What is your background briefly?
I’ve worn several hats over the course of my career: historian, architect, Naval Officer, planner, and most recently, as a consultant. I work closely with leadership teams to help them set vision and strategy, create new sources of value, and adapt to continuous change. I’m most effective as an impartial sounding board to help leaders test ideas and then identify the pros and cons of proposed courses of actions.
I have traveled extensively and I pay close attention to emerging trends in technology, energy, design, architecture, leadership, and how people are solving problems.
In 2015, I started blogging and this changed everything. People are now reaching out to me asking for my opinion on various startup and technology related matters and I’m getting involved in the Washington tech scene.
How did you get started with your blog?
For a period of 6 years I was traveling internationally frequently and I found myself with a lot of free time in airports and hotel rooms. In addition to reading heavy doses of cyberpunk, history, philosophy, and physics, I started making notes in my sketchbook whenever a thought came to mind. Sometimes they were observations on local culture, notes on how people queue in line at airports, or how a city developed, Over time I started writing about business, strategy, and general thoughts on how people relate to one another. Once I had filled several notebooks, I set up a blog and started entering my notes.
I started off posting a few days a week and now I’m publishing something everyday. I actually find it easier to write on a daily basis. The posts all tend to be short and to the point. I’d like a reader to check in at the blog, take look, and then comeback when they have more time to look through it. The blog has definitely evolved since I first started writing. I favor a minimalist aesthetic on the website, which does carryover into my blogging.
— Scott Jancy (@scottjancy) December 17, 2015
What do you write about?
I blog about design, leadership, and technology. Each of these items are factors that are directly impacting our lives. Design is leadership and leadership is design; and technology is a force that can magnify the effects of what we design and how we lead. Therefore, it is critical to be aware of the impacts of our actions and decisions. This broader awareness, or understanding, of how problems fit into a larger picture is what drives my work. I help people see the connections between disparate elements so that they can make more informed decisions as leaders.
Trained as an architect, I see the world as infinitely connected and integrated. Architecture is a systems discipline, and when applied to other markets or industries, can be a powerful to deconstruct problems, create new visions for the future, and bring people together. I hope the blog will help illuminate the minds of readers so that they can see the world in a different light.
— Scott Jancy (@scottjancy) June 3, 2015
What is the state of innovation and the development of technology?
It’s developing quickly and faster than people can comprehend. When we are in a position of reacting to what is moving towards us, we are at a disadvantage and we have lost control of what we are doing. However, this is what makes the startup, entrepreneur, and innovation scene so exciting. People are putting themselves out there to solve a problem, hopefully make a profit and a name for themselves. It’s an interesting mix of ingredients that has the potential to create life changing products, tools, and services for all.
The digital revolution, which is still in its infancy, is going touch all aspects of our lives. Human networks, processes, and systems will essentially be recreated within the digital world. This space, infinite in resources and potential, is a place where anything can happen. The challenge for people looking to develop digital tools is simply figuring out what human systems could be made better within digital space. A great example is Square. Paying for something, anywhere, has never been easier because the creators removed all of the friction out of the payment process. Removing friction, barriers, and impediments is what makes a great digital product and is the key to making a truly valuable product. One’s experience with it should be seamless.
— Scott Jancy (@scottjancy) October 3, 2015
One of the interesting thing about working in the innovation economy is that people believe that their ideas are solving real problems and saving the world. I saw this same kind of attitude and spirit within the design studio when I was a student in architecture school. If people believe they can make an impact, then they will. More important, however, is that local, regional, and national governments are slowly recognizing the power that is in the hands of these young creators and they are looking to them for help in addressing social, economic, financial, and civic problems. Public-private partnerships will drive organizations into the future because they will co-create it. This brand of inclusive leadership is what is required to tackle complex problems.
Do you have any favorite books you’d like to recommend?
Here’s a list of my current favorites:
Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson; The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson; On Dialogue, David Bohm; Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity, Jamshid Gharajedaghi; War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy; The Good Soldier Svejk, Jaroslav Hasek; Neuromancer, William Gibson; Architecture: Form, Space, and Order, Francis D. K. Ching; Leadership by Design: Creating an Architecture of Trust, Richard N. Swett; and The Rider, Tim Krabbe.
Any final words of advice for up and coming leaders and entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to take chances. Additionally, your best ideas will likely come not from actively looking for them, but rather from listening to what’s happening around you.