Sunday, September 29, 2013

The true power of Innovation is it uplifts the spirit

Today a young man walked into my office and was so depressed. He bemoaned the fact that politics and the next election was just so depressing. He told me a terrible story about people in the rural areas having to eat cow dung because they had no food but they still have to take their HIV medication. He was depressed about crime and about everything else. So we started chatting about possible new ideas and changing negative stories into positive stories. He bemoaned the fact that he had no money for Lobola. For those who don't know what lobola is it is a fee paid by the wanna be husband to the family's father. The amount will differ and its often a secret. So I asked him if there was a savings program run by men for men who needed to save for Lobola. Not that he knew, he said. So I said start the movement and see what happens. His face lit up and I could see that he could see that he thought how this could be turned into a great business opportunity with a great social purpose. He even mentioned how he could purchase a farm and start savings of cows for lobola as the Zimbabwean banks have done quite successfully.
As his mood softened he showed me a picture in the newspaper of 4 black workers with masks on their faces of monkeys and baboons superimposed by a computer. Look he said. This is what truly depresses me...the racism. I said...Yes it is racist but lets turn it around and create a business out of it that could be fun and positive. So he did. He superimposed crazy funny faces on some corporate employees that were not intrusive at all...just fun. And everyone loved it. He came to me and thanked me about uplifting his spirit when all around him things seemed negative.
I know that innovation has the power to make life better in its own crazy way. This makes my life very enriching and this is the comment I most hear. Wouldn't everyone love to get this feedback while they work all the time.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Diamonds are a girls best friend. But what about the mining process as a whole. When a client asked me to take a look at some creative opportunities for workers I didn't quite fathom how deep ( excuse the pun) the mining industry actually is. South Africa has lost out to Botswana as a major processor of diamonds and thus new ways of thinking are needed. So I looked at the first stage of mining...prospecting. Now this doesn't sound that interesting but it conjures up images of men with long beards walking in mountains and streams or riding their ponies seeking gold and diamonds over months or years. I thought why not allow us city dwellers to become prospectors as a tourism thing and hide real gems ( off cuts of course) as a real incentive to explore. Quite exciting. But we are also inundated with TV programs showing survival skills. And the prospector had to learn to survive in tough conditions. I can also see Kids panning and sifting in makeshift zones linked to gem makers where one could manufacture and sell all the equipment for kids and plant some real gems to make it really exciting. But why stop there. What about an idea in this blog where a clothing brand called "African Cowboy" could be sold. Today metal detectors are used and I love the idea of ordinary people using a simple metal detector to find and explore but this could also be an empowerment project where hundreds of people could seek scrap metal with the metal detectors and sell it, making a living. The prospector also needed to understand mapping. I believe communities should map every aspect of their lives so we can all understand better what solutions are needed to make the world a better place. This includes geological mapping especially re: water sources. Other opportunities looking at the diamond mining industry included alternative uses for beeswax, often used to sort the diamonds from the soil, amazing security solutions such as helium filled balloons ( which could prevent cattle theft), and my personal favourite cutting stone tools to make alternative cutlery. This could become an amazing job creator as stone age tools can be cut to make knives, spoons, bowls, mortar and pestles etc. I can already see them at fancy steakhouses as a really quirky addition to the business. So the more I looked at creating fun and creative alternatives for the diamond industry the more I found.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

SMIPES charity serviettes

We hope our food brings a smile to your
face ... so
that we
can bring one to others!
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Every time you use a 100% bio-degradable SMIPES serviette, we will donate a portion of the cost of that serviette to Early Childhood Development projects, so that we can play a small role in contributing to the education
and care of vulnerable children in South Africa.
We thank the Bay Harbour Market food traders for joining the SMIPES movement!
For more information, contact Anthony Stroebel at 0832755586 or email

Join the SMIPES movement today!
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Viva Republica!