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Interview with Robert Overweg

What got you interested in virtual reality? I was at a museum in New York back in 2008 where I saw an application which could distract children with burn wounds from pain during their treatment. The combination of Virtual Reality, distraction of the brain, and the element of play gave impactful results. A decrease of […]

What got you interested in virtual reality?

I was at a museum in New York back in 2008 where I saw an application which could distract children with burn wounds from pain during their treatment. The combination of Virtual Reality, distraction of the brain, and the element of play gave impactful results. A decrease of 70-80% of pain while using VR. From that moment on I said to myself I want to create tools like this as well.

 

What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?

I have been around the block of innovating and digitizing companies a few times now. However, in five years, creating a positive impact over the axis of large corporates is still really important to me. The reach and size alone of these companies can make such a large positive impact. Using design and tech to facilitate this.

I am also interested in supporting new eco-systems and building new models. Whatever moves us forward. Currently I support several projects, to name a few: a fact checking platform which is empowered by blockchain technology. Another project my team and I are working on is a health project to treat people’s PTSD through a virtual therapist. One could say that these are all projects that give tools for people to improve their lives. In the next five years, if the timing is right, several of these directions should have succeeded.

 

What is the biggest misconception people have about digitalizing their business?

There are a few pitfalls. That data in itself holds no insights on what you should create. AmazonGoogle, and the MIT School of Management all say that data is important in the innovation process, but mostly as a means of validation.

Other misconceptions include: That every new tech you read about on Tech Crunch or The Verge is essential for your digital strategy.

That once you set up your innovation department you’re done. In reality innovation is incredibly difficult to do and even more so to do it successfully.

 

Could you tell us 3 tips for embracing an adaptable mindset?

Stretch your brain

The most important thing to remember is that you’re looking to build a flexible mind that’s comfortable with being exposed to different kinds of thinking. Don’t be afraid to make your brain stretch in ways it hasn’t done before! It’s important to always stay curious so try to explore areas like visual arts, philosophy, science, cartoons, games, and design.

 

Listen to artist and philosophers for an example to stay ahead of the zeitgeist. If you would’ve listened to Keith Haring in ’78 or David Bowie in ’99 you would’ve been ahead in the computer and internet development. To understand how people interact with the technology you could’ve listened and read the late philosopher Zygmunt Bauman “In a liquid modern life there are no permanent bonds, and any that we take up for a time must be tied loosely so that they can be untied again, as quickly as effortlessly as possible, when circumstances change — as they surely will in our liquid modern society, over and over again.” You can imagine how these new relations open up new business models for companies and can shatter old models.

 

Accept multiple truths

An adaptable mindset has taught me to work with multiple truths simultaneously — which can be difficult to experience — but can be mastered. It has made my mind more open and has shown me market insights way ahead of other people.

Result

Since my mind has visited many strange and opposing theories which made me totally at ease with everything new, strange, and different that life throws my way. Embracing new technologies like AI or blockchain has become something fun and normal. I’m looking forward to working together with AI to create my designs and have been active with blockchain for years because I support the thinking behind it. This adaptable mindset has given me a constant advantage in technology. Simply because I adopt and adapt sooner than other people.

Read more here on The Next Web how music and art can help you in developing an adaptable mindset. Or read the full story here

 

How do audiences gain from your keynote presentations?

I always try to deliver an information dense independent presentation. To inspire people, show new possibilities but always with a critical view. It’s always a custom made story specifically for the client, with elements which are directly applicable to you or your business.

 

Who or what inspires you most?

A lot of things and people inspire me.

I get my inspiration from working with great people.

Art and artists.

I try to seek out people who think differently than me.

Traveling, speaking to people who want to create change.

Gathering the crazy and talented ones around me. Give me a call if you’re one of them 😉