"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Monday, August 31, 2009


"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure. I have never encountered it, as I have only ever had temporary setbacks. Never walk away from these setbacks. On the contrary, study them carefully - and imaginatively - for their hidden assets. If you want to double your success rate, double your failure rate."

~ Sir James Dyson, founder of Dyson Appliances & Britain's inventor extraordinaire, who has given the world its first revolutionary (but expensive) Dual Cyclone bag-less vacuum cleaner; he has in fact spent over 15 years working in the cellar before finally launching the product in 1993, which became the country's best seller in 2 years;

Wow! What a valuable lesson in sheer persistence & unwavering perseverance!

[I understand that James Dyson's entrepreneurial exploits & learning experiences have been well-documented in his own autobiography, 'Against the Odds', which I haven't yet read;]

Sunday, August 30, 2009


[Extracted & adapted from the 'Optimum Performance Technologies' weblog.]

In the realm of many books covering self-directed learning, I would like to single out two books which I have read on this subject.

They are:

- 'Self University: The Price of Tuition is the Desire to Learn', by Charles Hayes;

- 'Proving You're Qualified: Strategies for Competent People without College Degrees', by Charles Hayles;

After having spent twenty-four years in the corporate world, & following almost two decades in a self-imposed, life-long journey of pursuing personal mastery, I really consider them to be the wisest & most useful books I have ever read on the subject of self-directed learning.

'Self-University' is a heart-warming book. It encourages all of us to think of education as a life-long, self-initiated venture instead of a lifeless, institutionalized affair.

Let me recap the author's catchy metaphor from this book:

"The caterpillar is condemned to crawl, but the butterfly has the potential to soar above with an all-inclusive view of the world. As humans we complete our caterpillar stage when we reach mature physical growth. If we are to soar like the butterflies, we must do so through the development of our minds."

My favourite chapters from ‘Self-University’ are:

- Chapter 3: Self-Knowledge;

- Chapter 4: The Personal Sciences;

- Chapter 5: Motivation;

- Chapter 10: Practicum;

- Chapter 11: Practicum in the Workplace;

'Proving You're Qualified' is a career book for competent people who have learned their jobs, on the job...& yet they are often passed over for promotion for lack of a degree, which has nothing, whatsoever, to do with their performance.

This book offers readers a frank discussion of educational merit and actual performance in a workplace caught in the grip of frightening change. It can help you to better understand the nature of power in hierarchies, to gain insight into methods for fighting credentialism, and to save time and money by utilizing alternate methods of adult continuing education.

My favourite chapters from 'Proving You're Qualified' are:

- Chapter 6: Leverage, Options & Choices;

- Chapter 7: Learning to Live with Change;

- Chapter 8: Me, Inc.;

These three chapters alone are worth the price of the entire book!

The above two books are very thought-provoking. Each chapter of the two books are so compelling that you may feel forced to write comments in the margins of the pages as you go along.

To sum up my book review, these two wonderful books offer an excellent approach to ensuring your career security in the 21st century.

[The author, Charles Hayes, is a lifelong learning advocate, a self-taught philosopher, & an author & publisher. At age 17, he dropped out of high school to join the U.S. Marines. After four years of duty he became a police officer in Dallas, Texas, & later he moved to Alaska, where he has worked for more than 20 years in the oil industry.

In 1987, he founded Autodidactic Press, committed to lifelong learning as the lifeblood of democracy & the key to living life to its fullest.

I reckon the two books which I have reviewed are more or less his anchor books (since they drive home his personal philosophy & fundamental premise:

1) That lifelong learning is fundamental to living a full & interesting life;

2) That the learning necessary to gain competence in a job or career is far, far more important than how or where it is acquired;)

even though he has written a few more other titles.

Readers can visit his corporate website, from which you can access more information as well as the table of contents of each book.]

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Drawing a proven application from another industry or sphere of activity, & then adapt & apply it successfully in another totally different realm, is essentially one of the hallmarks of creative brainpower.

Two professors of operations & information management (who have also developed products & launched businesses) have done just that - using the extremely popular 'American Idol' contest as a model, & transposing it into what is basically an 'idea tournament': starting with a large pool of ideas & vetting down to few specific winners.

[In fact, among many other real-world case studies, their fascinating story of 'Red Bull', which originated in rural Thailand, especially among the trucker community, & now popular among club goers & youth throughout the world, is another classic example.]

In a nut shell, the two authors now offer a systematic approach to producing & choosing high-potential innovations.

Hence, their new book, 'Innovation Tournaments: Creating & Selecting Exceptional Opportunities', which I have read only a couple of weeks ago.

The two professors are Christian Terwiesch & Karl Ulrich at the famed Wharton School, & their book captures beautifully the entire innovation process, with all the principles & tool sets.

Specifically for me, at last, I get to read - after having read so much of innovation books from the marketplace over the years - a really state-of-the-art innovation book that caters to both sides of the brain: an integrated view, combining creative inspiration & serendipitous discoveries (right-brain, random), with systematic process management approach & professional rigour (left-brain, bottom-line).

I have really enjoyed reading & digesting the book from cover to cover, which is actually broken down as follows, aka the "roadmap":

1. Tournaments 101: A Primer for Innovators (introducing the concept & identifying KPI within a tournament);

2. In-House Sources: Generating Opportunities Internally;

3. Outside Sources: Sensing Opportunities Externally;

4. Elimination Round: Screening Opportunities (discussing the first elimination round in a tournament);

5. Strategic Fit: Pulling Opportunities from Strategy (aligning your tournament with your strategy);

6. Short-Term Profitability: Analyzing Near Horizon Opportunities;

7. Interdependence: Forming Opportunity Portfolios;

8. Long-Term Profitability: Managing Far-Horizon Opportunities;

9. Structure: Shaping the Innovation Funnel;

10. Administration: Organizing and Governing Innovation (focusing on enhancing opportunity sensitivity as an organsation);

11. Tournaments 201: An Innovator's Guide to Getting Started (discussing the organisation of tournaments & suggesting different approaches);

To make reading a breeze, each chapter is suffixed with a brisk chapter summary, & what I like most are the diagnostic questions that follow the summary.

From a cumulative standpoint, I can see that the questions have been designed specifically to determine your level of innovation savvy.

To me, together with the intelligent filtering process as outlined by the two authors, they are the gems of the book, as they set the reader to think strategically while planning to use a tournament as an organisational problem solving process.

The principal premise of the authors is that the tournament approach allows for greater variability in the ideas proposed i.e. the greater the variation in quality of options, the more likely there are to be a few very good ones.

From the opportunity-sensing point of view, Chapter 2, 3 & 4 are my personal favourites, as they are the starting point - the pool, so to speak - for you to screen & act on all the ideas as a portfolio, followed by Chapter 6, 7 & 8, as they explain how to analyse, how to deal with expectations, constraints, interdependencies, as well as risk diversification, & how to cultivate & develop the riskier options (which often give rise to the most profitable opportunities), respectively.

To help in stimulating your business opportunity creation, the authors offer 14 great windows of opportunity: 8 from inhouse sources; 6 from external sources. They are elegantly illustrated in Chapter 2 & 3.

To me, they have certainly built on & given a new spin to what strategist Michel Robert & management guru Peter Drucker had come up with the ten broad windows of opportunity.

Interestingly, this wonderful book doesn't end at the last page 242. With the aid of the appendix, it leads readers to explore more tools & access more web resources e.g. Darwinator Software, to support your opportunity screening.

As a parting shot for this review:

I must add that I certainly like the authors' definition:

"We define an opportunity as the seed that might later grow into an innovation. An opportunity is an innovation in embryonic form, a newly sensed seed, a newly discovered technology, or a rough match between a need & a possible solution."

How do we as innovators spot profit-making opportunities when they're still in the embryonic stage? I am glad that the two authors have done a great job in answering the pertinent question for readers, but we still have to do all the hard work.

On the whole, it has been a engaging book to read, digest & learn.

I strongly recommend it to anyone who is looking to develop an integrated process to manage innovation.

Friday, August 28, 2009


[continued from the Last Post.]

* inspire ‘internal branding’ about people getting things done;

* enable us to think, learn,communicate, and bond;

* help to create yearning, learning,earning organizations;

* infuse a human element into discussions (note that the crucial missing ingredient in most failed communications is humanity);

* help people feel acknowledged, connected, less alone, and more alive;

* tether us to something safe, thus acting as a life-preserver in a chaotic ocean of choice (which often leaves us as disembodied voices begging for attention);

* help us to feel more than just a dot on a bell curve!

The vital issues of this world are ultimately decided by the story that grabs the most attention and is repeated most often.

The Values Embedded in Storytelling:

For the individual:

* Inspires interest in life, stimulates imagination, sharpens intellect, and propagates innovation by enhancing our ability to: think, feel, listen, speak, narrate, communicate with empathy, and above all, to understand ourselves, and thus excavate meaning from life in order to bond with one another;

* Awakens our interest in other cultures, enlightens us with a deeper understanding of our own, and builds bridges across the oceans of consciousness that separate us through prejudice, bigotry, and fanaticism;

* Engenders ideas via subtle shifts in contexts, whereby a pinball effect of associations can lead one from breakdown to breakthrough;

For a community, an organisation, or a nation:

* Transforms and regulates behaviour by communicating morals, values, beliefs, and the infinite wisdom of the ages;

* Archives history, preserves tradition, and propagates harmonious evolution for future generations to learn from past wisdom;

* Propagates strategic thinking, leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship via its inherent structure;

* Promotes group bonding through shared joys and sorrows;

* Nurtures empathetic leadership whereby leaders learn to communicate in response to diverse scenarios: through their powers of storytelling, they can calm a mob, energise a nation, and turbocharge conviction in order to realise a greater good!

[Excerpted from the 'Catalysing Creativity' edition of The Braindancer Series of book azines by Dilip Mukerjea. All the images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]


Interestingly, at first instance, the whole text with jumbled-up letters seems fuzzy, but it only takes a short while for the brain to figure out the big picture.

Thanks to the innate self-organising & pattern recognition capabilities of our brains. That's how I see it.

For the record, the foregoing text should actually read as follows:

"I couldn't believe that I could actually understand what I was reading:


According to a researcher at Cambridge University, it doesn't matter in what order the letters in a word are, the only important thing is that the first and last letter be at the right place. The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without problem. This is because the human mind does not read every letter by itself but the word as a whole.

Amazing, huh?

Nonetheless, to understand the other perspectives of this phenomenon, please proceed to this link. I should thank Pat Johnson, a blog reader & fellow explorer for the link.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Here's a link - with the courtesy of Amber Johnson from - to a very interesting resource that offers '100 Ways You Can Tap Into More of Your Brain'.

Thanks, Amber, for sharing.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Here's a splash map on 'Mindset!: Reset Your Thinking & See the Future', based on the brilliant work of global futurist John Naisbitt, from Dilip Mukerjea.


Here's a splash map on 'The Extreme Future', based on the brilliant work of global futurist James Canton, from Dilip Mukerjea.


On Saturday, after a gruelling four-hour morning session of 'pow-wow' at a couple's place in Seletar to explore a potential long-term project to equip primary school students with effective study skills to tackle the pivotal PSLE, Dilip & I visited the SIM HQ in Clementi to attend a lecture.

The lecture was part of the SIM Members' Day.

A bald-headed chubby guy, of South African origin, was scheduled to talk about 'Challenge Your Brain' at 2.30pm. His name was Nick French, Director & Principal of Image Advancements, a cross-cultural communications consultancy.

We were there just in time after a quick snack at the cafeteria.

At the onset, Nick asked the participants as to why were there that afternoon. One participant sitting right in front posed: "Surprise me!".

After that short preliminary, Nick introduced himself as chemical-salesman/commodity-trader turned consultant.

With the aid of Powerpoint slides, Nick started off with a focal point on "the interplay of crisis management, communication & connection, creativity".

He then ran through some brain facts: anatomy, four lobes, limbic system, amygdala.

His three illustrative examples of crisis response situations:

- one involving his safari trip in the wild with lions;

- another about Captain Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger III & his expert manoeuvring of US Airways Flight #1549, after being hit by a flock of birds, disabling both engines, for an eventually miraculous crash-landing on the Hudson River early this year - all passengers suvived!; &

- last about Hillary Clinton, tackling a specific Q&A response as visiting US Secretary of State to the African region [in a brisk video clip], which exposed her abrasive side;

were interesting.

In a nut shell, when we are in a crisis situation, learn to think fast on our feet. Nick mentioned the apt term "metacognition" i.e. 'thinking about thinking".

As he continued to ramble - just like a lecturer in a classroom - about the brain: left-brain/right-brain (Roger Sperry), corpus callosum, levels of brain activity, iceberg metaphor, & other brain characteristics, boredom started to set in my mind, as I struggled to keep myself awake. I even tried to make my own rough notes in the handout, so as to keep my brain from "blanking out".

I noted that Dilip was feeling very restless in his seat.

I was very surprised to note that Nick wasn't aware that, especially in the afternoon, after lunch, a pure lecture format with no interactive exercises to get audience involvement, worked against our brains. Worst still, his voice was monotonous.

In the next part, he talked about the whole brain model of Ned Herrmann & Kobus Neethling, with a focus on thinking preferences.

Luckily, at least to break the monotony, he invited audience participation to figure out his preferred thinking style, with the use of a competition [we were asked to write our names on ice cream sticks, which were then to be slotted into four empty canisters, representing the four modes of logician (L1), organiser (L2), visionary (R1) & communicator (R2) respectively] in which selected winners were entitled to boxes of South African tea.

At the tail end of the talk, he finally managed to share some amusing anecdotes about couple's thinking preferences, with some references to Allan Pease's work.

By the way, Nick was L1, which probably explained the seemingly boring lecture.

Personally, I felt that he rambled too much on the brain stuff - which were already common knowledge in today's context - at the beginning stage.

Also, he should have injected fun exercises or humorous games to jazz up his presentation.

Our neural plasticity was not put to the test, since all of us were just sitting there listening. No doing!, except a minimal one at the tail end.

Nick should have realised that our brains require synaptic workouts to stay alert, let alone to learn & grow.

He should have known that a lecture format as he had followed did not foster novelty & challenge to our dendrites.

My end analysis: Athough I felt that the lecture was informative, I also felt that the title of the lecture, 'Challenge Your Brain', was a real misnomer. Nick's focus was essentially understanding your brain's thinking preferences.

Nonetheless, before leaving the lecture theatre, Dilip went to ask the guy at the front, who posed "Surprise Me!" at the beginning, whether he was surprised after the lecture. He shook his head.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Dilip has sent me an email about consultant Dr Scott Simmerman making an observation to the effect that Evelyn Wood (of Reading Dynamics) was the originator of 'mind-mapping'.

I wrote back to highlight that Dr Simmerman had probably echoed - if I recall correctly - what an earlier old-timer consultant/trainer Bob Pike had said - in writing - about Evelyn Wood, having invented 'mind-mapping'.

I also mentioned to Dilip about another school of thought:

Gabriele Rico, a professor of English & Creative Arts, invented 'clustering' (sometimes known as Rico Clusters), based on her doctoral dissertatuion at Stanford University during the mid-70's.

Personally, I have always subscribed to the fact that 'clustering' is the precursor to 'mind-mapping'.

It is quite possible that Evelyn Wood may have come up during the 50's with a rudimentary graphical outline, resembling some sort of "a radiating spoke with truncated lines" as a keyword-based approach to organise info after speed reading, but I can't verify it.

Nonetheless, I have seen many variations with fancy names like 'patterned notes', 'spidergrams', etc.

There are also ramblings from some quarters that Leonardo da vinci was the true progenitor, but I have yet to see any of his sketches or drawings with the effect.

Obviously all these pot shots - I believe probably sparked off by Bok Pike in the 80's - boil down to the fact that Americans just can't accept a Brit for the discovery or invention of 'mind-mapping'.

For me, it's fair to say - in fact I hold this view - that Tony Buzan had certainly taken a very brave stance by sticking his neck out to formalise what is now known to the world as 'mind-mapping', with some refined rules, starting in the seventies or so.

Frankly speaking, any further deliberation in this area is likely to end up as an academic exercise.

After all, the most important thing about it is what works & what doesn't.


"There are three kinds of people:

1) Those who see change & think of ways to capitalise;

2) Those who see change & can't think of a way to capitalise;

3) Those who don't see the change;"

~ Jim Barksdale, 66, CEO of Netscape Communications Corporation from january 1995 until the company merged with AOL in 1999;

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Futurist & scenario planning guru Peter Schwartz, who has been a regular visitor to Singapore since the late sixties, & writing in his now classic book, 'The Art of the Long View', which I had read during the early nineties, makes a point of stating that "if you want to to know what the next trend will be then you will need to expand your reading list".

Interestingly, in his now classic book, 'Paradigms: Business of Discovering the Future', which I had also read during the late eighties, corporate strategist/futurist Joel Arthur Barker shares the following observation:

"The cheapest most powerful way to stretch your paradigms & improve your strategic exploration skills is to read."

Great minds certainly think alike.

But, I reckon, more importantly, are you reading widely?

Have you expanded your reading list?

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I have found the following piece of writing on the net, & thought it would be worthwhile to recap here:

"One of the most powerful things you have at your disposal is your attention. Whatever you focus your attention upon will grow stronger as a result.

Pay genuine attention to those you love, and the love between you will grow ever stronger.

Pay full attention to the work you do and you'll be vastly more effective at it.

Give your positive attention to the people and things around you, and you'll find yourself in ever-improving surroundings.

Pay attention to the way your life is going, and it will begin moving in the direction you desire for it to move.

Attention is not always easy, because the world is filled with enticing distractions. Yet the very challenge of maintaining attention is what makes it so powerful, for when you commit to paying attention it draws out the best in you.

One of the most valuable things you can give to someone else is your attention. And one of the most effective ways to move your life and your world forward is by paying real attention to it.

Your attention will energize whatever you focus it upon. So direct it toward the best, the most positive and promising aspects of life, and great things will surely come about."

~ Ralph Marston Jr., author of 'The Daily Motivator';

What Ralph talks about resonates very well with what I have always believed:

Your brain always follow the direction of your current dominant thought!

In other words, focused attention is a powerful ingredient in the recipe for personal effectiveness.

Friday, August 21, 2009


While surfing the net today, I have stumbled onto the website of The FireFly Group (a training & facilitation consultancy led by Brian Remer, a designer of interactive strategies for training, facilitation, & performance improvement) & read the August 2009 issue of their newsletter.

Here's the link to the abovementioned newsletter.

In it, one of their articles, entitled 'Grow Your Brain', caught my personal attention.

In a nut shell, the article has highlighted the fact that our hands dominate our brainpower.

To demonstrate just how much your hands can dominate your brainpower, it has recommeded that you try out this experiment right now:

"Sit flat footed.

Lift your right leg and rotate your foot clockwise in a big circle. Keep it moving and, with your right hand, draw a huge number six in the air.

Notice what happens.

Your foot changes direction to follow the movement of your hand!

Why does your foot get out of sync?

Is it because you are trying to complete two opposite motions with the same hemisphere of your brain?

(Try the same movements with our opposite hand & foot. Notice a difference?)

Or is it because the hand commands more neural real estate?

Whichever the reason, the will of the hand dominates – hands down!

So why not take advantage of what your hands can do?

Build something, take something apart, mold clay, kneed bread, feel the texture of different cloth in a fabric store.

Then, while your hands are busy, notice how they can move into any position you need, & how your marvelously dexterous fingers can exert just the right amount of pressure.

Notice that when your hands are busy & productive, your brain is calm but alert. Perhaps you can enter a state of flow where your thoughts make their own surprising connections."

Does it mean that staging a hand-sized playground e.g. juggling a few balls or playing the X-Ball from Roger von oech, is definitely going to boost our creativity?

Come to think of it, the following observation now becomes more resonant to me:

"We have to understand that the world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation. The hand is more important than the eye... The hand is the cutting edge of the mind."

(by Jacob Bronowski, 1908-1974, Polish-born British mathematician & man of letters who eloquently presented the case for the humanistic aspects of science; was also the presenter of the BBC documentary series, 'The Ascent of Mind', which inspired Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos' series.)

I have noted that, apparently the article has drawn its inspiration from the book, 'Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, & Invigorates the Soul', by Dr Stuart Brown, a medical doctor, psychiatrist, clinical researcher & founder of the National Institute for Play.

I am intrigued. The book is now in my shopping basket with Amazon.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


One of my most favourite authors, thinkologist Dudley Lynch, has just written a fascinating but insightful blogpost.

I certainly like his personal philosophy of 'rebel with an agenda'.

Here's the link.

Please pay particular attention to his '10 Ways to Keep Adding Innovative New Lanes to Your Personal Capacity'.

I like to call them '10 Ways to Enhance Your Personal Control Variety'.

To me, they resonate very well with the 'Law of Requisite Variety', especially from the standpoint of knowledge & skill acquisition to deal with the never-ending onslaught of disturbance variety from the environment.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


As I sat down to write this blogpost, I couldn't help myself making an interesting association in my head that went back into the late sixties. Hence, the fancy but apt title as shown above.

At the request of Dilip Mukerjea & together with him, I visited the office of DMG Capital Corporation Ltd., at the Lion Building on Arumugam Road this afternoon. We met our mutual friend Mel Gill, CEO & Chief Strategist of the company.

I had met Mel in the mid-nineties, when I was a guest - recommended by Dilip - on his motivational talk show on News Radio FM93.8 Live.

As an avid movie-goer, I readily recalled the adrenalin-pumping spy thriller movie of the sixties, 'Where Eagles Dare', starring Richard Burton & Clint Eastwood.

It was based on the screenplay of master raconteur Alistair MacLean, who wrote many best-selling spy thriller novels, including 'The Guns of Navarone' & 'Ice Station Zebra', to name a few, which were made into great movies.

The 'Eagles' movie centred on a supposedly rescue attempt of a captured US Army General [in actuality, to flush out a mole in British military intelligence] by a crack commando unit, led by a British Army Major Smith (played by the enigmatic & raspy Richard Burton) & assisted reluctantly by an US Army Ranger Lt. Schaffer (played by the iconic & cool Clint Eastwood). They were despatched into a seemingly impregnable mountain-top fortress, known as 'The Castle of the Eagles' (Schloss-Adler), which was under German control on the Bavarian Alps during WWII.

Why the association in my head?

Maybe, it was the eagle emblem on the corporate logo of DMG Capital Corporation Ltd., a multi-faceted training consultancy with global network connections.

Or maybe it was my personal observation of the keen intellectual vision - eagle eye, so to speak - of two diametrically opposite personalities, who had decided to come together to explore possible avenues of collaboration.

Mel Gill is a 18-year entrepreneurial veteran, as well as a high-profile training consultant in this part of the world.

His primary forte is training & mentoring trainers with the NLP technology.

He has also been a well-known radio & television personality, on account of his brilliant hosting of the one & only motivational talk show, designated as 'Uncommon Sense', which ran for almost 7 years on News Radio FM 93.8 Live.

By the way, he is also the author of 'Uncommon Sense: A Handbook of Life' (2000; a new edition has been released), which is a collection of sound time-tested wisdom from the Masters of the Ages. For me, I always remember this imprint from Mel which he had expressed in no uncertain terms, "You always carry within yourself everything you need for the fulfillment of your life purpose", on the cover page of his book.

If you were hooked on spooks, you probably had seen him too - with hat & trenchcoat - as the investigative psychologist on Channel 5's popular paranormal scarefest 'Incredible Tales', which ran for 5 seasons, based on Singapore's urban legends.

As part of his grand plan to develop new products, Mel will be releasing his inspirational movie, 'The MetaSecret', on DVD probably in October this year.

As readers of this weblog, you already know that Dilip Mukerjea is the owner & Managing Director of ‘Braindancing International’ as well as “Buzan Centre Singapore Pte Ltd,” which are specifically dedicated to advancing human performance across multiple domains.

In contrast, Dilip Mukerjea, has kept a somewhat relatively low profile over the last 15 years or so [Prior to that, he was a marine engineer!], even though he is a very accomplished author, with 8 books (3 of which are now out of print) to his professional credit.

His primary forte is developing intellectual & emotional capital, from both the personal & organisational perspective.

Additionally, he has also recently authored 'SuperBrain Study Skills', specifically catered to secondary school students.

On top of these superb materials, he has authored the 'Ingenius' series of bookazines for parents & kids, as well as the 'Braindancer' series of bookazines for corporate executives. They are available for subscription at this link.

Books in the pipeline include 'Lifescaping', 'Brainaissance', plus a study skills book for primary school students.

On the training front, Dilip conducts his seminars, namely, 'Building BrainPower', 'Braindancing', 'Lifescaping' & 'Taleblazers', under the auspices of the Singapore Institute of Management.

For me, it would be very interesting to see the two diametrically opposite but spontaneously brilliant minds working in tandem in the not-too-distant future.

Below is a quick digital snapshot of the potential dynamic duo.

[The logos used in this post are the intellectual property of DMG Capital Corporation Ltd.]

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Dilip Mukerjea has presented his unique splash map (A4- as well as A3, & even A2-sized) on leadership to Dr Ram Charan, internationally acclaimed success coach to Fortune 500 CEOs, when the latter delivered the 28th SIM (Singapore Institute of Management) Annual Management Lecture on 'Leadership in the Raging Economic Cyclone: New Rules for Thriving in Difficult Times & Beyond', in Singapore on 12th August 2009.

Dr Charan has gladly autographed the splash map. He has asked Dilip to mail a copy to him.

Among other great books, Dr Charan is the author of 'Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty', which I had already reviewed in an earlier post in the 'Optimum Performance Technologies' weblog.

For a quick overview of Dr Charan's brilliant thoughts on leadership, in addition to what is in the splash map, please read my earlier post, 'Leadership Skills for the 21st Century', in the 'Optimum Performance Technologies' weblog.

Dilip shares a very interesting snippet about Dr Charan, which has been reported once by Fast Company:

"Ram Charan lives nowhere and goes everywhere, consulting for the largest and most powerful companies seven days a week, 365 days a year. Work is all he does, and all he wants to do. But even more than his dedication, it's his insights that have won him the ear of hundreds of top managers...

Ram Charan is a knight errant of the 21st century, choosing to live nowhere and go everywhere in his quest to help businesses solve their thorniest conundrums. He does not own a home--or even rent one--has no nuclear family or significant material possessions, and he has his assistants FedEx his clean clothes to him. He doesn't play golf or vie for the best tables at power lunch spots. Irresistibly drawn to the corporate world's danger zones, he is in perpetual motion, working for the largest and most powerful companies seven days a week, 365 days a year. Most people would call such an existence bizarre, but for Charan, it's the ideal life.

"I tell you, I am a lucky man," he says, brown eyes sparkling like his ever-present cuff links. "I get to do what I love to do."

Monday, August 17, 2009


"I learnt many lessons in economic policymaking from Dr Albert Winsemius, Singapore's first Economic Advisor. The most valuable lesson he taught me was that you have to do the things that matter yourself."

~ Ngiam Tong Dow, former Permanent Secretary, in his speech 'Quo Vadis Singapore' to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Ministry of Finance;

Sunday, August 16, 2009


In how many ways can you address the following problem:

1 + 1 = ?


[This blogpost has been extracted from the 'Optimum Performance Technologies' weblog. It was originally written for a US-based teen magazine with circulation in Singapore & Malaysia.]

"In the field of observation, chance favours only the prepared mind."

This wonderful quotation is attributed to Louis Pasteur, the scientist who discovered the Germ Theory in the 1880s, which had contributed tremendously to the development of modern medicine.

According to my dictionary, 'chance' means 'opportunity or possibility of something happening."

How does one get prepared for chance or opportunity.

In the course of my work as a strategy consultant to small companies, as well as to schools and students, I have discovered and synthesized the following viewpoints, which I believe can readily help you to become sensitive to the opportunities around you.


You must know yourself and believe in yourself. You must know who you are and what you want in life. If you believe you are a champion, and think like one, all you can see are the winning opportunities waiting for you!


In essence, this is planning ahead. You must set goals in all areas of your life, and take consistent action to put your goals to work, for tomorrow…for the next 90 days…and for next year.

As a student, your priority is your study goals. Once you have this as your priority, then all you can see are the important things that will make your dreams come true.


This is essentially learning from your past experiences. The past does not guarantee the future, but you can learn a lot from it:

-1 What work?;

-2 What doesn't work?

-3 What corrections do I need to make in my life in order for me to move forward?;

Anthony Robbins, internationally acclaimed Success Coach, once said:

"The difference between those who succeed & those who fail isn't what they have - it's what they choose to see and do with their resources and experiences of life."


Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew calls this 'having the helicopter ability'. It means having the ability to rise above and to see the entire forest, instead of seeing only one or two trees.

Oftentimes, we are too close to a problem, we just don't see the opportunities lurking inside it. Therefore, you must learn to rise above your problem and learn to see the larger picture of what is happening around you, and not get bogged down by nitty-gritty stuff.


Oftentimes, when we look at problems, we tend to look at only the surface and jump quickly to conclusions, without even looking at the underlying reasons or factors.

When we look at problems, we must also go under the surface and examine the root causes. For example, in addition to asking what has happened, who did it, and why it had happened, we should proceed further by asking what did not happen, who did not do it, and why something else did not happen…

Like icebergs, root causes of problems - hidden possibilities or opportunities - are always deeply submerged!


To paraphrase Dr Edward de Bono, a renowned creativity guru, this is thinking laterally. Only by moving sideways from looking at a problem , then only we can get to a new viewpoint, which will give us a new perspective to our problem. With a new perspective of a problem, we are able to see and take an alternative route to solving it.

When Mr Philip Yeo, the former Chairman of Singapore's Economic Development Board went to the United States to sell Singapore as an offshore petrochemical hub, the American investors laughed at him. They appreciated the attractive tax incentives offered but lamented that our offshore islands were too small - and they were right.

Mr Yeo rounded up all the top guns in the Economic Development Board, Jurong Town Corporation and other related government agencies to brainstorm the problem. They thought seriously - and laterally - and eventually offered the American investors a proposition they could not refuse: a new Jurong Island, formed by the merging of seven small offshore islands!


This is perseverance and persistence in the face of adversity. Many of us tend to give up easily when we fail in something. For example, in school, when we got an F in the Chinese Language test or flunked the O Levels, we thought it was the end of the road. There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.

When we made a horrendous mistake in some part of our life, we just wanted to give up. According to motivational experts, there are no such things as mistakes, only learning experiences. But please, don't make the same mistake twice!

In fact, I like what F Buckminster Fuller, recognised as Planet Earth's Friendly Genius & inventor of the geodesic dome, once said:

"There are no failed experiments; only unexpected results!"

If Thomas Edison had not persevered and persisted in experimenting with some ten thousand filament alternatives, we would probably still be using large candles today!


It is difficult to predict the long-term future, especially in a world that is rapidly and constantly changing. However, this should not stop us from considering and playing with some plausible scenarios in the future, in which we plan to play a major role in them.

In the corporate world , we call this scenario planning.

For a young student, it is pertinent for you to take a longer term perspective, at least ten or more years down the road, in terms of what you want to do with your life. This can affect invariably what you do today.

Let me illustrate. Today, you are a lower secondary school student and your dream is to become a neurosurgeon.

To become and succeed as a neurosurgeon, you need to have adequate working experience in a reputable hospital. To do that, you need to graduate from a top-notch medical university.

For entry to study in a top-notch medical university, you need to score excellent grades in your A Levels, and you also need to do well in your SAT. To attain that, you need to go into a good junior college to mix around with the best, and just to get into one, you need to achieve excellent scores in your O Levels.

So, it is obvious that your planning starts from today, and you will have to start by seeing beyond in order to consider all the educational options open to you!

Once you set this in motion, you will get to see the opportunities along the way that will pave the time-path for you to achieve your ultimate dream!

Be prepared for all the opportunities lurking around you, but first things first, go and enjoy your exploration from different viewpoints!

I would like to conclude this post with a quotation from Leonardo da vinci:

"If you wish to gain knowledge of the form of problems, begin with learning how to see it in many different ways."

Saturday, August 15, 2009


[continued from the Last Post.]

Step 7: Implications

With the Lifescapes substantially developed, “rehearse the future” with the focal issue in prominence:

• How does each Lifescape look in terms of offering possibilities for crucial decisions to be made?
• What vulnerabilities have been revealed…or are possibly still hidden?
• Is the strategy robust across all Lifescapes, or does it look good in only one or two of the panoramas?

{If a decision looks good in only one of several Lifescapes, it becomes a high-risk gamble—especially if the organisation lacks control over the likelihood of the desired scenario materialising. We must then consider ways of adapting the strategy to become competitively relevant, by making it more robust.}

Step 8: Track Leading Indicators

It is vital to track the leading indicators of each Lifescape; determine that they are both plausible and surprising; they must have the power to demolish the status quo, and to grasp opportunities, not just well ahead of the competition, but in real time.

Lifescaping must be intensely interactive, or it fails.

In general, look at each Lifescape independently: do NOT lock yourself in by assigning probabilities to them in case you are tempted to opt for the one with the highest probability, thus disregarding the possibility of any one of the others turning up as a “wild card.”

Name each Lifescape: it will help you to assume ownership of it, and to recall the details vividly.

Use 2x2 Matrix Thinking to help you process your thoughts, prior to, and after, crafting your Lifescapes.

To test your Lifescapes, animate them via theatre (skits), digital modelling, and general role playing.

Then activate the Lifescape that is most appropriate to unfolding circumstances.

[All images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]

Friday, August 14, 2009


[continued from the Last Post.]

Step 5: Lifescape Linkages, Crucial Connections

The above exercise enables us to create “the fundamental axes of crucial uncertainties” (among the most important steps in the entire Lifescaping process). It prompts us to use these insights as a spectrum (along one axis), a matrix (with two axes), or a volume (with three axes) in which different

Lifescape scenarios can be identified and their details filled in. Each Lifescape should have a distinct name (label) for powerful identification and easy recall.

The number of “scenario drivers” must be just enough to generate no more than four Lifescapes. Any more would be a recipe for confusion; three would be unsafe as it might influence the choice of the mid-option, which might not be suitable in some contexts; two would be too few, though sometimes unavoidable.

Various types of plots can organise a Lifescape. The challenge is to identify the plot that (1) best captures the dynamics of the situation and (2) communicates the point effectively.

Step 6: Fleshing Out the Lifescapes

Each Lifescape should incorporate distinctive key factors and trends. It is not always apparent where each facet of a critical uncertainty should be located.

The design of each Lifescape should spotlight salient characteristics where the thought processes include:

the focal issue, critical uncertainties, predetermined elements, embedded assumptions, blind spots, wild cards, early warnings, driving and restraining forces, and an ability to uniquely synthesise this array of elements.

Now knit the pieces together into a narrative.

• Where are we, and what is our situation?
• Where do we wish to go?
• How do we get from here to there?
• What events might be necessary to make the destination of each Lifescape plausible?
• Are there known individuals whose ascendancy in public life might help to craft a given scenario, such as the US President, the CEO of the top-listed Fortune 10 organisation, or the leader of a radical movement ?

[To be continued in the Next Post. All images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Take out a sheet of blank paper, & use say a black marker pen to draw a small dot right in the centre.

Now, tell me what do you see?

Let's go to the next level.

Use your black marker pen again, & draw a small circle around the small dot.

Now, tell me what do you see?


[This blogpost has been extracted from my 'Optimum Performance Technologies' weblog.]

I note that success coach Richard Israel, a collaborator of Tony Buzan, shares quite an interesting, but generally broad idea, about how to become an expert in his book, 'Grass Roots Leaders: The Brain Smart Revolution in Business':

1) Pick a topic that interests you, an area in which you would like to become an expert;

2) Then, identify, collate, read & mind-map two books a week on that topic;

3) Review your completed mind-maps frequently to optimise your memory retention;

4) By the end of one year, you would have digested the expertise of at least 100 books, & know more about your chosen topic that almost anyone else in the world;

5) With all the knowledge, you can begin speaking & writing on the chosen topic;

In his book, he has used my good friend & fellow explorer Dilip Mukerjea as a case example.

Dilip had met Richard Israel (also Tony Buzan) in the mid-nineties during which the latter had personally shared his expert strategy.

At that time, Dilip was a marine engineer, who often spent long periods on the sea. Dilip needed a career change.

So, he applied the expert strategy by studying & mind-mapping many books on creativity, leadership & strategy during those long periods on the sea.

The foregoing episode probably explains why Dilip is so good in what he does today as a innovation strategist, in addition to becoming an accomplished author with so far 8 great books to his credit.

Currently, Dilip runs his own strategy consultancy outfit known as 'Brain Dancing International'. He has been highly acknowledged by Tony Buzan.

To be very frank, I dare to say that Dilip has today surpassed his mentor, who is apparently still dabbling with his old stuff.

I would like to throw in a couple of valuable suggestions, drawn from my own personal & professional experiences, to enhance the foregoing expert strategy:

1) Identify a small number of knowledgeable persons or experts in the field of your chosen topic, & discuss with them about what you have found in your reading pursuits;

[That's how I met Patricia Danielson, co-developer of the 'PhotoReading' technology, after I had brought her to Singapore to teach me & others during the early nineties.]

2) Contribute some interesting articles on your chosen topic to newspapers &/or magazines;

[I was a regular contributor of articles to the Straits Times as well as Business Times during the nineties, in addition to magazines.]

3) Publish & edit a newsletter on your chosen topic;

[I had also published & edited my own subscription newsletter for two years during the nineties.]

4) Set up a training consultancy to share what you have learned with others;

[That's how I started my strategy consultancy & training development outfit, under the trade name of 'Optimum Performance Technologies', as well as a small retail outlet, aptly called 'The Brain Resource', which provided a smorgasbord of books, audios, videos, tool-kits, & other resources "for the other 90% of the brain".]

I would also like to take this opportunity to share another powerful method to help you to enhance your acquisition of expertise.

I had learned this wonderful method from Patricia Danielson as part of my 'PhotoReading' instruction from her during the early nineties.

It's called syntopical reading, which had originally been conceived by educator Mortimer Adler in his classics, 'How To Read a Book' as wells as 'The Great Ideas: A Syntopicon of Great Books of the Western World', during the 50s or so.

As a result, it's sometimes called the 'Syntopicon Method'.

Very briefly, it works like this:

1) Inspection:

- round-up a large quantity of books covering a subject or topic of your interest; I often use the bibliography of my favourite books as a starting point;

- you may even include books, audios, videos, webcasts, podcasts, etc., that are remotely connected to your subject or topic, but you want them to be included as a eclectic mix, just for the purpose of stimulating your creativity - the idea is to stimulate the brain from both the difference/similarity of seemingly unrelated pieces of information or ideas;

- you may also include newspaper clippings &/or magazine articles &/or newsletters;

- quickly scan or skim through the books, resources, etc., & do your best to locate relevant passages in the books or other resources that are most germane to your needs;

[Now, you know why I love 'PhotoReading' so much; According to Mortimer Adler, it is you & your concerns that are primarily to be served, not the books that you are reading.]

2) Assimilation:

- jot down all those relevant passages that pique your immediate interest or curiosity;

- as you read further, develop your own terms of reference;

- make an attempt to bring as many selected author's passages to terms with each other, hopefully meeting your own terms of reference;

- this often involves not only finding the important words &/or vocabulary to the subject or topic, but also finding a common vocabulary among the many authors;

- according to learning experts, sometimes this can only be done by inventing new words or vocabulary by yourself

[Edward de bono & R Buckminster Fuller have been well-known to be great creators in this respect];

- the whole purpose of this exercise is to create a new synthesis of ideas or concepts from your varied reading, instead of just an analysis of the topic from a single book; also, to push & engage yourself in active exploration of the subject or topic by considering a myriad of inputs from many different authors;

3) Question(s):

- identify or formulate the key question(s) that come to mind, as your probe further with the view of extracting important insights to the subject or topic you are pursuing;

- you can use the journalist's questions as a starting point;

- sometimes they can come from those questions that often bug you at night while you are sleeping;

4) Issues:

- with your terms of reference, selected passages & key question(s) in place, make an attempt to define the major issues or salient aspects of the subject or topic;

- from my personal experience, the objective here is to find all the relevant issues, according to your own point of view, which will gradually takes shape as your probe further;

5) Conversation:

- sit back & analyse the discussion or conversation in your head, as you probe the many authors based on what you have found in your exploration;

- this is, in fact, the most important aspect of the syntopical reading process;

- also, for me, this exercise actually serves as an awakening experience, because you are bringing the key question(s) to the books to be answered;

- your job is essentially to find, hopefully, all the answers from the many author's works, in relationship to your key question(s);

- come to think of it, the answers are in the books somewhere, & all those authors are acting as your consultants, in away, to help in your search for the answers;

For me, the best way to do this 'Syntopical Reading' exercise is to get a large sheet of mahjong paper or butcher paper, & then lay it on the floor, together with all your selected books & resources.

You can start immediately with each author's principal premise, which you can readily find in the prefare or introduction or end-of-book summary or even back cover of each book. Use it as a springboard to build your own terms of reference, & proceed with your systematic probe from there.

Create a large map with the selected authors' principal premises as idea triggers along the outer edges of the paper. Jot down the selected passages as you find them against these triggers.

Gradually write down your key question(s) &/or major issues as you formulate them or as they come to mind in the centre of the paper.

Just be willing to explore, experiment & play with the information & ideas you have gathered along the way as you probe. Nothing is sacred.

For me, spontaneous juxtaposition is the key to this wonderful reading & exploration exercise.

With hindsight, & over the years, I have unconsciously applied Richard's expert strategy without his personal instruction, but I have combined it with the syntopical reading method as described to generate what I am doing today.

They have worked for me, & I am sure they will work for you. All it takes is some hard work from you, plus a little bit of self-discipline.

Thanks to the unknown wise guy who once said this:

"In business or life, everything is possible; it's only a question of strategy & discipline."


[continued from the Last Post.]

Step 3: Driving Forces in the Macro Environment

Nothing emerges from nothing. There are primal driving forces in the macro-environment, behind the micro-environmental forces referred to above.

Major outcomes can emanate from minor beginnings: some of these forces are ‘predetermined’ (e.g. population increase on our planet, over the next 30 years, or the decrease in availability of affordable fossil fuels), and some are highly uncertain (e.g. the advent of nuclear fusion to solve our energy needs, a huge asteroid colliding with our planet, or peace amongst all peoples across the globe).

Of prime importance is the knowledge of “what is inevitable and necessary and what is unpredictable and still a matter of choice.”

Instead of ruing one’s fate with a litany of regrets: “If only…”, “What bad luck…”, and “Why me?” we should seek and spot major trends and crucial trend breaks in order to be better prepared for the future.

This is the most research-intensive step in the process.

Step 4: Gauge the Data, Rank your Findings

In order to extract clarity from the accumulated data, create a matrix to rank (prioritise) the key factors and driving trends, on the basis of two criteria:

(1) the degree of importance for the success of the focal issue identified in Step 1

(2) the degree of uncertainty surrounding the factors and trends associated with the focal issue. Aim to identify the few factors or trends that are most important and most uncertain.

Lifescapes will never differ over predetermined elements like the inevitable aging of a chosen population, because predetermined elements are bound to be the same in all scripts, stories, and strategies.

[To be continued in the Next Post. All images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Further to my earlier post on introducing the lifescape, here are the basic steps to developing lifescapes from Dilip Mukerjea:

Step 1: Ask Key Question(s) and Identify the Focal Issue

• What agitates you?
• What keeps you on edge?
• What can disrupt your status quo?
• What can you initiate today in order to checkmate approaching adversity?
• What can you spark alight now, in order to enhance your long-term prospects?

Learn to think so far ahead that you can look back at the future; so far back, that you can look forward to the past. Discard your mind-set in favour of mind-flux: the state of consciousness, one of aliveness, alert to peripheral awareness, breath of scope, and depth of vision.

The Focal Issue can now emerge from triggering a radiant stream of associations within the environment, addressing factors in domains such as: information, communication, entertainment, finance, education, energy, technology, society, transportation, environment, politics, and spirituality.

Step 2: Be a Hunter-Gatherer of Key Forces in the Micro Environment

Collate the information from Step 1; identify and prioritise the key forces, positive and negative, impacting the outcome of pivotal decisions hinged to the Focal Issue.

Match polar factors such as risk and reward, loss and gain, instant and distant, in order to tease out key elements for critical choices to be made.

You are now in a position to view possibilities influencing the success or failure of decisions and resolutions involving competitors, customers, suppliers and services…or, elements involving your personal relationship with yourself.

[To be continued in the Next Post. All images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


[continued from the Last Post.]

The root of the word 'absurd' comes from the Latin surdus, ‘deaf or mute,’ a translation of the Arabic jadr asamm, a ‘deaf root.’ To hear, to listen, to pay attention; all valuable skills
in creative communication.

Our vision monopolises our senses. Our eyes are emblems of our status as predators. Prey have eyes at the sides of their heads, for increased peripheral vision and heightened alertness. Most predators have eyes set right on the front of their heads, like owls, and humans. This provides them with binocular vision that enables 3-D imagery to be recognised.

We are now steeped more than ever in a visual culture. The eyes however, are light gatherers; true seeing takes place in the brain. It is the mind’s eye, the sensuist eye, that allows us to picture real as well as imaginary events.

Learn with all your senses. Your memories then become remembrances. In this way, learning and creativity merge to form a union that is illuminated with constant novelty.

The synchrony of our senses helps us discover the beauty of our consciousness.

Synaesthesia is the secret of great artists and scientists. It is the synergy of all our senses. And our senses are the conduits of pleasure, of pain, and the ‘midwives of intelligence.’ We must cultivate our senses. They enable us to exhibit power of persuasion and clarity of expression.

Map your mind with Mind Maps, the brainchild of Tony Buzan. This is a creativity technique that twinkles with life.

Immerse yourself in its radiance.

Further Reading on Mind Maps:

'The Mind Map Book' by Tony Buzan, 'Superbrain', 'Brainfinity', and 'Braindancing' by Dilip Mukerjea, 'Thinking For a Change', by Michael Gelb.


Create a central image that represents an experience you have had, such as falling in love, debating about an issue, working on a project, climbing a mountain, water skiing, etc. Relive in your mind the diverse sensations that correspond to your five senses. Expand the Main Branches, one for each sense.

[Excerpted from 'Surfing the Intellect: Building Intellectual Capital for a Knoweldge Economy', by Dilip Mukerjea. All images in this post are the intellectual capital of Dilip Mukerjea.]

Monday, August 10, 2009


If you can see only the alphabets or colours, then you are not mindful enough.

However, if you can see additionally a hidden graphic symbol (seemingly embedded in the trade name), then your mind is pretty flexible. That's to say, your mind can shift perception.

According to creativity guru, having the fluidity of perception or multiple perspectives is the key to boosting personal creativeness.

Futurist Joel Arthur Barker has a more powerful phrase for the phenomenon: paradigm pliancy.


"The psychology of the mature human being is an unfolding, emergent, oscillating, spiraling process marked by progressive
subordination of older, lower-order behaviour systems to newer, higher-order systems as man's existential problems change."
~ Dr Clare W Graves;

[Further elaboration & exploration of Dr Grave's pioneering work can be found in two great books, namely 'Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership & Change ', by Don Beck & Christopher Cowan, & 'The Mother of All Minds', by Dudley Lynch.]


[continued from the Last Post.]

In creativity, the active use of all our senses is invaluable. They have the power to detonate as memories, and more so, as remembrances. Ideas explode forth from such mental activity because emotion in thought leads to motion in ideation.

Smell is the most direct of all our senses; nothing stirs our memories quicker than this sense. As Edwin T. Morris points out in Fragrance, ‘there is almost no short-term memory with odours.’ Just long-term memories. This is a major reason why smell stimulates learning and retention.

Morris goes on to state: “When children were given olfactory information along with a word list, the list was recalled much more easily and better retained in memory than when given without olfactory cues. Perfumes could be considered as liquid memory.”

Touch is a sensory system with unique functions and qualities; most importantly, it is the oldest sense and the most urgent. It can affect entire organisms, shape cultures, and the individuals that experience it.

As Saul Schanberg states: “Those animals who did more touching instinctively produced offspring which survived, and their genes were passed on and the tendency to touch became even stronger. We forget that touch is not only basic to our species, but the key to it.”

Taste is closely connected to smell, yet it is unique, and intensely personal. The word originates from tasten, Middle English for ‘to examine by touch, test, or sample,’ and further back, its roots spring from the Latin taxare, ‘to touch sharply.’ From a trial or a test, we are able to experience good taste and bad taste.

We can lose track of the logic of our lives when our sense of hearing is lost. In fact, the Arabic, ‘not being able to hear’ equates with absurdity. In mathematics, a ‘surd’ is an impossibility, and it is embedded in the word ‘absurd.’

"The five senses are the ministers of the soul.… Yet, the average human ‘looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odour or fragrance, and talks without thinking.’"

~ Leonardo da Vinci;

[To be continued in the Next Post. Excerpted from 'Surfing the Intellect: Building Intellectual Capital for a Knoweldge Economy', by Dilip Mukerjea. All images in this post are the intellectual capital of Dilip Mukerjea.]

Sunday, August 9, 2009



To stimulate the use of your senses when thinking, recalling, and in the process of generating ideas. Formidable in product design, process control, and human interaction.

"Most people think of the mind as being located in the head, but the latest findings in physiology suggest that the mind doesn’t really dwell in the brain but travels the whole body on caravans of hormone and enzyme, busily making sense of the compound wonders we catalogue as touch, taste, smell, hearing, vision."

~ Diane Ackerman

We are the product of sexual union, the primal act of creative coupling.

Creativity propagates creativity, ultimately giving birth to our minds. It has enabled us to become sentient beings, every individual as spectacularly unique as a snowflake.

The word ‘sentient’ comes from the Latin sentire, ‘to feel,’ and also from the Indo-European sent-, ‘to head for,’ ‘go;’ we thus ‘go mentally’ in order to acquire consciousness.

The sensuist is someone who rejoices in sensory experiences. This should not be confused with the sensualist, who is concerned with the gratification of sexual appetites. Our lives pulse along on a fever of consciousness.

Uniqueness emerges from infinite shards of information that travel along the pathways of our senses. The jigsawing of information creates a fluid tapestry that is our identity at any moment.

A true sensuist will have a tapestry that changes dynamically, in real time.

Look at the drawing below. It will help you remember the different senses.

V = Visual (sight)
O = Olfactory or Odile (smell)
T = Tactile (for touch and taste)
A = Auditory (hearing)

[To be continued in the Next Post. Excerpted from 'Surfing the Intellect: Building Intellectual Capital for a Knowledge Economy', by Dilip Mukerjea. All images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]