Talk Boutique is excited to welcome Nikolas Badminton to our speaker roster. Nikolas is an award-winning, dynamic and innovative Futurist, Researcher, and Keynote Speaker who shares an awe-inspiring vision of trends that shape the future to world-leading organizations and governments.
One-on-One With Nikolas
What’s an accomplishment that you are most proud of?
This year (2019) I was invited to work with the United Nations Climate Change secretariat on creating the Resilience Frontiers Initiative, providing the opening keynote in Songdo, South Korea, and ongoing expert advice in exponential technologies and innovation over the next few years as part of the Resilience Frontiers Nexus.
The Resilience Frontiers Initiative addresses how to maximize our resilience to climate change beyond 2030 by addressing opportunities and challenges in harnessing the potential of disruptive frontier technologies and emerging social trends towards sustainability. It consists of a two-year collective intelligence process, which was kick-started by Resilience Frontiers 2019, a brainstorming conference hosted by the Korean Government from 8 to 12 April, 2019. Over 100 futurists, designers, architects, bioengineers, climate change experts, and thought leaders were in attendance. This initiative aims to contribute to furthering the exploration of frontier issues launched by the United Nations Chief Executives Board for Coordination.
I am also thankful to impact people that see me speak. One such story was that of a young Government of Canada Analyst that saw a talk and 6 months later chose to leave her position and earn an MBA in Technical Entrepreneurship and start their own company with the aim to change the world. Another story is about a senior automotive lawyer for CUSBA who saw a new world of opportunity from Nikolas’ insights and shared this tweet:
— Mark High (@Mrhhigh) December 13, 2018
I truly believe that changing one life can impact billions.
Describe a major business or other challenge you experienced throughout your career and how you resolved it. What lessons did you learn in the process?
Over the past 23 years I’ve had to deal with the management of multi-million dollar programs, large teams, tight deadlines and tough decisions in projects. There were many challenges in these years however the real challenges hit when I started building my business.
I chose to sacrifice where I lived, and how I lived, to roam as a digital nomad for the first year to save costs and have more flexibility. I then put my personal life on hold said ‘YES’ to every opportunity – speaking, TV and radio interview, meeting – and I burnt out within 12 months as I had no life-work balance. The result was delighted clients, less than optimal health/fitness and a lack of contact with the people I love.
I turned that around and restored balance. I am in an amazing relationship with someone as passionate as changing the world as me and choose to work on projects that have real impact. I still say ‘YES!’ often. Just not to everything that is offered to me. The result of has been incredible client relationships, world travel, a move into being a media personality and real-world impact. I also get the feeling I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of my collective experience – both good and challenging.
I feel grateful every day to do what I do.
How did mentors influence your life? What’s one core message you received from your mentors?
I’ve always told people to ‘never give up’. To keep pushing and stand by your personal beliefs. To listen and to learn from everyone of all ages, races and gender.
It wasn’t until my 10 year old nephew sat me down one morning at the end of a visit and he handed me a bracelet he’d made me, looked up and said ‘don’t give up Uncle Nik’ that I really understand the weight and impact of what I had been saying. It’s not a surface message. It’s deep. And, it’s about the people that love you really wanting you to be the best you can be and to realize your dreams. Never a truer word said from the mouth of children.
If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
Hindsight is valuable and still I regret no day I’ve lived before today.
I would still follow the same path. I am so happy with who I am and the journey I have taken – challenges, victories, rewards, and tough times – that I would do it all again. The one thing I would adjust is to trust the process of discussion rather than fighting so hard for change.
What is the last business book you read?
‘Team Human’ by Douglas Rushkoff.
I’ve been reading Rushkoff’s books since I first picked up ‘Cyberia – Life in the trenches of cyberspace’ in 1994. Essential thinking for the modern world.
With ‘Team Human’ Rushkoff has written a manifesto on civilization and human nature. It’s about how we are social creatures, and that we achieve our greatest aspirations when we work together in the face of a society being changed by big business and expansive technologies.
I also believe that everyone should also read Douglas Adams’ amazing book ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. His observations and wit ring true with so much of modern life.
“Don’t Panic.” – Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
How did you become a futurist, and why is that important for the world?
I first sat at a computer in 1980 at the age of 8 and was given a copy of the Usborne Book of the Future by my Mum and Dad. My curiosity for how the world will change has continued unabated. Eventually I went on to study computing, linguistics, organizational psychology, artificial intelligence (A.I.), chaos theory, and analytics.
After graduating with a BSc in Applied Psychology and Computing I focused on working in teams and led strategic programs delivering large-scale data analytics and CRM practices for global blue chip organizations. In these roles I got to work with world-leading CEOs and their executive teams to change how they see the world and provide impactful strategic advice. In total, these projects resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in operational savings and increased revenues.
I then moved to Canada for a change of pace and to work in strategy for advertising companies. I also focused on building an alternative thinking community that encouraged big questions and active discussion on the future with events like – Cyborg Camp, From Now Conference, PRODUCT design thinking, Future Camp, and DARK FUTURES. I also was also getting featured in Fast Company, VICE, CBC, CTV, Global News, Globe & Mail, The Atlantic, BBC, Techcrunch, Huffington Post, Forbes, Venturebeat, Betakit, Daily Hive, and other media publications.
To-date I have spoken to more than 200,000 people at over 300 events in just 4 years with insights, humour and guidance. I’ve also had the opportunity to connect with millions through TV, media and radio. I love opening minds and hearts.
Overall I am 100% committed to being an unbridled optimist and will keep pushing leaders to think bigger about their role in the future and to impact billions of people.