I had mentioned in the first part that I believe our desire to see change and renaissance all over Africa may continue to be a mirage until we are able to make the kind of investments through self-improvements that can make a critical mass of our people to be the kind of person I want to talk about today. I want to introduce you to who you must be if you have to be a critical part of the change we seek. It doesn’t matter what you are trying to do. Whether you an entrepreneur, politician, career mogul, actor, police officer, military personnel, medical practitioner or social worker, no matter what you do, you must be this kind of individual or you will be part of those just mouthing change. Our situation as a people requires another kind of way we must apply ourselves to be able to see the solutions with the bearing to lift our societies and our people. The government can help here by making the right policy investments to ensure our educational system for example is churning out individuals in the 3D-EPSP bracket; but beyond the government, this is one thing that waiting for the government or anyone to do for you is a sincere crime against your personal development, effectiveness and relevance. To pass this buck or discount this responsibility is a self-defining-mediocre effort to keep yourself small and average. Nigeria needs you to be 3D-EPSP. Africa needs you to be 3D-EPSP. 3D-EPSP is an acronym for three dimensional effective problem solving people.
Today, I am dealing with these as thoroughly as I can and show how it works for our socio-economic and political realities both as a continent and as a people. If we can have a little less than 1% of our population across the nation and the larger continent to be able to function in the mold I described on in the first part of this piece, as well as the kind of posture I will describe today, it will not be very long before our genius and transformation will emerge.
See, our country and our continent is filled will problems of all kinds, known and unknown. As much as we think our known problems are, they are extremely few compared to our unknown problems. We cannot adequately cater for the masses of our people if a significant number of our population cannot provide solution to our known and most critically unknown problems, yet prevailing. We need people to function perpetually and simultaneously in three dimensions. In their first dimension, our people must be the kind of persons who through experience, training or talents have a very strong underlining psyche of perpetually expecting to identify loopholes in every existing structure, system, style, project, idea, etc, no matter how successful. No system can exist in its perfect state of existence. There is an incompleteness about everything existing today that allows those coming after to have something to do. The perfection of existence today will eliminate meaning, relevance and continuity tomorrow. If things can be perfect today, tomorrow’s people are unnecessary and the world will end now. It is our imperfections that drive our continuity. Since that is true, what is incomplete should not shock anyone. What is incomplete is a tool that must be engaged to create value about all things that define continuity for those coming after.
Anyone existing in the 1st dimension is the one who through experience, training or talents have a very strong underlining psyche of perpetually expecting to identify loopholes in every existing structure, system, style, project, idea, or what have you. That person will spot the incompleteness in everything. That person will spot the loophole and vacuum in everything. That person will somehow always be the one to spot the next level of everything. We need a significant number of our people in this dimension. Then, in the 2nd dimension, people will be able to function in the 1st dimension spotting loopholes, imperfections and problems both known and unknown, but are also then, by reason of use, sustain a RAPID RESPONSE MENTAL POSTURE (RRMP©) elastic enough to not only understand the problem they find in their 1st dimension but also design, build, and sustain solutions-blue prints to solve those problems. Also, with the RAPID RESPONSE MENTAL POSTURE (RRMP©) of their 2nd dimension, they are also able to solve problems they never saw before or and those never envisaged.
Then, in the third dimension, people have enough talent, skill sets or experience to dwarf problems of the type they have seen and consistently conquered before, between their 1st and 2nd dimensions; and to create templates for those coming after to be able to do the same. That’s legacy. 3D-EPSP will help Nigeria and the continent as a whole to produce the kind of people with the competency to bring to the market and to the world in general, a stream of new and improved, value added solutions, products and services that enable the institutions and organizations achieve higher margins and profits to re-invest in the system. 3D-EPSP is the strength of innovation. Innovation is the successful exploitation of new ideas. Incorporating new technologies, design and best practice is the key nation-building process that enables Asian, American and European organizations and institutions to compete effectively in the global environment. Modernization will require that you initiate methods in contrast to traditional, conventional, customary and established ones.
Our people will have to be believers and promoters of critical advancement and progress. We have to develop the propensity to keep changing something so that it is consistently suitable for modern needs or habits. We will have to learn to adopt and surpass modern ways or ideas. There will have to be a modernization program or culture in our individual and collective operations. This is 3D-EPSP—The ability to try new things, do new things, and find new needs, new knowledge, new solutions…new things! Newness is the strength of innovation and that’s what 3D-EPSP delivers. It helps you to expect, seek embrace and initiate change. It helps you to Alter, Modify, Transform, Revolutionize, Amend, See and Seize opportunities, Experiment. Do something. If one fails, try another. Adjust. Move. Act. A spirited, vigorous, forceful, energetic and hearty response to unexpected opportunities or specific customer problems creates variation and consequently, innovation. That’s 3D-EPSP. And that who you must be. That’s who your family members must be. That’s the people your organization must hire. That’s those we need all over the continent. May our people see. God bless Nigeria. God bless Africa.
This is the 21st century thought: That without your consent, you and I and everyone in the world now lives in a period of heightened awareness. Globalization, International trade, digital technology and easy access to information are facilitating rapid economic growth all over the globe. Nations are bracing up to the need to strengthen key institutions, and most importantly, bracing up to the necessity of building a large base of knowledge workers skilled in science and engineering, technology and the service industries. The need to educate the population and deploy them to diverse parts of the economy to invent new knowledge and form intellectual capital is no longer a luxury; it has become the bar of entry. These are the realities of our times, and they could be quite disturbing when we consider the Nigerian or African situation.
Here, there is a death of development. Having identified human capital development and its rightful deployment as a critical variable for economic advancement in today’s world, it becomes imperative we take a closer look at our educational system and the direction in which labour is distributed across the different sectors of the economy. Even a cursory inspection will reveal the disequilibrium inherent, with a large chunk of the nation’s human capital moving towards the banking sector, telecommunications, oil and gas. This produces some fundamental challenges. Science, technology, engineering and innovation play essential roles in the creation of wealth and economic growth all across the globe. They generate employment and well-being through the invention and the commercialization of new products and services; they help reduce poverty, improve education, health, nutrition and trade; and are essential for building new capacities that are critical in the 21st century.
The United States, despite its ongoing economic challenges still has a GDP that outweighs China and India combined and still retains the strongest global competitiveness rating. The reasons are not far-fetched: U.S based companies currently hold an edge over their counterparts in knowledge driven sectors like Software design and pharmaceutical research, not mentioning that their network of universities remain the envy of the rest of the world. Harvard Business School’s Juan Enriquez was right on the button when he said: “As a developing country you can lower inflation, reduce corruption, cut your budget, privatize and still not get rich, because you are not generating knowledge, just products.” Ultimately, if you do not generate and export knowledge, you are a non-starter in today’s 21st century global economy. But just where and how is knowledge generated and exported? Enter the University. All smart nations understand that they cannot create wealth without creating knowledge; all smart nations understand that they cannot create knowledge without educating their people and all smart nations understand that they cannot educate their people without investing considerably in building and sustaining avant-garde academic and research institutions. The truth is: it would be a pure waste of effort and resources to build universities with the aim of creating knowledge when the knowledge created would not be deployed appropriately.
In the Nigerian economy, hunger and the desire for comfort is the key arbiter for choosing a career path. A critical mass of human capital potentials, talents who could be deployed into strategic areas of the economy to shore up national competitiveness, are locked up in banking institutions, telecoms and oil and gas firms. We have biochemist working as client service personnel in telecommunication firms and computer scientists seeking accounts for banks. The Nigerian economy is experiencing a terrible explosion as it loses hundreds of professionals each year to the Europe, America and Asia. It’s a zero sum game we are playing. Poor nations are either refusing to shift vital talents to the most critical growth-inducing sectors within the same country (in science and technology especially); or they are reinforcing a World Bank study that shows that the poorest countries around the world continue to export half of their scientific and engineering talent to advanced economies. As a matter of fact, skilled workers from Nigeria represent two-thirds of total emigrants from the country to OECD countries. The most threatening is the ongoing implosion as thousands of the professionals left behind now migrate to those sectors of the economy that promise instant and robust financial remunerations. The challenge is actually multi-faceted.
First, we have the government whose low level investment in the outmoded educational sector proves its shallow understanding of what it takes to win in the 21st century. And then, we have weak financial support systems to nurture entrepreneurship. Already, infrastructural deficiencies and sloppy government policies account for more than 50% of failed start up’s. The fact is, starting a small business in Nigeria, regardless of the brilliance of your idea, is an expedition to the moon. Keep it in mind however, that with every failed start up, another brilliant idea with export potential dies; a new invention, a key innovative product is threatened, and the continent is on the verge of losing another bright talent to the West. What if Sergey Brin and Larry Page were Nigerians? What if Mark Zuckerberg, Jerry Yang or Bill Gates were wild eyed geeks just fresh out of the University of Lagos? Their inventions may probably have never seen the light of day, and they, maybe, would have ended up in a bank or any other firm willing to pay well enough to (unintentionally and sincerely) bury their ideas.
The challenge of Third World Africa in producing the relevant innovation necessary to drive economic advancement is rooted in its past, present and prevailing experiences of economic backwardness. Having endured grueling years of oppression, poverty and pain, through slave trade, colonization and irresponsible governance from their own people, the average African is trained from his childhood, through symbols and experiences, to esteem and pursue a comfortable lifestyle. Education, business and work in general, are primarily perceived as escape latches out of the doldrums of poverty. Growing up, we were pointed to and encouraged to aspire towards the status of the rich Uncle or Aunt, neighbor or friend of the family, who drove a fancy car, lived in a plush neighborhood and took vacations every summer. These symbols set the standard for all our pursuits, and our quest for material freedom became the predominant motive for productivity. This is why droves of the nation’s human capital are heading for the banks and oil companies regardless of the ideas they sustain or the disciplines they studied. Poor nations and poor people naively and foolishly trade creativity by selling to the highest bidder. This is a key challenge we face as the world closes in on us. Our organizations may very well be making critical contributions to national growth; but they may very well have become a graveyard, burying a great mass of the nation’s human potential, talents much needed to drive development. As the foundations of today and tomorrow’s economic empires cease to be built upon natural resources and land mass, but on the human mind, can we say the banking, telecommunications and oil and gas sectors of the economy are not altogether guilty of aiding and abetting the death of development? Just food for thought. I await your comments here. Go!
We are presently investing huge budgets on our 100years centenary celebrations. Ghana is also celebrating her independence. I congratulate the people of Ghana because they fairly do have enough to celebrate in terms of the advancements in their socio-economic and political realities as a nation. You should undertake a brief study of the Ghanaian socio-economic and political landscape to be able to fully appreciate what is happening in Ghana. Yet, in my opinion, the economy of the whole of Ghana is crumbs compared to the economy of Lagos State alone. I still cannot fathom why Nigeria cannot boast of 24hours uninterrupted power supply after 100years of existence and 54years of independence.
Someone told me not to count our colonial days as a measurement of our development; but I then ask why we are celebrating it? If it cannot fit into the measurements of our economic and political integrity, then it should not be worth celebrating. I weep for my country because while in my personal life of a little over 40years, I always have so much to celebrate, my heart breaks at the fate of over 100million Nigerians struggling and engaging hope to define relevance, meaning, and fulfillment for their unique destiny.
I weep because nationally, it seems the only virtue worth rejoicing over will be the gift of existence as a people and as a nation. The dejected look of hopelessness I will most likely see on the faces of numerous Africans as I drive down the streets today, gives me the drive to say what I’m saying now. I work daily to inspire 1% of our population across Africa to accept the believe in our own ability to solve problems, and a belief that our culture and effective structures can and will allow us benefit from our efforts; and that this belief, amongst all else, must be developed and sustained on a large scale, if economic growth, development and global relevance must be attained.
From my research, I see that in 50years, the next dimension of colonization would have began all over so-called 3rd world nations. It’s nothing like the ones we experienced in the hands of the British, French, Portuguese, Italians, Belgians, and so on. No. This time, it will be voluntary with a new kind of contents unimaginable today. The next colonization will be voluntary. Nations of their own accord will submit themselves to more economically and militarily powerful nations. They will be so confounded by the prevailing poverty, misery and sorrow; they will plead with other nations to absorb them as an extension of their country. Nations are already jogging to take their place in this new dispensation of voluntary colonization. Those who will be the ones pleading to be absorbed are already unconsciously getting ready with the apathy, negligence and corruption that characterize their people and their governments.
The adults of 2065 should not be able to live one successful day without looking back at their history to thank God for the actors who did it—the actors who played their roles in 2014 and gave 2065 strength, order, color and pride. They will do that or they will curse our graves and spit at our weak posterity because we so valued our prevailing peace and forgot that children will grow. That should be the narrative. I write today as part of a conscious movement; and as you read today, you may experience a wide range of emotions, don’t allow it do anything to you other than to unnerve and push you toward the innovative edge you must sustain as one of the actors of today. It’s a choice.
Nigeria is ironically ranked amongst some of the poorest nations in the world. The paradox this tenth largest oil producing nation presents is very instructive. It’s now clear that a nation is hardly as wealthy as its stock of natural resources or foreign reserves. It’s now clear that natural resources can even be a disadvantage. In Singapore, a former third world nation, the only thing natural is the people of Singapore and they obviously don’t have the blessing of 160million people. But they are a first world nation today. The co-founder of Facebook has naturalized to a Singaporean! I mean, who drops American citizenship for that of another nation? But Singapore is attracting best brains from all over the world not just to work, but as new citizens. They are not attracting suffering Africans seeking survival; they are attracting prosperous talents from the West and America who seek a different kind of mental usefulness, impact and liberation. What made the difference is hardly a secret. Without the seeming privilege of massive oil reserves, precious stones or minerals, the nation of Singapore was able to rise to such heights of prominence, primarily, through the sheer innovation and determination of ITS PEOPLE…HUMAN CAPITAL! People made the difference in Singapore. The knowledge and ideas of the people and the value inherent in those ideas made all the difference.
Africa needs the doggedness of her people to convert human capital into Intellectual Capital through focused training, people development and a kind of education served as the fulcrum for their critical economic advancement. This has been the strategy of every truly developed nation—heavy investment in Intellectual Capital resulting in cutting edge inventions and innovation, but owned and driven by the people, not just governments. May our leaders see…and may our people even see more. Understand this: The GOAL of KNOWLEDGE is to know what you will STOP DOING and what you will START DOING. Your feedback is important on this platform. Go!
Digital technology, globalization, international trade and ease of availability of information have continued to facilitate rapid economic growth and development across the globe. It has stirred up the imperative for economies that will remain viable to strengthen key institutions and to develop and deploy knowledge workers skilled in science and technology (engineering, biotechnology etc) and professional services.
At no point in recent history has there been a greater need to educate, develop and deploy the populace than now. It has now become the bar of entry for upwardly mobile economies to develop the capacity of its people to generate and export knowledge. This is the iron rule of global competitiveness. And If this is anything to go by, Nigeria as a developing country must strengthen her failing education system.
As Knowledge is critical to wealth creation, and the university is the knowledge production factory, we can begin to see how Nigeria as a country falls short. Also, if the education of people is considered the facilitator of Knowledge creation, no smart nation can expect to achieve their goal of economic and intellectual prowess, necessary for its relevance, without considerable investment in building and sustaining avant-garde academic and research institutions. And the outcome of knowledge creation, especially how it is deployed cannot be addressed until the peculiarity of our system is addressed.
Nigeria is a country where a Computer Science graduate is busy pursuing accounts for a bank and a Biochemist works in Telecommunications. If you wonder why that is,it suffices to explain that hunger and the desire for comfort is the motivation for career choices. A critical mass of human capital potential that can be deployed in strategic areas of the economy to shore up national competitiveness is locked up in banks, telecoms and oil and gas firms. “Poor nations will remain so as long as they continue to export their talents or refuse to mobilize talents to critical areas of development”, especially science and technology. This corroborates a World Bank study which shows that countries remain poor as they allow the export of half of their scientific and engineering talents to advanced economies.
Please pay attention – Nigeria currently provides two-third of the skilled workers in OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. The most threatening however, is the ongoing implosion that has driven the migration of those left behind to sectors that promise instant or robust financial remuneration. One major contribution to this phenomenon is government’s low investment in the outmoded Educational sector, a proof of a shallow understanding of what it takes to win in the 21st century. Another is a weak financial system to nurture entrepreneurship.
Already, infrastructural deficiencies and sloppy government policies account for more than 50% of failed start-ups. This has made starting a small business in Nigeria an expedition to the moon. Keep in mind that for every failed start-up, another idea with export potential dies. Imagine if Larry Page, Bill Gates, Jerry Yang were graduates of the University of Lagos. Their inventions would probably never see the light of day and they probably would have ended up in a bank or oil and gas firm when reality bites.
In Africa, especially Nigeria, education is perceived as a ticket to the good life and not a means to Nation building. Material acquisition and not the fulfillment of human potential is the predominant motive for career choices, as we are conditioned to sell to the highest bidder. This mindset undermines our effectiveness in the new world, where human capital (productive minds) and not natural resources is the foundation of vibrant economic empires. Would it be erroneous to assert that unknown to the banks, oil and gas and telecom companies, they are altogether aiding and abetting the death of development?
On a personal basis, ask yourself: Have I traded my talent and uniqueness for comfort and convenience? If your answer is yes, this ought not to be the life!