- Yeah, I absolutely love that. And there's so many things you just said there that, you know, I wanna inject on. And it is interesting, my career journey early on, I was told, that I was too emotional and that that was a bad thing, and that was my empathy showing, and that's turned out to be one of my best traits.

- There you go. There you go.

- Being able to understand markets and understand problems and understand people, you know, has actually turned out to be awesome for creativity. And interesting when you went into the, yeah, the firing of, I guess, mass workforces or, you know, individual, sorry, teams, you know, that were doing certain things. And now they want 'em back, and they can't get 'em back because they've just disappeared, you know, into the abuse almost. People are like, "Where did everyone go?" Well, they went and re-skilled, right? They went and re-skilled. Probably did something they were more passionate about. So therein lies the importance of understanding people's passions and-

- And it's interesting, when you put this to a board, through a risk lens, and you start to explain the risk exposure of having people leaving, that you've trained up and spent years training and getting 'em up to speed, just because they've now gone, I wanna do what I wanna do en masse, it's a major issue, same with the market changing. So it's sort of, you know, with hybrid work and all these things happening, when you start to map what's happening on with the changes in the organisational psychology and what the actual culture of what's happening, and then you mash on top of that what the World Economic Forum and some of these new people are saying, "Are the skills required for a world where artificial intelligence is running, you know, running a lot of the processes that traditional humans were running, stuff that can be replicated easy?" The skill sets, when you mash them on top, it all comes down to learning to be much more empathetic, understanding human condition, being more collaborative, being more creative, and more innovative. And there's more detail around that. But these are the skills, if we look back at the last industrial revolution, which have been stamped out of us because we needed to be good little robots to go to factory and work on this stuff. Now when we have machines that met that, it's gonna create a fragment in the marketplace, in the world, but those that actually learn these skills start to realise that that technology can unlock them from this stuff to grind and allow them to actually use their skill sets to be much more valuable.

- 100%. And perfect segue, because this is the of what I wanted to chat to you about today. And that is people absolutely freaking out, people, organisations freaking out over AI, and namely ChatGPT's, you know, creative capability along with Midjourney and Perplexity and plenty of others. So something you posted the other day was really interesting and I've been diving deep into it, not as far as you, but I think the challenge for us right now is understanding whether or not we're gonna lose our jobs is one thing, whether or not our businesses are gonna become defunct is probably the most, the scariest, and what do we need to do right now. So where do you think AI is at in terms of what we need to do right now?

- Amazing question. So the first thing I would recommend is that we look backwards to look forwards. And so if you go and look at, try and find some videos on YouTube about the announcement of the internet. It's a really great lesson, because there's all this fear. This thing, it's coming in, it's gonna change the world and, you know, it's gonna destroy us, it's gonna destroy humankind. And then go on research, if you can, some of these fundamental first principle innovations that came out like when, like Brunel or, you know, some of these things like the electric light globe, steam ships from sailing ships. These first principle innovations, they always cause a massive shift and cause a lot of panic and a lot of fear. Now this is, in my view, we are living through one of the biggest changes in human history. But where we start is by learning, not trying to stop the evolution. Because if we learn, we learn that, there's very little chance of us stopping something. But the people that always come out on top are the ones that actually get an understanding of what this thing can do and how it can enhance, not hinder us. The very first reaction we're gonna get, the most obvious reaction to a lot of businesses, is, "This is gonna put me out of business," and I get that. But if you take away your first thought process and park that and say, "My first process is," and this is what we learn in innovation, the thing that you first think is your first problem is typically not the problem. There's normally always a problem behind the problem. So without going into that framework, think about that from your reaction. If you get an intrinsic, like a big reaction to something and it's a fearful reaction, park that and say, "Right, what could another viewpoint be? How would I learn, how would I use critical thinking," and critical thinking, as you know, is being able to sort of evaluate multiple parts of the argument from the different lenses. So what's the opposite of being in fear? And so be a defendant. Pretend you're in a court case. You've got fear over here, you've got win over here or whatever you wanna call it. And so try and create an argument why AI is gonna be good for you. The only way to do that is start learning. So it's a good little game to play with yourself by going, 'cause it's obvious your standard gestalt for a lot of people is gonna put you out of business. And I get that. I'm a creative and I'm an artist. I write music, I do that and, you know, you see what's happening in AI music, a lot of people freaking out. That's your default or gestalt position, but let's try and build a story of how it might enable me. And when you go on that journey, it's easy to do. Chris, you've done it yourself. That's where you are currently at. Those that actually start to take on, go on these journeys, start to learn and they start to map. Oh, actually that guy's doing that over there. Actually this technology's coming out. You start to build another user story that takes away the fear because it builds a roadmap for you. And it might not be the right roadmap, but you start to see more than one way out of this thing. So that would be my suggestion. Everyone's got a different scenario and so I don't have an answer for everyone, but what I do know is that history is a great teacher. And by looking backwards, it helps us look forwards. Building a map and being able to play that game with yourself, treat it as a game. I do things in the car, when I'm driving, where I'm artifact-gathering and I'm smashing things together. I look at a bit on a billboard and I'll look at a light pole and I go, "How do I smash those together?" And it's just an exercise, doesn't mean anything, but it's building neuroplasticity. And so when I get into a fear, I've trained myself to go, "If I'm fearful of something, there's another position. What is that position and how can I use my intelligence to map, and my creativity to map what that end position might look like?" And it's hard when you first start, but you get better and better at it and you start to become much more dynamic and adaptive in your thinking.

- It's interesting. I do a similar thing when I'm driving. I look at where the market is in the innovation adoption life cycle so, you know. Innovation, early adoption, early majority. And if I've heard something recently and then I see it on a billboard, I'll go, "Hmm, what stage are we at now?"

- Yeah.

- But no, back to, I guess, the AI question and yes, I've let go of fear a long time ago, probably because I've lived through, as a Xennial, I've lived through so many changes in technology that I think I've watched other people be fearful of and gone, "Well, no, they haven't wrecked my life. No, it's fine," you know. And also had to reinvent my agency so many times in terms of the services we provide, so. And yeah, we're better than ever, but-

- But arguably, you've been innovating your whole life, right? So you've been adapting to the market. You're using your empathy to understand where the market's at, where the customer's at, you're evolving your products. That right there is the marriage of creativity and innovation.

- Exactly. And I would never have called myself an innovator. I would never have said that to anyone, so-

- Let me ask you a question. Why wouldn't you call yourself that?

- Mate, it's just the thought of people like you that we're inventing things, you know.

- And that's a perfectly reasonable answer. But that's what we've been taught. If we apply critical thinking to things and we go, I just asked you that question because I sort of thought I knew the answer, but I asked that question because, you know, most of society's being taught to think that way. I'm telling you now, I'm just a guy who plays a bit of music and mucks around with stuff and is just constantly curious and things happen. And yeah, I've got X amount of patents and I've done all this stuff, but that's just a byproduct of me constantly being curious. You've evolved your agency. And so once you put innovation in the lens that I put it through in the story of imagination, it demystifies innovation a bit. It's not some fluffy thing over there that only a few people can attract, it's actually not. And part of where I'm passionate is to help people understand that we can all be innovative and we should all be innovative because that's what's gonna give us a great life, and we should all be helping each other in uncovering these things that have been dark secrets and hidden under clouds or mysterious words. You know, every time I hear a word that's like a fluff word, I just don't, I like to delve into it. What does that mean to you? Where'd you get that from? You know, it's cool.

- Well, when I heard you describe it on one of the podcasts, your podcast that I listened to recently, it was like, "Oh my God, I've never been more closely aligned," the way you explained it, "I've never been more closely aligned to that, being an innovator before," you know. I have a methodology that explores, you know, and understands the problems inside businesses and develops solutions for that, you know. When you understand the problem, obviously you create the solution. But if you don't understand the problem, then forget about it. You're just, you know, walking around aimlessly, flapping your arms. So yeah, I've never felt more like an innovator than I do now, you know.

- Right, good.

- So AI, it's a minefield, it is. And taking the time to digest all of the information that's coming out is important for people, but very few people have that time or even any interest in understanding this new technology. I think what's been valuable in exploring what you've been posting and what everybody else has been posting about AI is what it can do, which, I understand, is the scary part for people, but something that came out of all this research was no, the most important thing we need to know is what AI is not capable of doing.

- 100%.

- [Chris] Because that's where human capability comes in, right?

- 100%.

- And that's what you're exploring so much with people. So this is gonna be an ever-evolving, you know, bit of technology obviously. So what it can do now is going to, or what it can't do now is what it can do in the future, what it will be able to do in the future. The human capability stuff that you're exploring, is that the same as the Capco or is that slightly different?

- So do you mind if I just jump back on something there for a second? We talked about what AI can't do currently. And in my limited understanding, I'm a tech guy, I understand some of the different neural networks, general adversarial networks, CNNs, LMS, CNs, all that sort of stuff. Behind this AI is these models that have been trained up. And currently, the way they work is, in an adversarial network, you have one viewpoint and you have another viewpoint and they fight each other out and they build ways to detect all the different variances, and it's quite smart. In my understanding, what AI isn't good at doing or what it can't do at the moment is it can't jump to the end before it starts and figure out what the end is gonna look like and then work backwards. It's not designed for that. And humans could do that really, really well. So I'll write a piece of music, the way I typically write music is I get the vision of the whole song and I'll just go and then orchestrate. I don't layer it like a linear process. It's a non-linear process. Similar to how I learn to write code. That's actually not how AI works. And so if we start to educate ourselves on that, to your point, and get to understand what it can't do, then it starts to, I call it, we're talking about AI, I talk about HI, which is human intelligence, but I believe, as people, we have to lift up our human intelligence game. We've got AI lifting AI game up, and we can't leave our human intelligence here to be working with this AI that's going, that's growing, growing, growing here. We have to lift our HI game. And a world where HI and AI merge, AI underpins and takes a lot of the load off the human intelligence and allows human intelligence to do more human intelligence. But to do that, we've gotta understand, to your point, where AI stops and starts in its current form and tracking it. So sorry to by and by your question-

- No, it's really important. 'Cause I leapt over that part, I guess, in my research and that was the understanding that I came to as well. And that, you know, human being's superpower is absolutely to visualise what their desired outcome is. How many of us really wanna be sitting behind a computer tapping, you know, keystrokes into a computer? Like, really AI's gonna take away with that. Fantastic, you know.

- Well, I look at it like, I was talking to my partner the other day, I said, "Do you remember the days when we would travel to Spain and we'd get this big paper thing out called a map in the car," right? And we'd be going, "So where is this castle again?" And there'd be arguments. "No, it's over there." "Oh, you've missed the turn." You know, all that sort of stuff, right? Now it seems like a joke. We've got this thing that says, "Turn left now," right? In a way that's AI, right? But if we look at these use cases, it takes a little bit of the fear away by going, "Well, you know, that's undertaken away wholly the jobs." Yeah, but do I wanna be a map holder? No, not really. Do I wanna get in arguments that I missed the turn? Not really. So whilst we might be in fear of all this stuff, it's because, in a lot of ways, it's new, and yes, if we hit AGI and, you know, and it starts to get to ASI, well, then yeah, doom, end of the world. But right now-

- Oh sorry, explain that, AGI and ASI.

- Oh sorry, artificial general intelligence is when AI gets to a level where it can be on par with human thinking in every facet and even out, and ASI is when it constantly outperforms a human in every facet, right? So that's the bit where people are like, "Oh my God, it's going to this." And look, it might do, but humans tend to evolve and adapt. But we've gotta lift our human intelligence to be taught the skills that we were never taught in school 'cause we were taught to be part of a system that doesn't exist anymore. So we need to be taught the new skills to lift our human intelligence game to work in a world where artificial intelligence underpins the human condition.

- And I think that the, you know, OpenAI going public with ChatGPT is absolutely like the, you know, like the evidence that education departments and methodologies, you know, people who design them, needed to be able to go, "Hey, you can't do it that way. That 150-year-old model that you're still using today is completely debunked, and here's the evidence," right? And the article that I read, you know, the other day that Bill Gates was chiming in on and, you know, encouraging schools to be using ChatGPT, and I can't say I was, like the last 25 years, have been interested in what he had to say, but that was actually valuable info for people that do listen to him and that they should be sitting up and taking notice and introducing it in schools. And there's plenty of people that are already doing it and encouraging it. Obviously, at the university level, you know, the schools that are doing it now and hopefully that's trickling down. But back to the point about, right, so we're getting to know AI and we need to develop our human capability, how do we do that? Is that the creative stuff-

- Okay, sorry, and that was, I did get your question before. Sorry, I'll jump backwards and then I'll answer that.

- It's fine. It's fine.

- So there are a number of standards around the world around human capabilities. In Australia, we have what's called the Australian Human Capability Standards and there's 12 principles in that standard. And in each country, there are a number of different subject matter experts in each one of those disciplines. It just so happens that I'm an ex-subject matter expert in creativity, which is one of the disciplines. And so by studying these different disciplines, it builds a capability to be able to be this T-shaped individual, to have this raise level of human intelligence, to survive and thrive in a world that's underpinned by these new technological advancements. And so where do you go to learn it? There are companies,, which is a company I work for. Each one of the subject matter experts, we've done courses, so I have a foundation creativity course and an advanced creativity course, which can all be taken and you can get credentialed for it, micro-credentialed, that can go towards university credits. Each one of those disciplines, again, has the same courses. And then for larger organisations, we can go into those organisations and run workshops and train. So from the individual who goes to the online or the digital courses to the large enterprise, there are a number of these different disciplines that when you get them, you get fully credentialed and you become, once you've done all the disciplines, then you have credentials in all the different sort of standards. And they are pretty much replicable across the world, but they don't replace your core skill sets. So, Chris, you know, all the skills you've adopted, this is where a lot of people go, "Oh my God, I've spent 40 years being a mathematician." Yeah, fantastic. This is just gonna make you better. It's not replacing your math. If you're a dancer, it just makes you better. Like, you know, understanding empathy, not just having empathy, but understanding that in a design process, in a method gives you a competitive advantage because you can actually understand the needs and motivations of your customer or the market, right? When you understand an MUBT lens, a market, uses, business and technology lens on discovery, these are all principles that people go, "What the hell are you talking about?" Same with learning how to associate or convergent/divergent thinking. Rather just the words, the actual methods that help you do that. It's like you can't say to someone, "Right, here's a chess board, let's have a game." You go, "What's the rules?" And they go, "Just make 'em up." That's the way innovation's been treated and creativity's been treated. It's like, "No, there is actually a set of processes." And it was interesting, I posted an article for Stanford about surviving the era of AI and I had a professor on there, and he said, "Creativity is hard to teach." Well, I would argue it's not. This has been my world for 35 plus years, is being creative, inventing things, creating them, being an entrepreneur. I've been in the coalface doing it and now I'm in, I'm still doing that, but I'm now trying to help people and coach them that there's learnings from applied innovation and creativity; that it's hard for an academic to teach it, but when you've lived it, it's actually a different experience. It's not as hard. 'Cause I actually understand systems, methods and processes on one side, but also understand doing it on the other side. It's one thing doing and being able to teach it rather than being an academic and trying to teach it. That's at least the way I look at it. I'm not discriminating against any academic. They're all amazing. And the work that I do is on the back of academics. It's just different.

- Fantastic. I agree that the time now couldn't be more important for people to, yeah, delve into what you're doing and do your courses and whatnot. And so I guess therein lies an opportunity to talk about something that you got coming up. So there's a couple things. You're never doing one thing at a time, mate, so.

- Never. I just try and make it hard for people who interview me.

- [Chris] 12 strings, remember?

- Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

- [Chris] That's how many things you got going.

- Yeah, yeah.

- So Burning Mind. What is that, where is it, and who can go?

- So Burning Mind is, this is the second year we're running it. It's gonna be run in Melbourne again this year. It's proving to be super successful. We've only got four tickets left. It's pretty much sold out. It's in Melbourne. What I do is I, it's a workshop, a half day workshop, where we get all sorts of people, there's CEOs, people flying in from overseas, people from all around the country flying into Melbourne. And I run them through a collaborative gamified environment of, it's a programme basically of a number of different workshops. And each one of them is really gamified, and it's fun, it's serious play type methodology. But at the end of it, I map each one of those exercises to one of the human capability standards. The whole principle of Burning Mind is to ignite your mind in a half a day workshop and to walk out of there with a core ignition on each one of the 12 human capability standards. So you can walk out going, "Actually I've demystified that and I've done it in a fun way." The way I like to teach that and the way I do run Burning Mind is I don't explain that at the beginning. They have fun, they do an exercise. And then at the end of that exercise, I map it to what they've just learned. So it's an applied learning method rather than, you know, this is what you're gonna do and this is the process. It's a non-linear process, like the way I like to learn. And it was so successful last year, we had 72 people last year rave reviews at the end of it. Now we're doing Burning Mind and we're doing a Burning Mind breakfast, then we're gonna run a retreat, a Burning Mind retreat in Melbourne, an offsite where we're doing a proper smash running it through an innovation framework. So Burning Mind is about expanding your thinking and learning human capabilities. And the Burning Mind, too, or Burning Minds is running a GInI Innovation framework around how you actually execute on innovation. And look, if it keeps going this way, we're probably looking at bringing it to each state next year, bringing it to Queensland, bringing it to New South Wales. So we'll probably look for partners to help us launch it up there.

- Please do, mate.

- But yeah, no, it's very exciting. It's great to see the light on people's faces who are very skilled CEOs and teams and leaders and people who are small, own their own business coming out and going, "Wow, that makes so much sense, and I've done that. And now I've done it in an applied way. I know how to run that to my business. I know instantly how to," it's that real ignition.

- Yeah, fantastic. It seems like a difficult sell, though, because effectively you're saying, "Just come down and we're gonna play, we're gonna play games." And people are like, "I don't have time to play games."

- Well, it's funny 'cause what I say is, I just sell in the outcome. I just talk about, "We're in a world of artificial intelligence and the world is changing rapidly. When was the last time you upgraded your human OS? Your human operating system, when was the last time?" So it's a human operating system upgrade. It's a human intelligence upgrade.

- I see. I see. Without having to plug Elon Musk's-

- [Finbar] Yeah, so I don't tell 'em about it, but I'm telling you the play, I'm telling your audience the play. But really all I do is tell 'em it's a human operating system upgrade.

- Excellent, excellent. South by Southwest is coming to Sydney. Is that the first time?

- Yep. First time, yeah.

- Great, yeah. And you've got a pitch, your panel and your-

- Oh look, yeah, so I've got two things. I haven't actually even promoted one of them. So one of my inventions we're testing it in a major medical facility in America at the moment on live patients. And I was gonna talk about that in a separate solo talk, which is talking about how music is becoming medicine and how one of my inventions with my business partner, whose dad was a famous, really famous muso in the '70s, how we're coming together and re-imagining the power of music and sound frequencies. So that was gonna be one talk. And then I'm doing, putting together, well, a friend of mine, Barry Palmer, he's a guitarist in Hunters & Collectors, Kiefer, who's amazing brand specialist and runner, who's incredible sports and diversity person, well, we're gonna come in together to talk about this, the rise of the creative thinker and how creative thinkers are coming to the fore in this new world and why we all need to take creativity seriously.

- Music to my heart, mate. Yeah, I think that's fantastic. I've been trying to tell people that for years, but-

- Oh, well, so have I. But, you know, we've been in a world that didn't wanna hear it, right, so. The world is change.

- Come play your guitars.

- [Finbar] Yeah, that's right.

- You go and grow your hair long and look like a lunatic, yeah.

- Exactly, yeah. You know what, I've done a few big presentations to some boards and I'd walk in and I go, "See this," and they all look at me and I go, "Innovation."

- Right, yeah. So that's the fourth intellectual revolution. And so you've had to pitch that and then get votes in order for that to actually get a thumbs up to appear, that's interesting.

- Yeah, look, I'll be honest with you, I don't really know. Like, that's their model and it's sort of like if people want it, then I'll turn up. If they don't, then I'll play my Warr Guitar. So yeah, I'm happy either way, you know.

- Fair enough. Fair enough. So there's only a few more tickets for Burning Mind in Melbourne, but if we miss out and we're from other parts of the country, then we can cross our fingers and our toes and-

- Yeah, look, even with you, Chris, if you get some people up there interested, you know, we could potentially collaborate and bring it up there next year or whatever. You know, we're looking for potentially, as this starts to roll out, we're gonna have more case studies, more success stories, more videos. We're building a bit of an asset of what this looks like and, you know, we'll just tweak it. But that's the goal, is to try and bring this around the country and try and uplift our capability. You know, this doesn't replace the human capability standards, but I'm a big believer in trying to accelerate it. Like, if people can get a taste of it, you know what it's like. If you get a taste of something, you play with ChatGPT the first time, you go, "Oh, this is amazing," and you wanna get involved. I'm trying to bring a much more engaging way to instantly see the value in this stuff rather than some sort of, "Okay, I've gotta go and learn a whole heap of stuff," you know what I mean?

- Yeah, no, I do know. How many people do we need to get together for you to come up here, mate?

- Well, at the moment, we probably need 40 or somewhere between 40 and 50.

- There you go. All right, reach out to me, peeps. If you are interested in getting Finbar up here to give us an upgrade of our OS, just like your phone did overnight, you know, last night then, and you're being left behind by the way-

- It's a really interesting question. If you start to ask people, "When did you upgrade your last human OS?" 'Cause really a lot of people they go, "Well, you know, I haven't really thought about that." And it's an interesting question because it's sort of, yeah, I think it's cool.

- Never is probably a popular answer.

- [Finbar] Well.

- But anything else you got going on that deserves a mention?

- Look, I've got lots going on, but for me it's about, look, I'm always, what I would like to share with the audience is I have an absolutely amazing life. Travel the world, I've lived in mansions in Majorca, LA, New York. I've, you know, hung out with like incredible people, done all the cool stuff. And I continue to do the cool stuff and I work with great people like Chris and just people all over the country and I've just constantly connected to great minds. And you know what, I still can't describe what I do. I don't have a role, right? I'm constantly working. I'm consulting over here, I'm doing music over here, I'm building new tech companies over here. For me, I think that I've got a feeling that this is the way we're evolving to as humans, where we can have fragmented experience that we can provide to each other, like an Uber-esque whereby someone goes, "Chris, I need you over here," and you're gonna be part of that, and then over here, you know. We've been taught to think that we need to belong to something and we gotta attach ourself. So what I would like to share with people is if I don't know what I do, and I have this amazing life, and you're scared of taking that step, just start educating yourself. It will unlock you. It will bring so much passion and joy back to your life. That's if you don't have that. So part of what I'm really passionate about is trying to help people get off that tread wheel and helping that fear, migrating that fear into unlocking their passion. Because I personally believe in this world that we're entering into, the human condition, passion, empathy, creativity is gonna be the source basically and we need to develop that source and we need to help each other.

- I'm 100% on board with that thinking, mate. And I think that's why we've connected here and now. It's been a long time coming, but I have similar passions and yeah-

- I can see it. I'm thrilled for you.

- Yeah. Mate, helping people get through this next stage of life, you know, I think is a core passion of mine. And I think this creativity and the education that you're doing is gonna be really valuable to them. So thank you so much.

- One more thing I just wanna say.

- [Chris] Yep.

- Here's a little practise exercise for you. If you get scared of a word-

- [Chris] Okay.

- All right. Research it. Because when you're scared of a word and you avoid it, often that's where the gold that's gonna unlock the next part of your journey. So that's just a little exercise that I've learned through my life. So if you're scared of innovation, you're scared of creativity, scared of whatever it is, do a deep dive on that word and figure out why you're scared on it and it might just unlock a pathway for you.

- Fantastic. Stay curious.

- Stay curious. You might end up with a hair like me and Chris, but stay curious.

- Beautiful. Well, mate, we're just too busy staying curious to cut our hair, that's my excuse.

- Exactly, yeah. We've got other things to do.

- Beautiful. Hey, thanks so much for your time, mate. Where do people follow you mostly, you know?

- In relation to business, just follow me on LinkedIn. You know, I don't do all the Twitters, and I've got too many platforms, so I try and remove, so just Facebook and LinkedIn. Facebook's all my crazy fun stuff and LinkedIn's my more business stuff.

- How old's the content on your website, just out of curiosity. When was the last time-

- It was last updated, I think, 2013 or something. I just can't be bothered. I feel like, you know, it's like, I'll update it one day.

- Makes me feel a little better about mine.

- [Finbar] Sorry?

- Makes me feel a lot better about mine, too, thank you.

- Ah, that's just, yeah, I've got too many other things I'm interested in, so.

- Beautiful. Thanks again, mate. I'll stop it there. Cheers.


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