A week of Growth! – Segun Olagunju (USA)


What a week of growth it has been – July 26th, 2012: Growth as individuals for our young, emerging leaders; as teams serving at our community sites; and growth together as a unified community of 60+ participants and educators. There were many highlights from the past few days, so I think I will try to simply hone in on my top 5 favorite teachable moments of week 2 at GSP 2012:

#1: Ideas and Images of Africa – this theme arose in a myriad of places over the past few days. We first read about it in our opening Seminal Readings text titled How to Write about Africa. That if you simply google “Africa” you get pictures of sunsets, animals, tribal rituals, etc. Then it showed up again in this video teaser for our GSP Speaker Alan Knott-Craig Jr.

#2: Mixing it up with the owner of Mxit (pronounced mix it)– One year ago, Alan Knott-Craig’s investment holding company bought Mxit, Africa’s largest social network, from its founders (for reportedly, 500M ZAR = 40M USD). We had the great fortune at the Academy to bring him to share his insights and thoughts with our GSP class of 2012.  It was like having the African version of Evan and Biz from Twitter speaking in person with us.  One of the ideas he shared with the GSPers stuck with me:

Don’t try to build a business that makes money, rather build a business that makes something then the money is a by-product.

#3:  Africa, Land of Opportunity – from Mxit’s owner we learned that the platform is now in over 100 countries and transmits almost 700 million messages per day among it’s user base—that’s double the daily volume of twitter messages globally.  Mxit is just one example how African’s are able to best identify needs of Africans to create real positive value in society. Here’s another interesting African designed solution for the African marketplace.

#4: Anyone Can Prototype – if you’ve ever watched Ratatouille you will know the line “anyone can cook”.  Well, in our time with African Leadership Academy faculty David Tait, he challenged us with the notion that “anyone can prototype”.  Here is a sample of how our GSPers boldly took the stage and presented multiple solutions through prototypes to the real-life beneficiaries of the local community.

#5: the Real World isn’t relevant anymore – in an attempt to build rapport, and maybe look cool, I used MTV’s the Real World as an example of how people are shadowed. All I saw in response were blank stares (and crickets chirping, if they even chirp). Eish, as my South African friends would say.

Till the next time…Cheers from Jozi!

GSP in the eyes of…
Segun Olagunju (Mr. O)
Head of Leadership
African Leadership Academy

You can follow Mr. O on twitter or via his blog

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