Some of the greatest challenges in business today centre around keeping people motivated, productive and loyal. However, we live in times where a plethora of choices and digital distractions makes this more difficult than ever before. In response to this challenge, game designers have been developing incredibly powerful ways to get people to learn, stay attentive, collaborate, and stick with the task until it's done with excellence.

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AuthorDave Duarte
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Is formal education the surest path to health, wealth,  happiness and societal progress? I think it's important that we start looking directly at what is working for people who we consider successful today.

With the unprecedented rate of technologically driven change in industries and jobs, along with a super-abundance of information, perhaps being educated is no longer a matter of having completed a degree once upon a time. From what I've seen from the most successful people that I know, learning is a lifestyle and the most learned people are not bookworms, but "pracademics" - part doer (practitioner) and part researcher (academic).

As I see it then, being educated in in the age of Google and the web is now a matter of:

Being Educated.001.jpg

1) Being Curious and Humble

The greatest threat to the sustainability individuals and companies are that their current processes and technologies become obsolete. Instead of falling back on what you know, you should nurture a curiosity about what is possible. Once you know what problems are worthwhile solving, the answers are easier to find than ever before. 

"Perplexity is the beginning of knowledge." Kahlil Gibran

2) Learning fitness

There should be an expiry date on most degrees. Knowledge is dating at a faster rate than ever before - from web marketing to medicine - industries change as science and technology progresses.  The ability to discern fads (quickly dated tastes) from trends (slow-building, sustainable and significant changes) will help us align our learning to what is likely to be most valuable to society.

"The future is already here, it is just not evenly distributed yet" - William Gibson

3) knowing how to access and store information (web user skills + knowledge management)

The answers to your questions are out there, but to find them, store them, and access them when you need them takes some skill. Do you know how to determine the credibility of a web resource? Are you savvy in Boolean operators for search? Can you use Google Fusion Tables to analyse data on the fly? Do you use metadata to help you save and sort relevant articles in an online app? There are a host of tools that can radically enhance our intelligence, capacity, and research abilities.

"Access is better than ownership" - Kevin Kelly

4) Connecting with the people who are involved in doing what you're learning about (networking)

Knowing the right people leads to opportunities for continued success and learning - this happens through conversations, introductions and collaborations. I've personally found that the best way to meet and connect with these people is a combination of participating in online networks, and attending conferences and courses that are topically related.

Support, mentoring, and coaching is also a key element of this value factor.

"Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu" (A person is a person through other people) - Zulu Maxim

5) Keeping focussed (goals and analytics)

The most useful part of a university degree is the paper you get at the end of it, but not for the reasons you might think. The paper (the degree) is an end-goal that motivates you to finish what you started. The best preventative measure to this distraction is to have goals, milestones, metrics, and an accountability system (once again, mentoring and coaching can play a key role here) that will ensure that you get to a significant depth of understanding and praxis.

"There are literally millions of potentially interesting things in the world to see, to do, to learn about. But they don’t become actually interesting until we devote attention to them." - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

6) Maintaining energy, health and wellbeing (exercise & nutrition)

The modern corporate lifestyle is almost by defined by traffic, desk-bound work, technological dependence, high stress, regular air-travel, junk-food,  and stimulants. If education's role is to improve the lives of the educated, then it's incumbent on educators to embed healthy practices that enable clear thinking, creativity, and well-being.

Take care of your body with steadfast fidelity. The soul must see through these eyes alone, and if they are dim, the whole world is clouded." - Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

7) Philosophical Engagement (Mental Models and Ethics)

Perhaps the two surest ways to sustain success and build momentum in the long run are: a) having philosophies, mental models, and paradigms that that allow you to zoom out of the day-to-day activity of your work and see whether what you're doing is truly worthwhile to yourself and others,  and b) A good reputation, gained through years of ethical practice.

"The sacred is all about unconditionals; the profane is all about conditionals." - Nassim Taleb

What do you think? Would you add or subtract anything here? How can we move closer to making this vision a reality? I'd love to hear your views.

Wine Marketing Course

My mentor and friend, Graham Knox, owner of Stormhoek Wines, has put together a remarkable wine marketing course for UCT Graduate School of Business, called Dirty Hands - A Practical Approach to Wine Marketing. It aims to teach you how to be a success in the world's second most competitive industry.

It is a distinctive offering in the wine marketing education space, because it actually takes delegates through the process of wine creation, while at the same time learning how each step is a selling point. At the end of the course, you will not only have created and bottled your own wine, but you will be able to sell it too!

"What excites me about this programme", says Elaine Rumboll, Director of Exec Ed. at UCT GSB, "is the awareness that if a marketer is to understand the value proposition of wine from its making to its distribution that there will develop alongside of this stories and emotional connections which will help marketers in their distribution. To my knowledge, this approach is ground breaking and not on offer in any of the other wine marketing material I have viewed globally".

The course runs from 24th-26th June 2008, and costs R7200.

I see that Wine Country is offering a free spot on the course, click the pic, or this link to see how you can get your place sponsored.
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AuthorDave Duarte
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Later this week I'll be going to Kampala, Uganda for the Africa Media Leadership Conference (AMLC) in Uganda.From Wikipedia:
The Republic of Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa, bordered on the east by Kenya, the north by Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by Tanzania

The following is from the conference press release:
AMLC is an annual meeting among African media bosses. This year it is focusing on how the continent is embracing new media technologies to serve the changing needs and interests of their customers.

The conference will be attended by 40 senior editors and CEOs of media firms stretching from South Africa, Namibia and Swaziland in the south to Kenya and Ethiopia in the north and from Senegal and the Ivory Coast in the west.

The topic of the talk I am presenting is: How African Traditional Media can Tap Into New Social Media and Blogs.
The conference is co-hosted by Rhodes University’s Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership (SPI) in South Africa and Germany’s Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation.

“This year’s conference is looking at a range of digital media platforms that have emerged and continue to emerge around the world and the challenges that face media companies in Africa in adopting and adapting these platforms for their competitive advantage,” said Francis Mdlongwa, Director of the Sol Plaatje Institute (SPI).

“Given the breath-taking technological changes which are re-shaping and even redefining the entire media industry, we felt that Africa should pause, take stock, look at what works and does not work in our part of the world and why, and plan ahead,” he added.

The SPI is Africa’s only university-level institution offering high-level media management and leadership training programmes to both practising and aspirant media leaders from across the continent. It runs a post-graduate programme in media management and leadership and a series of certificated management programmes for senior editorial and business media managers.
Frank Windeck, the head of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s Sub-Sahara Africa Media Programme, the sponsor of the Africa Media Leadership Conference series, said: “These meetings give Africa’s top media people a unique opportunity to network at the highest level and to examine key industry and other issues which concern them and to seek practical solutions by examining case studies drawn from Africa.”

The conference series was launched by the SPI and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in 2002 to promote high-level interaction among Africa’s media chiefs and to seek practical, innovative and creative solutions to challenges faced by the African media.

The conference meets annually in an African country, and past conferences have debated topics such as Revenue Generation for Robust African Media (Cape Town, South Africa); South Meets East: Strategic Challenges for African Media (Nairobi, Kenya); Managing Media in Recession (Mauritius); and Policies and Strategies for Media Viability (Maputo, Mozambique).
I'm looking forward to the trip, and to meeting and engaging deeply with the ideas of some of Africa's top media people. I will, of course, be sharing as much as possible of the knowledge I gain with you on this blog.
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AuthorDave Duarte
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I started lecturing on a course at UCT on Monday called Evidence Based Management. In it I'll be covering three topics over 5 weeks - Attention Economics, Innovation, and Globalization. The topics are chosen to help students contextualize their role in the economy, new business, and the world at large. Of course, I'll try and make it as exciting and engaging as possible - which will be reflected, I guess, in how many students are left at lectures by the end of the term!

There are 900 students on the course, and I'm working with 21 tutors. By the end of my first day of lecturing to such a large group (and with all the admin and prep that it entails), I was exhausted! But, based on feedback it's going well.

Lectures are on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2 - 5pm (three 45 minute slots). If you'd like to attend pop a comment below and I'll post the lecture venues. Otherwise, I'll be as diligent as possible about writing a blog post about the topic of each lecture, along with related reading material. Consider it e-learning:)
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AuthorDave Duarte
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