Chuma Niklaas

Futuristic . Achiever . Analytical . Connectedness . Empathy

Read my story of how I have gone from thinking myself to be an odd ball as I was growing up, to developing into, and recognising, I am a natural Systems Thinker and Futurist.  I'm looking for sponsorship for a one year PG-Dip Futures programme and strong mentorship to assist me in growing into my natural abilities and my passion for Futures Innovation in Biotechnology.

I am Chuma Niklaas, born on the 13th of April 1997. I live and grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, for most of my life. I’m an inspiring Futurist and Technologist. Ever since I was young, I guess you could say I was always considered a sort of an introverted odd ball and a dreamer. Growing up I always had a hard time fitting in or finding a niche for myself. Yet slowly but surely I came out of my shell, starting in High School where I realized my passion for public speaking and sharing new ideas, and also being elected into the Junior City Council. From that experience I knew I wanted to do something that would bring about a positive impact to those around me and hopefully make a positive global impact.
 

Since High School I've always had a keen interest in technology and how it could help create a better world for everyone especially after reading books like Ray Kurzweil’s book 'The Singularity is Near' and Abundance: 'The Future Is Better Than You Think' by Peter Diamandis and Peter Kolter. That’s what primarily motivated me in wanting to get involved in innovation involving emerging and exponential technologies that could create a new paradigm shift in society.

 

I still often struggled to find my niche or which career path or field of study I should pursue to accommodate my goals and my wide variety of interests. At first I had my reservations, but eventually I decided to study at AFDA’s Business ,Innovation and Technology(BIT) faculty where I recently completed my BCom in Innovation and Technology.  Studying at AFDA’s helped me learn a lot about myself and what I wanted to with my life, especially  bringing ideas and concepts to life, and the various models and methodology which lead to innovation.
 

And I also realized I'm a natural Systems Thinker and  Futurist, one that has the ability to envision and forecast positive futures and scenarios, and I can see how to build those futures to scale. I see myself as an architect of the future in today’s rapidly changing world, as this truly energizes me and brings me fulfillment. 

 

Even though I do tend to have a broad variety of interests in the world of innovation and technology, my main passion is in the biotechnology industry. This has helped me figured out my personal Mass Transformational Purpose (MTP) which is the advancement, instituting  and contributing toward positive socio-economic exponential growth. By having an MTP it becomes easier to apply moonshot thinking whereby one tackles a monumental challenge or problem such as climate change,  with a radical solution using disruptive and emerging technology and by applying what I learned from AFDA and having the confidence in my own ideas and capabilities, I can move towards this.  It was actually thanks to AFDA's more practical learning narrative that I can begin to apply what I learned. In my second year I participated in Biotech Hackathon organized by Merk and through my applied learning, I'm proud to say I took third place.

 

To that end I have been looking towards building the moonshot business concept from this Hackathon, that of a moonshot concept called Metamorph, in which the primary radical goal is to deliver individual best health outcomes, by augmenting the human condition utilizing the converging exponential technologies of Nanotechnology, Biotechnology/Synthetic Biology, Information and Communications Technology and cognitive technologies.

 

I'm at the start of my career having completed the first part of my learning through completing my degree.   Right now I seek to upskill myself, gain more appropriate experience in the field of design, innovation and systems thinking, and build the interdependent relationships, networks and mentorships that will allow me to continue to develop and build my dream and vision for Metamorph into a reality.

One day I see myself as the CEO or head of a global organization in technological development, most likely realising the concept for my startup Metamorph, and growing this into a global and collaborative company in biotech. The energy sector and infrastructure development is also a hugely fascinating environment for me.

I'd like to continually improve my learning through the University of Stellenbosch Business School, participating in their one year PG-Dip Futures programme. I will be looking for Sponsorship. The one benefit & upside of being located in South Africa, is our exchange rate is so favourable when sponsoring from a first world country as it means an investment of only +-£5000 ($6500). 

I am also looking for a challenging Futures Mentor who might assist me in gaining a better understanding of this exciting career field whether in Biotech or another 'futures' based field.  sort of mentor Ideally I would like someone who is passionate about emerging exponential technologies who is experienced and with an expertise in that sector. A mentor who has Futuristic and Command as their strength would be a bonus.

You can learn more about the WITH Mentor/Sponsorship Programme below and if you'd like to listen to my latest 'futures' interview you can watch here. 

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