Edition Nº9 Ideas as Currency
A collection of stories, reflections and transformations of people and brands
Dear Reader
Creativity is about
Some wise person once said that imagination is more important than knowledge and they were correct. What the world needs more than world peace is a flood of ideas that lead to solutions that work in ways that matter.

I sincerely believe that as a continent, we have enough problems – and these we know – after all there have been enough finger-pointers over the decades. What we need more than ‘aid’ and ‘reduced-interest debts’ is an attitude that elevates ideas and supports their execution in tangible ways. Why for example, is there no ideation subject in school or time-off from work to walk around and draw inspiration from places beyond the desk and away from Zoom? Practice makes perfect. Things get easier through doing. So, if we don’t exercise our muscle for creativity – then we may miss the opportunity to unlock any competitive advantage in both the personal and professional realms.

As a frequent reader of this missive, you will know that rather than just winge and whine, I proffer some directions towards solutioning. So here are some thought starters on how we might problem-solve in ways that invite creativity and encourage collaboration.
Ideation is not for its own sake
The gist of all creativity is problem solving – if it does not, then it is a fun undertaking. Much like having a trapped body of water at your house. If you use it, then it’s a pool. If not, then it’s just a water feature. So, applause must go to Checkers – for doing more than just assume a gesture of ‘pivoting’ – they offered us a service we really needed. Checkers 60, is a 60-minute grocery delivery service that allows you to conveniently shop over 12000 products from your smartphone and get your groceries delivered in 60 minutes. Watch me switch retail brands quick quick…

Build to last
When we were approached in 2005 by a whip-smart and confident Afro-optimist who was working to launch MTV in Africa, we were truly inspired. When we landed on the strategic platform of RE-IMAGINING AFRICA, we set this multi-national brand in a class of its own and placed it on a path for long –term prosperity. What was then a single-channel has now become the mega-player called Viacom Africa.

Connect the dots
Until you connect all the dots, the picture will not make sense and a new possibility may not emerge. Many of us know of the wonderfully-made, beautifully-bound black Moleskine notebooks. To then learn that the Founder’s essence has expanded to The Moleskine Foundation -an unconventional cultural incubator- is an apt example of connecting the dots. The Foundation centralises the brand’s heritage -people, values and projects - and brings it to a wider scale. The Moleskine Foundation embraces the experience of the founders of the Moleskine Brand, who are committed to applying the very values that led to the brand’s success to generate social impact.

Call your magic by name
In the business of creativity, we trade in ideas.Unlike nuts, balls and zips, these are not predictable.
They are not easy to quantify.
They are not tactile.Yet, when accurately expressed and articulated, they part the waters. So go ahead, find your secret sauce, bottle it and then use it to drive not just your difference but your distinctiveness

Keep up the pace
Future-fit Businesses Move At The Pace Of Culture
What for what is happening in society and then solve for the gaps.
The manual hand cart is one of the oldest and most used means of transporting goods in the world. Now an inventor, Kenneth Guantai, in Nairobi has come up with a self-charging electric cart that will allow workers to carry more with less energy. This solves for people and planet in a single move – as they say – two birds, one stone yada yada

To thy own brand be true
In the first quarter of 2020, the world’s grapple with a new virus termed Covid-19, necessitated a global human behavioural shift. Many brands rushed off briefs to their creative partners to develop comms to take advantage of the emergent reality. Not everyone nailed it, thankfully Nando’s in South Africa – an authentically connected brand to the zeitgeist, rose to the challenge once more.
In what was a call-to-action for South Africans (and a gentle stab at a competitor) it called attention to corrective behaviours.
In today’s intensely competitive marketplace, brand owners and custodians no longer have the luxury to think in unilinear ways. The most powerful ideas must be intersectional - they must creatively solve commercial problems in ways that uplift culture. After all, ideas with currency move us from purely transactional contact to relational planes. It is only through placing ideas at the centre of our imagination that we can produce solutions that help people and companies prosper.
Ideas are your secret sauce. It cannot be true that Colonel Saunders never told anyone the secret. How else could they mix the -ish into the batter that makes that protein taste finger-licking? The secret is told – it is just told to a trusted inner circle.
  • What is your secret sauce?
  • How does it reflect in your outputs?
So, until next time, may ideas continue to fuel your fire and bring you fulfilment

Kind Regards,
Dr. Sizakele Marutlulle

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