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Using Twitter for Nigeria election reform

April 12th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Events, Politics, Technology

At the center of grass roots efforts to keep Nigeria’s notorious election process clean is a small, indistinguishable man armed with a cell phone…Amara, wearing a t-shirt with the phrase “Light Up Nigeria” and with his mobile phone always close by, is perhaps Nigeria’s best-known Twitter activist….But as Amara tours polling stations across Lagos, he is leaving nothing to chance. He uses the internet as a platform to encourage as many people to get involved in the voting process as possible….Nigeria has 43 million Internet users — the largest in Africa — and they are increasingly using Twitter, Facebook and blogs, such as Nigeria’s Saharareporters.com, to access information and make their views heard.

Read more at CNN.com

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Notes: leadership and innovation at 2010 World Business Forum

October 29th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Business, Events, Featured, General

Recently I was honored to have been able to attend The World Business Forum, an annual business conference featuring some of today’s most influential business and leadership luminaries. The event, held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, featured 18+ speakers – including Al Gore, Jack Welch, Vijay Govindarajan, and Charlene Li – covering a range of business topics from social media to innovation to government. As a featured blogger – along with writers from The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post – I watched and listened for two days as global business leaders shared their insights on stage. I’ve outlined portions of my speaker notes for you to read below. You can also read through the archive of on-the-spot tweets from myself and fellow attendees in the #WBF10 Twitter stream for more context.

Jim Collins on sustaining great results

- The 5 levels of leadership

  • The highly capable individual
  • Contributing team member
  • Competent manager
  • Effective Leader
  • Level 5 executive

- Leadership only exists if people have the power to not follow

- To much opportunity can kill a company more than a lack of opportunity

- Good executives must have the abiity to pick the right people for the right seats

- Most overnights success are 20 years in the making

Bill McDermott on winning in the new reality

- You need compelling vision for business

- You can tell everything about a CEO by their executive secretary

- The best run businesses have connected enterprise (IT)

Jack Welch on management

- The team that owns the best players wins

- The internet is the Viagra of big business

- Companies spend too much time with the bottom 20% achievers than the top 10%

Carlos Brito on building a performance culture

- Great people = Great companies

- Great people like meritocracies

- Without meritocracy, great people will leave because they have opptions, and weak people will stay because they don’t

- Create a culture of owners

Charlene Li on social networks

- You can’t have a strategy about Facebook

- Social technologies are about relationships

- We overvalues things we can measure, and undervalue what we can’t

Martin Lindstrom on marketing

- Removing a logo is just as powerful

- 83% of brands communicate with only one sense

Joseph Grenny in influence

- Grenny’s law of leadership: No strategy is so brilliant that people can’t render it useless

- Culture and behaviour are a good way to influence business success

- Influencers succeed because they overdetermine success

- Six sources of influence

  • Influence of pain or pleasure of behaviour
  • Influence of skill
  • Influence social networks
  • Influence with power of crowds
  • Influence of cost and incentives
  • Influence with environment

David Gergen on leadership

- Blogs make it harder on Washington

- General Petraues is a good leader; combines accessibility with a chain of command

Steve Levitt on freakonomics

- The Best ideas are the simplest

- Regression analysis help economists see patterns

- Microeconomics in business can be important

- In a complex world, if you set up complex rules, people will game it

- If you want to succeed and you have no special talent, find the most niche topic and become an expert in it

Joseph Stiglitz on the economy

- During economic downturn, the poeple who needed to fix the economy probably too vested in maintaining it

- The White House doesn’t hate business, see the bank bail-outs

A.G. Lafley on customer centric growth

- Inventions are not innovative until it becomes commercial

- Essence for creative innovation

  • Openness
  • Curiosity
  • Connecting
  • Collaboration
  • Courage

Renee Mauborgne on strategy

- Management should spend more time on creativity rather than productivity

Vijay Govindarajan on innovation

- The 3 boxes of management

- Manage the present

- Selectively abandon the past

- Create the future

James Cameron on creativity

- His creative process

  • Do story treatment
  • Get graphic designers to visualize story
  • Write script
  • Cast actors
  • Produce and edit movie

As I mentioned before read through the The World Business Forum tweets archive for more context to my notes. You can also view some video highlights of the conference and read what some of my fellow bloggers wrote at the official Bloggers Hub. Hope to see you at the 2011 edition of the World Business Forum.

Ghana’s Black Stars celebrate World Cup push (video)

July 1st, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Events, Featured, Games, General, Sports

I’m quite proud to be a Ghanaian right about now.

The Black Stars haven’t just made Ghanaians proud.

Being the only African team left in the cup, they are being cheered on by fans across the continent – all wanting the dancing to continue right through to the final. – BBC

Video: The Black Stars, Ghana’s football/soccer team, celebrating at their hotel after the win that sent them into the World Cup 2010 Quarter-Finals (via Pearcesport)

Video: Ghanaians celebrates World Cup win over US

If you can’t see the videos above, go here

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‘Fela!’ musical lands 11 Tony Noms; Chiwetel Ejiofor cast as Fela in biopic

May 5th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted in Art, Business, Events, Film/Television, Music

Fela_highres 2.1

A BIG congratulations to the cast and crew of ‘FELA!’ The musical as they have just received 11 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical. The Tony Awards is the leading awards which honor Broadway productions that opened during the 2009-10 season. Along with the musical ‘La Cage aux Folles’, ‘Fela!’ has received the most nominations. ‘Fela! is nominated in all major categories including Best direction, Best performance by a leading actor, Best performance by a featured actress, and Best choreography. The 2010 Tony Awards show will air June 13 on CBS.

In related news Golden Globe nominated actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (Kinky Boots, American Gangster, Inside Man) has been cast to play Fela in the feature film biopic about the iconic Nigerian musician/activist. Deadline New York reveals:

(The) Focus Features movie about the African musician and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti now officially has its leading man. Chiwetel Ejiofor is formally attached to play Fela in the film that will be directed by Steve McQueen, the British artist who made his helming debut on Hunger, the drama about the Irish hunger strike that starred Michael Fassbender.

When I revealed the project last year, Ejiofor seemed the obvious choice, but Focus Features wouldn’t confirm. Ejiofor sure has been taking it seriously on his end. In between his work on the upcoming Angelina Jolie-starrer Salt, he has been learning to play piano and saxophone to prepare for the role. I’m told he’s gotten quite good.

When I first heard about the biopic some months ago many people on Twitter, including myself, put in their vote for Ejiofor in the lead role. It seems the producers were thinking as we did. Though the two projects are unrelated, I can’t help but think the musical helped solidify production plans for the film. I, for one, am excited for both projects. Go see Fela! The Musical.

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Bill Gates: Mobiles not PCs for global health in developing markets


via mobihealthnews.com

Microsoft Chairman and philanthropist Bill Gates recently sat down at UC Berkeley to discuss the need for personal computers versus cell phones in so-called developing markets.

42 country, 100 exhibit Africa Pavilion unveiled for 2010 Shanghai World Expo

April 19th, 2010 | 3 Comments | Posted in Business, Events, Film/Television, General, Music, Politics, Travel

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50 African nations and the African Union will present their interpretations of the “Better City, Better Life” theme in Shanghai, China at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo running May 1 to October 31. Along with a number of other countries, African governments and businesses will exhibit at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo in efforts to showcase tourism and trade potential. Of the 50 African nations exhibiting, 42 have joined forces to build the Joint-Africa Pavilion, a 22.6 thousand square meters (243,264.38 sq. ft) exhibit hall with individual country exhibition areas and over 100 exhibits from Africa. Located near a main entrance of the expo, construction for the Joint-Africa Pavilion began in August 2008, and is developed in part with investment money from a $100-million fund set up by the organizers of the expo for the over 100 participating developing countries participating. The remaining 8 African countries exhibiting, including South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria, will rent their own separate pavilions.

The Joint African Pavilion consists of exhibitions provided by 42 African countries including Angola, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Zambia, and Sudan. The Pavilion embraces the theme of “The Great Ballad of Africa”. It aims to represent the cultural diversity, solidarity, and the rosy future of the African countries. Welcoming visitors at the entrance of the Pavilion is “Lucy”, a 3-and-a-half million year old fossil of a female hominid. She was discovered in Ethiopia in 1974.” - CCTV

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Of the 191 countries participating in the World Expo in Shanghai, most are investing record amounts to build pavilions., Most world governments will be providing the bulk of investment, with heads of state promising to make special appearances. In an effort to solidify Shanghai as a global city, China itself is spending $4.2 billion on transforming the world’s fair to a blowout extravaganza, surpassing it’s recent efforts on producing the Beijing Olympics. “Compared with the Olympics, the expo will have a richer culture,” said Zhu Yonglei, deputy director-general of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination. “It will be more interesting.” An extimated 70 million visitors from the public and private sectors, civil society, international organizations and others will attend the Shanghai World Expo, making it the largest World Expo in history.

More images of the Joint-Africa Pavilion available here and here.

Video: Joint African Pavilion unveils design

Video: South Africa at World Expo

If you can’t see the videos above go here to view

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African contemporary art having a global renaissance (videos)

April 15th, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted in Art, Books/Magazines, Business, Events, General, Travel

CNN’s Inside Africa recently aired a series of features on the growing global demand for contemporary art. View the 3 parts of the feature below.

Part 1

Johannesburg Contemporary Art Fair
The Johannesburg Art Fair recently showcased the works of 400 African contemporary artists, attracting more than 10,000 visitors. – CNN Inside Africa

PART 2

First US-based commercial art auction dedicated solely to contemporary African art
Auction house Bonhams’ recent ‘Africa Now’ auction in New York was first commercial auction dedicated solely to contemporary African art in the United States

Part 3

Ghana’s ancient beads back in vogue
A new generation of Ghanaians are rediscovering their heritage — and rediscovering the appeal of traditional beads – CNN Inside Africa

If you can’t view the videos above go here to watch

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ESPN channels Apartheid-era South Africa for 2010 FIFA World Cup ad

April 12th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Business, Events, Film/Television, General, Politics, Sports, Travel

For it’s part in the 2010 FIFA World Cup advertising wars, ESPN is channeling a major part of South Africa’s history:  Apartheid. The sports channel is starting it’s World Cup advertising with a Wieden + Kennedy created spot highlighting the importance of  football (soccer to Americans) at South Africa’s infamous Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. The commercial is part of a four-part series which will be rolled out over the course of the months before the World Cup start on June 11.

Our goal with this spot is to educate people about the historical significance of the World Cup being played in South Africa. – ESPN Marketing Director Seth Ader

Watch the commercial below and let me know what you think in the comments below.


via Adrants

If you can’t see the video above, go here.

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NY African Film Festival opens, celebrates World Cup and independent Africa

nyaff

The 17th annual New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) has opened on April 7th celebrating the 50th anniversary of 17 African nations’ independence from colonial rule as well as the freedom that the rise in technology has given African filmmakers to tell their own stories. Among the 13 features and 25 short films from emerging and veteran filmmakers from 18 countries are four soccer films in honor of the World Cup’s first games in Africa opening in June 2010, an animated short program, Focus Features’ Africa First short program and an environmental film.

The festival runs from April 7 through the 13th at The Film Society of Lincoln Center and continues at Columbia University’s Institute for African Studies, 3ten Lounge, New Museum and the Brooklyn Academy of Music BAMcinématek with dates in April and May. Some films showing during the festival include The Absence, directed by Mama Keïta (Senegal/France), Eliane de Latour’s narrative film Beyond the Ocean, winner of the Jury Prize at the Festival des Cinéma du Monde 2009, and Wanuri Kahiu’s Pumzi, which I highlighted here before.

Take a look at the full film schedule.

On Saturday, April 10, a panel discussion will also be held where established and aspiring directors and producers will learn how to craft an attention-getting pitch and utilize social networking tools at “Getting Exposure: Securing the Buzz You Need for Your Film.” The panel takes place at The Film Society of Lincoln Center at 1:30 pm, and is part of  the film festivals “Independent Africa”.

Panelists will include Jennifer Merin, film journalist with About.com and founder of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists; Misani, culture writer for the Amsterdam News; Paul Burani, social media strategist; and Pam Pickens, digital marketing expert. The event, which is open to the public, will be moderated by veteran entertainment publicist and NYAFF’s public relations consultant Cheryl L. Duncan of Cheryl Duncan & Company Inc.

For panel or film tickets, go to www.filmlinc.com.

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Notes from Columbia U’s 2010 Africa Economic Forum

2010-AEF-Logo-300x223Last week I attended Columbia University’s annual African Economic Forum (AEF). The two-day conference was a diverse and insightful one with discussions ranging from Branding Africa to the growing, sometimes controversial China-Africa relationship. The organizers put together a great program with much discussion during and in-between panels. While I couldn’t attend the full program, I was able to participate in some great discussions with attendees and panelists in the Africa Arena. I’ve provided my notes from the discussions I was able to attend below. My notes cover a mixture of discussion topics and perspectives from the esteemed panelists and attendees. Please keep in mind that the notes below are portions of the hour plus long discussions from my perspective as an attendee. If you have any insight into any of the topics in my notes please feel free to comment. For clarification on any of the points in my notes please shoot me an email.

ATTENDANCE NOTES:
Panel: African Fashion Going Global
Moderator: ZANDILE BLAY, Market Editor, Paper Magazine
Panelists: OLUCHI, Supermodel and the Original Face of Africa; BUSIE MATSIKO, CEO and Co-Founder, Fashion Indie Media; AISHA OBUOBI, Designer & Founder, Christie Brown; MIMI PLANGE, Designer and Founder, Boudoir D’huîtres

  • Should Africans sell primarily to Africans?
  • African designers are more torn about designing Africa-inspired clothes vs. other western designers designing Africa-inspired clothes
  • Western designers are not limited or stigmatized when using African influences in designs
  • Should there be an African fashion capital? Some panelists say no
  • Is there a viable African consumer enough to support African fashion industry?
  • Designers don’t want to get pigeonholed as an ethnic designer; need room for growth
  • There is very limited support (i.e. factories, retail outlets) for African designers on the continent
  • Some panelists say African designers should focus on African consumers rather than targeting global consumers first
  • There is lack of business expertise among designers on the continent
  • Designers need to partner up with business professionals on the continent
  • Pricing African designs is tricky
  • Not too many Africans will pay high prices to support African designers
  • There are two types of African consumers: 1) those that travel and buy high-end western clothes 2) the locals who can’t afford couture and buy mass
  • It’s hard to produce on the continent particularly if you’re not doing mass production
  • Many African designers aspire to go to South Africa fashion week because it’s the top African continent fashion industry
  • Just like you don’t only have New Yorkers in New York Fashion week, South Africa’s Fashion Week has Africans from all over continent
  • African designers get inspiration from everywhere just like other designers
  • Some African designers are more drawn to cultural design than others

More »

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