"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."

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


[continued from the Last Post.]

Dilip Mukerjea, writing in his book, 'Building BrainPower: Turning Grey Matter into Gold', offers the following Action Points for Your Reading:

1) Develop your reading program. Improve the general quality, breadth and depth of your reading. Strive to read at least a book a week.

2) Use established techniques (such as 'visual guide') to attain acceleration and smoothness in your reading.

3) Build your vocabulary, with at least 3 new words per day. Use these words actively, in speech as well as in writing.

4) Seek out key words within text. Equate this information with mental Mind Mapping (no paper and no pens) and other memory techniques, so as to monitor your progress in Mental Literacy.

5) Study about, and exercise, your eyes e.g. Bates Method, Yoga techniques, and so on.

6) Enhance your reading environment in line with the Mental Matrix. Consider reading in full-spectrum lighting so as to eliminate eye fatigue.

7) Learn to 'deep read' material that needs to be absorbed at a more philosophical level.

8) Monitor your reading speeds on a regular basis.

9) Teach other people to acquire these skills and to apply this process to their studies and work assignments.

10) Create and run 'High Eye Cue' Society! Remember, Readers Make Leaders!

[to be continued in the Next Post: Actions Points for Your Mind & Body.]

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Here's the link to a fascinating though belated article by marketing strategist Al Ries in the 'Sources of Insight' weblog, which throws some light on the foregoing dilemma.

His end analysis is this:

"... Frankly business needs both: Logical, analytical left brainers to manage the business and intuitive, holistic right brainers to create the new ideas and concepts that will insure future success. For that to happen, both sides need to understand each other better."

[By the way, the foregoing blog post title also happens to be the title of Al Ries' new book, written together with his daughter, Laura Ries.]


My younger brother, a techno-geek, has sent me this link with access to some awesome panoraminc views of the Milky Way.

Mother Nature is indeed stunningly beautiful.

Monday, September 28, 2009


[continued from the Last Post.]

Dilip Mukerjea, writing in his book, 'Building BrainPower: Turning Grey Matter into Gold', offers the following Action Points for Your Mind-Mapping:

1) Make regular Mind Map notes, even if they are crafted solely in the mind.

2) Spot key words in lectures, notes, and books. Endeavour constantly to convert them into images.

3) Create a colour code for your notes and in your activities.

4) Develop 3D symbols and codes.

5) Use Mini Mind Maps on a regular basis.

6) Build your vocabulary and strive to understand meanings at diverse levels.

7) Mind Map all aspects of yourself. Create a Life Plan Mind Map and monitor your progress.

8) Review a book with a Mind Map. Then review several books and distill the contents onto One Mind Map.

9) Make a group Mind Map for a holiday, party, project, or subject.

10) test your memory with elaborate Mind Maps to see if your ability to retain vast amounts of information is being developed on a continuing basis.

[to be continued in the Next Post: Actions Points for Your Reading.]


"An arbitrary harmony, an expected astonishment, a habitual revelation, a familiar surprise, a generous selfishness, an unexpected certainty, a formable stubbornness, a vital triviality, a disciplined freedom, an intoxicating steadiness, a repeated initiation, a difficult delight, a predictable gamble, an ephemeral solidity, a unifying difference, a demanding satisfier, a miraculous expectation, and accustomed amazement."

~ George Prince, co-progenitor of the famed Synectics group problem solving process, & author of the classic, 'The Practice of Creativity' (1970);


"To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In a word to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony."

~ William Ellery Channing (1780-1842); the foremost Unitarian preacher in the United States during the early 19th century; best known for his articulate & impassioned sermons & public speeches, & as a prominent thinker in the liberal theology of the day;


This gorgeous infographics poster, designated as 'McDonald's Heat Wave', shows the fast food chain from wall-to-wall across the eastern & southern regions of the United States.

Stephen von Worley at Weather Sealed has set out to chart the urban sprawl of America by mapping the 13,000+ locations of McDonald's across the lower 48 states.

With the aid of Agg Data, he has created a striking map of the United States, colored by distance to the nearest domestic Mickey D's.

Here's the link to the original story in 'Fast Company'.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Here's an interesting article about monitoring your strategic plan in anticipation of emerging marketplace shifts, from Cary Silverstein, president & CEO of Strategic Management Associates.

In the article, he offers four key methods:

- premise control;

- implementation control;

- strategic surveillance; &

- special alert control;


Jamais Cascio of The Institute of the Future has recently written two interesting articles about developing strategic foresight in 'Fast Company', as follows:

- 'Tomorrow Matters: Ignoring the Future is Undermining the Present';

- 'Futures Thinking: The Basics';

According to the author, most futures projects, whether informal or professional, follow a similar pattern:

- Asking the Question;

- Scanning the World;

- Mapping the Possibilities;

- Asking the Next Question; &

- Thinking it Through;

Saturday, September 26, 2009


[continued from the Last Post.]

Dilip Mukerjea, writing in his book, 'Building BrainPower: Turning Grey Matter into Gold', offers the following Action Points for Your Creativity:

1) Recognise your uniqueness and build on your strengths. You DO NOT have poor memory, you CAN learn how to remember because it is one your natural strengths.

2) Make and maintain your own Creative Thinking Zone.

3) Break your own moulds - new clothes, persona, activities and so on.

4) Play with children - and rediscover (recover) the child within yourself.

5) Create spaces and times (spacetimes) to rest. Catnap regularly if nighttime sleep is a problem.

6) radiate out on notes - use colour, imagery and symbolism.

7) Set memory targets on a daily basis, and very soon, incremental improvements will metamorphose into quantum accomplishments.

8) Pose hypo-problems and work at solving them. Try this without pen and paper, play Creative Mind Games to provoke synaptic connections. This will also help build your spatial intelligence.

9) Read widely, and deeply. Become polymathic. Readers make Leaders!

10) Meet new peoples, experience unfamiliar cultures, and keep observing with a fascination towards life.

[to be continued in the Next Post: Actions Points for Your Mind Mapping.]


The strategy of exploiting chaos in order to seize opportunities in today's crazy times is obviously the rousing battle cry of innovation expert Jeremy Gutsche's new book, 'Exploiting Chaos: 150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change'.

I have mentioned about this book briefly in an earlier post.

Backed by excellent credentials - host of TrendHunter TV, founder of, reportedlythe world's largest network of trend-spotting & cool-hunting pros, & now a widely-sought keynote speaker in North America - the author & his book are seemingly getting raving reviews.

In the first place, the book is quite unique in itself: visually engaging, with a fancy mix of large format, bold letters, coloured texts, oversized fonts, long & short sentences, wide spacing, & interspersed with wise quotes, jumpy lists & large portraits or photographs. All these features make reading a breeze!

In fact, I get the impression that the author may have been heavily influenced by the published thoughtwares of corporate skunk Tom Peters.

In reality, the author writes exactly like Tom Peters with his short, staccato bursts of energetic prescriptions, occasionally outrageous & yet written succinctly, with enchanting anecdotes & provocative examples from real-world events, in contrast to the staid academic texts of the time.

So much so that reading his book on my part reminds me of reading Tom Peters' 'Reinventing Work' series of small pocket-sized hard-backs, namely, 'The Brand You 50', 'The Project 50' & 'The Professional Service Firm 50' (combined, they also give a total of 150 ways to spark innovation, many of which are still relevant for today) during the late 90's.

I don't mean to throw a wet blanket on 'Exploiting Chaos', but it is obvious to me that the many ideas in the book are not ground-breaking or revolutionary, but the author certainly has given them a new & refreshing spin with his so-called 'Crowd Sourced Insights'.

The latter is definitely a cool innovation on the part of the author, even though, with the luxury of today's Internet & Web 2.0 technologies, he has apparently extended the content analysis intelligence methodologies of futurist John Naisbitt, whose resultant book, 'Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives', rocked the world during the early 80's.

Instead of running probably a large team of media analysts to scan some 6,000 local & regional newspapers, trade journals, etc., within the United States during the 80's as in the case with John Naisbitt, TrendHunter intelligently uses a small project team of dedicated staff to sift & resift the constant flow of disparate spotted ideas (known as micro-trends) from some 28,000+ global trend hunters.

They are then posted on the TrendHunter website - just imagine they garnered 40 million page views in 2008 - & then, measured & filtered down to 360+ clusters of inspirations, which in turn are reconfigured into their popular Trend Reports, which are sought after by big boys, like The Economist & Financial Times.

In a nut shell, the book's selling point, besides promoting the company's lucrative Trend Reports, is how to ride & leverage on the current recession & emerging trends - through the adept use of some of the 150 ways offered in the book as fuel to spark innovation - to make a quantum leap.

The 'Exploiting Chaos' framework, comprising 'Culture of Revolution', 'Trend Hunting', 'Adaptive Innovation' & 'Infectious Messaging', is interesting too, but one needs to work diligently to get it to work.

The author's principal argument about the giants of business - Disney, CNN, HP, GE, Apple, Sun, to name just a few - having started & prospered during time of crises, certainly makes good reading. Encouraging, too.

There is only one point in the book that sort of annoys me: 'Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast', even though his checklist of parameters, 'Perspective', Experimental Failure', 'Customer Obsession' & 'Intentional Destruction', is reasonably valid.

I hold the view that strategy formulation or thinking strategically must always comes first & be sustained throughout, so that one can really do something about the culture.

On the whole, this book is still worth reading. To paraphrase the marketing maverick Seth Godin, "with the ideas from the book, you might catch an ideavirus!".

Nonetheless, I also like to recommend two books to go as companion reading:

Jim Carroll's 'What I Learned from Frogs in Texas: Saving Your Skin with Forward-Thinking Innovation', & 'Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast', which I had already reviewed in the 'Optimum Performance Technologies' weblog.

[Readers can go to the TrendHunter website to download a 25 page preview of the book. Here's the link.

Alternatively, the Business Week online magazine has singled out 24 of the 150 ways to spark innovation in a slide presentation. Here's the link to view it.]

Friday, September 25, 2009


If readers are keen to learn about the fundamentals of strategic foresight, I suggest going to this link to register for the initial ten free lessons from the esteemed World Future Society.

The weekly lessons, e-mailed to subscribers, offer straightforward explanations of the futurist profession’s most useful “futuring” techniques, with practical examples of they are used and resources for finding more information.

The lessons include:

- Innovation Enhancement

- Technology Trends

- Trend Analysis

- Scenarios

- Visioning, & more.

The World Future Society, founded in 1966, is an association of people interested in how social & technological developments are shaping the future. It endeavors to help individuals, organizations, & communities see, understand, & respond appropriately & effectively to change.

Through media, meetings, & dialogue among its members, it raises awareness of change & encourages development of creative solutions.

The Society takes no official position on what the future will or should be like. Instead it acts as a neutral forum for exploring possible, probable, & preferable futures.

The World Future Society has published numerous books, including 'Futuring: The Exploration of the Future' by Society founder Edward Cornish, as well as several print & electronic journals, including 'The Futurist', a bimonthly magazine focused on innovation, creative thinking, & emerging social, economic, & technological trends.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


[continued from the Last Post.]

Dilip Mukerjea, writing in his book, 'Building BrainPower: Turning Grey Matter into Gold', offers the following Action Points for Your Memory Management:

1) Inject colour and diversity into your life.

2) Look, think, link, and ink the stimuli of life; it will build your memory muscle.

3) Make dramatic beginnings and entrances (start starts!).

4) Dare to imagine, unleash your sense of fun! Risk it and realise what you have been missing!

5) Observe with a purpose, then link, connect, and realise whatever you wish to remember.

6) Take regular breaks between prolonged learning sessions.

7) Apply your memory skills to numbers, data, names and faces.

8) Use the Memory Principles constantly.

9) Review constantly - see things again, preferably using Mind Maps, Imagination techniques, and interactive discussions; this practice embeds information into long term memory.

10) Ensure that your diet is healthy; remember that three-quarters of the word 'diet' is terminal ('die') if what you ingest is unhealthy.

[to be continued in the Next Post: Actions Points for Your Creativity.]


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

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Dilip Mukerjea, writing in his book, 'Building BrainPower: Turning Grey Matter into Gold', offers the following Action Points for Your Brain:

1) Establish goals to develop your brain. Link it to a vision that is real and vibrant. Match them both to your purpose in life and to your calling, which is your embedded destiny.

2) Apply the mental matrix (left & Right Brain Hemispheric specialties) to your life, family, learning, and relationships so as to achieve cognitive balance, and thereby boost your creative output.

3) Put more colour in your life, personality, conversations, dress, notes, and the people you meet.

4) Increase your day-dreaming time.

5) Develop your imagination; look for a 'Return on Imagination' (ROI).

6) Look for the connections between things, events, and phenomena in life.

7) Take up your dream hobby (music, art, languages, sports, etc.), and live it at a molecular level.

8) Find role models such as the "Great Brains" throughout history; allow them to inspire your efforts in life.

9) Keep physically healthy to remain mentally healthy; these two qualities are indispensable in becoming spiritually healthy. Take up aikido.

10) Think in metaphors and analogies, and equate them with every aspect of your life; they provide wisdom and are the ingredients of 'brain song'; the music of your inherent genius.

[to be continued in the Next Post: Action Points for Your Memory.]


Here are just some of the many ways to unleash your personal creativity:

- Set up a dedicated 'think' space at home & don't forget to document your creative sparks in a notebook or journal;

- Know your "peak period" of creativity flow - mine is either early in the morning or late in the night;

- Read as much as you can, but try to go beyond mainstream & start to read odd or fringe stuff – just to get new perspectives or ideas. A quick browse of a Nature magazine gave R Buckminister Fuller some clues to his invention of the geodesic dome;

- Ask some dumb questions: The Night Safari at the Singapore Zoo came as a result of a staff member asking, “How come we don't open the zoo at night?”;

- Believe in yourself, & that you are creative; in fact we are all born geniuses; "only schools have degeniused us", according to R Buckminster Fuller;

- Scan everywhere you go & observe everything or everyone for potential ideas; ideas often come from observations in anywhere; a Singaporean inventor often observe kids hanging out on the beach with nothing to do, & so he invented a series of sand-castle-building tools for them;

- Clear your mental clutter – so that you have more space for many different & new perspectives & ideas;

- Start “possibility coagulation” - this requires openness & a willingness to ask questions;

- Regain your childhood curiosity - by spending some time with kids - their sense of wonder can really be infectious; I love to hang out with kids;

- Eliminate “Yes, but…” from your daily vocabulary, & replace it with “Yes, and…”, & watch out for all the possibilities that may start to appear;

- Allow ample time for incubation – I like to call it the 'Twilight Zone': just pose your problem in your mind & then let it go; then listen to the solutions that come to you – sitting on the toilet bowl, soaping in the shower, taking a walk in the park, while commuting, etc.;

- Switch off the inner critic – that pesky little voice that undermines your personal confidence;

- Laugh & joke often, everyday - if you have ever watched the 'Seinfeld' sitcom, you will note than jokes often allow you to see things differently;

- Grab your iPod & go for a run or a fast walk around the block: This combination of change in scenery, physical exertion & your favourite music will make you feel better, raring to go for exploring some new approaches;

- Seek out creative company &/or develop a creative community by your side: The best ideas are forged not in moments of solitary genius, but during lively exchanges with others;

- Daydream more often, & allow your mind to wander: A wandering mind may allow your brain to search more widely for new connections that could trigger a "eureka" moment;

- Apply proven generative techniques, e.g. idea-mapping, image-streaming, brain-writing, lotus-blossoming, etc., to help you boost your personal creativeness;

- Simply start doing, by immersing yourself in a broad variety of creative endeavours, e.g. gardening, cooking, playing music or instruments, starting a blog, writing poetry, & even talking to strangers on the streets or while queueing in a line, etc.;

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Lester C. Thurow, former dean of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, has stressed:

“In the twenty-first century, brainpower and imagination, invention, and the organisation of new technologies are the key strategic ingredients.”

“Today, knowledge and skills now stand alone as the only source of comparative advantage.”

Some nations have drawn up lists of the key technologies, which will serve as the engines of wealth and prosperity in the new century.

Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry compiled a typical list in 1990. That list includes:

- Microelectronics;
- Biotechnology;
- The new material science industries;
- Telecommunications;
- Civilian aircraft manufacturing;
- Machine tools and robots;
- Computers (hardware and software);

Based on present trends, it is believed that by 2020 the Internet will access the sum total of human experience on this planet. This refers to the collective knowledge and wisdom of the past 5,000 years of recorded history.

The impact of the Internet can be compared to that of Gutenberg’s movable type in the 1450s. This is when it became possible for large numbers of books to reach a mass audience in Europe. (China and Korea already had a version of movable type).

Prior to Gutenberg, there were only 30,000 or so books in all of Europe. By 1500, Europe was flooded with more than 9 million books, stimulating the intellectual ferment, which paved the way for the Renaissance.

With so much information available today, we tend to move from being generalists to specialists.

Yet, whenever people learn something sufficiently well, they cease to be aware of it. This could be dangerous if our minds shut down and we stop learning.

In order to think on your feet and stay on your toes, try the following exercise:

Divide a blank sheet of paper into two vertical columns.

At the head of the left column, write the title: “Assets” and at the head of the right column, write “So what?”

In the left column, write down all the assets that pertain to you or your Organisation.

Only after the work in the left column has been completed, answer each point in the right column.

The objective of this exercise is for you to be able to answer any Devil’s Advocate questions that might be thrown at you from members of the public. It stops you from becoming complacent.

Once you can confidently answer the “So what?” Questions for each point, you can believe you are on firm ground… for the moment.

We must constantly cannibalise who we are in order to become who we could be.

After all, isn’t it true that the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth?

[Excerpted from the 'Lifescaping' seminar participant's workbook. All the images in this post are the intellectual propoerty of Dilip Mukerjea.]

Say Keng's personal comments:

Likewise, a couple of years ago, Singapore has in fact launched its masterplan to make the island an 'Intelligent Nation', with an inclusive digital society for all by 2015.

The Masterplan will leverage on our capacity to innovate; ability to integrate resources & capabilities across diverse organisations & geographies; & intent to tap the world as the market for Singapore businesses.

Businessess will be better empowered to grow, people will lead better lives, & foreign investors will find new opportunities in Singapore's infocomm-enriched environment. It will be an exciting infocommenabled future where no one will be left behind.

So, what's your personal masterplan for the future?

[On a broader scale, & if interested, readers can also go to this link to read a 160-report on Singapore's strategic thrusts to leverage on 'manufacturing' & 'services' as twin engines of growth to exploit the global economic trends towards a Knowledge-based Economy.

It may give you more ideas about crafting your personal masterplan for the future.]

Monday, September 21, 2009


Here's another intellectual masterpiece from Dilip Mukerjea!

For more than six months, & in close collaboration with me, Dilip Mukerjea has developed a series of powerful tools & strategies to help students think & do better in school & in life.

All the tools & strategies are already embodied in his 'SuperBrain Study Skills' seminars for secondary schools.

He has also created a 'SuperBrain Study Skills' companion workbook to be used in conjunction with the seminars.

Currently, he is working on another version of seminar as well as companion workbook specifically targeted at primary school students.

The foregoing snapshot is just one of the tools. In this case, it's a goal setting questionnaire with a big picture view.

Our research has demonstrated that goal setting holds the first of ten keys to high-performing student achievement. For a student, it helps him or her to:

- set direction;

- focus attention;

- direct energy;

- stretch potential, & more importantly,

- activate the brain's reticular activating system (RAS)! [Just imagine a Tomahawk cruise missile with its computerised guidance system!]


I have found the following fascinating poster on the net.


"Change cannot be brought about easily by leaders, except in those situations in which the changes advocated do not disturb present relationships. In fact, it is the leaders who typically become the most bitter and the most effective foes of change.

The public, therefore, must take the initiative and assume responsibility for progress in the affairs of man. The public must force change upon its leaders (who) command more respect today than perhaps they deserve…

The leader is expert in his small world as it presently exists, not expert in the world as it might be. Although he plays an important role in modern society, it is not realistic to expect him to advocate change. This is the surest way for him to lose his status … The hope of the future rests with the citizen.

To be effective, he must be well informed, and he must discover ways of making better use of his own great capacities and those of his fellow man. He cannot expect his leaders to give him much help in his upward march."

~ Professor George Gallup, (1901-1984), writing in 'The Miracle Ahead'; acknowledged worldwide as one of the greatest leaders of change; also, the inventor of the Gallup Poll at Princeton & the designer of market research;

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Here's an extract - it talks about developing mindfulness - of an interesting article on creativity by Daniel Coleman, originally published in Psychology Today:

"So often we go through our days on automatic pilot, but lacking the Zen inner awareness. To a certain degree, we like people and situations to be predictable; we enjoy the habitual and tend to avoid surprises.

But there is a downside to routine: We can easily become fixed in our ways of seeing. Our expectation of how things are supposed to be replaces our capacity to perceive. This can range from not seeing the new color or cut of your partner's hair to not seeing a new approach to your work.

Here are two ideas for refocusing your perceptions and deepening your creative capacity:

Each day, do one thing different from your normal routine. You might go to bed at a new time, or take a new route to work or school.

Or eat something you would never dream of eating.

If you are feeling more adventurous, strike up a conversation with a particularly difficult person—maybe someone you really can't stand—and treat this person in a completely new way. The more pesky the person and entrenched the routine, the more likely you are to shake up your habitual ways of seeing things.

The key is not to think about how to change things or to ask, "What is the best way to change them?" but rather to change things for no other reason than just for the sake of it.

What we see every day becomes ordinary to us. People, sights, sounds, and smells seem to disappear from our awareness. They lose their distinctiveness. One way of dealing with this is to invent a brand-new pattern, a fresh way of seeing the commonplace.

Begin with something as basic as water. The idea is to notice the number of times a day you come in contact with it and the extraordinary number of ways it appears in your life: from a hot shower or the delicate beads of mist on the leaves outside your window to the ice cubes clinking in your glass.

This technique of taking things out of their ordinary context and creating a new pattern for them is a way of making the familiar strange and opening them to a fresh and creative approach."

By the way, here's the link to the original article.


Are you at peace with yourself?

The quality of life is determined by how you direct your inherent source of energy.

Calmness and composure, serenity and substance, tranquillity and teleonomy (the characteristic of being governed by an overall purpose). These are the ingredients of an undisturbed mind.

Lose these qualities, lose your vitality. Energy leakages proliferate. They drain us, make us bitter, and set off an unwelcome chain reaction of misery throughout society.

The great sages of the past inform us of three main dissipating channels for energy leakage:

(1) Memories of the past: we are burdened by past baggage, especially by those of ‘failure’. Past underperformance dictates subsequent action.

(2) Excitement of the present: we are assaulted by any number of events rushing at us; as soon as we are preoccupied by one event, another takes over, then another, and so on. The avalanche assumes control. Focus evaporates, panic sets in.

(3) Anxieties for the future: Unrealistic expectations, fear of failure, terror at confronting the unknown, these are the typical demons that assault our composure.

Energise or enervate? What do you prescribe for yourself?

[Excerpted from the 'Lifescaping' seminar participant's manual. All images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]

Saturday, September 19, 2009


“This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it, or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind … let it be something good.”

[Excerpted from the 'Lifescaping' seminar participant's manual. All the images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]

Say Keng's personal comments:

This is akin to the wise saying:

"Today is the first day of the rest of your life."

Since life is what you make of it, or a do-it-yourself project, so to speak, you might as well make the best of it.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Can you add just one line to the roman numeral as shown below:


& convert it into the number 'Ten'.

Give it a go, just for the fun of it!

There are many possibilities. All you need to do is to shift your focus & revv up your imagination!

I will give you one, just to set the ball rolling, as follows:

X / I

Thursday, September 17, 2009


[Excerpted from the 'Lifescaping' seminar participant's manual. All the images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]


[Excerpted from the 'Lifescaping' seminar participant's manual. All the images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]


[Excerpted from the 'Lifescaping' seminar participant's manual. All the images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


As far as I know, the whole idea of what I like to call "role-playing learning personas" has apparently been first broached by creativity guru Roger von Oech, when he outlined four specific roles as follows [in his book, 'A Kick in the Seat of the Pants', published in the mid-eighties;], which one can assume in the process of expanding one's mental horizons, &/or generating multiple viewpoints, while looking at a problem situation, or business issue:

- explorer;

- artist;

- judge;

- warrior;

I have already talked about this in an earlier post.

To recap, from Roger von Oech's book:

- When it's time to seek out new information, adopt the mindset of an Explorer. Get off the beaten path, poke around in outside areas, & pay attention to unusual patterns.

- When you need to create a new idea, let the Artist in you come out. Ask 'what-if' questions & look for hidden analogies. Break the rules & look at things backwards. Add something & take something away. Ultimately, you'll come up with an original idea.

- When it's time to decide if your idea is worth implementing, see yourself as a Judge. Ask what's wrong & if the timing's right. Question your assumptions & make a decision.

- When you carry your idea into action, be a Warrior. Put a fire in your belly, eliminate your excuses, & do what's necessary to reach your objective.

Then, more or less around the same time, came creativity guru Michael Hewitt-Gleeson from Down Under, with his 'Six Thinking Caps', followed by creativity guru Edward de bono, with his 'Six Thinking Hats', culminating specifically as follows:

- white (rational, logical, objective);

- red (emotional);

- black (negative);

- yellow (positive, hopeful, optimistic);

- green (creative & innovative);

- blue (ordered, controlled, structured);

[Readers can read more about them in their respective corporate websites.]

Last, but not least, came the world-known IDEO design people with their book, written by Tom Kelley, entitled 'The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO's Strategies for Defeating the Devil's Advocate & Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization'.

Here's their battle-tested methodology of the 'role-playing learning personas', from their book:

1. The Anthropologist:

He observes human behavior & developes a deep understanding of how people interact physically & emotionally with products, services, & spaces;

2. The Experimenter:

He prototypes new ideas continuously, learning by a process of enlightened trial & error; also, takes calculated risks to achieve success through a state of "experimentation as implementation."

3. The Cross-Pollinator:

He explores other industries & cultures, & then translates those findings & revelations - via mixing & matching ideas, people & technology - to fit the unique needs of the customer;

4. The Hurdler:

He knows that the path to innovation is strewn with obstacles & develops a knack for overcoming or outsmarting those limits, challenges & roadblocks;

5. The Collaborator:

He helps bring eclectic groups together, & often leads from the middle of the pack to create new combinations & multi-disciplinary solutions; more importantly, to get things done;

6. The Director:

He not only gathers together a talented cast & crew but also helps to spark their creative talents, by marshalling all available resources;

7. The Experience Architect:

He designs compelling experiences that go beyond mere functionality to connect at a deeper level with customers' latent or expressed needs;

8. The Set Designer:

He creates a stage on which innovation team members can do their best work, transforming physical environments into powerful tools to influence behavior & attitude;

9. The Caregiver:

He builds on the metaphor of a health-care professional to deliver customer care in a manner that goes beyond mere service;

10. The Storyteller or Tale Blazer [to borrow the term from my good friend, Dilip Mukerjea], :

He builds both internal morale & external awareness through compelling narratives that communicate a fundamental human value or reinforce a specific cultural trait;

According to IDEO, people who adopt the "role-playing learning roles" are humble enough to question their own worldview, & in doing so, they remain open to new insights every day.

In a nut shell, the personas are about "being innovation", rather than merely "doing innovation."

Take on one or more of these roles, as outlined in the foregoing, & you'll be taking a conscious step toward becoming more of an innovator in your daily life.

Come to think of it, one can also adopt the 'Problem Walkabout' approach, apparently drawing parallels from the four-quadrant brain profile of Ned Herrmann, as conceived by John Kruithof [in his book, 'Thinking Quality, Quality Thinking'], as follows:

- look at it analytically & rationally, taking a bottom-line view;

- look at it conservatively, taking a detailed procedural view;

- look at it emotionally, taking a people-oriented view;

- look at it intuitively & conceptually, taking a big picture view;

I have already talked about this approach in an earlier post [in the 'Optimum Performance Technologies' weblog].

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


[continued from the Last Post.]

1. How do you put a giraffe in the fridge?

Correct answer: Open the fridge, put the giraffe inside, close the fridge.

This question checks if you tend to make simple things complicated.

2. How do you put an elephant in the fridge?

Wrong answer: Open the fridge, put the elephant inside, close the fridge.

Correct answer: Open the fridge, remove the giraffe, put the elephant inside, close the fridge.

This question checks your ability to consider implications from your previous actions.

3. The Lion King organized a moot for the animals: all the animals are present but one. Which one?

Correct answer: The elephant. The elephant is in the fridge.

This checks your memory.

Even though you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you will answer the next one for sure.

4. You have to cross a river, but it is populated by alligators. What are you going to do?

Correct answer: You swim across the river because all the alligators are attending the moot.

This question checks if you learn quickly from your mistakes.

According to Andersen Consulting Worldwide, 90% of the managers who undertook the test failed all the answers.

But many preschoolers got several correct answers. Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) says this conclusively disproves the theory that most professionals have the brains of a four year old.


Here's the link to a great article, entitled 'Business Success Secrets from 7 Top Leaders', by Paul Thornton, President of Be the Leader Associates, who has apparently drawn the material from his book, 'Leadership: Best Advice I Ever Got'.


The foregoing blogpost title more or less sums up the gist of the book.

In fact, it has been extracted from the 'Foreword' by futurist/strategist Joel Arthur Barker to the book, 'Putting Our Differences to Work: The Fastest Way to Innovation, Leadership & High Performance', by Debbe Kennedy.

[Both consultants/authors have been relatively long-time collaborators.]

Frankly speaking, it's Joel Arthur Barker's particular contribution of 'Chapter 10: Innovation at the Verge of Differences' & 'Chapter 11: Collaborating at the Verge of Differences' that has initially attracted me to read the book.

On the other hand, I am also familiar with the author (Debbe Kennedy)'s previous work, namely, 'Breakthrough! The Problem Solving Advantage' (1998) & 'Action Dialogues: Meaningful Conversations to Accelerate Change, (2000), as well as her complete 'Strategic Action Series' (2000) of short & snappy booklets, total six of them, comprising:

- 'Assessment: Defining Current Realities';
- 'Acceptance: Developing Support for Change';
- 'Action: Moving Forward';
- 'Accountability: Establishing Shared Ownership';
- 'Achievement: measuring Progress/Celebrating Success';
- 'Diversity Breakthrough with More Action: Keeping Momentum Alive';

As a matter of fact, while running my own small retail outlet, aptly called 'The Brain Resource', in the Central Business District during the nineties, the nifty toolkit - 'Breakthrough!', in the form of a book/card deck/CD-ROM package - was included in my store repertoire.

I would add that the practicality & the utility of her earlier thoughtwares in the workplace actually earned her the reputation as a master problem solver.

For me, reading 'Putting Our Differences to Work' is like doing a partial refresher, because the book is almost an intellectual amalgam of all her previous works, particularly the entire section of Part 2, which replicates the 6-step iterative framework for putting diversity to work in fostering organisational change.

Before I move on further, I like to recap the preamble on the inside front flap of the book, which I thought has captured the essence of the book beautifully:

"Putting our differences to work means creating an environment where people, naturally unique & different - diverse by nature & experience - can work more effectively in ways that drive new levels of creativity, innovation, problem solving, leadership, & performance in the marketplaces, workplaces, & communities of the world."

In addition to the six-step model, with each step elaborated in a given chapter, combined with best practice stories, the rest of the book identifies the five distinctive qualities of leadership, that leaders must add to their skills portfolio - & the 16 dimensions of differences that leaders must understand - in order to make diversity an engine of success.

The book closes with a presentation on virtual gathering, involving web 2.0 technologies & other social media, which open up ever-expanding possibilities for putting diversity to work. These are included in Part 3 of the book, which also includes Joel Arthur Barker's contribution (Chapter 10 & 11), as mentioned earlier.

If readers are already familiar with the intersection of ideas, concepts & cultures, as embodied in the 'Medici Effect', proposed & authored by Frans Johansson, then readers will readily notice a relatively similar, but still interesting spin, given by Joel Arthur Barker in the two chapters.

Both authors have brilliantly asserted, with numerous illuminating examples, that by exploring the 'intersections' or 'verges', we may discover the next breakthrough ideas.

As Joel Arthur Barker puts it, to dovetail with Debbe Kennedy's principal premise of the book:

"...Without diversity, there can be no verges. Celebrate the differences. Enlarge the differences. It creates more options for innovation."

Overall, I must say that the book is a great road-map on harnessing people's rich & diverse experiences, cultures, & perspectives to attract growth & sustain innovation.

Best of all, the author is a superb tale blazer, & her writing is clear, succinct & concise, with a key-point summary at the end of each chapter, which makes reading & recap a breeze.

Highly recommended.

[Readers can access more information about the author & her work at,, &;]


Having the title of 'Strategic Acceleration' in a book certainly catches one's eyeballs, especially in today's era of information anxiety.

In my case, I was really intrigued as I could co-relate it immediately to Newton's Laws, which brought me back to my secondary school days when I had to grappled with my Physics lessons.

Today, Newton's Laws with their virtually unlimited applications are an essential part of our daily lives, physically as well as emotionally.

As a matter of fact, Newton was right: "Objects at rest tend to remain at rest".

In short , we must always get started, in order to make our lives better. Once we do, then the other part of Newton's Laws - "Objects in motion tend to remain in motion" - begin to work for us.

In a nut shell, as I see, Newton's Laws boil down to understanding inertia, momentum or acceleration, & forces of change.

Once we break down the bonds of negative thought patterns, & habitual routines along with destructive self-limiting beliefs, we can move forward, gaining forward momentum, so to speak.

Forward momentum is the creation of congruency & synergy between our personal & professional lives, in the pursuit of our fondest dreams.

So, the great news for all of us is that life coach & strategist Tony Jeary, the brilliant author [he has been described as a "gifted encourager" who facilitates positive outcomes for others in his role as a strategic collaborator] of 'Strategic Acceleration' has distilled his more than twenty years of studying distinctions that characterise top-performing high-achievers into a proven methodology to help us achieve what we want, when we want it.

More importantly, to help us create personal breakthroughs.

In driving our forward momentum, the author's methodology is systematically anchored on three critical personal change initiatives, as a tripod, which in totality captures the essence of 'Strategic Acceleration':

1) Clarity: you must be clear about your vision & what you really want;

2) Focus: you must pay attention to high leverage activities that you move you forward;

3) Execution: you must execute by elevating your ability to persuade & influence others;

The entire book describes the three change initiatives in elaborate detail, via eight superbly written chapters:

Chapter 1: The Speed of Life & What You Believe;

Chapter 2: The Pulling Power of clarity - Vision;

Chapter 3: Understanding the Why Produces Clarity;

Chapter 4: Focus is the Opposite of Distraction;

Chapter 5: Finding Focus & Producing Real Results;

Chapter 6: Persuasion Matters;

Chapter 7: Production Before Perfection;

Chapter 8: The Persuasive Influence of Strategic Response;

What really stands out when compared with other personal development books are the carefully crafted hands-on exercises, over 60 pages, to help you create your clarity, focus & execution blueprints. These are worth the price of the book alone.

Also, I love the four questions that must be asked:

- what do I need to do more of?

- what do I need to do less of?

- what do I need to start doing?

- what do I need to stop doing?

More critically, the execution part of the methodology - standing on the tripod of 'Persuasion', 'Production' & 'Presence' - is extensively illustrated in the book, especially with regard to the concepts of exceeding expectations & completing tasks &/or projects in reduced time frames.

This is often a feature not found in most personal development books.

To paraphrase the author:

"The expectations we exceed today become the seed for new opportunities in the future."

"You can think your way into bad action, but you can act your way into right thinking".

For me, these two statements frame the author's point of contention beautifully.

Reading the book is a breeze, because at the end of each chapter, there is a crisp chapter summary, coupled with 'Very Important Points' to take away.

This is not just a book to be read, but an action-packed field guide, to create superior results in your life!

If you want a preliminary or initial feel of the content tapestry of 'Strategic Acceleration', or to know your 'Strategic IQ', take the free assessment at this link.

To conclude my review, I like to say this:

At equilibrium, acceleration is zero. Acceleration is directly linked to your forward momentum, which is sustainable by your clarity, focus & execution.

This book, which I have enjoyed very much, will surpass your expectations!

Monday, September 14, 2009


What follows is actually a very old 'Rack Your Brains' exercise, originally developed by Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) to study managerial creativity.

1. How do you put a giraffe in the fridge?

2. How do you put an elephant in the fridge?

3. The Lion King organized a moot for the animals: all the animals are present but one. Which one?

4. You have to cross a river, but it is populated by alligators. What are you going to do?

Give it a go, just for the fun of it!

[The correct answers will follow in the Next Post.]


"... We venture to say that nothing is more likely to help a person overcome or endure objective difficulties or subjective troubles than the consciousness of having a task in life. That is all the more so when the task seems to be personally cut to suit, as it were; when it constitutes what may be a called a mission. Having such a task makes the person irreplaceable & gives his life the value of uniqueness..."
~ from the book, 'The Doctor & the Soul: From Psychotherapy to Logotherapy', by Dr Viktor Frankl, (1905–1997), Austrian neurologist, & psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor; also, the founder of logotherapy;

Sunday, September 13, 2009


We are moving from the Age of the Atom to the Age of the Gene.

Science offers openings in the fields of nanotechnology, molecular engineering, biotechnology, & genetics. beyond these areas, opportunities are constantly being created in the domains of information, communication, & entertainment.

Here is a sampling of areas where future careers will emerge & create opportunities for economic growth.


This is one of the fastest growing areas of business. People want to feel better, live longer, look younger. This need will breed services that offer advice, treatments, medications, gadgets, minerals, vitamins, & exercise regimes that prolong physical existence & well being.


People have an innate desire to become FUN-atics!

There will always be a demand for more thrills, challenges, suspense, adventure, excitement, & aesthetic pleasure. These desires will be fed by all sorts of channels such as videos, films, virtual reality, theatre, music, sports, travel, 7 death-defying experiences such as bungee-jumping, hand-gliding, & deep-sea diving.


You may take people out of the family, but you can't take the family out of people.

In spite of family feuds, people will always strive to give their loved ones an abundance of whatever brings them joy & success. This will create an array of products & services that provide love, care, education & inspiration so as to ensure the welfare of loved ones.


We are in the Learning Economy, & most human beings respond to scenarios that exhilarate them.

'Lifelong learning', a constant desire for news, catering to curiosity, insights into why things happen & the way they do; these phenomena all mesh into a realisation that every connects to everything else. Creative services & products in these areas will always have ready markets.


Most humans are social animals with an in-built need to connect to other humans. Either directly, or virtually, with or without technology, we a species that must ;touch base' with others. To cater to this instinct, there will be a limitless market for faster, easier, cheaper, &more convenient devices that will satisfy these promptings.


We are rarely satisfied with how we look. There will thus be a constant demand for products & services that aim to make us look lovelier, sexier, younger, fitter, leaner, & smarter.

Our appeal factor will be enhanced by an inexhaustible conveyor belt of items that deliver on hair do's & don'ts, dyes, skin care, organic diets, fashionable clothing, teeth & breath gadgetry, & an unending stream of available advice from practitioners in a range of disciplines that promise to leave you blessed with secrets of eternal youth.

Services will also include a smorgasbord of counsellors, coaches, healers, & gurus to address the stress & distress that have become a part of our lives.


Wealth is not how much you have but how little yo need. Nevertheless, whatever you have, needs to be managed, in order to ensure financial security. As a result, there will be an almost limitless market for financial services... advice, planning & management.

Providers will offer schemes to maximise return on savings, & insurance against risk & misfortune.

Whilst money may not guarantee happiness, it is a means for realising our dreams. This suggests that there will always be a market for markets.

"Many people will worry so much about managing their careers, but rarely spend half that much energy managing their LOVES. I want to make my life, not just my job, the best it can be. The rest will work itself out."

~ Reese Witherspoon, American Actress, 39;

[Excerpted from 'SuperBrain Study Skills', A Companion Book to the inGenius Seminars for Building BrainPower', by Dilip Mukerjea.]

Saturday, September 12, 2009


While window-shopping at Ngee Ann City on Orchard Road the other day, I noticed a really creative display of human ingenuity, on the part of French luxury goods boutique Hermes, in embellishing the mundane frontage, while construction works were going on behind the scenes to renovate its existing large store, as captured by me in the foregoing & following digital snapshots.

Kudos to the management of Hermes!


Dilip Mukerjea, writing in his new book, 'SuperBrain Study Skills', outlines the following major elements in building a superb memory, without which learning cannot take place:


Interest is the creative force that gives birth to intention, a sense of purpose.

From this phenomenon, we arouse attention, a laser-like focus that keeps our resolutions on track.


Imagination is the raw material that, acted upon, transforms intention into reality.

Business investments in today's marketspace receive returns only when their ROIs is a Return on Imagination, & by extension, a Return of Intuition, with the bonus, a Return on Innovation.


Enthusiasm, reflecting its Greek ancestry, fills us with divinity, a spirit of Godliness, a joyous quest for the best.


Energy oxygenates our aspiration. It transports what was once impossible, then improbable, to become inevitable.


Association happens when we coalesce random stimuli from our outpourings of knowledge & imagination.

A multiplicity of associations generate infinite possibilities, especially when the relationships are vivid (colourful), dynamic (moving), & dramatic (emotionally exaggerated).


Say Keng's personal comments:

When it comes to learning, & also to help in remembering one's learning journey, interest is always paramount.

As a matter of fact, for me & also Dilip, interest always implies attentional focus, primary concern as well as intentional curiosity, which come into play during the learning journey.

Richard Saul Wurman, information architect & author of the classic, 'Information Anxiety', said it best:

"Learning can be seen as the acquisition of information, but before it can take place, there must be interest; interest permeates all endeavours & precedes learning. In order to acquire & remember new knowledge, it must stimulate your curiosity in some way."

Friday, September 11, 2009


While surfing the net, I have found this exciting though belated article, entitled 'Innovation in a Time of Accelerating Change', by Steven Borsch, in the minnov8 (minnesota innovation in internet & web technology) weblog.

In the first part, the author gives a relatively broad brush about the accelerating rate of change by drawing interesting insights from three books:

- 'The World is Flat', by Thomas Friedman;

“... any linear, serial process can be outsourced, even if that process is at the PhD level in mathematics...

... The further we push out the boundaries of knowledge and innovation, the more the next great value breakthroughs — that is, the next new hot-selling products and services — will come from putting together disparate things that you would not think of as going together.”

- 'A Whole New Mind', by Daniel Pink;

"... Dealing with this onrush of information requires people who are suited to see changes in parallel and make associations (i.e., connect the dots)...

... a new world in which “right brain” qualities — inventiveness, empathy, meaning — predominate...

... examples of parallel and associative leaps made by many people who’ve created value out of seemingly disparate pieces that, when combined, deliver much higher value in an innovative way."

- 'The Singularity is Near', by Ray Kurzweil;

"... defines the Singularity, achieved in 2045, as a point in the future when technological advances begin to happen so rapidly that normal humans cannot keep pace, and are “cut out of the loop...”

The accompany graph, 'Exponential Growth of Computing' is fascinating.

The ending part is great as it offers some useful approaches about how to stay on top of all the accelerating rate of change within your area of interest or industry.

Read it carefully. Here's the link to the original article.


"Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.

They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.

They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.

While some see them as the crazy ones,we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

~ from an advertising slogan of Apple Computers during the late nineties (up to about 2002);

[The one-minute television commercial (supplemented by print & billboard ads) featured black & white video footage of significant historical people of the past, including (in order):

Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Branson, John Lennon (with Yoko Ono), R. Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Ted Turner, Maria Callas, Mahatma Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Martha Graham, Jim Henson (with Kermit the Frog), Frank Lloyd Wright and Pablo Picasso.

The condensed version of the free verse poem was narrated by actor Richard Dreyfuss.

The commercial ended with an image of a young girl, Shaan Sahota, opening her closed eyes, as if to see the possibilities before her.]