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Here is something you probably didn’t know: Just 3% of all tech start-ups are led by women, according to a Kauffman Foundation report. Despite this, it’s interesting to learn that women-led private technology companies are more capital-efficient, achieving 35% higher return on investment, and, when venture-backed, bringing in 12% higher revenue than male-owned tech companies.
At Co-creation Hub, we encourage, support and promote active female participation in technology and technology entrepreneurship. That’s why we are excited to be part of the Google for Entrepreneurs’ #40Forward challenge.
In the last 2 years, we have hosted networking and information sessions where women, interested or already active in technology, get to learn and share their knowledge, experiences and challenges.
In December 2012, we had our first Ladies in Tech meetup with the purpose to form a synergy amongst women in technology and discover ways to maximize available opportunities, particularly with regards to what the CcHub community can provide.
From these sessions, we have identified some pain points for women in technology in Nigeria. There is the struggle to succeed in a predominantly male dominated field while learning to balance business and family life. All this in addition to the challenges common to all entrepreneurs such as how to:
improve business and technical skills
learn to build great products/offer great services
learn to sell said products and services
collaborate with partners and connect with potential investors
finding good hands to work with
identify opportunities to grow their business
With all these lessons in mind, this year, we are designing a high impact program that addresses these needs, and best of all, yields results. The program will identify aspiring and existing female technology entrepreneurs in Nigeria and provide them with necessary resources and support to grow successful businesses.
The goals of the program are to:
Equip potential and existing female technology entrepreneurs with the skills needed to build and grow their businesses.
Provide mentoring, training, and potential funding for female technology entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
By so doing, we will also:
Increase the number of women actively involved in technology entrepreneurship in Nigeria
Increase networking opportunities locally for women in STEM fields in Nigeria
Develop a critical mass and build a steady pipeline of skilled women in STEM in Nigeria
At the end of the program, participants will have formed teams and transformed their ideas into products and/or services fit to push to the market.
Are you a Nigerian female with a start up business or idea? Follow the link below to be a part of this project.
Children are full of unharnessed creativity. The way they invent their own games and find explanations for the things that are beyond them? I personally believe that their perpetually excitable state is as a result of the new discoveries they make every moment; within themselves and in their environment.
Some children are child prodigies in some activity or the other, their talents are obvious and they evolve rapidly. Others are not so obvious and they may display several talents at the same time; but no child is ordinary.
A child’s creativity starts with their method of thinking and problem solving. Daily challenges to expand their reasoning and understanding of the world, along with an encouraging environment allows for a child to become more confident of their views and opinions. There are a number of ways to develop child creativity, most of which can be incorporated into daily life.
1. Allow your child to make simple choices, such as what to eat for dinner or where to go on a weekend. This encourages them to think independently, exercising an important aspect of creativity.
2. Encourage independence from caregivers and media. A child that is constantly entertained by others or the television will struggle to find things to do on their own without access to media.
3. Provide items in your child’s environment to stimulate their imagination. Drawing supplies, blocks, books, and random craft supplies can all contribute to elaborate dramatic play schemes.
4. Brainstorm different uses for items with your child. For example, a cardboard tube can be a telescope, tower, or person. Validate all of your child’s ideas, praising him or her for such an impressive imagination.
5. Ask your child open-ended questions to stretch their understanding and help them to postulate ideas.
6. Play with your child. Work together to establish dramatic play scenarios, using substitute items for props when needed. Pretend play allows for children to imagine life from a different perspective, an important building block of creativity.
7. Be prepared for “messy play.” While it may seem that your child is playing in the mud simply to make more work for you, in fact there is a great deal that is learned by playing with such things. When they are finished playing, make it a rule that they have to help clean up. If faced with the choice of getting messy then cleaning it up and not getting messy at all, almost all children will choose the former option.
8. Engage in story telling. Start a story and take turns building upon it. Follow your child’s lead in what the mood of the story should be. Expect most stories to be more on the silly, impossible side. Since this is just a story, no idea is too far-fetched.
In summary, it is important to encourage creativity in your child with these and other methods. This will reduce the probability of them being late bloomers, or worse never blooming.
Have you tried any of the above before and had results? Or do you have another method not listed that has worked for you? Do share your own method(s) in the comment box
Happy Children’s Day!
Hat Tip: wikiHow
by Mark McGuiness
No one likes the feeling that other people are waiting – impatiently – for you to get back to them. At the beginning of the day, faced with an overflowing inbox, a list of messages on your voicemail, and the to-do list from your last meeting, it’s tempting to want to “clear the decks” before you start on your own most important work. When you’re up-to-date, you tell yourself, your mind will be clear and it will be easier to focus on the task at hand.
The trouble with this approach is that you end up spending the best part of the day on other people’s priorities, running their errands, and giving them what they need. By the time you finally settle down to your own work, it could be mid-afternoon, when your energy has dipped and it’s hard to focus on anything properly. “Oh well, maybe tomorrow will be better,” you tell yourself.
But when tomorrow comes round there’s another pile of emails, phone messages, and to-do list items. If you carry on like this you will spend most of your time on reactive work, responding to incoming demands and answering questions framed by other people. It’s a never-ending hamster wheel. And it will never lead to remarkable work, in Seth Godin‘s sense, “worthy of being remarked on.” We don’t find it remarkable when our expectations are met – only when they are exceeded, or when we are surprised by something completely unexpected.
The single most important change I’ve made in my own working habits has been to start doing things the other way round – i.e. begin the day with creative work on my own top priorities, with the phone and email switched off. And I never schedule meetings in the morning, if there’s any way of avoiding it. This means that whatever else happens, I get my most important work done – and looking back, all of my biggest successes have been the result of making this simple change.
These days, I have two popular blogs that bring me plenty of new business. I have e-books, training programs, an e-learning program, and a network of great contacts I can call on for help. I have qualifications, and more importantly the knowledge and skills I acquired through my studies. All of these things are assets that create ongoing value for my clients and for my business. Yet there wasn’t a single day when I sat down to write each individual essay, blog post, training plan, or e-book chapter, without a string of people waiting for me to get back to them.
It wasn’t easy, and still isn’t, particularly when I get phone messages beginning “I sent you an email two hours ago…!”
By definition, taking this approach goes against the grain of others’ expectations, and the pressures they put on you. It can take an act of willpower to switch off the world, even for an hour, during the working day. For some strange reason, it feels “unprofessional” to be knuckling down to work in this way.
The thing is, if you want to create something truly remarkable, it won’t be built in a day. A great novel, a stunning design, a game-changing software application, a revolutionary company – this kind of thing takes time, thought, craft, and persistence. And on any given day, it will never appear as “urgent” as those four emails (in the last half-hour) from Client X or Colleague Y, asking for things you’ve already given them or which they probably don’t really need.
So if you’re going to prioritize this kind of work – your real work – you may have to go through a wall of anxiety in order to get it done. And you’ll probably have to put up with complaints and reproaches from people who have no idea what you’re trying to achieve, and can’t understand what could be more important than their needs.
Yes, it feels uncomfortable, and sometimes people get upset, but it’s much better to disappoint a few people over small things, than to sacrifice the big things for an empty inbox. Otherwise you’re sacrificing real productivity for the illusion of professionalism.
Here are a few tips to help you make the switch:
Either start the day on your creative work, or make sure you block out time for it later in the day – preferably at a time when you typically feel energized and productive.
You know the drill – email off, phone off, work from home if you can, stick your headphones on if you can’t.
Don’t be reckless. If you’re working with a client to a deadline, or your boss needs something urgently, treat them like VIPs and give them special access – e.g. leave the phone on and answer if they ring (everyone else gets the voicemail).
You can’t ignore everybody all the time. The better your productivity systems, the more promptly you’ll be able to respond to their requests – and the more time you’ll have free for your own work.
Over to You
Do you agree that ‘creative work first, reactive work second’ is the key to creating remarkable things?
How do you prioritize work on important-but-not-urgent projects? What benefits have you gained from doing this?
If you want to be successful, you may need to get a little weird!
Looking at the lives of immensely successful people, it becomes clear that strangeness has its benefits. From Marissa Mayer’s eccentric sleeping schedule to Ludwig van Beethoven’s affinity for composing in the bathtub, here’s a look some weird habits that have fueled success.
According to Harvard psychologist Shelley Carson, eccentric people tend to be more creative because of something called “cognitive disinhibition.”Basically, creative folks have less of a filter on their thoughts and actions, which makes them more likely to do things that don’t follow the norms of behavior.
At 85, Nakamatsu is one of Japan’s greatest inventors. He patented the floppy disk back in 1952 and has racked up 3,300 patents. He’s the father of the karaoke machine, the sauce pump, the taxicab meter, and the digital watch.
To feed his inventiveness, he likes to push his brain and body to the limit. He regularly goes swimming and holds his head underwater to the point of nearly drowning.
“To starve the brain of oxygen,” he once explained, “you must dive deep and allow the water pressure to deprive the brain of blood. Zero-point-five seconds before death, I visualize an invention.”
Then he jots down his inspiration on an underwater notepad and heads back to the surface.
In an era of 140-character messages, Franzen composes serious fiction. His books “The Corrections” and “Freedom” capture the endemic weirdness of American families.
But to write his 500-page novels, Franzen goes beyond just boycotting social media. He blocks out all sensory stimuli. As the New York Times reports, he writes with earplugs, earmuffs, and a blindfold when he really needs to concentrate.
”You can always find the ‘home’ keys on your computer,” he said. ”They have little raised bumps.”
3. Ludwig van Beethoven developed his ideas in the bathroom.
image credit: Public domain
Though he famously went deaf, Beethoven became one of the world’s most influential composers with works such as “Moonlight Sonata.” Surprisingly, baths were a part of his workflow.
His student and secretary Anton Schindler wrote that the composer would stand at “his washstand and pour large pitchers of water over his hands, bellowing up and down the scale or sometimes humming loudly to himself.”
Then he’d stride around the room rolling his eyes, writing down notes, and continue pouring water and singing. While the splashing annoyed his neighbors, Beethoven was onto something: We get our best ideas in the shower.
“These were moments of deep meditation,” Schindler said, “to which no one could have objected.”
While Edison would sneak in a power nap, he usually slept as little as possible — only three hours a night. He thought sleep was “a heritage from our cave days” and a waste of time.
That’s why he would work for a reported 72 hours straight before finally closing his eyes. That marathon work ethic led to the invention of the phonograph, the alkaline battery, a better lightbulb, and some 1,093 patents.
“We are always hearing people talk about ‘loss of sleep’ as a calamity,” he wrote in a 1921 letter. “They better call it loss of time, vitality, and opportunities.”
Mayer likes to get deeply invested in a project to encourage breakthroughs. When the Yahoo CEO was working at Google, she would devote 130 hours a week to the search company. To do so, she would sleep at her desk and get “strategic” with her showers. It’s all part of maximizing her waking hours, and one reason you’d rarely find her without a laptop.
How does she prevent burnout? She’s reported to take a week-long vacation every four months.
This was part of his “attraction to repulsion,” which also brought him to crime scenes where he liked to play detective.
Trying to solve the crimes, some argue, trained the writer in critical thinking — the kind needed for his complex novels.
To say that this author and poet is prolific is an understatement. In over 50 years of writing, she’s produced many autobiographies, several books of poetry, films, and television shows. She’s also been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the U.S.
Her secret: a tiny hotel room, where she’d go from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a dictionary, a Bible, a deck of cards, and a bottle of sherry to get her creative juices going.
“I’ll stay as long as it’s going well,” she said in an interview. “It’s lonely, and it’s marvelous.”
Skinner helped found behaviorism, a formative school of 20th century psychology. According to his thinking, all our actions can be measured, trained, and changed, if we only pay attention to the inputs and the outputs.
Quite fittingly, Skinner conditioned himself.
As Mason Currey notes in “Daily Rituals,” Skinner started and stopped his workdays with the buzz of a timer. He tracked the hours he worked and the words he produced along a graph. Sixty years before the quantified self movement became cool, Skinner was using numbers to better his production.
Bacon, a British artist who painted gruesome and intense portraits, lived the high life. Bottles of wine, beers at the pub, and drinks at private clubs were a daily routine.
Interestingly, all the imbibing and hard living helped his creativity.
“I often like working with a hangover,” he said, “because my mind is crackling with energy, and I can think very clearly.”
Cutie alert!!! This creative person is into cuties, cuteness, and all things cute. We feature a brand that you can only love.
She is an entrepreneur who is conscious of the richness in the African heritage and she does her cute bit to promote it – yeah, couldn’t resist saying it one more time :D. You need to see the adorable models
She is part of the new crop of Creatives, who are not afraid to go head to head with the foreign brands as her pride in her Nigerian heritage shows through in her designs.
We’d love to meet you
My name is Jokotimi Garba, a Lagosian married with two kids. I studied Mass Communication at the Lagos State University. I am very simple and fun to be with.
Give a brief introduction of your business endeavor
At TMG Divas, we make beautiful and extraordinary clothes, shoes, slippers and sandals for children in African fabrics, especially Ankara material. The business name is coined from my daughter’s initials.
Do u see yourself as a creative individual and at what point did this happen?
Yes, I see myself as a creative person. It all started in 2013, I had a deep longing to make my children look good and dress uniquely at every outing and also to promote our African culture. I was tired of UK and US wears and I did something about it.
What source(s) do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from my children and my environment.
Describe your journey so far – How did you start/ get into what you do now?
My journey so far has been wonderful and encouraging. I have come in contact with great and wonderful people who appreciate what I do.
I started in 2013, I didn’t want a white collar job because I wanted to have enough time for my kids. I really wanted to do something different after graduating in 2011.
Did you receive any training?
I worked at GOP fashion house in Yaba during my Diploma days. I learnt one or two things about fashion whilst there.
Did you get discouraged at any point?
Yes, I got discouraged at some point because some people around me had many doubts about if the business would be successful.
What made you stick with it?
What kept me going was the fact that I had the conviction that it will work out, I knew what I wanted and I felt extremely excited within myself.
What sets your work apart from others in your niche?
My designs are unique and extraordinary. Moreso, the fact that I specialize in children clothes with matching shoes and accessories, all in indigenous fabric, gives me an edge.
Where do you plan to take this to?
I see TMG Divas becoming a household name. I see us receiving local and international awards for promoting African culture in children fashion.
We encourage collaboration on this forum, so what are your other areas of interest?
My other area of interest is in event planning and execution.
What hurdles have you encountered and how are you dealing with them?
Delivering orders to people in other cities like Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, Asaba, Port Harcourt, Oshogbo, Abeokuta and Ibadan was an issue. I had to discuss with some transportation companies, I pay them and they help me do deliveries to other states.
What habits of yours would you say contribute to your creative output?
My habit of being critical! I see everything wrong in what most tailors around sew for kids and I feel compelled to make it right.
How do you see the level of creativity and innovation in our society?
There are so many creative people in Nigeria and I am impressed by the level of creativity in the country. I am proud to be a Nigerian.
Do you have mentors in the business or people you look up to?
I respect the works of Mrs Temitayo Oyetunji of GOP Fashion. Her works inspires me.
How would you encourage aspiring creative business owners?
Believe in yourself. Don’t give up on your dreams and sincerely ask God to help u achieve ur dreams.
Jokotimi can be reached on 08038633545 or BB pin:26E9E351. You may also check her out on her Facebook page.
About her location, she says – “My workshop is at Agege but I don’t encourage people to come there. I’m working on a place where customers can go and buy off the shelf. Wholesale and retail options available. Call me and let’s talk business”.
I was tired of UK and US wears and I did something about it – Jokotimi Garba
A profound insight into Creativity and being a creative person
Experiencing the ice at the lake got me thinking about how I get insights into my life when I apply my creativity. I think the greatest gift is that I learn about myself in ways that were not obvious to me before. The act of creating reveals a truth in my life. The art is a by-product of a creative process through which personal meaning and purpose are revealed.
The patterns forming in the ice as we were jumping on the floating dock brought up feelings for me. Becoming aware of what I am feeling is the starting point of my creative process. I think the feelings here were joy, wonder and curiosity. These are all feelings associated with states of creativity. There was also a feeling of freedom and connectedness.
I was spontaneous with…
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