Real World Futures

Living with disruption

Date: 01 November 2018

Matthew Ames was a 39-year-old father of four when what seemed like a cold developed into a strep infection.

His only way of surviving was a quadruple amputation which cost him his mobility but, as the Real World Futures 2018 conference heard this year, not his determination.

Mr Ames was one of eight speakers at the Disruptive Influences And What To Do With Them conference which focussed this year on The Adaptation Factor.

He took the audience through a journey which began with him waking and puzzling over how he would live his life without arms or legs.

That was more than five years ago.

On October 16, 2018, Mr Ames drove himself to the conference and left the audience with a strong message – that the individual or business that does not adapt faces the risk of extinction.

His powerful presentation drove home the message that the need for adaptation touches every part of our lives – working, thinking and living. In the case of Mr Ames, certainly living.

He took the audience through the range of technology he uses to get through each day. It includes state-of-the-art prosthetics, voice-activated controls at home and a customised vehicle which uses hand-operated and head-operated controls.

And he preached the value of simplicity and rejection of any technology that doesn’t work for him.

This was the third Disruptive Influences - And What To Do With Them conference and its tone turned the focus to the role of people as both users and customers of technology.

The lessons from the day were corralled by QUT’s Executive Director of Corporate Engagement, Professor Michael Rosemann, who also introduced a range of new QUT products to involve the corporate sector.  They include new structures to access students and researchers and access to QUT facilities and expertise for innovation workshops, including a summer innovation series.

The Real World Futures director, David Fagan, closed the conference with acknowledgement of the focus the series over three years had put on technology but its permanent connection to what it meant to people.

“We can’t forget that people matter the most here. How they use the technology and not be used by it is the key problem we have to focus on at all levels and these lessons are a means of solving it,” he said.

Content sourced from QUT News Web Service.

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