Exponential Thinking with Naveen Jain
"It’s not about thinking outside the box, it’s thinking in a completely different box."
This week’s podcast is all about expanding your thinking — and we welcome special guest Naveen Jain!
How many of us are stuck in the same old thinking patterns? Are we regularly making the time to learn something new? Are we stopping to think about the problems we face and how we might solve them in new, novel ways? How might we all think bigger and bolder?
Breaking the cycle and thinking big can be tough, but today’s conversation will help you to see it’s possible. An international leader in industry disruption and founder of groundbreaking companies such as Viome and Moon Express, today’s guest Naveen Jain has literally built his career on thinking big, with years of experience applying exponential thinking to a variety of industries.
The world needs us to think bigger. The million-dollar problems we’re facing as a global community will require innovative solutions and individuals ready to step up and think outside of their industries and ahead of their time. The principles of exponential thinking can be applied in your daily life too — whether it’s pushing yourself to solve a problem in a novel new way, or changing the way you think about life by viewing things through the lens of abundance over scarcity.
In a true testament to Naveen’s style of big thinking, we cover a lot in this short conversation. We review the principles behind exponential thinking, make suggestions for becoming an innovative problem-solver, outline the influence of scarcity and abundance on our thinking, and conceptualize industry disruption. We then share some valuable quick tips you can implement in your daily life to start your journey towards becoming a bigger thinker.
WHAT IS EXPONENTIAL THINKING?
- The human brain is designed to think linearly: using straight-line extrapolations and simple predictions to get from A to B
- Definition of the exponential: increasing at a rapid rate, doubling each year
- Example: If asked to take 30 steps, how far would you go? Most of us would travel approximately the same distance.
- Same example, but with exponential thinking: If asked to take 30 exponential steps, how far would you go? [1 steps, 2 steps, 4, 8, 16 and keep doubling…] Most people think this option would only add another one or two miles, but really, the distance ends up being 13 loops around the earth
- The human mind has never had to deal with exponential thinking before — we were living locally and didn’t have to deal with exponential technologies
- Technologies and Artificial Intelligence are advancing all the time without people realizing e.g. Alexa is now able to have a conversation, in a couple of years it might be able to notice your patterns of living and differences in your thinking
- Exponential thinking is seeing things from a different mindset. It’s not about thinking outside the box, it’s thinking in a completely different box e.g. imagine if we could use radiation as a future source of energy
A NEW WAY OF THINKING ABOUT PROBLEM-SOLVING
- Try thinking about the root cause of the problem rather than the problem itself
- E.g. problem of access to fresh water — most people think we should just produce more fresh water, but what if we thought bigger and used stem cell technologies to disrupt agriculture in order to produce an abundance of agriculture and fresh water?
SCARCITY & ABUNDANCE
- The mindset of scarcity holds us back from doing things
- Abundance: if something is in abundance it loses value
- Humans can be greedy, we always want more of everything — we fight over energy, water, and land because we believe they’re scarce, but we don’t fight over the air because we believe in its abundance
- Imagine if we could make energy free? Every 90 minutes more solar energy falls on earth than the whole planet uses in an entire year
- Aluminum used to be most precious mineral before technology made it abundant, now we throw it away daily
- Education was designed to teach us skills, but those skills are becoming obsolete every 5 years due to automation and exponential technology
- Current-day superpowers: advanced critical thinking, creativity, imagination, problem-solving and applying knowledge
- Learning how to learn and remain updated with information should be the new education system
- Book mentioned: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn (Amazon)
- “All innovation comes from somebody on the outside” -Thomas Kuhn
- Innovation often takes someone from the outside looking in — they don’t have the limitations & learned helplessness learned from being inside an industry
- Ask questions other people don’t ask, challenge the foundations, keep asking why it can’t be done
- Healthcare: the more money spent, the sicker we’re getting
- Exponential thinking can be used to solve million dollar problems
- Doing good and doing well are not mutually exclusive
- First time in human history individuals are capable of solving these problems
- The big question: what if you could stop people getting sick in the first place?
STEPS TO BECOMING A BIGGER THINKER
- Check out Singularity University to learn about exponential technologies
- Watch videos about exponential thinking, watch TED Talks, read books
- Experts mentioned: Peter Diamandis | Neil Jacobstein | Daniel Kraft
- Naveen spends at least 3 hours each day just learning: reading research papers, watching talks
- The more you read and learn, the more you’re able to connect the dots, and the more dots you have to enable better decision-making
WHERE NAVEEN HAS RECENTLY APPLIED EXPONENTIAL THINKING:
- Asked the big question: what if the illness was a matter of choice? What if it was optional? Created healthcare company Viome.
- Investigated causes of chronic disease and found link to chronic inflammation
- Learn more about Naveen’s company Viome and assess your own microbiome
*** Please note, this episode is educational only and not intended to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.
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