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Why we need to challenge our nature to thrive in a digital driven world

Gus Balbontin believes if we are to survive and thrive in this era of digital disruption, we need to break off the shackles of routine and fight against our very instincts to seek comfort and ease in our lives. Gus, a former Executive Director and CTO with Lonely Planet, will be a keynote speaker at this year’s RCSA Conference and shares some of his insights with us.

Gus Balbontin wants to talk to you about digital disruption and why, in order to succeed, we must resist our own nature to live a life dictated by routine and comfort.

We’ve all read stories about the need to move with the times and increase the room we have in our lives for technology, but Gus, a former Executive Director and CTO with Lonely Planet, has his own unique perspective. And he promises to use his hard-fought and won battle scars as evidence of his wisdom and experience, to help you be ready to embrace digital disruption and know how to do so in practical ways.

Gus will be a keynote speaker at the annual RCSA Conference, which this year will incorporate the World Employment Conference to be held on the Gold Coast between October 30 and November 1.

“I share stories about business transformation in the digital era,” Gus says. “The digital evolution has been the biggest revolution of our time. The last time we saw a revolution have this kind of impact was the Industrial Revolution.

“No one saw this coming and no one could have predicted how quickly it would completely disrupt business. It has thrown us into a place where we can no longer use the adage that ‘if it isn’t broken don’t fix it’.

“Now, whatever the business problem, we need to fix it before it is broken because it will break, and if you don’t act beforehand, your business will suffer.”

Gus operates his own design and innovation business, Roshambo (the term used for paper, scissors, rock in the US), which goes by the philosophy that “only dead fish go with the flow”. This trickled down into his personal belief that innovation is the only way businesses will survive and thrive in this digitally driven world we now find ourselves a part of.

“The digital revolution has been coming since humans started making their own tools millions of years ago,” Gus says.

“Humans are about innovation and finding the easiest ways possible to do things.

“It is the perverse nature of humans to create routines and find shortcuts to save energy as a means of survival. But in the digital era, we need to fight that and remain consciously exploring and thinking about what we are doing and why, with an eye to innovation.

“The human brain is wired to store information in the subconscious so we do them without having to think about them as part of our routines. When we learn how to drive or walk, we store that information away and then start driving or walking without really thinking about the process.

“But that makes us complacent and we now live in an environment, which is constantly shifting so while our brains are telling us we need routine, this is not the best way to approach our society. We need to be open to change to move with technology as it changes and continues to change so many aspects of our lives.”

Gus, who is Argentinian-born but a true citizen of the world with a Melbourne base for the past 20 years, says his presentations are designed to get audiences thinking about their own patterns of behaviour and the bigger picture, encouraging each of us to push ourselves beyond the limits we impose upon ourselves.

“I am no different to anyone else,” he says. “I have had to learn a lot of lessons the hard way. My battle scars are just as important as anyone else’s and this is where I draw my lessons from. I am not talking based on research; I am talking from experience.

“A lot of what I talk to people about is common sense and information they already have but don’t know. I am just the prophet from another land sent to wake them up. And that means there are a lot of ‘a-ha’ and ‘penny dropping’ moments for people listening to what I have to say.”

Gus said much of his presentation at the RCSA conference will look at ways to ensure the focus of your business is very firmly with the customer.

“You keep hearing about big companies starting innovation departments where they employ people to find innovation,” he says. “But innovation should not be a department. Real innovation comes from listening to your customers.”

To register your interest for the 2019 RCSA/WEC Conference, visit

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