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Innovating change

Science says that humans use less than 5% of their brain capacity. If great thinkers and innovators also used 5% of their brain capacity, imagine what would happen if we all used 5% of our brain capacity. We need to move away from the consuming mindset to innovating change in our areas of influence. If we tried to find solutions for our communities that we would manage and carry out, we would make some progress.

At times our culture and how we grow up stops us from thinking big or thinking outside the box. African culture doesn’t encourage us to think outside the box. We are fixated on traditions and customs and doing things the way they were done a hundred years ago. Change always faces great resistance in Africa. Innovation is not encouraged because we are so set in our ways and any innovation will result in change and we have to move away from our comfort zone. How can we innovate when culture doesn’t allow us to change the status quo?

 Manual labor in Africa is real labour, it is always back breaking, picks and shovels are still the tools of choice yet there is equipment that can do a better job quicker. Councils still prefer to use manual labour because it creates jobs and they don’t have to worry about investing in equipment.

We need to encourage the younger generation to think outside the box. The older folk may find the road to innovation filled with stumbling blocks, but we cannot pass on this same spirit to the young generation. This begins with being able to create their own identity, finding out who they are, not try to fit into the mould or piggy back on the success of others. We need to create our own successes and know that we have the ability to achieve greatness. The simple fact is that the older folk are still trying to get used to the idea that electricity and roads are basic human needs, they still struggle with the fact that women wear trousers and men can pierce their ears so we do not expect any great innovation will not be come from that generation.

Take a look in your kitchen and tick of the things that were not there fifty years ago. How many gadgets were in use then?

Our children should be taught that they can develop innovative things that change their world. It is never too early to start. Piggybacking on other should become a thing of the past. I’d like to see an Africa that births ideas and sends innovations out into the world. Too few innovations come from Africa. We can change that. We have the same mental ability, good institutions of learning, but maybe we need to put more focus on research and development and not just learning. We do not just need to churn out graduates who will work for others; we need to produce world changers, innovators that will leave a dent on this planet. If we want to truly do something generational we cannot focus our attention on copying others, we need to use our creative minds and do something for the good of civilization. King Solomon said, “He who stands out in his work will not sit before mere man, he will stand before kings.” To stand before kings and get noticed, you need to do a lot more than get a degree and a job; you need to do something exceptional. Something work remembering, something life changing.

We need to begin to invest our resources into the future and not just focus on consuming. It may take a lot of time, effort and investment, but the results will show in the future. We may have to channel our resources into research, innovation and development, but I believe that it is a worthwhile investment. I guess this means that those who are looting money need to think about generations coming and not about their immediate consumption needs. Swaziland is home to the second largest man made forest in the world. Round about 1946 the Swazi’s planted more than 200 000 trees a day. Today they have some of the greatest wood workers in the world. If it wasn’t for a huge investment and unselfish decisions to do something today, that would yield fruit for generations to come, Swaziland wouldn’t have these great forests.

To plant oak trees you need to be unselfish as only the next generation will see the oaks in their glory!

Innovation is about future thinking. If we oreoccupy ourselves with today we will not have the foresight to see into the future. One look at the past shows you images of gramophones, record players, cassette players, cd players, beat boxes, walk men, disk men most of which are almost obsolete. Some are now coming back as collectables but if you were stuck on the gramophone you would have been in for a shock. To survive in business, one should be able to predict future demand and future trends. If you had stocked a warehouse full of disk men six years ago, you may not have been able to move them because in came the mp3’s players and the iPods.

To be an innovator you need to focus on something that is much bigger than you are. We cannot be selfish and think about innovations that will benefit other people. It may take a lot of effort and resources to design the next breakthrough product that changes the lives of millions of rural people. It may cost a lifetime of work to get to the final stage of development, but that is the price of innovation. You have to be prepared to pay the price and if you are selfish, you will not be willing to pay the price. Had the Wright brothers not spent their lives crashing planes and failing, we would never have taken to the skies. Innovation will cost you something and it will be very dear, but it will be worth it in the end.

To get to innovate we need to change our mindset and develop a can do attitude. Africa can produce new products, Africa can develop its own Silicone Valley, Africa can develop drugs and Africa can develop innovators who will change the world. Nothing is impossible, Africa has one of her sons on the most powerful seat, President Barak Obama, so we can produce the next innovators.

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Categories: General
  1. March 8, 2011 at 10:06 am

    It’s interesting to see this point of view. I can’t say fore sure if I agree or not, but it is something I will think about now.

  2. February 23, 2012 at 4:29 am

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return.|

  1. February 7, 2012 at 6:56 am
  2. February 7, 2012 at 2:31 pm

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