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William Kamkwamba on building a windmill

William Kamkwamba, from Malawi, is a born inventor. When he was 14, he built an electricity-producing windmill from spare parts and scrap, working from rough plans he found in a library book called Using Energy and modifying them to fit his needs. The windmill he built powers four lights and two radios in his family home.

Onstage, Kamkwamba talked about his invention and shared his dreams: to build a larger windmill to help with irrigation for his entire village, and to go back to school.

Following Kamkwamba's moving talk, there was an outpouring of support for him and his promising work. Members of the TED community got together to help him improve his power system (by incorporating solar energy), and further his education through school and mentorships. Subsequent projects have included clean water, malaria prevention, solar power and lighting for the six homes in his family compound; a deep-water well with a solar-powered pump for clean water; and a drip irrigation system. Kamkwamba himself returned to school, and is now attending the African Leadership Academy, a new pan-African prep school outside Johannesburg, South Africa.

 

Public Speaking comment from Nathan: William was able to give an engaging and motivational talk without having so much as a high school education. Most people who are inexperienced presenters tend to use the same crutches: default PowerPoint themes, bullet points, notes, few pictures. But not William. Notice the simplicity of his slides. Many of them are full-bleed photographs. He doesn’t use bullet points and he speaks in a natural, conversational tone. Most importantly, his message comes from the heart. Building windmills, and engineering in general, is something that he loves.

The Potential of Change

I have found that in life and in business that if you are unable to adapt to change quickly, things will become very frustrating and you will find yourself lagging behind and eventually, become stagnant and quit. I find myself often reminding people that change is the only constant; and it honestly is a constant that you can count on and oftentimes, you have absolutely no control over when change occurs. So, instead of feeling like a victim of change, let's become masters of it!

 

The Potential of Change - Are You Watching?

Very rarely will things change suddenly. Most of the time change will start as a gradual process that will begin to gain momentum and eventually, become the new constant until it changes again. You see this in sports, fashion, food, music, cultural norms and in business. There are so many people who hate change and for the most part, if you ask them why, they have very little concrete reasons why. Many people will tell you that it changed suddenly! But, if we are honest with ourselves, we saw it coming a long time ago but chose to ignore it hoping that something would prevent it from happening. Guess what? change still came!

Let's try this next time; let's become more observant, let's keep an eye out for any changes that might be occurring. Whether it is in your department, in your organizational structure, leadership, business model, marketing strategies or staff. Let's decide to get ahead of it so we are not "caught off guard". Change is not a bad thing all the time, it is simply change. Look for it, embrace it and then, do something about it instead of trying to fight it. Being observant to ongoing or shifts in your particular niche' or vertical can mean the difference in becoming an industry leader or a "Johnny come lately". Change can really work to your advantage if you have the proper perspective. You just have to change your perception of change.

The Potential of Change - Change How You See Things

"What if it's a bad thing Dave?" "We do not want to embrace bad things Dave!" And you are absolutely right. But let's focus on the type of changes that pertain to our businesses and how we can change our perception of those changes. There had been many times when I thought changes in things like marketing for instance; inbound market sounded like making "Root beer" flavored potato chips and I don't think that will last long! But the truth of the matter is that inbound marketing is one of the best ways to market if you truly want to scale your business and keep and expand your repeat, loyal customers.

Look, there are so many business owners that try everything that comes down the pike and have very little ROI to show for it; so now, when they see or hear about a "proven" marketing tool, they pass. If you read one of my older articles called "You Can't Stop Marketing", you'll see that you can't do that. Things HAVE CHANGED and we need to learn how to adapt as business owners. So many small business owners are resistant to change and wonder why the own their job (they spend 12 or more hours a day and make very little progress).

There are few successful business owners that truly invest in themselves. Rarely will a small business owner to go to a business workshop, spend thirty to forty-five minutes watching a webinar or become involved in their local Chamber of Commerce. These examples are just a few things that we can do that has the potential to pay huge dividends in our businesses but, they will require you to change. I think that many small business owners believe that if they change, it equates to being wrong and they cannot admit to being wrong! Wow! That is a lot of pressure and pride working there. There is not a perfect person on the face of the earth! We learn from our mistakes (hopefully) and make the needed adjustments. Failure should never be the end, it should never cause you to throw in the towel. Learning from our mistakes and making those needed adjustments can be the difference in achieving success.

The Potential of Change - Change What You Do

Ladies and gentlemen listen, being resistant, adapting, overcoming, taking advantage of and looking for the next big thing to use to your advantage before anyone else does, is all a part of how we perceive change.

I really want you to be the best business owner that you can possibly be and to do that will require you to learn how to use changes to your advantage. I need all of you to be as innovative as you can possibly be. Innovation is the key! We have gone from rooms filled with one computer to desktops, laptops, and even tablets. We have gone from using telegraphs to calling the telephone operator directly, to dialing direct, to cordless, to pagers, to massive mobile phones, to phones that fit in your purse or your pocket.

Innovation is a term that the business sector uses in place of change. Invention, Revolution, Modernization, Improvement, and Advance are synonyms of innovation and each word has an element of change in them. Let's not shrink from change out of fear but be the innovators that move things forward! Let's be the ones that are the front-runners, even how we interact with each other. You realize that competition does not equate enemy. The pie is so big and we can actually benefit from strategic (legal) collaboration from time to time. (That's for another article to come). So, can you change? Can you embrace change and become the master of it? Can you be the innovator that I know you can be? Can you change?

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Steve Jobs on Customer Experience

Video – Teaching Design for Change

Designer Emily Pilloton moved to rural Bertie County, in North Carolina, to engage in a bold experiment of design-led community transformation. She’s teaching a design-build class called Studio H that engages high schoolers’ minds and bodies while bringing smart design and new opportunities to the poorest county in the state.

Emily Pilloton wrote Design Revolution, a book about 100-plus objects and systems designed to make people’s lives better. In 2010, her design non-profit began an immersive residency in Bertie County, North Carolina, the poorest and most rural county in the state.

 

 

 

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Build a corporate culture of creativity

Many organizations have experienced change this year and even more are looking to embrace these changes as well as cultivate new ideas instead of maintaining “business as usual.”

Building a corporate culture of creativity as well as accepting new views and opinions will capture the talent, energy and commitment of employees. If you are interested in creating a workplace where new ideas and innovation can flourish, take 3 minutes to watch the inspirational movie "A Peacock in the Land of Penguins."

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We need to reintroduce humanity into the technological realm when it comes to social good

Watch live streaming video from mashable at livestream.com

Howard Buffet, director of agricultural development at the U.S. Department of Defense and grandson of businessman and philanthropist Warren Buffett, gave a rousing speech at the Mashable & 92Y Social Good Summit. Buffet points out that while burgeoning technology has made it easier for us to do good, it has also created barriers to personal engagement. According to Buffet, we're no longer in need of new tools -- we're in need of the will to act.

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… the primary engine of creativity and innovation

"...conflict is the primary engine of creativity and innovation. People don't learn by staring into a mirror; people learn by encountering difference."

-- Ronald Heifetz

Thinking Tactics for the Up and Coming Innovators of the Next Generation

There are so many ways to get your company or group thinking in an innovative and creative way. There are synergies which can be garnered from groups, even if no one in the group is actually a creative genius. Of course, if you round up quite a few intellectuals, and creative folks, and put them in the same room working together it's amazing what you can come up with and sometimes it only takes a few people to really make a major breakthrough in industry.

Now then, let me give you a few tips and tactics right off the top of my head which will help your organization harness the power of this next generation, and get them working in a synergistic fashion to propel innovation. Below are of some of the things you should be considering;

1. Mix and Match Thinking Styles:

The other day, I was discussing a new design for a fairly cool little gizmo which has endless applications with an engineer and semi-scientist. He indicated that our minds worked differently. We did come up with at least one decent modification to his design which would allow for more versatility for various scalable applications. That's a good thing.

2. Don't Underestimate Your Brain Power:

Just because you think that you are not so good at math, design, sketching, art, innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, intense study, marketing, writing, or pitching your new concept doesn't mean you have adequately sized up your abilities. Sometimes when you are quite focused you can do all sorts of things and find talents you never thought you had.

3. When Brain Storming There Are No Bad Ideas:

Oh sure, there are bad idea, disastrous ones in fact, but you have to set that aside when brain storming. Just as you need to suspend your belief system when watching a Sci Fi movie for instance. Let your mind go, let the minds of your team go, and don't correct or nix anyone's idea, or be afraid of your own during brain storming. Let it go, and go for it. There will be plenty of time later to evaluate and discard silly ideas, and even all have a laugh about them - together.

4. Make a To Do List to Research:

No one is an expert in everything, except for you of course. It is okay to realize this and make lists of things you need to check; facts and figures. After you're done brainstorming, or before you take anyone's word as gospel, it makes sense to check your facts. Even brilliant people can sometimes be a little off on their facts and figures, and that doesn't mean they're stupid, or they don't know what they're talking about, it's just that sometimes even brilliant people make small mistakes.

5. Don't Be Too Hard on This Next Generation:

This new generation has been taught using a different perspective and teaching method. Much of what they have done comes from group think. Therefore, they are very good at it. Often entrepreneurs, and successful individuals are not into group think, and many of them are creative geniuses, and can't stand it. That doesn't mean it won't work, or that these up-and-coming innovators can't help your organization with creativity and design. They can, and they often do.

It is my hope that you will please consider these five points, and think on it. Consider it from a philosophical perspective, and work these ideas into what you are currently doing. You may find yourself in the midst of something incredible which could revolutionize your industry, or change the forward progression of mankind.
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Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank. Lance Winslow believes writing 24,444 articles by September 4th at 4:44 PM will be difficult because all the letters on his keyboard are now worn off now..

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Instructions vs. Imagination

From a post by Josh Linkner ...

Today, the world has become too complex and changes too fast. There are no more operating manuals for success. Today, winning is about creativity and imagination and exploring the possibilities. You may still get hired based on your resume, but you will advance based on your ability to improvise, adapt, and create.

In this new era of business, a key challenge for you as a leader is to develop the imagination of your teams. Instead of issuing detailed instructions, allow your people the freedom to dream. Establishing a culture where team members can unleash their creativity and explore the possibilities will not only drive better results… it will create teams that are motivated, happy, and actually having fun instead of being clock-punching drones.

Read the whole post ... http://bit.ly/cN0HyU

A Peacock in the Land of Penguins

Hardcover, 125 pages, 6.75" square
By BJ Gallagher and Warren H. Schmidt
Forward by Ken Blanchard

A Peacock in the Land of Penguins brings new insight to an important topic – cultivating new ideas instead of “business as usual”. BJ Gallagher and Academy Award winning writer Warren H. Schmidt originally teamed-up in 1995 to release the first soft-cover edition of A Peacock in the Land of Penguins and it became an instant classic. In this updated, hard-cover edition, Simple Truths has worked its creative magic to frame the story Perry the Peacock around a very charming and engaging gift book.

Follow Perry as he makes his journey from the Land of Learning to the Land of the Penguins and ultimately the Land of Opportunity. This story echoes one that is unfolding each and every day in organizations all across the country – how to build a corporate culture of creativity and capture the talent, energy and commitment of all employees.
"If you’re interested in new ideas for making yourself and your organization successful,
read this little book."

Ken Blanchard

Ways to Use: Give this book away at your next meeting or event. Perfect for Leadership development, Executive Retreats, Team Building, Management training