Getting to Yes, And

Ross Dawson: Thriving on Overload


Ross Dawson

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Kelly connects with Ross Dawson, a world-leading futurist, entrepreneur, and keynote speaker to talk about his new book, “Thriving on Overload: The 5 Powers for Success in a World of Exponential Information.”

I was intrigued to see improvisation show up in the book.

“For me, improvisation is a way of letting ourselves be free. And this is where we are. We are constrained. We have built up through all our lives, all our education, all of us, the idea of keeping ourselves in.  Whereas improv is about letting out what is inside of us.”

Go a level deeper on that thought.

“One crude parallel is that analysis is out of the conscious mind where we are sort of thinking hard, whereas the unconscious mind is that which is below the surface, that pieces things together and makes the connections. And that's what we need to do in this complex world is to see the connections. See how the world fits together to connect the dots as it's often put, and make sense of the world in order to be able to see opportunities to make better sense of the world, to be able to make better decisions in an extraordinarily complex world, and that comes from below the surface. And improv is a way of being able to leave that mind free to let those connections be made to see the whole. So, I think there's an extraordinary practice for anybody and everyone, in order to facilitate that welling up of that capability, that potential which is below the service, and most of us, and which in leaders in particular needs to be expressed.”

You also write about how important it is for human beings to understand their relationship with information. Why is that so important?

“Well, first thing, I suppose, is as a definition of information. Information for me is anything that comes into our senses. So, if we hear something, if we see something, and that could be the sound of a baby crying, that's information. Then, the tone of that baby’s cry- that's information. So, it's not just when we look at a screen or a newspaper or television channel.  Information is everything. What we catch at the corner of our eyes when we're driving along, that's information. And our brain processes everything that we take in. So that's the nature that is the foundation of how humans have dominated the world. We have seen information, and we've been better at processing and saying, Aha! Well, maybe if I do this, I can make a fire, or I can build a building.”

Photo credit: George Fetting

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