Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tunnelling through on the back of the creative economy

Creative production is happening in Nigeria.  It is not highly organized and it is not well funded, both of which constraints are practically positive drivers of raw creativity.  But this movement is capturing the hearts of the youth who would otherwise be unemployed and frustrated.   I am proud of what I'm calling La Renaissance, you have to say that with a French accent folks :) 

Here's a thought: if we can do the arts so well, we can do science and invention and thought and all that too.  Think about it: Information is almost free, access to markets is practically equal worldwide, while on the other hand, the high levels of capital and investment and organization available in today's hubs (like top 100 universities or Silicon Valley companies) are NOT a requirement for thinking.

You can do mathematics without a fabulous supportive structure.  Grigori Perelman did.  Sure, no one will understand what you're doing with yourself or how you're ever going to make enough money to make a complex crowd-pleasing life.
I never said it was for everybody.
You can study online and work remotely on high-tech projects.  
At any rate, you can do literature without a fabulous structure - and there is some precedent for that.  If there is so much angst, then it means there is so much to write about, doesn't it?  

In fashion design, Nigeria rocks.   In pop music, I think nobody is producing better.  Not Korea, not America...  

We have a nominally large film industry but maybe not the message/mission and not the revenue to make it world-class. 

We haven't scratched the surface in product design.  Environmental design.  Beautification and street art.  Performance art.  Architecture - and I don't mean just throwing cement and marble at the problem.  History.  Storytelling.  Cuisine.

We still have half the population stuck in the market and kitchen doing the same repetitive tasks half the day.  Why?

We are stuck in traffic when we should be working or playing, making or praying.  Why?

We don't make a lot of the products we claim to like - not cell phones, not luxury homes, not cars, not our expensive fake hair. 

We haven't cut out the hours and dollars spent on generators and fueling in this town.  At least for a start get an inverter?  Change the laws so that investment can proceed?  We are not inventing low-power devices.  We don't even really care to make things really, we think it is for the lowly among us.  We actually look down on our geniuses until they have the shiny car to show for it.  Wow. 

 We think Islam and Christianity are so different.  We don't know the North, if we live in the South of the country.  We don't know the Mainland, if we live on the Island in Lagos.  We still don't have a Metro public transportation link or a city plaza.  We don't want to be seen on public transportation. 

We give all our money to the politicians of the current day then throw them out and give all our (potential capital) to the next batch.  We have a Freedom of Information law but few who know how to use it.  We claim it's the president and cronies oppressing the people, but what I see choking us is self-repression, the need to please, class-mania, local-thinking, slavery of the mind.  I got my own issues too, it's not just you :) 

We want to care for our own children but screw over the next person's children?  We teach our children to not waste time dreaming, "success" is more important.  We still wear winter clothes as uniforms to work, lawyers still wear blonde wigs, and philosophy still starts with Aristotle.  We haven't created material based on our heritage.  We study entrepreneurship in a classroom, by cramming facts for a test.  We have schools that are only exciting to a few students while others dream everyday of escaping.  We have schools that can not afford to employ the best, since the best can get higher salaries and more social status elsewhere.  We have schools that make people want to go abroad.

We've got our fingers permanently stuck in pointing at God or the president who is to blame and who should fix this or fix that. We're so stuck on survival, and after survival is guaranteed we move on to excessive consumption because in our minds we're just poor.  While we're running this rat race, we don't care to leave an astounding legacy, we'll settle for a plate of rice thank you very much.  Uncle Barack once termed this a poverty of ambition

We have starved our minds for so long, that we actually fear the public servants of today's democracy as much as we feared the gun-toting generals of the eighties and nineties, and oops, even before that.  We don't say thank you when a governor does the right thing - we expect "him" to thank himself by helping himself to public funds.  We don't vote women into office, we say men should "rule" and women should assist.  I'm tired of female deputy governors, assistant council presidents, what's so wrong with women being authority figures?    We don't say thank you when a citizen does the right thing, we don't have time for that, but we have time for the one who can dash us money.  We have no time to contemplate the stars or to smell the flowers. 

But we have pop music.   By God, we do.  And maybe that can lead us into the future, at least by telling us our dreams.
Maybe Baby, it is just a thought:  


t said...

Why don’t we export more
by Mwangi at AfricaOnTheBlog

Great questions.

t said...

How to have ideas. Creativity. The Creative Product. and more here:
"I gave a talk (on the Creative Economy) at the first meeting of The Interface (InterfaceAfrica) in July 2010. See the slides, "What do you read?" below. Find my full report on that meeting at
You may also visit the blog of the curator, Ferdinand.
Subsequently I've evolved a couple of Creative Economy lectures:
The first is about consuming information since creativity is "knowing how to hide your sources." It is similar to the original "What do you read?" lecture.
The second pertains to inspiration. I use biological design to illustrate why we particularly need creativity now and how to be creative. It's a beauty.
Soon I will post part three, on thematic unity and the creative product."
Get the slides here (Creative Commons License - Copyright)

t said...

This series of events/meetings was a big deal for me:
" THE REVOLUTION IS HERE(click for source)
I was stuck at a point in my life; I had so many clues and suddenly was clueless amidst the many clues. Have you ever been there? I am talking about that strange place where you want to move ahead, be more than you are, start that initiative, but the will power is subdued by sight of discouraging events, and sounds of disparaging remarks. You are scared of starting because you are afraid of failing; you have gone for motivational talks and you get pumped up and after you went home you became busted. There are many young Nigeria with fantastic ideas, but seem trapped in the same state of inertia that I was-am not sure if I am out anyway-they just can’t perform.

Somehow it takes more than an entertainment or what I call pedestrian motivational gibberish to get going. If you think those are the answers, forget it! “How can we sustain this aspirational spirit and turn those ideas, concepts, creativity, strategy, and technology into a productive venture?” is the big question that has been on my mind and those of my friends.

What we need is a sustained network of like minds who are also trying to make good sense of their gifts, talents, potentials and lives. We need to build relationships that will create a context where we can express ourselves and help us find our voices and provide a launch pad to build us, expand us, expose us and export us. You get? Enough of a one man army! Let’s synergize friends!

This is what our eponymous INTERFACE conference is all about, it is not just a marketplace of ideas brimming with mind boggling innovations, but it is a place where people share their stories and tell you how they have navigated their road blocks, perhaps you will learn a thing or two about removing your own grind blocks.

Basically, INTERFACE is about meeting new friends that would ignite your passion for the extraordinary. It is about breaking out of the box and making a difference. You have never experienced anything remotely like it.

Like it is often said, there is nothing as formidable as a timely idea. We believe strongly in the power that ideas can change attitude, lives and world. We will like to invite you specially, to join us at the first edition of the Interface conversation, (themed Nigeria and the Creative Economy).The date is July 24, 2010, by 9am to 12noon at Modex Meeting Room, 3 Abiola Segun Ajayi, off Muri Okunola, off Ajose Adeogun, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Speakers include:
Eng Maduka: from Pan African University: speaking on "Innovation: what it is and what it is not"
Pai Gamde: from Hi Tech: Competing in the global village

Others are: Tosin Otitoju, Uche Nworah, Uche Eze (Bellanaija), Tolu Oluketuyi and Lami Idakwo, all sharing interesting topics that would leave you better than you were.

t said...

"...Our speakers are am amazing people who have proven themselves in their diverse interest. They are brilliant people in the true sense of the word.


The Interface is a community of influential, young, aspiring professionals and entrepreneurs from diverse disciples united by our curiosity, open-mindedness and desire to think outside the box. But we are set on building a better future by exploring on how to integrate ideas, enterprise, strategy, creativity and technology that will bring about individual empowerment and national advancement.
The core objectives of the Interface are to provide a forum:

Ø For young people to find like minds and build relationships and friendship that can be mutually beneficial to their dreams
Ø To provide a mentoring system for young people
Ø To initiate a self-development culture and build avid and informed young minds through various reading clubs and schemes
Ø To bring a sense of empowerment by exposing young minds to opportunities around

N/B: Please note that limited seats are available. If you are interested in attending please send us a mail for a seat reservation on or before July 22, 2010.
We look forward to your favorable response.

Ferdinand Adimefe
Intellectual spa! SHUN CONVENTION!"

Previously on UpNaira