For those of us dedicated in developing a long-term, vibrant, inclusive, diverse and prosperous quantum ecosystem, we must attend to the “seeds and shoots”. On one hand this is putting effort (with funding) into focused areas to foster growth and innovation; on the other, it’s establishing strong values, building deep relationships and being open to collaboration.
We can easily become spellbound by the allure of the science, the pace of technical advances, the exciting application spaces being explored, or the mega (and not-so-mega) deals being seen in the market. Quantum awareness is spreading – one indicator being the increase over time in Google’s search trends.
There’s also a lot of hype, which is to be expected for any emerging technologies, but that makes it harder to see through the fog of press releases and social media posts!
But there’s one aspect of the quantum community that I cherish and I hope will not be lost – it’s the values of the community members themselves. I was recently reminded of this at the inaugural event of OneQuantum UAE held at the end of “World Space Week” on October 10, 2021.
Its president, Malak Trabelsi Loeb, an accomplished businesswoman, made a remark that she had found the quantum community to be welcoming, friendly, generous and accepting. This is not the first time I’ve heard this and I’ve been thinking about it deeply.
The human touch
The future for quantum is being written and there’s a long way to go. However, many in the community are raising the importance of how we interact with each other and establishing new norms of behaviour.
OneQuantum is a great example – it has diversity and inclusion built into its very foundations. That means time and energy go into creating value from the get-go – rather than destroying value through discrimination and exclusion!
It can be hard for some people to take. You can see the emotions, sometimes tears, when a person realises they’re accepted for who they are. As simple as that sounds, it’s not everyone’s lived experience. What a world we live in!
You will always hear me say that “quantum doesn’t discriminate and neither should we”. It’s humanity that is out of sync with the universe, not the other way round!
Quantum processes are happening in people of all backgrounds, from all genders, irrespective of belief, wealth or status. If you understand this, then what separates us is of less consequence than the infinite wonder of what connects us.
I’m certainly seeing that character development, values, leading a purposeful life, and making a positive impact are becoming higher priorities for this quantum generation, as is a global mindset. The “Quantum Citizen” is global.
This has important consequences. For instance, what will the future of work look like? What kind of scrutiny will companies receive – especially if they’re out of step with the aspirations of this new generation?
Quantum is a whole new approach and a bold move away from traditional thinking. If the ecosystem is to flourish, then it’s not just business or technology innovation, it’s about people innovation too.