“To create changes in a new world, we must embark on this path together. The leaders of today should not be teaching us, but should bring us along on this path. Only by cooperating can we change the world for the better,” was one of the main messages of AmCham Business Breakfast, where we discussed changes and the new reality.
This AmCham Business Breakfast – titled “A Changing World: How Do We Feel and Co-create the New Reality?” – organized as part of the Business Bled Strategic Forum, focused on the role of an individual, business, politics and society in the new world. Together with the host and the CEO of AmCham Slovenia, Ajša Vodnik, MSc, the speakers discussed the challenges of the future and attempted to answer the question, how to co-create the new reality.
Teresa Kennedy, an entrepreneur who is convinced of the importance of mindfulness, stress management and integrative health for an individual’s success in the new reality, explained that, in order to be successful, every individual must know how to stop and take a pause. In this life and increasingly complex world, we must know how to pause. The “power of pause” – as she calls it – is essential, as the brain functions differently during a pause, making important decisions easier. “We are the co-creators of our own reality and the co-creators of our common reality”, believes Terry Kennedy.
Christel Hofman, an experienced professional in the field of change management, changing the reality of society, explained that we must be aware that life, when something goes wrong, does not stop, but continues, and that we must continue to learn from our experiences. “In a holacracy, we believe in leadership without leaders, but this is not completely true. We are our own leaders when we act from the heart and from the mind,” told Christel Hofman, adding that the mind and heart always act together: if you use only the heart or only the mind, you start losing. Learning is essential for a full life, and we must know how to co-create in a new, innovative reality.
Prof. Mark V. Vlasic, a Professor of Law, film producer, former soldier and diplomat who has worked for the White House, the Pentagon, the World Bank, the United Nations, and large international firms, and who understands what the new reality means for political and economic organizations, explained that for him the most important thing in this world is for good to conquer evil. “In order to co-create changes, we must embark on this path together; and that is how the leaders of today should conduct themselves: not teaching us, but taking us along where they wish to go,” he added. According to Vlasic’s opinion, people should focus more on how we enter mutual interactions, since the development of technology raises a growing number of questions about our existence.
At AmCham Business Breakfast, we also hosted Slovenians who co-create the new reality. The first to present his work was Dr. Matjaž Humar, a researcher who implanted the first laser inside a human cell as part of his post-PhD studies at Harvard Medical School. He explained that he is a physicist who somehow made his way into an operating room, and that he first attempted implanting a laser into a human cell out of curiosity, but then started discovering the benefits of such endeavors. A laser implanted in a human cell can help physicians with numerous diagnoses, such as measuring glucose levels in diabetes patients, while also providing numerous treatment options. Lasers and optical fibers were used for skin implantations, to close wounds, as it works much better than sutures.
Dr. Aleks Jakulin, a former Professor at Columbia University, doctor of Computer Science, entrepreneur and recipient of the European Association for Artificial Intelligence EurAI 2005 doctoral dissertation award on the topic of artificial intelligence, discussed the development of technology and its effect on humanity. Technology is developing faster than ever. In Jakulin’s opinion, we are witnessing a connectivity revolution, since we have access to everyone in the world in our pocket. However, that can also present a danger. Every great technological revolution in the past was followed by war, and Jakulin warned that the best way to prevent a war is to foresee it, adding that we have to discuss primarily the prevention of threats to us, to our lives. "Companies are selling specific products to us; however, they are not serving us, but are serving themselves. Hitlers and Stalins of today are most likely occupying a position of vice-president in a large company, as this will give them their power. We must make people aware of this, we must discuss this,” emphasized Jakulin.
Andrej Pečjak, a Slovenian innovator and visionary in the field of electric mobility, discussed electric vehicles, their future and the economic and political changes they bring. He explained his company’s vision is to create a sustainable energy cycle, with vehicles not only using power, but also feeding it back. “We must teach our children for the world of the future, they’re ready for it. Do not wait for technology to change you, but change your thinking. Technology is ready, now we only have to prepare ourselves,” explained Pečjak, adding that as humanity we have to change, and cannot allow ourselves to stop. “We have to run, since technology has already overtaken us,” he added.
Tim Mitja Žagar, an entrepreneur who is developing blockchain technology and creating the future of the new economy, presented the advantages of the technology that provides quick financing to entrepreneurs and start-up companies, regardless of their location. Blockchain technology will first affect banking, insurance industry and central public administration. Ultimately, though, we must always ask how it will affect the people’s behavior and conduct. “A lot of people in Slovenia are involved in blockchain technology, because it is an advantage for a small country. If something works, people accept and repeat it,” explained Žagar, adding that he looks forward to the future.
AmCham Business Breakfast was concluded with ample praise of Slovenia and Slovenians, who are implementing changes on the global stage. Slovenia is a wonderful country and can act as a reference for many bold ideas, while providing a stimulating support environment. “The power of education and the power of pause is something that we all must internalize. This is a story of all, for all,” summed up Mark Vlasic at the end.