Maya Zuckerman, COO at Luman, Entrepreneur and SciFi Author on Building a Regenerative Future

Maya Zuckerman, Author, Cultural Hacker Entrepreneur, COO Luman talks about her work as a SciFi Writer, Advisor at YKCenter, and her involvement in the WEF’s Global New Mobility Coalition (GNMC) project.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building on the new.“ Socrates (470-399 BC), Philosopher

Maya Zuckerman is an emerging media and technology leader. She brings a wealth of experience from different media silos: visual effects, film, production, video games, tech startups, product management and brand narratives. Her passion revolves around mainstream cross-platform media and transformational media as a vehicle in creating change on a global scale. She is the founder of TransmediaSF – an event and media agency, Expert-In-Residence for Brave Ventures and marketing manager of Keyframe-Entertainment – a Transformational Media Network that bridges Underground Electronic Music and mainstream culture. As an author, she is also developing the Science Fiction franchise – Em’s Theory.

Interview focus

1. An introduction from you – background, born, family, education…
2. Career highlights
3. California / San Francisco growth and work in innovation
4. IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.
5. Smart cities / Sustainability and Regenerative policies
6. Your company, organisations you work with and focus
7. With Covid-19 how do you see this as a way to redesign our society?
8. Goals and how do you see the future of work and the main trends in tech and society
9. A future vision for cities and the world

Quotes and Highlights

· I was born and raised in Israel. I then moved to Canada to study and work on the gaming industry as technical director and other roles. I moved to cleantech and explored different sectors, all related to social impact, sustainability and tech for good.

· I am now involved in different initiatives including AI and tech for good. I try to keep myself focused on initiatives that are conscious with the environment and are trying to make a difference in the world.

· I am also collaborating with the World Economic Forum.

· About Israel and innovation. Israel is a very innovative country overall. I have always tried to be in innovative startups since the beginning of my career. When I moved to Vancouver I also was working in different startups and companies that were trying to do things differently.

· Israel is a great innovation center with a growing startup ecosystem and hotspot, especially in Tel Aviv. You can also find a great talent pool. In Silicon Valley I have found many people from Israel working there.

· I always try to get better, to improve and never stop growing. In these times when we have to be at home, we are all changing ourselves and we need to understand the new personas that we have become. I am taking this time to develop new ideas and work on projects that can help us go through these difficult times because ultimately the economy has failed us and we are the ones that need to make a difference.

·  Misuse of data, digital. Silicon Valley is such a big place where you can find everything, from giant companies to small businesses. This area is a paradox in itself. On one hand, there are a lot of innovative ideas coming out from it but at the same time many companies there follow old dogmas of control and power. It is sad that 20 years ago we thought that these technologies were going to free us but we now see that it is more of the same here. It seemed we were going to be part of the future but reality is that we are once again left aside. So now the conversation should be going around digital literacy and education. We need to be part of the future again.

·  Responsible use of technology. COVID-19 has taught us something very powerful. We can have the best technology and techniques that humanity has ever had, however we are still vulnerable. This means that the problems we have are systemic and inherited. We are still dealing with racism, gender inequality, etc. People in fact have the power to change things and it would be a great step forward if we start asking people what kind of future we want and being an important part of the decision-making process.

·  Most of our future is dystopian. This is where reality meets fiction. As of now, dystopian is mainstream while utopian is science fiction. There is this idea of when dystopian is the new reality, utopian means rebellion. If we actually want to get out of this reality people should be part again in building their future. We need to change these narratives that are given to us and start shaping them ourselves.

· About cities. Cities are centers of innovation too. I would expand the concept to bio-regions, which mean a series of cities working together through platforms, sharing information. These bio-regions can actually be very beneficial for people as most of the human activity today takes place in cities. So I see a future created a network of bio-regions where they collaborate closely with each other tackling issues and looking for solutions.

· Cities play a key role in sharing meaningful information in different levels, from decision making processes to business and entrepreneurship activities. And I love the idea of bringing nature back to cities while building them sustainably and environmentally friendly. And as humanity migrates to urban areas, cities will play a bigger role in all that. Cities are seen actually better from a democratic and participative perspective than national governments, and maybe that is what we need to change the current narrative.

· About Luman. Luman is an agency of industry leaders who bring a breadth of experience driving innovation and creating the future. We serve leaders with the ability and ambition to affect the future. We have tested effective tools for clarifying direction, sparking continuous innovation and building adaptive workforces and cultures. We start with who we are as individuals, and who the situation requires us to be as leaders. We have delivered results in organizations of all sizes and across industries. What we try to do is to transform companies and the world rests in unleashing the human capacity to create. The main idea behind it is to build resilience in companies and educate leaders for the future companies.

· Working with WEF and SDGs. We are working on a project about the mobility of the future. We are working around the ideas of transforming public transports, mobility in the cities, researching different outcomes. For example what would happen if we close a street to traffic and transform it into a different shared space for people? And how can we do that? Those are the questions we want to answer.

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Maya Zuckerman Biography

Maya Zuckerman is a Regenerative Entrepreneur, multiplatform expert, Culture Hacker and emerging technology aficionado who applies the power of narrative, technology, and regenerative design to world-changing ideas.

New times call for new sets of skills. In the past years Maya has developed herself as a diverse and tech-savvy leader. Developing a unique set of skills which help her lead companies and teams. As Chief Operations Officer and VP of Operations of two startups in the past three years, she built enterprise platforms and mobile apps that connect people and solve social issues that face our species.

Maya Zuckerman founded Transmedia SF, a network of SF Bay Area media and start-up creatives who come together to develop our own projects, to promote and educate the world about transmedia storytelling, and to make San Francisco a center for transmedia production and education.

Maya has also been involved in the Global New Mobility Coalition (GNMC). Curated by the World Economic Forum, is an active and diverse community of over 150 globally renowned experts, NGOs and companies for accelerating the shift to Shared, Electric and Autonomous Mobility (SEAM) system that provides for healthier cities, reduces carbon emissions by 95%, improves mobility efficiency by 70%, and decreases commuting costs by 40%, while tapping into a 600 billion-dollar business. GNMC is steered by the World Economic Forum, ClimateWorks, University of California Davis, China EV100, Uber, Energy Foundation China, Israel Institute of Technology (Technion), Lyft, Via, BMW, Ford, and Uber. ​Among its key partners are C40, OECD International

Maya has worked with different groups around the world, from creative, tech development, branding, clean-tech and urban development.

Her passion leads her to work with projects and people wanting to serve a bigger purpose on this planet. She has spoken extensively in many conferences – from technology to branding and narrative.

Maya is also a writer, focusing on the Collective Journey and Regenerative Narrative framework in culture and movements and writing a positive Speculative futures Science Fiction Trilogy.

References and links