#StandApart: Jordan Eshpeter, Head of Client Engagement, Invoke Media

Jordan Eshpeter likes to spend his time in the future. He lives according to a “what’s next?” motto, trying to peer around corners, sniff out predictions, and think outside the box (in fact, we’re not sure the box is even in sight anymore). His attitude of leaning into the future pairs perfectly with his current role as Head of Client Engagement at Invoke Media. The organization focuses on accelerating and supporting established brands and startups (think Hootsuite and Foodee) to help propel revenue and presence; essentially, he helps define what a company can become. 

On top of being an aspiring futurist, Jordan is also our upcoming presenter and speaker for our next LeaderLounge event, suitably titled “Why the Future?“. We asked him a few questions on his favourite subject so our LeaderLounge attendees can get to know Jordan (and his passion) before the event on June 24:

Invoke Media

1.

Why are you so interested in the future?

My interest in the future is relatively new. I began my career in two industries that are in the midst of some disruption: live music and professional sports. Then, I transitioned to working at a digital agency. More than a crash-course in emerging technologies, it exposed me to what’s coming. Our role as a digital partner is to accelerate the adoption of digital technology into an organization’s internal processes and communications with customers. The evolution of my career keeps me hyper-interested in what’s next. Plus, it’s my job.

2.

What makes you qualified to discuss the future?

Based on my work in digital, I can certainly speak to the importance of ‘the future’. I see firsthand the implications of organizational and personal attitudes towards it. That is, companies and people who are optimistic about the future are more likely to help create it. It’s most commonly manifested as “research and development” or “innovation” objectives, but starts with perceptions and attitudes. They’re crucial. From there, anything is possible and the future is written.

3.

What are you most excited about for the future? What scares you the most?

That’s a big question. I’m excited about the growing prominence of human-centred design. The relatively low-barrier to entry for new products and ideas creates a very competitive environment. However, the web and mobile are a near-pervasive distribution network that forces new entrants to compete on the user-friendliness and quality of their product. Ideally, this means that the simplest and best-designed option wins. New products — physical and digital like — must focus on the user experience. This cocktail makes it a very exciting time.

Like many other folks, data security and privacy in the digital age concerns me. As we conduct business and share more of ourselves online, for-profit organizations are able to collect, store, analyze and sell it. What’s scarier is the government’s ability to access and use this data. Ed Snowden versus the National Security Agency is a forewarning. Most of us have been unaffected, but I wonder how long that will last. That said, I also believe some form of regulation will be introduced to more meaningfully protect citizens. There’s reason for hope too.

4.

Speaking of the future, where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

Funnily enough, I gave up predicting my own future. That happened after a few plans fell apart. In hindsight, I’m glad I abandoned my ‘official future’. Rather, I spend most of my energy on what keeps me well — my current job, friends, family and hobbies. However, I do spend some time experimenting and that’s important. Incorporating futures into my career is one example. I’ve also been tinkering with an Arduino and started DJing on Friday nights. I’ll be curious to see what comes of those.

5.

What qualities make someone a good futurist or “good at futuring?”

Rather than predicting the future (which is nearly impossible and a highly impractical pursuit), the role of futuring is to introduce scenarios. So, the qualities of a good futurist are open-mindedness, boundless curiosity and well-balanced optimism.

6.

What is the biggest risk associated with not planning for the future?

Well, the risk in business and personal life is surprise — or being left behind. A business model, our ability to earn an income and how we communicate can change in an instant. This change is much more tolerable — dare I say, fun — if you see it and other possibilities coming. Also, the risk of not planning for the future also means you miss out on what could have been. So, rather than avoiding risk, futuring is an opportunity.