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Codifying a new hierarchy of needs

“I believe if we really want to change the world – in the way that we say we do, we need to stop making it so elitist. And we need to change the language being used around the table.”

For Adah Parris, my guest today on Inside Ideas, this demands that we tackle the ego and develop a new hierarchy of needs, so we can start to get optimistic about the future again.

One of her big ideas, cyborg shamanism is committed to doing this by bringing everyone’s voice to the table. It is about replacing what many see as colonial perspectives and ideas enshrined within international blueprints for change, like the SDGs, so that ‘collectively we say: this is what the problem is’. That means involving all and learning from indigenous peoples and communities to arrive at a place where we have truly come together to kick the ego out.

A world-renowned name in technology, creative storyteller, artist and systems thinker, Adah is coming at these big questions that will define this century from many angles. She takes a philosophical and anthropological approach to technology; merging logic and creativity to design immersive storytelling, learning and development environments. Cultures in which her clients and audiences become critical thinkers, philosophers and immersive storytellers, problem-solvers. Innovators. 

“Technology is just a tool, it isn’t a solution, but it can help us gain some sense of enlightenment,” said Adah, of ideas that are at the heart of cyborg shamanism.

I am delighted to have Adah on to learn more about cyborg shamanism, what it has been like setting up a business during the pandemic, and the journey she believes we can take together, if we consign ego to the history bin of bad ideas.

Adah Parris

A futurist, systems thinker, storyteller and artist, Adah is also Chair of Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA UK). And currently Artist in two Residences at The Design Science Studio (Buckminster Fuller Institute) and the Emergent Media Lab, The University of California Irvine.

An enthusiastic curator of people, patterns and stories, Adah’s current interest lies in the anatomy of transformation and innovation, from ancient wisdom, natural systems and indigenous community practices to digital and emerging technologies. 

With over 20 years experience in transforming cultures to nurture decentralised humanity-centred innovation environments, Adah’s knowledge and insight has been sought by a long list of clients and partners, including Google, Unilever, The British Council, The EU Council, The Tate Modern, and the British Film Institute (BFI) – to name a few.

Adah was named one of the UK’s top 100 Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Leaders in Technology in 2018; one of TED Talks Global Emerging Innovators in 2019; and she was long-listed as one of the Most Influential Women in UK Technology last year.

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Written By

Marc is Editor-at-Large for Innovators Magazine and host of INSIDE IDEAS, his OnePoint5Media video podcast show. Marc is a member of the World Economic Forum Expert Network, Resilient Futurist, and award-winning Global Food Reformist.


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