"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."

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Edges form, frame, and fashion, concepts into creations. They establish borders, boundaries, and barriers that impact our lives, and livelihoods. Sometimes they confuse, or clarify, issues that determine destinies…of peoples, and of nations. Edges emerge from movement, pause for a spell, and move on into fresh incarnations.

The edges that define continents are formed from the exertions of our planet rolling in space at 1,000 miles per minute. Asia is a continent created from such vibrancy, and …from the clashes of vigorous and vivacious cultures that are still evolving.

The question “Why is Asia on the Edge?” sounds complete, yet remains open, a reflection of the promises and possibilities of “infinity,” from the French in-fini, meaning unfinished, or incomplete. Asia is unfinished and incomplete, ergo, on the edge. Yet there is more…

Asia, in some senses, has always been ‘on edge’ but ‘on the edge’? I look upon ‘the edge’ as the contour lines that enclose and exclude. A mélange of tribes evolved, often with tough soul-stealing rigour, and spread out within vistas of wayfaring. They soon established their separate, distinct identities expressed in an expense of time and an expanse of spirit. The edge, for Asia, has moved on from being a dividing line between the Occident and the Orient; it has become a metaphor for Asia awakening to, no, breaking through…! What? Through a marmoreal darkness, into a new dawn, building to a succulent crescendo of emotion and passion in terms of its place in the forefront of modern civilisation. Driven by entelechy, that dynamic restlessness working purposefully towards a goal reflective of Asia’s primordial identity.

But what about Asia being on the edge of the ledge of knowledge? After all, we have been transitioning through the ‘knowledge economy’. The question is, in several senses, irrelevant, nor Asia’s repository of venerable wisdom has much to offer the corporate ecosystems of the Third Millennium. Yet, in numerous instances, amnesia has set in, and many Asian have no awareness of their heritage of wisdom. Thus, the best that can happen for now is to be poised on the edge, a dynamic edge, where innovations erupt with unstoppable ebullience. This is where learning happens…and Asia is learning, burning with learning.

The merging of Asia ancient and Asia contemporary is also an edge worth considering. It is here that we see the art of science and the science of art expressed with an eloquence that has a uniquely pulsating richness. Admittedly, it is the bane and the balm of individual perception that “objective” reality is seen through the filter of each person’s temperament. But there is no denying the brilliance and beauty that bursts forth from just the energy expended in what I see as ‘Asia Awakening’.

Integrating present intention and past wisdom will kindle a more synthesised awareness which begins in wonder and ends with wisdom…a fresh wisdom, embedded with elements to transform the world, and metamorphose it from hope to fulfillment. This would be Asia on the edge of what was and what can be, working towards a grand epiphany!

Asia is also on the edge … of fragmentation, but this could be the process of creative destruction, and reconstruction: a mosaic breaks up space into sharply distinctive pieces — and yet produces a coherent image. This too is Asia on the edge.

Every child is born with the desire to re-create the world on his or her own terms. For the child, magic and art are matters of mirth and merriment. Art translates curiosity and wonder into mastery over the environment. Asia is such a child, one created anew, in the wake of numerous past incarnations… on such an edge is Asia poised, set to articulate its energy and information into matter that takes on fresh forms and functions.

Art merging with science, with the same ingenuity of atoms that formed stars and provided the source for their prodigious energy. Stars joined together to form galaxies and galaxies conglomerated into clusters. I see this as a lustrous metaphor of Asians on the edge of ideas…ideAsians!

As two nations representing the Asian metaphor, China and India are also on the edge in their quest for the best. They compete, and collaborate, with one another, as can be seen in the imagery here. The Chinese and Indian flag shapes are contrasted and unified, at the same time. Nothing could be more different, and nothing could be more similar. This is the symbolic essence of Dialectic Thinking, which has 3 main propositions:

The Interdependence of Opposites

The Interpenetration of Opposites

The Unity of Opposites

Thus, Asia on the Edge is also reflective of

THESIS                 Being

ANTITHESIS       Nothingness

SYNTHESIS         Becoming

Asia is all of these: being, nothingness, becoming, and more…and it can only be so…on the edge!

On the next page is a taste of how ideas drift in from the edge and coalesce at centres of innovation. This is also reflective of how Asia being on the edge can inspire a global commonwealth of effort: to generate ideas, and regenerate communities!


Thoughts generally do not come to us in straight lines, between margins, all neatly sorted out. They are born as fuzzy images on the edges of our conscious minds. these ‘edgy images’ then become a little clearer (as shown to the left, by the various lightbulbs around the centre). A collection of such random images may move towards a central zone of focus (or they may move towards a central zone of focus (or they may stay on the edges and become the centres of other edgy thoughts).

Most ideas come from the edges. They can be refined as edgy ideas, or left to keep travelling ‘inwards’. Those that coalesce to become the central zone of focus,  (the large light bulb above) can be used as a stimulus to trigger more ideas.


Inventing a Sea Plane: As you can see from the garland of images forming the edges of the outside circle, the sea plane is a composite of edgy ideas that swoosh in towards the centre. Each of these edgy ideas is also a synthesis of other edgy ideas. This is how the human brain propels evolution.

The central image thus formed is now ready to become the starting point of a Mind Map. It has become our zone of focus, from which a spray of additional ideas emerge. This starting point has been created from millions of other micro-starting points. The micro-zones of foci drift across our minds, inviting us to use them in our night- and daydreams. Most keep drifting. To catch them, you need a purpose, an intention, which has a force of its own. Then, “automagically,” like individual bulbs in a chandellier,

Thursday, May 26, 2011


My favourite "mentor" in the United States, strategy consultant Dudley Lynch , also author of the classic, 'Strategy of the Dolphin', among other excellent works, wrote an interesting blog piece about the brain's powers of thin slicing. Here's the link.

One particular segment of his writing caught my attention, especially from my deep interest in understanding - and developing - anticipatory prowess:

"... Boiled to a few words, it says that when everything is happening at once, the brain defaults to what it feels is most right (that’s the “gestalt” part).

It really doesn’t even have to think about it; in fact, it usually doesn’t.

If you want it to do something else... make tactical decisions... then you better spend a lot of time upfront explicitly teaching the brain about what to look for and what to do when it finds it (that’s the “feature intensive” part)... "

drawing his inspiration from the book, 'Processing Under Pressure: Stress, Memory and Decision-Making in Law Enforcement', by Dr. Matthew J. Sharps, a psychology professor at California State University, who has made a career of studying the actions of people who must make split-second, life-and-death-affecting decisions. In the book, he offers his G/FI (Gestalt/Feature Intensive) Processing Theory. Sounds like a good book to read!

In a nut shell, as I have understood from him, anticipatory prowess is also a learned behaviour.

Thank you, my friend.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


[continued from the Last Post]

Question #20:

If your offerings are so great as you and your representatives have claimed in your publicity, how come the world is not beating a path to your door?

DM:   They will. This reminds me of a humorous encapsulation of the advance of technology being rejected:

A robot walks into a bar, orders a drink, and lays down some cash.

Bartender says,
"Hey, we don't serve robots."
And the robot says,
"Oh, but someday you will!" 
And then too, I think of a quote by Howard Aiken:
"Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will have to ram it down their throats." 
Imagine filling a bathtub with a thimble; that’s the challenge involved in transferring data that prevail, but fail to work, into brains that wish to race ahead. I propose we throw away the thimble, and get nimble … using what I have to offer.

The future demands a fresh resumé. We live in an era of powerful possibilities. Only a Learning Revolution can heal our plundered planet. 

We must make the unimaginable not only possible, but inevitable. Fast change and unpredictability are the dominant facts of life. So we need to gain perspective and not be in too much of a hurry to go nowhere.

Other than what I have already stated, all I have to give is my total energy. If we all did so, together we could achieve historic victories over the forces of entropy.

So, I remain resolute. The tendency of people to not do something does not faze me. Tendency is not destiny.

At the same time, if the mass of humankind is going one way, it does not have to be the correct way! I just wish to help people see a superior way…whilst I keep learning how I can get better at helping them get better!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


"... Although the repetitive drills that accompany handwwriting lessons seem outdated, such physical instruction will help students to succeed. He says these activities stimulate brain activity, lead to increased language fluency, and aid in the development of important knowledge... in particular the development of thinking and language capacities,.. and in developing deep feelings of confidence and interest in the world-all-together, the essential prerequistes for the emergence of the capable and caring individual..."

~ Neurologist Frank Wilson, author of 'The Hand: How its Use Shapes the Brain, Language and Human Culture';

[Source: The Atlantic, 'Handwriting is a 21st Century Skill', by Edward Tenner, 28th April 2011]


[continued from the Last Post]

Question #19:

There is seemingly an evolving plethora of new skill or competency sets, e.g. neuro-linguistics, success motivation, financial intelligence, team creativity (synectics), Kepner-Tregore methodology, Triz, Tony Buzan’s stuff, etc., from many different purveyors, which one must acquire in order to survive – and thrive – in today’s fast-paced, rapidly-changing, highly-complex and hyper-competitive world.

How can we make our choices or rather how can we make the right choice?

DM:   Good question.

The cost of confusion is soaring, so we must appreciate the value of clarity. The list proffered by you has merit. One can never learn less. But we must be clear in determining where we are, where we wish to go, and how to get there. This must be in the face of upheavals in numerous sectors of society … feels like trying to outrun a tsunami!

My clear conviction is that we have a choice: education, or extinction!

We need to redesign the structure of education so that learning takes place instead of swotting, slogging, and sweating…in terror! The vital characteristic of a learning experience must be its evocative quality: it must evoke the experiences or meanings from within the learner, rather than describe what is on the outside.

It must have the power to catalyse passions. With its subtly penetrative attributes, smart learning systems are able to extend into the unconscious matrix where perceptions, experiences, concepts, memories, cohabit and commingle with one another in varying degrees of intimacy, sinuously tangling and disentangling, often with languorous aplomb, at other times, with celebratory incandescence.

These learning strategies unravel the qualitative relationships that are generally invisible to the naked eye. The process, at full throttle, often unravels an unsuspected kinship between things and elements, culminating in an epiphanic revelation.

I thus respectfully propose that my material be started with, so that a solid foundation can be laid for further skills to come on board. Without this foundation, we might as well invest in real estate…a house of cards!

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


[continued from the Last Post]

Question #18:

Outside Singapore, entities that wish to represent you in various countries obviously come in many instances, as new players in town, and a new outfit, with an apparent ragtag group of professionals remotely connected to the field of ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’.

Sometimes, they don’t seem to be able to answer pertinent questions.

More importantly, can they sustain an investment in your programs, say for the next 90 days, or 12 months, or 36 months?

DM:   I take your point. In the domain of creativity, this is to be expected, perhaps more so in this part of the world.

Yet, I have a strong conviction that with due guidance, their positive attitude will be complemented by a competent aptitude. Besides, this is a welcome test of my strengths and capabilities, not to mention my creative resourcefulness in getting the best out of everyone in this endeavour.

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Monday, May 2, 2011



[continued from the Last Post]

Question #17:
Dr Edward de Bono’s work is well entrenched and widely accepted in this part of the world. How much different is your work? What do you think are the salient contrasts to begin with?

DM:   Dr. de Bono is one of my earliest sources of inspiration in the world of creativity. I remain an ardent student of his and every exposure to his works never fails to enlighten me.

Whilst you are correct in that his work is “well entrenched and widely accepted in this part of the world” I have not met more than a few people who are conversant with his thinking to the point of reflecting his genius. That is disappointing for me because I remain a passionate advocate of his works.

My repertoire of material is reflective of how I believe the brain likes to play, not how it is expected to work! In this sense, I have taken the path of visual literacy using a range of image processing strategies that contrast with that used by Dr. de Bono. I love his use of what could be termed ‘symbolic’ or ‘analogic’ imagery, but I feel they would be even more powerful with colour coding. However, this observation in no way diminishes his genius at rendering his thoughts so cogently.

My range of visual maps are unique in the way they are conceptualised and crafted, and my background as a marine engineer has perhaps influenced me to apply my strategies in real-life situations; on numerous occasions, this has been in the midst of crises, such as during the Iran-Iraq War, traversing pirate-infested waters, and travelling the world where I had to deal with ‘spontaneous emergencies’ on the run.

In all of these instances, I had to deploy ways and means of visual thinking that contrast with that used by Dr. de Bono, yet I readily admit, my exposure to his works from decades ago must have also helped me greatly.

A major difference between my work and that of Dr. de Bono and others is the manner in which I am able to take masses of information and collapse that onto a single sheet of paper. This is the technique I use to present the extensive information attributes on a single, concentrated intensive map.

This skill is teachable and learnable, and eminently relevant to students and executives.

Furthermore, my marine background and set of unique extreme experiences, have equipped me with an infinitude of resources to tap on. This evolution, coupled with a richness of educational stimuli from my earliest years in England, and the Far East, shapes and forms my material from a multi-disciplinary, systems perspective.

I use my awareness of how all things and phenomena are interconnected, and express these insights through my passion for contorting language and imagery with creative sprinklings of serious play. I find this to be a scorching antidote to brain-block!

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Sunday, May 1, 2011


[continued from the Last Post]

Question #16:

You have written a lot of books about the ‘World’s Most Powerful Systems’ as well as ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’. 

Can you help us to narrow them some of the most important ideas from your works?

Also, how can we use these ideas to help make our next move?
DM:   All the books are designed to move one from breakdown to breakthrough. The reading sequence depends upon the readers’ preferences but here are some loose guidelines:

· First address the ‘learning skills’ component of the books

· Then apply this to learning, creativity, innovation, leadership, entrepreneurship, and strategic visioning

· Use the material to first enhance yourself, then help others to move ahead

· Join the movement to create learning neighbourhoods and learning societies

· All the books are replete with strategies to get ideas on ideas, so your progress is guaranteed

 NOTE: Learning – Creativity = Maybe a good outcome

              Learning + Creativity = Outstanding Outcome

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Saturday, April 30, 2011


[continued from the Last Post]

Question #15:

School-going kids are already inundated with so much reading and homework assignments, notwithstanding the numerous class or term tests they have to prepare for and go through. How do you expect them to pick up new tools and novel strategies from your programs to help them navigate through school?

DM:   My programmes and strategies will help the kids learn faster; they will drastically slash the learning curve so that they will have time and space to have a childhood! As things stand, you are correct in that they are inundated by an avalanche of items on their daily agendas. Even their holidays are a recipe for concussion!

My Superbrain Learning System will equip them to beat every prevailing killer schedule and not only leave them with recreational time for pursuing their parallel interests, but ensure that they excel in their exams.

The most conspicuous superlative element in these systems is that the kids are made future-ready, because these skills are relevant to whatever challenges come their way in the years ahead.

In this context, I would strongly recommend following the ingredients of one of my themes: The Family That Learns Together, Earns Together….via the Unleashing Family Genius programmes. Schools need to know that they are in danger of imminently becoming purveyors of obsolete methodologies. Perhaps they are trapped by their own ‘stability’ but be aware, and beware: this quote shows the way forward:

A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed. — Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Friday, April 29, 2011


[continued from the Last Post]

Question #14: 

Edward de Bono advocates ‘creativity’ as essentially a problem of perception.

Alex Osborn calls it a matter of applied imagination.

Nobel laureate and physicist Linus Pauling looks at ‘creativity’ from the standpoint of having a lot of ideas.

Dee Hock of VISA fame thinks ‘creativity’ is more about getting old ideas out of our heads.

Many experts have proclaimed ‘creativity’ as a deliberate process of combining seemingly disparate ideas, which also happens to be an old school of thought.

Amidst all this diversity of perspectives, what are your personal views?

DM:   A creative question of the highest pedigree! All your examples are personalities of superlative creative brilliance, and I salute them unreservedly. I tend not to define, lest it confine…by its very nature, I believe that creativity should not be defined. But I take your point.

What is it? To me it is a sensation, a phenomenon, a truth, about our embedded destiny, a quality that makes us distinctive when matched against all other known species that have come and gone.

It is a quality of consciousness that can enslave, and liberate, cause rupture yet lead to rapture, but always have the capacity to successfully address the tears and fears that beset us.

The word create is derived from the Greek kranein, meaning ‘to accomplish’ and the Sanskrit kar, ‘to make’.

From the Latin, we have creare, ‘to make out of nothing.’ To create means to originate, to bring into being from nothing, to cause to exist.

Creativity is defined as creative ability; artistic or intellectual inventiveness. But most of all, creativity is a reflection of the creative source from which we have all emerged.

This theme could be expanded ad infinitum, so for now, I would just add that all children, born as fresh editions of consciousness, are resplendently creative; they store the secret of what it means to be creative by looking at their positive qualities: curiosity, enthusiasm (meaning: ‘to be filled with God’), spontaneity, imagination, innocence, an absence of fear, and an unlimited capacity to change behaviour.

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Thursday, April 28, 2011


[continued from the Last Post]

Question #13:

I am a mother of two young kids. All this ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ stuff is new to me. How can I go about, in the beginning, to help myself become more creative, and also, how can I go about helping my own kids?

DM:   Your bewilderment is perfectly understandable. But what is true is that we are all created, born creative, need creativity, and put together, this is the secret of making us recreative! But before launching into creativity and innovation, I would respectfully highlight some prevailing truths for you and your children:

· What you learn will become outdated; HOW you learn will last forever. They need to learn how to learn; only then will they be in a position to learn anything! You must lead the way, so that you all learn together.

· There simply won’t be any work for inadequately educated people. So the priority is learning how to learn, and applying creative learning methods that are fun and formidable to the learning process.

· The wealth of a nation is the sum of the brains of its people — their creativity, their learning skills, and their indomitable vision to save our world from collapse. You and your children must be active players in a rejuvenated world, where you can help to transform hope into fulfillment…for every child and parent.

· Your ability to earn is directly proportional to your ability to learn.

START by learning how to learn yourself, solo, or with a group of similarly concerned people. I have found that a mother-to-mother chain reaction accomplishes huge dividends, with one helping the other, and the children coming together into study-buddy smart superlearning groups.

You could start by interacting with my books, but that must be complemented by attending live seminars to reinforce and expand the learning skills.

Learning must be forged, not forced. Once you learn how to do so, you will fall in love with learning. Children and educators should be ‘skilling’ themselves with smart strategies, not ‘killing’ themselves with obsolete systems.

Your quest here is to become a Leading Learner and a Learning Leader!

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


[continued from the Last Post]

Question 12:
We reckon that books are most of the time fancy or pet theories of the authors, although in some instances, to be fair, they are the distilled experiences of the author. What are your expert views? How can we best utilise your books to help us become more creative? Which titles should I go for in the first instance?
DM:   People write to persuade, to inform, and to entertain, …and perhaps, hope to make a living out of that! I have serious reservations about pet theories and ideal models. All theories and models are vulnerable and subject to the ‘gale forces of creative destruction’.

I also do not claim to have ‘expert’ views, albeit I am equipped with a measure of expertise in the disciplines and domains I address.

My books are specifically designed to help the reader act and interact with a smorgasbord of learning systems, based on rapid-fire, yet deep, insights. They will definitely make the reader, if he or she is an interactor, not only become more creative, but become transformed into an indefatigable learning superorganism. 

They could start with any title, but if learning systems is a priority, I would suggest ‘Unleashing Genius’; if creativity and innovation are top of the list, I would recommend ‘Brain Symphony’ and ‘Surfing the Intellect’.

For schools, I would recommend ‘Unleashing Genius’ and the forthcoming Learning Skills Trilogy: Brainchildren, Primary Genius, and BrainForce.

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


[continued from the Last Post]

Question #11

Do you think, just by attending your seminars and workshops, say for three days, we can move on to improve our personal performance and/or create results in our company initiatives?

DM:   Yes, I do, IF follow-through is maintained. What I mean here is that the human brain has the innate ability to forget 80% of what it has learned, within twenty-four hours…if there is no revision and follow-through. We have to respect neuroscientific truths. Other than that, yes, most definitely, my learning strategies are world-class and guaranteed to galvanise all learning and teaching initiatives.

We must carry the torch forward if our species is to march forth into the future. Thus, no candle can lose its light when being used to light another.

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Monday, April 25, 2011


[continued from the Last Post]

Question #10:

Let’s say we are prepared to pump $100,000 cash to engage you to do a consulting assignment on creating a learning ecosystem in a school, or $250,000 cash on developing an innovation landscape in an organisation. What do we need to do immediately? Can you outline some important steps on how you would execute this project? When do you think we can see some tangible results?

DM:   The timeline for different projects is a variable, but your question is valid. The CEO has to be involved and I would first help him or her with the vision, and intermediate goals, for such a scenario. Desired winning outcomes must clearly be declared at this stage. I would then set a deadline, and ensure that it is adhered to, without ever compromising quality. This calls for attributes of visionary leadership, and I would help leaders at all levels of the enterprise to ensure the success of such a venture. Parallel teams, with varying domains of expertise, would need to be set up to ensure that synergies remain on track. A Strategic Visioning Lifescape would be crafted to ensure that it is being plotted on, in real time, to monitor and measure advances, wherever feasible (allowing for the truth that not everything is measurable). Thus, a preliminary immediate agenda would include:

· doing the metathinking right, by setting the vision, crafting the Lifescape, and assembling the personnel

· instituting plans of action, in parallel, to ensure a blend of analysis and synthesis skills are in force

· lines of reporting must be clear, with an open-door policy…all egos must be parked in the shredder!

· resources such as time, equipment, money, people, skills, are to be mapped, and deployed to suit…

· tangible results will first be observed in a behaviour change of the people involved in the project

· feedback loops must be monitored for any aberrations in performance…


Strategic thinking has two major components: insight about the present and foresight about the future. Visual thinking is the process that stimulates both of these by helping us link our intuitive sense of events in the world with our intellectual interpretations. Visual thinking is the key to strategic thinking. I would ensure that visual thinking immediately becomes part of the organisational learning culture.


Open-book accounting, with transparency at all levels, must be available to everyone, so they can stay in sync with the progress of the project. Or else: sync or swim!

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Sunday, April 24, 2011


[continued from the Last Post]

Question #9:

We believe ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ are overly abused by most trainers-consultants in Singapore. Almost every one we meet on the lecture circuit somehow claims to be a trainer-consultant on ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ on his or her name card, even though they may have the foggiest idea about the two different terms. What makes you different?

DM:   I never use vocabulary recklessly and with ignorance on parade. For me to use these, and other such words, I would first ensure I knew their source, their full meaning, and the subsequent behaviour that matches the meaning of each word.

What makes me different is that I know the meanings of these terms, but more significant, I am distinct and distinctive in that I live these terms, through my work in the domains of braindancing and brainaissance.

Moreover, I care not to be ‘different’ so to speak; I prefer to keep striving to make an impact, precisely because I believe in the infinite capabilities of our species to excel through the highest values of humanity.

I am in a state of perpetual inspiration when it comes to the genesis of ideas, within myself, and from the consciousnesses of others.

Technologies are emerging to make education so entertaining that it will be hard to distinguish work from play; brain force will trump brute force. A dominant commercial goal will be to have employees continually learning new skills.

Entertaining education could soon emerge as the key economic driver of the economy.

I have the suite of tools and techniques to meet these needs.

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Saturday, April 23, 2011


[continued from the Last Post]

Question #8:

Most organisations, at least in Singapore, see ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ more as acts of lip-service, without readily quantifiable results to justify their long-term pursuits. In other words, there is a perceivable gap between training investment and a company’s bottom-line. What are your expert thoughts? How can you help us to make it work for us?

DM:   Yes, and I do not blame them. Once the fizz is in, everything fizzles out! But this is not because ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ per se are at fault. It is due to a lack of follow-through. This is a crisis of leadership. You cannot expect to establish something durable out of a solitary event that takes place here and there. A culture of creativity and innovation must be established. This takes time and effort, but most importantly, it must be generated and reinforced through vision, discipline, passion, and conscience.

Every person and every organisation is subject to global forces. The hallmark of the 21st c. company will be its ability to expect the unexpected, to be faster, more flexible, and more responsive than ever before. Strategic agility and competitive robustness are going to determine corporate destinies.

If I were involved in such an endeavour, I would ensure that I first craft an Innovation Landscape or Strategic Dashboard, and ensure that from CEO onwards, the people are kept involved, informed, intrigued, and inspired. This is easier said than done, but without resolute commitment, every vision will suffer from an equal and opposite revision…at huge expense! We need to consider the following points for organisations to make rapid positive strides into the future:

· Look at whole systems, not at just their parts.

· Order and disorder are inter-related, and self-organising change occurs as a result of their interactions.

· A small event in one sector can cause tremendous turbulence in another.

· Well-crafted maps, models, and visual images and symbols, metaphors and analogies, make it easier to see connections, relationships, and patters of interaction.

· Panoramic scanning across disciplines, domains, and industries is the key to seeing emerging conditions, paradigm shifts, and opportunities for innovation.

· Nonlinear thinking is crucial to recognising clues about shifts in the environment.

· Perspective is vital when viewing chaotic events, especially from a metaposition.

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Friday, April 22, 2011


[continued from the Last Post]

Question #7:

You seem to have put a lot of emphasis on developing self-efficacy skills as a prelude to academic achievement. Can you give us some pragmatic illustrations on how students can actually empower themselves with such skills, to make forward trajectories in their journey to academic success, and how their schools can attain eminence because of their students’ achievements along these lines?

DM: Self-Efficacy is the belief that one is capable of performing in a manner designed to attain stated goals. It is the key to success in life! Goal-Setting alone is inadequate; it must lead to Goal-Getting. Some examples of famous personalities who have exhibited this sterling quality:

* Michael Jordan was cut from his high-school varsity basketball team.

* Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor who said he “lacked imagination.”

* Winston Churchill had to repeat a grade and twice failed the Royal Military Academy’s entrance exam.

* It took Thomas Edison more than1,000 attempts before he successfully invented the light bulb.

Each of these personalities, and many others, became successful despite many failures and rejections. Why? Self-efficacy.

In the 1970s Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura described a trait called “self-efficacy.” Self-efficacy can be defined as “the unshakable belief some people have that they have what it takes to succeed.” Unlike self-esteem, which is merely a feeling of self-worth, self-efficacy is a judgment that one has specific capabilities that will lead to success.

Interestingly, a key part of developing self-efficacy is failure itself. According to Prof. Bandura, “People need to learn how to manage failure so it’s informational and not demoralizing.” They see failure as part of the process to success, and some of their finest quotes confirm this perspective:

* “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. That’s why I succeeded.” - Michael Jordan

* “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” - Thomas Edison

* “Whether you think that you can or you can’t, you’re usually right.” - Henry Ford

NOTE: I am deeply indebted to Psychologist Professor Albert Bandura who defined self-efficacy as one's belief in his or her ability to succeed in specific situations. One's sense of self-efficacy can play a major role in how one approaches goals, tasks, and challenges.

At this juncture, I am also reminded of these profound lines from John Gardner: “There is something I know about you that you may not even know about yourself. You have within you more resources of energy than have ever been tapped, more talent than has ever been exploited, more strength than has ever been tested, and more to give than you have ever given.”

Ergo, every school must address every child’s self-efficacy needs!

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Thursday, April 21, 2011


[continued from the Last Post]

Question #6:

If we understand correctly, the ‘World’s Most Powerful Learning Systems’ as you have postulated, are no different from those already purveyed in the current marketplace, like mind-mapping, speed reading, and memory power. How distinctively different is your offering? What makes your offering much better or superior to others?

DM: This question calls for a long answer, but I shall endeavour to remain succinct.

The reasons I use the caption “The World’s Most Powerful Learning Systems” are manifold, but in essence, I have tapped on top-class systems from the past, and developed my own in the present, so that in their integrated, synthesized form, they serve the needs of the future. It is no secret that the new frontier is the human brain.

We cannot stay stuck in the Industrial Age paradigm of “cogs in the wheel,” in which we were at the mercy of industry, so to speak. The mandate is to transition to the immensely more powerful position of being “nodes in the network,” able to influence as well as to be influenced by events.

In order to dance to the rhythm of this emerging Age, my suite of skills are designed to help anyone stay relevant to the present…not relegated to the past.

A GPS cannot orient you or your business in today’s global environment of incessant competitive intelligence. We must find superior ways to help ourselves. The ‘spatially-intelligenced’ person and organisation understands and knows how to:

· Use an array of visual maps and other visual representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information.

· Use mental maps to swiftly organise information about people, places, and environments.

· Recognise global patterns and networks of economic and cultural interdependencies; and,

· Study continually emergent phenomena to interpret the present and plan for the future.

In other words, the spatially intelligent, dynamically-informed person or organisation knows how to see, think about, and interpret connections, relationships, and patterns of interaction, locally and globally. This is the value of ‘mapping’ not just ‘mind mapping’.

The rationale for reading:

Research indicates that the average CEO of an organisation does not finish reading one book a year! The average corporate executive needs to read over 5 million words per month, or 60 million words a year. Information anxiety has arrived! How are we to keep pace with the high-velocity world?

The average reading speed of most people is about 240 words per minute (wpm), well below the rate stipulated by the U.N. for functional literacy, 400 wpm.

Today, knowledge doubles every year. We have received more information in the last 50 years than in the last 5000. There is a dire need for us to deal with ‘information anxiety’.

The answer lies in learning how to read a range of materials, at a range of speeds, and depths, to enhance comprehension, acquire skills in writing and speaking, and boost overall mental literacy ~ all vital components for brain capital creation.

The rationale for memory building:

Just possessing a good memory by itself is of not much use; it must be plugged into applications, with purpose, and meaning, for winning outcomes. Then, having a good memory leads to deeper concentration, clearer thinking, enhanced self-confidence, longer-term retention, wider observation, and phenomenal creativity.

Impressive gains in business come from decreased input for increased output, savings in time and money, and incomparable levels of brain fitness.

The above skills, by themselves, have a certain impact, but when integrated, they become an exponentially enhanced Cambrian explosion of high intelligence.

What I have researched and discovered is that whilst there are entities that have offerings in each of these skills, none have the range and impact of visual mapping skills that I have developed, and none have integrated and developed the panoramic array of disciplines from across diverse domains, into my integration of ‘brain skills’.

These are complemented by deep levels of information processing when it comes to text and image blending for high-impact communication, branding, and dilemma-addressing expertise.

My efforts are in no way complete…I remain a work in progress, with much more left to accomplish. Human beings are infinitely upgradable, but unless they choose to see a better way ahead, they are in danger of becoming rapidly irrelevant.

I offer the tools for upgrading…that enable us to move ahead, not stay dead.

Besides, severe mental decline is not an inevitable companion to old age….we get smarter as we get older!

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


[continued from the Last Post]

Question #5:

‘Learning Ecosystems’ and ‘Innovation Landscapes’ seem like highbrow stuff to us. In a nutshell, can you give us a simple picture on how they would appear in the real world, in terms of, say physical infrastructure, teaching methodology, and mental competencies for the masses, from an individual, community, and/or organisational perspective?

DM: Yes, I understand your point. I am referring to happy habitats for learning and ideas to proliferate. It is difficult for most people to respond enthusiastically to regimes that are regimented. I believe that play power must trump power play.

Our scenarios for learning across all ages must be FUN-damental, in that they could assume the guise of Theme Parks, Safaris, Theatre Sets, and so on, reflective of our pleasure-seeking persuasions.

I have several concepts and designs for these ideas to be replicated in reality, as 3-D structures, as well as in digital formats.

Both instances would be highly interactive, designed to stimulate, not stipulate…one of these is my concept of The Brainaissance University, a first of its kind on the planet.

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


[continued from the Last Post]

Question #4:

Our school education system is well entrenched as an inflexible phenomenon, and perceived as being rigidly regimented. Changing the minds of policy makers requires a cognitive shift, followed by a massive structural transition at the operating level, i.e. in the schools. How do you expect to overcome this resistance so that that they are ready to embrace the auspices of the “Learning Planet’?

DM: This ‘truth’ appears to be an insurmountable challenge, and many would say that the educational domain is the only one that has remained stagnant in the course of human evolution.

Well, in homage to the genius of Bukminster Fuller, I quote him: "You can't change anything by fighting or resisting it. You change something by making it obsolete through superior methods."

I believe that I have ‘superior methods’ that will enable people to become able…to address the issues of the Third Millennium. New challenges demand new imperatives.

In partnership with technology giants, I know that I can help to architect learning campuses that are worthy of the genius within every child. This initiative must involve all sectors of society, most importantly, teachers, parents, senior citizens, policy makers, and administrators.

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Monday, April 18, 2011


[continued from the Last Post;]

Question #3:

One practical thought that immediately comes to mind is to conduct a small-scale pilot project, say first at the community level. How do you propose we do it?

DM:   This is an eminent idea. Naturally, one must have a starting point, but in time there will be a multiplicity of such points that will serve as mini-epicentres of influence. I am already appealing to national governments as well as entities in the business sector, to champion this cause. With the blessings and resources made available, I would ensure that I establish action teams to commence interactions! The media should be invited to monitor the progress of such an initiative, for the initiative to garner publicity, build momentum, and inspire a flood tide in the hearts of people who recognize the brilliant incipience of such a worthy movement.

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Sunday, April 17, 2011


[continued from the Last Post:]

Question 2:

Marshalling financial, human, and possibly other structural resources to drive what you have proposed, involving students, teachers, parents, senior citizens, organisational and institutional leaders, as well as country leaders, how do you propose to plot out a simple concept plan for implementation, so that we can get a big picture of it in our heads?

DM:     I have an array of visual mapping strategies that are designed to eradicate confusion; these maps are vivid and vibrant, clear and concise. I could deploy any such map to craft a pathway that portrays the executable concept plan. Such a one-page rendition will provide a high-impact simple-to-comprehend action plan of the ‘big picture’, from concept to conclusion.

[to be continued in the Next Post:]

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I have posed twenty questions to Dilip, just to prick his brain from the standpoint of an audience attending his presentation.

Here are his spontaneous responses to the questions, to allow blog readers to have the opportunity to savour his many deep thoughtwares, and more importantly, to understand how resolute and steadfast he is in the pursuit of his fondest vision.

I will pose the questions, and his answers, one post at a time, as follows:

Question #1:

What you are proposing, e.g. ‘Creating a Learning Planet’, let alone a ‘Learning Capital of the World’, is ostensibly a mammoth task. Of all the well-known creativity gurus out there, no one has yet taken the personal initiative like you to pursue it. What makes you think you can do it?

DM:  At the outset, I freely acknowledge the genius of ‘creativity gurus’ that have preceded me and who are still in operation.

I am an eternal student of their wisdom. They are indeed masters of their themes, with mastery expressed in diverse ways.

My task is unquestionably mammoth, but no such vision could be otherwise.

The size of the task does not daunt me, because I am propelled by its worth and value in helping us heal our wounded planet.

We must move on from guns and bullets to brains and wits…with soul, spirit, and steadfastness towards achieving the greatest good.

Finally, I have no illusions of being able to ‘do it’ alone.

I have started on the path, and am confident that against all adversity, there will be companions from all sectors of society who will exponentially build momentum in this cause.

To quote the often-quoted Lao Tzu: "The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one's feet."

Rather than emphasizing the first step, Lau Tzu regarded action as something that arises naturally from stillness.

It was in a state of stillness that I conceived the aspiration of ‘Creating a Learning Planet’ and establishing ‘Learning Capitals of the World’. This is not a march of the ego, but one of we-go!

[to be continued in the Next Post]

Monday, April 11, 2011


“You get a good idea today, a better idea tomorrow and the best idea … never.”

~ Sir Robert Watson-Watt, the inventor of radar;

Monday, April 4, 2011


"... There’s always new stuff out there, and most of it’s not very good. Rather than looking for the next musing, it’s probably better to be thorough about what we know is true and make sure we do that well.”

~ Phil Rosenzweig, a professor at IMD, in Switzerland;

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Question 1: Will your strategy beat the market?

Question 2: Does your strategy tap a true source of advantage?

Question 3: Is your strategy granular about where to compete?

Question 4: Does your strategy put you ahead of trends?

Question 5: Does your strategy rest on privileged insights?

Question 6: Does your strategy embrace uncertainty?

Question 7: Does your strategy balance commitment and flexibility?

Question 8: Is your strategy contaminated by bias?

Question 9: Is there conviction to act on your strategy?

Question 10: Have you translated your strategy into an action plan?
[Source: McKinsey Quarterly]

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Here is a quick snapshot of the numerous visual tools [in low-res display for obvious reasons] developed by Dilip Mukerjea as part of his continuing authoring & consulting work.

In my view, these visual tools are useful in helping business professionals to navigate the accelerating changes in today's fast-paced, rapidly-changing world, especially from the standpoint of anticipating opportunities, solving problems & making informed decisions.

More explicitly, they will help you to embrace the 'Law of Requisite Variety'.

Readers who are seriously interested to learn some of these visual tools should write to Dilip Mukerjea, at

Saturday, March 26, 2011


"... Failure is a necessary part of a flourishing innovative ecosystem. Not every idea is destined for greatness. A talented individual working on an idea with fatal flaws by definition isn't working on an idea with transformational potential. When great talent is stuck working on the wrong things, the ecosystem as a whole suffers. The failure of failure leads to stagnation..."

~ Scott Anthony, founder of 'Innosight', now living in Singapore;

[More information about the author, his consultancy work & his writings is available at this link. He also writes a weblog on innovation insights at Harvard Business.]

Monday, March 21, 2011


"You always start with a fantasy... Part of the fantasy technique is to visualize something as perfect. Then with experiments you work back from the fantasy to reality, hacking away at the components... I could see what the Polaroid camera should be... It was just as real to me as if it were sitting in front of me before I had ever built one..."

~ attributed to Edwin Land, inventor of the Polaroid camera, as revealed in the new book, 'Ten Steps Ahead: What Separates Successful Business Visionaries From the Rest of Us', by author Erik Calonius, who also revealed the same thing about Steve Jobs, inventor of the MacIntosh computer:

"Yeah, that's exactly the way I saw the Macintosh... It's like when I walk into a room and I want to talk about a product that hasn't been invented yet. I can see the product as if it's sitting there right in the center of the table. It's like what I've got to do is materialize it and bring it to life - harvest it just like Dr. Land said..."


"Want to change the world? Change caterpillars into butterflies? This takes more than run-of-the-mill relationships. You need to convince people to dream the same dream that you do... That's a big goal, but one that's possible for all of us..."

~ Guy Kawasaki, author of 'Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions';

Friday, March 4, 2011


"... One way to be certain of continued enrichment [of the brain] is to maintain curiosity throughout a life-time. Always asking questions of yourself or others & in turn seeking out the answers provides continual challenge to nerve cells [in the brain]... "

~ Dr Marian Diamond, professor of Anatomy at the University of California, Berkeley & author of 'Enriching Heredity';


This is my new electronic toy, which I have recently acquired as a second-hand unit in Ho Chi Minh City. It was only three-months old when I bought it.

It's actually a 5-inch go-anywhere Android-based pocket tablet from DELL. It's called DELL Streak 5. It has practically everything a pro would need to stay abreast in today's world of accelerating change.

Naturally, it's also a 3G cell phone, with a wonderful array of novel & yet fascinating features to tickle as well as challenge the mind. [You can read more about it or obtain the technical specs from this link.]

In the last five years or so, I have changed four cell phones. In 2007, I traded my old Samsung - I can't remember the model - for a Nokia N93.

Two years later, I got myself a Windows-based Samsung OMNIA II 18000 Smart Phone.

Not too long ago, I got myself what was considered as the world's first Windows-based phone ~ the HTC HD2, with that capacitive touch technology — one can zoom in & out of emails, documents & pictures with a simple pinch of one's fingers, & browse through emails or web pages with the lightest touch. [You can read more about it or obtain more technical specs from this link.]

Unfortunately, after less than a month of usage, I had accidentally drop it. It's now kaput! Luckily, it was a second-hand unit.

The Nokia set now serves as a spare, while the Samsung set still carries my Singapore roaming number. I am having my new Vietnamese number on the DELL set.

Looking back at all my electronic toys, I must say that it has been a stimulating journey of playful exploration, coupled with intellectual rumination, so to speak.

Each time, with fond memories of course, I have had to start off with a new learning curve, as I struggled to learn & to teach myself the new technological intricacies of each novel gadjet.

Undoubtedly, novelty stimulates the mind. However, the stimulation arising from having to deal with so much technological advances in hand-held communication devices of today also invariably brings one through agitation mode.

Dr Ilya Prigogine called it "perturbation", or more explicitly, the "Theory of Dissipative Structures" at work, for which the Belgian scientist won a Nobel Prize in 1977 for his brilliant work.

To put it in layman perspectives, I reckon American Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841–1935), was absolutely right, when he said:

"The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size."

So, was German poet & philosopher Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805), too when he said:

"Im engen Kreis verengert sich der Sinn. Es wachst der Mensch mit seinen grossern Zwecken." [translated: "In a narrow circle the mind contracts. Man grows with his expanded needs.”]

My expanded mind is still reverberating from the incessant exposure of daily trials & errors with the Dell Streak 5.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Here's the link to a fascinating article, entitled 'Rise of Neurocinema: How Hollywood Studios Harness Your Brainwaves to Win Oscars', from 'Fast Company'.

You can read the article first, & then watch the video clip as appended below.

My immediate reaction or takeaway is how can we use the technology to enhance webinars.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


[An extract from my other weblog, 'Optimum Performance Technologies':]

Whenever I go down to Orchard Road &/or even all the way up to the Suntec City Convention Centre from my residence in Jurong West, I often hop on to the SBS Transit Express Bus Service #502, which normally takes about 35-40 minutes to hit the beginning section of Orchard Road i.e. Orchard Hotel.

The public transport service route as mentioned is regularly served by single-decker buses, especially during off-peak hours. During peak hours, like the early mornings as well as peak evenings, I have noticed that the route is served by double-decker buses, in order to carry the expected larger passenger volumes.

Since I often travel on public transport during off-peak hours, & of course also depending on my ultimate destination, very rarely do I have the chance to hop on to a double decker bus.

Yesterday evening, close to 5pm, & on the way back from Plaza Singapura at the tail end of Orchard Road to Jurong West, my wife & I had the opportunity to hop onto a double decker. We went up to the front seat on the upper deck.

We have travelled on the same bus route probably hundreds of time, but most of the times on a single-decker bus.

From the upper deck, we realised that our panoramic view was very different. An elevated viewpoint certainly gave us a larger vista.

In fact, our visual horizon was further, unobstructed in many ways, when compared from the almost street-level viewpoint of a single-decker.

Comparatively, at almost street-level, our panorama from the bus window seat is restricted, & occasionally blocked by taller & bigger objects, even at distant view.

For example, oftentimes when I passed the Raffles Town Club on the junction of Steven Road/Dunearn Road on my left, I could not see what was behind the concrete fence.

Yesterday, I could see that there was actually a landscaped garden shielded from public eyes by the wall.

Also, I realised there was a large pond alongside the Pan-Island Expressway, just after the Adam Road exit, on my right.

There were other interesting examples, at least from my personal curiosity standpoint, but too numerous to highlight here.

My point is that an elevated position does give one a much broader perspective to look at a scene.

Metaphorically, an helicopter ability facilitates our ability to see the world afar & anew.

Just like an helicopter, considered one of the most versatile air-crafts on earth, which has the ability to take off & land vertically, as well as hover, which in turn gives it the capability & flexibility to manoeuvre in & out of hard-to-reach areas, we can adopt a series of elevated viewpoints that allows us to see the forest from the trees, so to speak.

Sometimes, when we stay too close to the ground, especially when appraising a situation or a problem, we tend to be oblivious to what's really happening out there in our immediate surroundings.

This is not to say that we should not stay grounded, as a feel of the pulse on the ground is also important in any situation appraisal.

What I am saying is that, we got to occasionally detach ourselves from the ground level, & raise ourselves above it, in order to see further, & maybe beyond what's really happening around us.

An open-up vista can certainly engender an expanded mental perspective.

After all, every moment of our lives is governed by our perspective. Whichever vista we use to view an experience with will determine how we see it, how we feel it, & how we react to it.

Creativity is a matter of perspective. So is change leadership. We have to use a different vista to see the issue or problem.

In the ultimate, so much of life is a matter of perspective. We have to see things from different angles.

Actually, come to think of it & in the end analysis, an helicopter ability is all about seeing the world, projects, problems & challenges in fresh & unique ways.

It's about being open-minded, spontaneous, inquisitive & hungering to explore new & better possibilities.

No wonder, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, while serving as our Prime Minister, has openly outlined his four primary characteristic traits he wanted in the appraisal of candidates as ministers.

One of them is the helicopter ability.

When Philip Yeo, one of Singapore's most brilliant high-powered road warriors in attracting foreign capital, was serving as Chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB), he was confronted by initial problems in selling Singapore as an offshore petrochemical hub to global investors.

With a spark of inspiration, he actually took an helicopter ride to survey our few small offshore islands one day, which eventually led to the building & construction of the new Jurong Island, which came from the merging - via landfill - of seven small islets.