Thursday, 29 May 2014


In the beginning, God created a man’s head and included a brain. He divided the brain into different rooms. Each room was built and designed to accommodate a different cognitive function. But the Creator, in all His wisdom, then deliberately set apart an empty room somewhere in the corridors of the man’s brain and ordained that room for the function of imagination. That for whatsoever man can imagine - man can bring into reality.   

I have, for long stretches, had an impossible fetish for renting a room in a person’s brain. Everyone knows at least one captivating person. The kind of person whom you catch a flu whenever he or she sneezes. They don’t often sneeze in public. But wherever they sneeze – and wherever you are – at that moment, you catch a generous amount of the stuff their  nasals have let out.
Each one of us has mentally created, thought or even tried to solve a nagging problem but gave up somewhere between thinking about it and bringing it to life simply because the thought process was synonymous to that true story of the truck that jammed underneath the bridge. But then, the economic demand for creativity is appalling. In fact; a 2010 poll of 1500 CE0s by IBM identified creativity as a number one “Leadership Competency” of the future.


Creativity often seems like magic. We google through the lives of mortals like the great-grandfather of the light bulb, Thomas Edison – or the ancestor of Technology, Steve Jobs of Apple - or the mother of empathy, Mother Theresa – and without questioning the nuts and bolts of their cognitive abilities, we jump into the bandwagon of assuming that these people must be from the “Chosen Few” section of the crowd – and they were elected by the so-called god of creativity and innovation. That’s very true, right? Not really. I would not be telling you this if I was not one of the people who have never experienced the stress of dreaming up an idea that a decision-making faculty of the brain immediately concluded as brilliant but when it was time to travel through the rocky road of reality – all of a sudden, thinking jammed underneath your cognitive bridge. What do you do when you wake up one morning and out from the bright, blue sky, you get an idea that eventually loses its way halfway through the corridors of your mind? We have all done that. My sister, one rainy morning when we were young, complained about how she wished she could invent a raincoat for the shoe, one that would take the shape and colour of your shoe without compromising its structural beauty. Have you ever dreamed up a technological idea that never even took off because you did not have a techno-mind? Some of us have imagined ourselves creating a “thingy” where people can purchase books online and store them in their computers. But because our knowledge and skills were not at all parallel with what we wanted to create, the idea went out through the windows of our brains. But along came a gentleman by the name of Jeff Bezos who had the same idea coupled with a better knowledge-set, better skill-set, and technical know-how – and voila … called that same little “thingy” AMAZON.COM.


‘Amazon dot com’ is the name of Jeff’s idea that he managed to turn into a profitable career. But then, there is at play what we call “joining the dots” – it’s the stuff real problem solving dreams are made of.
Everything, from human beings to species, exists within the context of a wider environment. All too often when we talk about solving problems creatively; what we are really talking about is joining the dots. In the Queen’s candor, to join the dots is to put together different bits of information, observations and experiences with the hope to come up with an interesting piece of result. I know I just said it in the Queen of England’s candor. Linguistics call it “joining the dots” – Psychologists call it divergent thinking. For example; if I gave you a brick and a page – and asked you to come up with as many uses as possible for the two when applied together; you would think of all the things one can possibly do with a brick and page. The more connections you find, the better you are at divergent thinking. In a nutshell; you are better at joining the dots – and would be more likely better at solving real-life work-related problems by breaking apart the problem and including other bits and pieces of information and observations from the outside.

If you had the privilege of walking through, up and down the isles of a creative person’s brain while in problem-solving mode, you would probably witness something to the effect of a large, busy factory; with thoughts moving up and down - being refined – pruned - combined and packaged. You would witness quite a number of seemingly unrelated bits of information. It’s not schizophrenia, it’s the brain trying to connect the dots. Whether you’re faced with a boardroom situation or are involved in an ideation process for an upcoming product, the law of familiarization will be of utmost importance. Familiarizing yourself with the environment within which you operate will be advantageous in your pursuit of creativity. That’s perhaps one of the chief reasons why the so-called “creative types” are well-informed individuals. They are always at the forefront of knowledge and as a by-product, it is not a coincidence when at the face of a boardroom crisis, they’re the ones whose hands are the first to shoot up with something close to a solution. You catch my drift?
Joining the dots may happen in a flash we can’t explain. But by definition, we can only join the dots we have collected. Dr Michael Kirton, in his theory; “Kirton Adaption Innovation Inventory,” stated that innovators are more likely to be found where they are not expected to be found. If you must ask them, they will politely tell you that they are collecting the dots. In short, joining the dots has everything to do with the kind of dots available around your awareness.


Mike is one of the few gentlemen in this world who have seen the world’s greatest nerd, Bill Gates, sneeze in private. What the larger majority at Microsoft catches - they catch because someone in the grownups’ table, the executive board, sneezed. And all too often, Gates was responsible. Mike, a person who worked with Bill Gates at Microsoft, described Bill in a meeting; “My mind is like an ordinary spread-sheet: a couple of columns over the right – and  a couple of columns going down. But then Bill Gates’ mind is like a huge spread-sheet with a thousand columns wide and a thousand more deep. There would be an issue in the meeting and Bill would see it all at once and say, “I got it, here is the solution.” He would connect up all the dots in the most amazing way. He would just almost see things we couldn’t see. His brain was just a cube with powerful information.
Do not be fooled. Gates may have been a college dropout. But you don’t get to be interesting a human being as him without some form of “dot-collection” strategy between your two ears. The thing is; Gates eats books. His ability to creatively join all the dots stems from the wealth of dots he has given himself time to collect.

If I had to sum it all up, I would move away from all those things that suggest that for you to exercise creativity, you need to be born with it. Let me make it very clear; for imagination – you need to be alive – and you need to be human - for creativity and innovation to be found in you. Two quick points: It’s about JOINING THE DOTS. But all too often; man only has the ability to JOIN what he or she has COLLECTED.

My name is Simphiwe Makapela. I am a South African-based Professional Speaker and I write for the U.S based Under30CEO Media site. I would be delighted to speak at your next conference about an expanded view of the aforementioned article.   

Friday, 26 July 2013


By Simphiwe Makapela

Our minds are literally hardwired by our past experiences. It becomes possible, but quite a militant task for us to learn new tricks and unteach ourselves ones that aren't yielding results that hold much water. At this point in time, no matter your age, you're the oldest you've ever been. Some so-called hard prophets of doom have for long upheld that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks." But who is the "old dog?" What are the "new tricks?" And who is the "teacher?" In the proverbial "dog-eat-dog" world we live in, you can't solve today's problems with yesterday's skill-set and expect to be in business tomorrow. Its humanly, economically, and unbelievably impossible.

With all things being equal, let's, for now, avoid complicating things by bringing in outside forces. Let's compress these three forces (the dog, the tricks and the teacher) into one workable solution. To cut all things as short as they can be, the "Old Dog" will, of course, be you. Is that okay? Great! The "New Tricks" will be the envisioned level of behavior or performance. The "Teacher," well, this should refer to the methods used to teach the old dog the new tricks. Go through that again so we don't fumble along the way.

My premise is clear: its to move away from blaming the old dog and its percieved inability to learn new tricks but to blame the teacher for the methods he/she employs in converting the old dog. Why do dogs (you) become bad? Of course, a dog's personality and behavior is a direct result of its owner's inability to understand it. There are no bad dogs. Just ill-informed, unskilled and impatient teachers. Here's an interesting twist to it: You, as an individual who's preoccupied about trying to make a better living for yourself, are the teacher simultaneosly. Your role is to understand who you are, your capabilities and the workings of the human mind. So you may have well guessed what is it that has to change in order for the "Old Dog" to change ... Correct! Your methods and your approach may need some restructuring. What that means is, in effect, is teaching yourself how to make growth-directed transitions. Its never, and has never been too late to turn a dog around. If the approach changes, the dog certainly can change too.

My mother's chronological age is 60, that is, she's been under the milky way for 6 decades. Her biological age is nothing more than 45. She is slender in frame and quite vertical as far as height is concerned. She is not, like me, your so-called "yellow-bone" complexion neither is she your dark-skinned supermodel - your Alek Wek kind. She, like myself, has the gift of the gab. Always talking, except that I, due to my line of work as an entrepreneur, considering also the advent of the EQ, had to teach myself WHEN ... TO TALK. She has a witty personality. One thing we both have in common is that we can go anywhere in the world and start a conversation about nothing, with anyone. She is not from the strictest section of the parenting crowd. Her parenting style isn't as militant as I predict mine would be, but she has never, in my formative years, allowed me to get away with anything. When she wants her tea now - she wants it now.

So, at some point in my life, I became smarter and I tried to figure out something about the workings of the human mind in the most basic of ways possible, using readily available resources. All I needed was my mother, teabags, sugar, mug, and hot water. And yes, a request from her to make her a cup of tea. Her tea always has to come with two teaspoons of sugar. Nothing less, nothing more.

Day 1: She asked for a cup of tea. Me being me, I did as was commanded except that this time I threw in 1 teaspoon of sugar but told her that I threw in 2.

Day 2: Threw in 2, as requested. But told her that I only threw in 1.

Day 3: Threw in 3, but said I threw in 2.

Disclaimer: This may not make for a laboratory-fit kind of experiment, but it worked.

Findings: In Day 1, her tea was ingested with no questions asked. One teaspoon of sugar in the cup filled the 2-teaspoon sugar void in the mind because someone made her believe that.

In Day 2, I managed to be just as convincing as I was in Day 1. Met her requirements but made her believe my story. As a result, her specifications were violated because she threw in 1 more teaspoon, thinking it was now a 2-teaspoon cup of tea where in actual fact, she was now having 3 teaspoons of sugar. But what was in her mind was more tastier than what was in the cup.

In Day 3, I made her believe she was having her normal cup of tea whereas it wasn't. Forget the cup of tea, think about what was being done to her mind.

During the 1800s, Russian Physiologist, Ivan Pavlov, was looking at salivation in dogs in response to being fed. He then went on to build a device for measuring the amount of saliva produced by dogs when food is presented. Pavlov then suggested that the dogs had now LEARNED to associate the lab assistants with being fed - and he set out to test this idea. He gave dogs food and rang a bell at the same time. After repeating this several times, the dogs LEARNED to associate the bell with the food so that afterwards, they would salivate when they heard the bell even when there was no food.

Here is an astounding discovery: Pavlov noticed, however, that his dogs later LEARNED to stop salivating in response to the bell because the bell rang yet no food was presented. This, after a while, caused them to UNLEARN the association between the bell and the food.

Henry Ford, a gentleman we're all familiar with, famously stated that one can't possibly learn in school what the world will do in the subsequent years. In the muddy playing field of today's work environment, a learner's leverage is the ultimate master key to sustained greatness. Skills and knowledge are things that grow obsolete far faster than in the past. A 2009 survey revealed that more than 75% of workers across generations believe in the necessity of upgrading skills within the next 5 years to keep up with the changes in the world of work. To stay up-to-date, therefore, one ought to treat what one knows as a work in progress that requires continuous improvement. If one is not spending at least 70% of one's time educating, observing, unlearning and developing oneself for now and for the future, one, dare I say with the greatest of respect and candor, is probably in the wrong world.

You know what happened to my mom. You do know what happened to Pavlov's dog. The bottom-line, perhaps, of all bottom-lines, is that a dog's predisposition isn't fixed. Your mind is trained to do whatever it takes within its cognitive prowess to protect your personal status quo. Be that as it may, you and I ought to deliberately learn how to trick our own minds when it comes to learning the skills that enable men and women to be competitive in this dog-eat-dog world.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


By  Simphiwe Makapela

Change, being the kind of force that it is, men and women, young and old, Black and White, Asian and Indian - have a thing or two to testify about it. They know it when they see it. Sometimes they lead it. Or, at most times, they manage it. When the going gets tough, they try to avoid it.
South Africa is almost 20 years into democracy. The world at large, is just a hair over a decade into the 21st Century and within those periods, both in South Africa and globally, change has been at the centre of both frustration and progression. Companies in all corners of all industries are engaging in Transformation Programmes. Graduates who've been unemployed for long stretches are embarking on the entrepreneurial route. Individuals, at the risk of spreading themselves too thin, are faced with having to juggle 2 jobs in one day. The education system is constantly under construction. Change is there. Its in black and white. Its real. Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, every normal person you see - is trying to make sense out of it. Every Saturday of every month a young couple gets married in one street and in the other corner, its an old lady's funeral. Professional Futurists, together with Economists, are doing all that's within their prognosticating prowesses to understand and predict where the world will be. Perhaps, even, both witches and prophets alike - whether through divinity or divine revelation, are so much into what will happen next. The question is: Can you see all these things? Can you see all this change around every aspect of your life? Its happening. Its real. Change, more than ever before, is now the new order of the day. Change is the new black.


If four drivers came to a robotless four-way stop at exactly the same time, whose turn is it? The red sports car? The black SUV? The green rusty school bus? (that looks like a house in the 15th century) - What about that Suzuki Boulevard motorcycle with a 1800cc engine and a 240mm rear tire? Whose turn is it?
Of course, without thinking about it twice, we know that's its the guy who'll decide to take off first. At that moment, it will be his turn for the simple reason that under such conditions, it isn't the size of their mode of transport nor its color that counts simply because vehicles have a tendency to be as good as their drivers.
Back to the four-way stop: There comes a time where your ability to respond quickly to opportunities regardless of age, skin color nor creed - can be your only source of comptetitive advantage.

It is somewhere in the 19th Century where it was first believed that "let he who says it can't be done, not stand in the way of those who are doing it." But along came Harry Forsdick in the 21st Century who boldly stated that "We now live in a fast moving world of change such that the man who says it cannot be done, will generally be disrupted by someone doing it. Again, it is Christofel Wiese, the man behind Shoprite stores who said, "Whenever you encounter a very successful business man, do not assume that they only had a great business plan but its simply because they had a great opportunity and quite frankly, they were the right person for that opportunity."

When it comes to opportunities of any kind, we always ought to pay homage to what linguistics have termed "Positioning Yourself." What this means in effect, is that in these Corporate lastdays, its not enough to be at the right place, at the right time and being in the presence of the right people who have the right resources. The litmus test lies in the issue of being the right person. Progressive change is lubricated when an individual facilitates a merge of all of the aforementioned "rights." When the right person meets the right people, change happens in the environment concerned.


A few months ago a friend of mine related a story of how, 13years ago, a lady approached her mother with a business idea. The lady, being a high school teacher - and my friend's mom, also working for the government, were faced with this gigantic decision of abandoning their salary-promising jobs and pursue this Real Estate idea while running families simultaneosly. Now here is the crux of the matter: My friend's mom, being the only breadwinner in the family of 5, she, out of fear, doubt and no contingency plan should all go south, turned the offer down. The lady then took the rejection like a "man" and pursued the idea solo. To cut the sad story short, its 13 years later, The lady is still alive, not as a school teacher. My friend's mom is still alive - still working for the government. Something else is alive ... The idea. It grew into a multinational Real Estates firm trading in all 9 Provinces of SA and about 10 other countries around Africa.
Its a sad story for my friend. Its a lesson for all of us. When change meets opportunity, possibilities are endless. But when opportunity meets resistance, we may find ourselves kicking our own behinds after a lapse of time.


It was in the year 1995 when Bill Gates suggested that the internet was a relatively useless fad. His thinking sustained him until it became clear that the internet of things held tremendous potential. Gates, the great billionaire, humbled himself and listened to his employees and adapted for the sole purpose of gaining ascendancy.
Adaptive intelligence, in the purest sense of the term, is the ability and courage to forget and do things differently. While discipline and obedience to the status quo got us here, erecting a strong edifice of our adaptive quotient will enable us to gain ascendancy and take heed in the fact that nothing stays the same for too long.

My last sentiment: Expect the unexpected. Plan for the best. Prepare for the worst. Adapt ... Or die.

Friday, 10 May 2013

SA Needs A SHIFT In The THINKING And DOING Department.

By Vacks Phupheli

Changing South Africa and making it work is too important a task to be left solely In the hands of politicians. I think it was Smuts Ngonyama, former ANC NEC member who later formed COPE (I am not sure if he subsequently rejoined the ruling party) who  once said, “I didn’t join the struggle to be poor.” On the face of it, this statement sounds like a noble statement made in jest - but on digging deeper about its real meaning, one understands that South Africa is where it is today because the so-called struggle heroes are now public servants tasked with delivering services to the citizens.
The mind shift from struggle heroes to public servants is one not to be underestimated. That transition was not properly planned for. Put simply, here is a person who earned R5000 (or nothing at all) before 1994, and now Is a minister/ MEC/DG, etc, earning R100 000.

The transition from ‘fighting the system’ to ‘being the system’ is the root cause of poor service delivery with many of them juggling their roles as public servants with that of increasing their own personal wealth to ensure that their time in exile is well compensated by any means necessary,  and therein lays the problem. What I imply by the aforementioned “by any means necessary” is that one is willing to flout certain laws and regulations for personal gain and achieve crass materialism at the expense of the people who need it most. A friend of mine and I recently found ourselves trying to figure out just what the Minister/Ministry of Anything but Men (Aka Ministry of Women, Children and people with disability) actually do. 
Suffice to say, we didn’t get far with that assignment.

The South African political system is not very conducive to having public servants to account for their responsibilities, or lack thereof. Cadre deployment, as it is fashionably called in the political and government circles, coupled with rhetoric such as that made by Smuts Ngonyama is but one of the reasons why our public service system does not work as well as it should. It is as if anything run by government is dysfunctional from public schools to public hospitals and back to public toilets. One needs only to visit a government department to experience the kind of lethargic demeanour in which one is subjected to. It is as if people have been dragged out of their homes to come to work. The culture on non-performance, non- accountability and no responsibility is the reason why South Africa is not working today. Two decades down the line and we still have not gotten it right. The current government has made some strides in trying to change the lives of many South Africans, however, we seem to be heading for a downward spiral, and continuing to defend mediocrity using the age old excuse of apartheid. Trevor Manuel, one of the ANC’s star icons was lambasted, even by his own comrades to stating the obvious. He said, “We cannot continue to blame apartheid for our failings as a state. We cannot plead ignorance or inexperience. For almost two decades, the public has been patient in the face of mediocre services. The time for change, for a ruthless focus on implementation has come.”
I, for one, agree with Manuel, without reservation. Apartheid was a horrible evil act. But, at what point do we take ownership of some of the problems that we face in our communities? At what point do we come up with innovative solutions to make South Africa work? Can we honestly blame apartheid for the fact that some kids in Limpopo still don’t have textbooks? My only misgiving is that he (Manuel) was, for the last 18 years a part of the same group of people that he now purports to advice. I don’t think that Manuel, and any other like-minded politician are just waking up to the fact that South Africa is not working as well as they make it appear to be. Yes, we cannot continue to blame apartheid for our failings as a state, and YES, the public has been patient in the face of mediocre services. But how long will they continue to “understand?”

Change is what is needed. Change in mind-set. Basically, a change in the thinking ministry is a need in our country. As the old adage goes: “you can’t keep doing the same thing expecting different results.” 

I am of the view that in order create a safe space for the country to work, civil society must get more involved in ensuring that politicians are not left at their discretion to continue in the path that the country is treading on.
In a strategic meeting I had with a friend about an NGO we recently formed, we tried to come up with a scope of how wide we wanted to take the work of the educational NGO. After the session we realized the scope was just too broad, and I recall remarking, “I think we are now wanting to do Angie Motshekga and Blade Nzimande’s jobs respectively”. It later donned on me that part of the reason why we came up with such a wide scope as a civil organization was that somebody in Government was not doing their work.

In order to make the country work, everybody must fold their sleeves and get their hands dirty. To leave the responsibility to government is tantamount to failing our own people and our innocent children.

The practice of Cadre deployment used by the ruling party is creating a crisis of (non) service delivery at national level, provincial level and most of all at the local level where even the municipal counselors are incapable, if not unwilling, to fulfill their most basic requirements; that of doing what they are paid to do. A shift in mind-set is needed. The rhetoric needs to change. Every day, frustrated callers call into radio stations, complaining about every service delivery issue you can think. And as the radio hosts try to get any answer from government officials, the response is always the same: “We will create 100 000 jobs by the year 2015” - “we have created a task team to probe the issue” - “We will leave no stone unturned to investigate corruption” - and the like.
We can all contribute to being the thinkers and doers that will drive that meaningful change in Society. The change that will make South Africa work.

Vacks holds a Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of KZN. Although he's no longer in the practice, he continues to provide Research and Psycho-Social Analysis to various stakeholders and interest groups including TV programmes, Newspapers and Magazines. He is a resident Psychologist for a TV show ‘Shift’ in on SABC and guests on such shows as ‘Positive Talk with Chriselda Kanada’ on Metro FM.

He also manages and runs various entities. He's the COO of Media House and MD of Molotsi Productions. He covers Research, TV and Radio Productions, Marketing and Multimedia Communications, which includes media and communication solutions and producing TV ad Radio programmes. Vacks is a specialist communications consultant with 10years experience and through his productions work he produces content for SABC and many other clients. He's also engaged in a lot of Community Development activities.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013


By Simphiwe Makapela

What if everything you've been thinking for the past 5 years has been wrong? Suppose we visited your cognitive website and found that the landing page to the stuff that's going on in your head reads, "Sorry, all mental files infected." Or worse than that: "Mental Operating System Disabled." What are you going to do? Of course, wouldn't this mean that you've been living off other people's opinions and ideas - and that every decision you've ever made was, in a way, made for you?

The phrase is 'Cognitive Bias.' The juice out of it simply suggests that it is a mental error that is consistent and predictable. A cognitive bias is the reason why your mom, when you're under pressure, knows what decision you'll make before you even make it. So, families are run under this conundrum. Relationships, financial decisions and perhaps, too, and most importantly, certain businesses are managed under it. Here's the thing; these biases in your brain stifle areas that could spot the flip side of the coin. How then do we get over these seemingly large walls in our heads? Thank you for asking.

Scenario: You are faced with a dilemma  Starring at you in the middle of your eyes, is a decision you have to make. What happens? Your mind, over an extended period of time, has been trained and prepared to dish out answers and solutions instantly. More often than not, these aren't Jamie-Oliver-cooked answers. So what's most likely to happen then? Wait. These solutions seem like answers. They look, feel and taste like solutions and answers. But ... What happens? One of two things happen: You either get more confused at the vast catalogue of half-cooked answers or - you select and implement the solution that hasn't much gravitas. That's why the word 'regret' was invented.

But isn't there more than what meets the eye? Certainly!

In his book, 'Thinking, Fast and Slow,' Daniel Kahneman wrote: "Our minds are simply not to be trusted. We ought to ask questions." "Fast thinking" in this context, is the same natural habit we call cognitive bias. According to Kahneman, it is easy. These are solutions and answers that come easy in your head while "Slow Thinking" is much of a herculean task. It takes time and effort. He then goes on to say that, "one key to engaging in "Slow thinking" is to constantly question the conclusions of our "fasting thinking" selves.
Turning the spotlight on questioning. Kids are an interesting case in point. They will always grab with both curious proverbial hands the opportunity to question whatever doesn't seem right in their precious little worlds. I have a very young nephew who thought I owed him an explanation for simply having four pillows on my bed. His question: "But, why do you have four pillows on your bed? Who are the other three people you sleep with?" (SHARE A BED, he meant)
The struggle for clarity is most likely to subside after the rise of questions crafted with precision.

The idea here, is to have a perception that the faster we arrive at a conclusion or solution of the business, relationship, or spiritual problem we're facing, there's a huge probability that our cognitive biases got us there and if we'll be swept off from our feet by those answers, we are more likely not to profit from them later on. If you stop and question your assumptions, it goes without saying that those that usually crumble like a wind-blown house of cards, were not really substantive in the first place.

If detectives get by with questions, innovators innovate through questioning the status quo, and kids grow through questioning, there's more to be gained through this precision questioning strategy. Matter of factly, Google's CEO once said, "we run this company on questions, not answers."

Questioning the good, the bad and the unquestionable pumps us up with a reasonable and healthy dose of skepticism about what's at face-value. My last sentiment: There are answers to most problems and confusions, only if we ask the right questions. 

Friday, 1 March 2013


By Simphiwe Makapela

Everything - from the harsh reality of a pet, to a queue marshal at Bree taxi rank, exists within the context of a wider environment. The newborn baby is encapsulated within a family - at least a mother, though. A soccer star exists within the context of a team. A team within a league. A league, within all the teams involved. A start-up business exists within a context of an industry. The industry; within other existing industries. All of them, they exist within the economy. The student - within an institution. The institution prepares one for the world of work. Inversely, the work environment comprises of trained students. The church, too, exists within the context of a community. The community, in and of itself, is made up of a reasonable number of churchgoers.
Everything just keeps going in circles like the proverbial streams the wise biblical King Solomon speaks about in his writings found in Ecclesiastes 1:7, "All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return."
It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter whether we're talking about newborn baby to mother, or mother to baby. Soccer star to team or vice-versa. Economy to industry - to boss - to student, or all of the above, vice versa. The rule of thumb still stands, everything, including yourself, are a drop into something else.

In this installation, however, the spotlight will be turned on you. Forget the wider context. Think, "You." You ought to be made known to yourself.
In entrepreneurial or corporate speak, the term "Disruptive" has now become the most hackneyed phrase since the turn of the century. Whenever you hear the words 'disruptive innovation,' what's being spoken about is an idea that is unconventional and totally new but has the power to alter the direction of how things have always been percieved. When talk of 'disruptive change' emerges, what these well-informed people are trying to refer to in Daily Sun Newspaper language - is "change that was never expected and also has the power to force shift to happen."
Disrupting yourself, as well, is a philosophy that emphasizes the idea of making shift happen around your own life. Its an idea that promotes a bold look at the traditions of all aspects of our lives. As with everything else, this can only be possible if one is in reasonable, if not full view of oneself.

The reason, perhaps, why most people live in the shadows of what they are supposed to be, want to be, or can be, is simply because of denial or rejection of self-control. Every aspect of life has a way of being a mystery. Thousands of people are propelled into greatness by challenges. Challenges change them. A visit to the doctor scares them into the hands of transformation. Yeah? While challenges are effective change messengers, what happens when we're so deeply rooted in our traditions that we fail to sense the message of change? let alone embrace it! What happens when we're affiliated to a circle of friends that meet every friday evening at Newscafe to talk about the same old "things" (just with different women). What happens when routine successfully dissolves itself within your reality that you don't even smell growth-directed change situations? What happens?
Well, like the terminator who never broke his promise ... I'll be back - with the 2nd installation of this article.

Monday, 21 January 2013

THE ROAD TO INNOVATION: There's no way better than the patience way

Its Monday morning. Your alarm goes off. You wake up, for the 3rd time. This is after you've been snoozing since 5am, your normal time to wake up. Its only in snoozing mode where we can convert 5 minutes into 55 minutes in a "blink" of an eye. "Oh my!" You think to yourself. You only have less than 30minutes to get to the Bus Stop that's located 10 minutes away from your yard. Your internal 'Time-keeper' confirms at the speed of light that you have exactly 20minutes to finish up what normaly takes you 60 minutes. "Damn it!" You think - while you jump out of bed as though you had just sat on a needle. You spend the next 10 seconds making up your mind as to whether you should dive into a cold water bath ... Or to even bath at all. Its mid-winter. So you dismiss the cold-water bath suggestion immediately. Now there's the challenge of, "do I take my regular warm bath or ...?" If yes, this means you have to rush to the kitchen to warm up the water with the electric water Urn for at least 20minutes since your geyser broke, a week ago. "Nope, I'll go for a kettle," you decide - as you reach for it thinking that you'll just take care of your face and abdomen.
[FAST FOWARD]. Its exactly 20 minutes later. You are dressing up. You were "kicked upstairs" (promoted to a Supervisory position), barely a month ago, at a Call Center firm. You must get there first, to open up. Twenty five minutes later, you rush out of the house (yes, fully dressed). You jog your way to the Bus Stop and you are lucky enough to spot the bus negotiating its way through the rush hour traffic. Its 6:30am. You are now comfortably inside, sitting down and panting heavily due to excessive running. You've calmed down now ... Until reality hits you ... THE KEYS TO THE BUILDING! You forgot them at home. By that time, the bus is on the highway. "Dammmmn!" You shout, throwing a mini tantrum.
Now back to reality. The scenario above, is a great metaphorical depiction of the reality behind rush. More often than not, we are more susceptible to forget, miss or skip an important part of any process if we are under the influence of hastyness.
There is no way better than the patience way. What is true for the aforementioned, is even truer for the creative and innovative process. No matter how quick an idea lands in your mind or brainstorming session at the boardroom table; patience, or the speed at which that idea is developed, will seperate a well-thought-through solution from a "fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants" kind of idea.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, and its accomplice, time. Patience does not mean, "be slow, ignore the pressure, just take your time, you're the one in charge." NO! Patience can be the ability to forgive yourself for not getting things right the very first time. Patience, in the creative context, is the ability to allow time to add that touch of maturity in your idea the same way a bottle of quality wine becomes even more pricier after a lapse of time. The Patience Way works hand in hand with thorough preparation. If it were possible to philosophically and perhaps prophetically analyze failed business ideas, one would probably be able to record findings of premature production. Some ideas that hit the air with hype and die down as quick as a plane with dysfunctional propellas - do so because of lack of growth either on the idea itself or the idea holder needed some growing up to do.
Of course, "getting a solution or an idea," so eloquently said some gentleman, "should be like sitting on a needle. It should make you jump and do something about it." As clear as that sounds, it shouldn't be a "thumbs up" for rush jobs. I am not advocating slackyness. But I am simply trying to uphold excellence. Excellence is a work of serious art hence the reason creative artists never finish their work even upon submission. If one ought to artically maneuver one's way around solutions, then the ability to patiently join dots has to be employed. One must allow process to finish its course.
However, our response time will, in most instances, be critical - just like the scenario of the gentleman who woke up late. How do we solve his problem? We have to make sure he wakes up in time. But how then do we deal with situations in our lives that require a faster response time



From a medical angle. Physicians are constantly faced with the challenge of saving lives under pressure - where a person is pulled out of a severe accident and rushed to the hospital by paramedics and every act has to be practiced at the speed of light to save the life.

Question: According to the widespread belief of the word patience: "take your time" kind of perspective. Will the physicians save the day? Yes? No? Maybe? I don't think they would! Under such conditions, every second of delay is a setback to the patient's life. And more often than not, a great deal of sense of urgency is vital. But this, then, opens up another important argument. The term is Responsibilty. We, linguistics, define responsibilty as an act of "responding with ability."
Patience, in tight angles, workwise, requires skill, or the ability to respond with foreknowledge and the technical know-how. When a terrible car accident survivor is rushed into the hospital with speed, only qualified, experienced, level-headed, good and reputable physicians are called in to be responsible for the patient's life.

In the world of deadlines, there will be more instances where each and every ounce of a second will matter. Suppose a construction project is running behind by a dangerous amount of time. We know the procedure. The client will call and want to find out how far is the building process not because he is impatient but time, in the world of construction, is money. Plant-Hire firms will lease out a machine to a construction company for 2 weeks irrespective of how they will decide to use it. But common sense even in that space will advice that able workers only, ought to be entrusted with the machine so as to speed up the process with great precision and ability.
So yes, innovation, in many respects, cannot be short circuited by us mere mortals. However, skill, and familiarity with issue at hand, will most definitely come in very handy in situations where there is no ample time.
Review some of your personal life's failures and analyze whether or not you were well equiped for the event or assignment. Yet again, review some of your most tressured successes, and find out why you flowed regardless of the amount of time that was allocated by the challenge.

We constantly owe it to ourselves to promote a thinking that encourages patience, preparation and ability in order for us to creatively sail over the challenges of our times. An understanding of believing that we are all creatively gifted in different domains, will spur us further and make us more effective in the 21st Century.