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Content Worth Sharing #2

Image source:  Hoffnungsschimmer {CC BY 2.0}
Image source: Hoffnungsschimmer {CC BY 2.0}

Five interesting things worth sharing this week:

(1) Brexit is a tragedy that reads like a satire

We urgently need to recognise that a huge mistake has been made. Meanwhile, let us remember that David Cameron came into politics to “make a difference”. He succeeded.

(2) The Mind of an architect

An enjoyable 99% invisible podcast story about a research study on creativity in the 1950s using architects as the subjects.

(3) Take it from a viral media star: Stop signing away your ideas

When you’re 22, you’re so excited to be doing adulthood “right” that you go full-steam ahead, regardless of the company’s policy. And some companies take advantage of that.

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Content Worth Sharing #1

Image source:  Hoffnungsschimmer {CC BY 2.0}
Image source: Hoffnungsschimmer {CC BY 2.0}

I will be posting on this blog 5 pieces of content which I consumed in the last seven days and found interesting. This is the first of the ‘Content Worth Sharing’ series so watch out for more. 

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Deporting Colin Fox

Image source: Marcel Oosterwijk (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Image source: Marcel Oosterwijk (CC BY-SA 2.0)

On Sunday, February 15, 1976, Colin Fox, Reuters’ chief correspondent, filed a report for the agency about tribal disturbances in Kano, Nigeria. These disturbances were an outcome of the unsuccessful February 13 military coup which resulted in the assassination of the Nigerian Head of State, General Murtala Muhammed. Fox’s report enraged the Nigerian Military Government.

The following day, Nigerian security police went to the Reuters’ Lagos office to find Colin Fox. They arrested him and his two Nigerian assistants {Gabriel Ogunsekan and Godwin Ironkwe} and closed the Reuters’ office. They told Fox that they were ‘inviting’ him for an interview with the Inspector-General of Police about his story. The two assistants were released later that afternoon after two and a half hours which Ogunsekan described as polite interrogation.

The police kept Fox locked up because orders from the Government was to deport him to neighbouring Benin that night. Fox’s deportation was on the basis that the Nigerian Military Government considered his report to be a mischievous account by a foreign news agency designed to create alarm and foment inter-communal hostility within the country.

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The Terms of Imprisonment

Image Source:  omnia_mutantur (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Image Source: omnia_mutantur (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Chinua Achebe is regarded as one of the best writers that Nigeria has ever produced and I recently read his book titled ‘Home and Exile which is based on a series of lectures he delivered in 1998 at Harvard University. One of the several quotes in the book that resonated with me was about his three reasons for becoming a writer or storyteller.

Achebe said “the first is that you have an overpowering urge to tell a story. The second that you have intimations of a unique story waiting to come out. And the third, which you learn in the process of becoming, is that you consider the whole project worth the considerable trouble – I have sometimes called it terms of imprisonment – you will have to endure to bring it to fruition.”

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Creativity as Snowballs

Image Source: OakleyOriginals (CC BY 2.0)
Image Source: OakleyOriginals (CC BY 2.0)

 

I watched a Creative Mornings {Richmond}  video yesterday by an artist called Noah Scalin. It is an interesting talk which I would recommend that you watch if you have a spare 18 minutes. The best bit of his talk for me was at the end and it is about 47 seconds long which you MUST watch. I have extracted the 47-second video clip using TubeChop (below).

Scalin talks about his preferred metaphor of creativity in this clip. He isn’t a fan of ‘creativity as a well‘ metaphor which requires the individual dipping into the creative well within and drawing from it. “I am running dry {of ideas}” will be the language of a person who holds a “creativity as a well” metaphor. Scalin suggests the use of ‘creativity as snowballs’ as an alternative metaphor.

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Longform Storytelling

Image source: TangYauHoong (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Image source: TangYauHoong (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

My last blog post was two months ago. This year my blog outputs have been infrequent because I have devoted a lot of my time and effort to researching and writing longform pieces. One of my creative 2015 goals was to publish at least one longform piece and I have managed to publish two – the first is about ‘Pele, Arthur Ashe and the 1976 Nigerian military coup’ while the second one is on ‘Pele and the Nigerian civil war’.  I am Nigerian by birth hence my interest in telling stories about the country’s sporting and political history. These stories were written to appeal not just Nigerians but also to non-Nigerians. The responses to the pieces from both groups have been overwhelmingly positive.

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The Sword versus the Sling

 

Image source: Fried Dough (CC BY 2.0)
Image source: Fried Dough (CC BY 2.0)

38 Then Saul gave David his own armour—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail.39 David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before.

“I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. 40 He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine. 1 Samuel 17:38-40

I have blogged about the story of David, Saul and Goliath in past but want to explore this story from a different angle. This post was inspired by a recent conversation I had with a friend. Before David confronted Goliath in a duel, he had a conversation with Saul, the King of the Israel. Every Israelite soldier was scared to fight Goliath despite Saul’s reward of riches and his daughter’s hand in marriage. Saul, himself, was unwilling to fight Goliath. It was in this atmosphere of fear that David, a young shepherd boy, stepped up to be Israel’s champion against the mighty Goliath.

Saul gave David his armour and sword but David was uncomfortable using them. He decided to stick with his preferred weapon of choice – a sling – and returned Saul’s weaponry.

David and Saul’s story is a good illustration of the importance of discernment and good decision making.

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Effective Leaders aren’t Clumsy with Words

Image via Pierre Metivier (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Image via Pierre Metivier (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Exo 4:10 ‘But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m just not a good speaker. I never have been, and I’m not now, even after you have spoken to me. I’m clumsy with words” (NLT).

Every great leader who accomplished his vision had to be an effective communicator.

Effective communication is the process of getting people to see what you see and what is required of them. There comes a time when you will have to share your vision with others and it is important that you are able to communicate your vision with clarity and simplicity if you are going to get their support. No one will help a man whose vision is vague and confusing. People need to know where he is heading and how he plans to get there.

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The story of Black Africa’s ill-fated 1976 Professional Tennis Tournament

Image source:  Sean MacEntee
Image source: Sean MacEntee

I have just published my first longform story on the Atavist platform. This has been an 18 month side project which I have mentioned on this blog a few times in the past. I am very proud of it and wish to thank everyone who helped me report and write it especially my wife who read numerous drafts and provided feedback. I also wish to thank all the key participants (ex-tennis players and WCT officials) I interviewed for this piece.

The story is about the 1976 World Championship Tennis tournament held in Lagos, Nigeria, which featured some of the best tennis players in the world. This story also features the two biggest Black athletes (Arthur Ashe and Pele) of that era who just happened to be in Nigeria at the same time during one of the country’s most significant events.

I would encourage you to click the story link below to read and share the story:

The story of Black Africa’s ill-fated 1976 Professional Tennis Tournament

 

 

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Creativity and Reverse Engineering

Image source: Netsnake
Image source: Netsnake

I believe ‘reverse engineering’ is essential for producing creative ideas. The video clip below is a cool visual description of the terminology. This clip is the first 23 seconds of the movie trailer for Pay Check (2003) starring Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman.

I wrote a couple of blog posts a few years ago on creativity and reverse engineering. Though I have included relevant excerpts from both posts in this post, I would recommend that you click the links for these posts to read the full texts.

The first post titled “Creative Leadership 6” was published in 2010:

King Solomon, in the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, said that there is nothing new under the sun. Everything is an adaption of something that has previously existed. Google and Facebook were not the first search engine or social network platform in their industry, but their founders adapted what existed before and then created something better than the rest. Today, both companies dominate their industries. Steve Johnson argued, in his September Wall Street Journal essay, that “big new ideas more often result from recycling and combining old ideas than from eureka moments.” Creative leaders are lifelong learners. They expose themselves to a diverse range of old and new ideas in order to make connections that they can adapt to produce innovative solutions.