Interview with Mervyn George - Emerging technology and its role in future work

Today’s blog is linked to the Podcast “Exponential Organisations” and is a loose transcript of the interview I had with Mervyn George. It won’t be a word-for-word transcript of the interview but will rather be me highlighting some key things that Mervyn said during the interview. I hope you enjoy it.


Introducing Mervyn George


Mervyn is a seasoned business architect and technology advisor, with a focus on 4th Industrial Revolution research and innovation strategy - passionate about the role emerging tech plays in shaping the future of work and the role of humans in an augmented future - frequently writing and speaking on these topics.

He is a technology vendor expert, having worked for tech firms in various stages of growth - mature, rapid growth and bootstrapped start-up. His geographical exposure has been global, with substantial time spent based in both South Africa and the UK, managing teams spanning Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa and working long-term projects in the US, China and Saudi Arabia. Industry exposure includes Oil & Gas, High Tech, Education, Retail, FMCG, Banking, Professional Services, Utilities, Public Sector and Automotive.


Mervyn, how did your exponential journey start?


Meeting OpenExO and ExO Works

“It started when I met the OpenExO (www.openexo.com) and ExO Works (www.exo.works) when I was speaking at an event in Cape Town called Africa Tech Week. I was introducing the concept of Spatial Web architecture which is a future version of today’s internet that is designed for overlaying a digital reality on top of a physical space. It represents the convergence of a few technologies like blockchain, AI, mixed realities, spatial computing, wearable technologies and so on. As I was ramping up to the start of Africa Tech Week I started to see the promotional material announcing that ExO Works was a co-host of the event and I started to investigate it in a bit more detail. At the event I met Salim Ismail, Francisco Palao, Kevin Allen and several other members of the ExO movement. They encouraged me to get involved with the ecosystem which I did, initially as an Ambassador, and now as a certified ExO Consultant. My exposure to the group and global ecosystem has been quite fulfilling”


What is Spatial Web architecture?


Augmented reality

“Web 3.0 or Spatial Web is a framework or architecture that has brought about by the ideas and concepts conceived by Peter Diamandis. There is a movement in the US called the Viruses that is looking to shape this architecture. Essentially what we are moving to is a world where we have spatial computing. This is type of capabilities that Apple is introducing in their new devices and their operating system that can understand exactly what your orientation is in a three-dimensional world. As soon as we have this plus augmented reality and the ability to look around and see things that are being displayed showing you the context of what you are looking at in the real world, we start to change the expectation that an individual consumer will want to have with products on a day-to-day basis.”


Will 3D glasses and gloves be used for this?


Forms of Spatial Web engagement

“Yes, definitely the use of virtual reality but more the use of mixed reality which is taking the augmented stance even though this has now been positioned as being in a spectrum. There are other ways the Spatial Web will work like dashboards, holograms and other forms of volumetric technology that I foresee being a reality. Right now we are able to cycle on a bicycle attached to a turbo trainer and interact with other people within a virtual cycling competitive manner.”


How did you get involved in Spatial Web?


Future of work

“Research and interest. I have always had a passion for understanding what is cutting edge and what is changing the future of work for me, my kids and what we mean by an augmented society going forward.”


How is exponential growth linked to this sort of technology and others?


Technology offers ways for exponential growth

“Technology is an important component of exponential growth, especially with our focus on 4th and future industrial revolutions. Many companies are looking to become leaner and more efficient but also to scale their revenues and profitability at least to be sustainable. Technology offers options to support that, from digitized paper-based processes, to having transparency of performance, to having dashboards, to automating menial tasks, to things like gamification and algorithms, using AI to help employees focus their energy and leveraging augmented workings (man and machine working together).”


Are you seeing that in your day-to-day job now or is this still in the future?


The question I always ask

“There is a maturity curve that should be applied here. There are a lot of companies talking about digital, I see the appetite for innovation there but not always the culture or momentum within the organisation. The question I always ask a company or leader is to ask them what they define as digital and by what they mean by innovation. One companies digital ambition can be very different from another companies’ digital ambition. Getting the definition right allows a company to benchmark themselves against their ambition and other players in the same domain.”


Your involvement with OpenExO – what do you think of the attributes that exist in the exponential model?


A global community to draw from

“I believe that the framework exhibited by the 11 attributes is very relevant to a lot of organisations. The companies I have spoken to have expressed a desire to align with some of those growth attributes. What is has meant for me in that ecosystem is that I have been able to reach out to a pool of professionals, across multiple domains, across multiple geographic areas and ask questions. The response to these questions is normally in large quantities and with a very diverse array of perspectives. The direction that OpenExO has taken in helping established businesses, as well as smaller businesses, has also been quite inspirational.”.



This is just a short extract from the interview I had with Mervyn. Listen to the full interview for the discussion we had.


Thank you Mervyn for being my guest in this blog and podcast. If you would like to contact Mervyn then here is his Linkedin profile. To listen to the full interview subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, spotify or listen on www.ideastorm.co.za.


I hope you have enjoyed and found this blog valuable. If you would like to talk about any of these concepts further, then let’s chat. You can book me online using Calendly at https://calendly.com/ideastorm, contact me through my website at www.ideastorm.co.za or email me directly lance@ideastorm.co.za.

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