"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, 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]