Entrepreneur. Technology. Digital. Futurist

Based: Johannesburg

For 20 years, I’ve pushed the envelope of what’s possible in my career: At 22, and in my first company, I created a revolutionary vision system for partially sighted children (first provisional patent) and from there I kept on pushing what my imagination could conceive. This journey included 3 more companies, including a non-profit in Silicon Valley at the cusp of Clean Technology. Throw into the mix, my role as head of small business marketing at Google South Africa where I helped create 50,000 websites in a year (one every 10 minutes!) and recently as a global speaker and futurist – I would like to use my experience to help you build better, more anti-fragile and future ready businesses. I’ve also co-authored 2 books (including an Amazon no 1 top seller) and the youngest graduation speaker at the University of Johannesburg.

Some of my areas of expertise include emergent technology (AI, blockchain, Quantum, CRISPr), business model innovation, company culture and New World of Work. Across Africa, I’ve spoken at length on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the preparedness of the African continent and was a TEDx Speaker in 2011.

I hold dual Master’s degrees in Engineering (Electrical and Usability, University of Witwatersrand) and Business (MBA ,Babson College) and completing a PhD in Futures Thinking (University of Johannesburg). My research will help leaders seize the unknown and create the future(s) they want. I also hold certification in leadership (Said Business School, Oxford), sustainability (Cambridge) and counselling (University of Pretoria).

Unlike other experts who are “talk and little action”, I act on what I talk about: I’ve converted my car to electric and filed 2 patents, left Google (and Google X) and rejected an opportunity to lead one of Richard Branson’s companies to create a global platform for tomorrow’s leaders.

I have been fortunate enough to gain some recognition during my career and have received a number of awards.


The following can be delivered in between 30 – 90 minutes either virtually or in person. The long form is crucial to develop a narrative and story that captures the hearts and minds of attendees. Each keynote can be slightly customised to ensure case studies are drawn from your industry. 

Further, the below can be extended into half day working sessions where through curated facilitation, group work and discussion, topics will be explored in depth and learnings adapted for your specific use case to ensure greater impact and applicability.  

  1. The art of thinking backwards

“Leaders cannot afford to walk backwards into the future, with eyes firmly fixed on past achievements – we have to turn around and face the future” – Charles Handy (CBE), Author.

How can you understand the future before it happens? What are the biases that hold us back and leave us trying to predict the future based off what happened in the past? How do you reconcile and use various tools like scenario planning, economic models, trends and design thinking.

Using a process of “thinking back from the future” (subject of my PhD research) to determine the various areas of the unknown, you can create the future you prefer and unlock the potential in exploring the unknown unknown. This process of creating “memories from the future” is incredibly powerful and used by companies such as Google, Amazon and Apple where they have used it to determine latent customer needs before the rest of the market. You will also understand where to use various planning, business and economic tools as an adaption of Johari’s window and Rumsfeldt’s unknown unknown narrative and why you can never truly know what the future holds; but you can build strategies to be anti-fragile and to operate in a lean, responsive manner to meet every changing market demands.

In research breaking analysis, understand why indeterministic futures present an opportunity to move away from the probable, possible and plausible, to create the preferable future. We will investigate how to use early detection systems to sense an oncoming future storm and how the flow of awareness can provide insight into corporate biases, lest you become the next Nokia disrupted by digital cameras or your industry’s equivalent of Uber or AirBnB. 

Themes we will explore:

  • Shifting from the probable, plausible and possible to the preferable.
  • How to uncover corporate biases anchoring you into business of the past.
  • Planning for an (un)known (un)known world and how futures thinking intersects with design thinking and agile approaches. 
  • The role of black swans, grey rhinos and wildcards and how to “sense” their oncoming before your peers.
  • The flow of awareness to determine where in the spectrum of insight are you about being aware of indeterministic futures.

This keynote draws highlights on my PhD research to deliver cutting edge insights unavailable anywhere else to give you an incredible edge and insight into how to create disruptive new businesses away from the traditional approach of strategic extrapolations for planning and using slow, old world frameworks and methodologies. 

  1. Flashforward

“Ghost of the Future.” he exclaimed,” I fear you more than any spectre I have seen.” – Ebenezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens.

What is a Flash Forward insight and how do you create it? Perhaps the most popular example is Charles Dickens’, a Christmas Carol where Scrooge is visited by the “Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come” and shows Scrooge the inevitable path his future will be unless he changes. Scrooge learns to change his ways to alter the trajectory of his present.

These Flash Forward event can be created by understanding how the future may look and then adjusting our business strategy and process to be successful in this future. Leaders need to understand the fundamental forces shaping their trajectory to correct by “backcasting” (my PhD research area) back to today and create Flash Forward Insights.

What would you have done with your business if 10 years ago you were able to see the oncoming game changes like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain or, even just, digitization? How would you have orientated your business with Flash Forward insight?  What would your business model be if could have anticipated (and acted upon) the decentralized economy, exponential business or platform economics? The advantage to capitalize on those moments may have passed, but how will you capitalize on Flash Forward Insights from the next 10 years?

Themes we explore include:

  • Technology at your Fingertips: What is coming that will disrupt and set you up for failure or success?
  • What are the Business Models to scale: How has digitization made speed and experience the expectation, not the premium and how do you create from the customer’s perspective.
  • Your customer of the future: What will your customer of tomorrow demand? What technology do you need to invest in today, to prepare for the next-generation marketplace?
  • Emerging workforce of the future: How do you toggle to a quazi-work from home business? What are the values driving this shift?
  • Human in the Machine: What does it mean to be “human” as we rely more on technology? Will it replace us wholesale, or can we reframe by analyzing tasks to focus on what makes human?

​Inherent in the above is how will you, as a leader, traverse the current future by being nimble, responsive and learn from Flash Forward Insights?

  1. The duality of leadership

“The future depends on what you do in the present” – Mahatma Ghandi

In today’s business world, leaders are faced with a complex problem: meeting demands of delivering stakeholder value and creating a company that is future fit, resilient and find opportunities others may not see. This diametrically opposed pull of the short term delivery and long term planning is the challenge of the duality of leadership. While most executives believe that 80% of their time should be on strategy and planning on the future, less than 5% actually do it as they are pulled into sacrificing the business of the future for today. 

How can leaders create both value today and tomorrow is the topic of this PhD driven keynote. We will explore through qualitative research the 24 attributes that drive leadership decisions today and the future and by analyzing how these are grouped into 3 key areas (leadership, organisation and landscape) we can determine a single metric on your future fitness. In understanding how to balance your share of market today versus the future, a MLIF framework will help guide your decisions on which investments you should maximise, lead, invest and forego. 

Further, through a qualitative survey we determine how priorities shift over time and how to circumvent short comings and misdirected short-term decisions. Themes we explore include:

  • Vision of new leadership and the difference between new and old power. 
  • The 24 attributes that should drive your strategy, operations, governance and hiring decisions.
  • The importance of leadership over investment in an organisation and understanding the landscape you operate in.
  • How to create a single metric to determine your future fitness score.
  • Confronting and dealing with the duality of leadership

Where leaders need to focus on to be both relevant today and tomorrow and which investments will help us succeed. 

  1. The pantless executive

“I’m not a cat” – Texan lawyer with Zoom filters on

The business world has shifted to a new paradigm almost overnight presenting the next normal. Millions of employees (and executives and managers) were forced to reorientate their business process due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Few were ready; most tried to replicate the work office in the home with little success. 

What can we learn from the biggest, simultaneous work experiment the world has ever undergone? While it was hard enough to deal with the pressures of a global pandemic, very few were ready to deal with the clash of their home lives and the professional workspace. Having to deal with screaming toddlers, barking dogs and deliveries many of us working from home increased our stress levels. Undoubtedly most were unprepared for this.

Worse still our workplaces remain anchored in an industrial mindset grappling with a new paradigm of work from home or hybrid workspace, where we try to replicate work but through a digital medium. In this keynote we will explore how the work of work is evolving to an asynchronous organisation where the façade of work life balance is fading and where we need to embrace employees and self for what we truly are: human. 

We will unpack some lessons from global leaders such as Atlassian and Automattic:

  • How COVID-19 is the great accelerator and how it reveals your, and other’s, true intent.
  • How to appreciate the full context of your employee’s lives and the pressure to continue to work from home.
  • The 5 levels of remote work and why you are likely at level 2 or 3.
  • Asynchronous communication and how not to respond immediately.
  • How to deal with a decentralized workforce.
  • Strategies to deal with a new work/life paradigm.
  • How to succeed in a phygital world.

As we navigate a truly complex world with vaccine hesitancy, increasing lockdown waves and a fracturing world that represents threats and opportunities, how do you create a resilient and anticipatory workforce where blackswans will be more disruptive in an interconnected world. Are you prepared for this?

  1. Inside the Plex

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” – Peter Drucker

I don’t agree – it’s finding the right culture to allow your people to succeed that counts, only then does strategy and culture harmonize. That’s the key lesson in this keynote: understand how to find the nexus of culture, strategy and leadership and how all three must work to create world beating companies.

We all know that Google is one of the most successful and admired companies in the world, with an iconic culture that attracts 10,000 job applications a day from the brightest minds on the planet – and delivers excellent profits! But what makes it unique? Is it because they create great products, or because they have a great culture?

But we know that building a powerful culture is really difficult – a culture that attracts and keeps the best people; that drives the bottom line and that differentiates you in the most competitive market we have ever seen. So – what did Google do from the time they started in a garage in Silicon Valley to now, as a 55,000-employee global company, with a market cap in excess of One Trillian dollars – yes, 1,000 billion!!! …and one of the most admired brands on the planet that attracts over 10,000 job applications a day? In this keynote, I’ll share secrets from within the Googleplex that I experienced first hand the head of small business marketing at Google South Africa and advised GoogleX as the first African Googler.

Themes we explore include:

  • How culture can circumvent operational and strategy decisions to do whats best for your customer.
  • What is googliness and creating your own company equivalent metric for culture.
  • T-shaped individuals and the shifting priorities of a new workforce.
  • Deliberately crafting your culture code by understanding your values, rituals, and symbols that support your culture.
  • How Google hires and how to scale in the digital age away from a traditional approach.
  • How to use culture as a competitive advantage. 
  1. Through the Looking Glass

“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere, you must run twice as fast as that.” – Red Queen, Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll.

In a world that is moving quicker and quicker, the key dependency for success is your ability to lead. How do you navigate the exponential changes isn’t just a matter of your intellect, abilities or leadership but often how others view you and your ability live up to those expectations in times of crises. In Alice in Wonderland, she enters the mirror to see how others view her and through her journey emerges more informed about the world around her.

In Through the Looking Glass, we examine three keyways to understand how your team (and yourself) believe you lead:

  1. Imagine how your team views you.
  2. Imagine how others judge your motives, performance, and values.
  3. Imagine how they view you based off your past decisions.

To examine parallels between your leadership we will examine such leaders as Steve Jobs, Jacinda Ardern, Donald Trump and Elon Musk: How are they perceived by their people, what do they stand for and, most importantly, why being vulnerable is the new success metric for leadership success. We will examine your potential blind spots, biases and how living to the expectations of others and your own past will lead you down a path of failure. 

This keynote is especially important with a changing workforce (Millennials, Gen Z and different cultures, diversity and life lenses) with different value sets, priorities and levers. As we move into a more distributed, decentralized workforce your ability to be challenged, naked and vulnerable will determine if you are successful. 


These are created to deepen the learning and experiential experience for delegates where groupwork, discussion, storytelling and narrative design with an emphasis on the user form the basis of engaging one or two day interventions. 

  1. Scenario Planning

“The future is completely open and we are writing it moment to moment” – Pema Chodron

In the 1960’s and 1970’s Shell pioneered scenario planning to determine what might happen if the Arab world developed oil producing capabilities. While competitors sneered at this as a fruitless exercise, the scenarios they developed not only created a future where this would happen but a global crash in oil prices and futures. Because Shell was prepared to entertain and plan for the “impossible” they were able to rally and not only survive, but thrive in a highly unlikely by high impact event. These black swans events are becoming more of a reality and the implications in an ever increasingly connected world of value and supplier chains, ecosystems, platforms and global trade ensure we are more susceptible to international disruptions than ever before.

Beside black swans, how can you cater for grey rhinos or any other number of disruptions? In this workshop, we will understand the importance of scenario planning by using a mix of Eisenhower’s urgent/important matrix, horizon scanning and group think to create equally plausible scenarios for which we need to be prepared. 

Finally, we will create anticipatory strategy where we toggle our future direction in anticipation of moves in our industry through simulation and forcing black swan events. 

Lessons through this workshop:

  • Active participation in creating a preferred future.
  • Why a singular view is dangerous and will likely drive an incorrect future.
  • Creating compelling narratives from a customer perspective.
  • Understand where to focus out resources in a structured manner by considering the urgent and important attributes. 
  • Creating anticipatory strategy in response to your landscape.
  1. Find the Fish

“You have to learn the rules of the game, and then you have to play better than anyone else” – Albert Einstein

Through games we learn more about ourselves and others than any business book or seminar. Through this game we will understand the implicit rules, culture, value and leadership we espouse in our companies. While planning is of paramount importance, when time pressures abound, there is scant time for planning, reflection or understanding how to work in a structured approach to achieve our goals. 

This simulation has been run globally and always delivers similar results and surfaces incredible insights such as:

  • Biases and how they inform all decisions.
  • Why leadership can be a solitary experience and management overhead an unnecessary burden.
  • Where power really resides and how to create information flows of substance.
  • The dangers of complete flexibility and of unassailable structures.
  • How to create win with situations by creating new solutions with your competitors .
  • The role of games and authenticity.
  • What is your true corporate culture, communication style and power vacuums. 


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