Message of Hope

Aanu Damola Morenikeji (ADM) and Nigeria's President, Olusegun Obasanjo - as the latter affirms his hope for Nigeria and Nigerians

Leading the Future

ADM and some pupils at one of his programme.

Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child

Aanu Damola Morenikeji and Obiageli "Oby" Ezekwesili (CFR); World Bank's Vice President for Africa.

Award

Aanu Damola Morenikeji with the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun after becoming the first recipient of the Ogun State Youth Award for Excellence in Health and Community Service.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

A Toast to Growth

Dear friends,


I had been on leave for a while.

However, throughout my 'partial-leave of absence', I delight each time at news I receive about friends (including several readers of this blog and members of my online community), colleagues and members of our @All4Development tribe. I delight at moments when your seemingly 'impossible' ideas grow and transform lives; i delight at moments when you do things better, because you learnt from experience; I delight that through passion and dedication, we are contributing to solving some of problems faced by young people globally.

I delight that we, like eagles, rejuvenate after pain-staking actions. The world need you now, than ever. I delight at (y)our progresses, impacts and daily actions aimed at learning and creating value. Beyond delights, I celebrate you.

To you, I make this toast. 

Referencing the narrative by Steve Jobs, here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

A caveat: every of those words used above are defined positively.

Damola Morenikeji celebrates you
Let's keep growing and creating value. I look forward to reading from you.

t: @DamolaMore
BBM: 7E06F40E

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Beyond the Idea; making entrepreneurship work

Some thirteen weeks ago, I led a team of young innovative entrepreneurs – all undergraduates – to the a national contest for ideas; it was the National Idea's contest organised by the Nigerian Universities Commission for all Nigerian universities, as part of the Annual National Entrepreneurship Week, in commemoration of the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Our 6-human team shared an innovative idea, which if thoroughly implemented will reduce hidden hunger, while building human capacity / productivity, strengthening mental prowess/energy, increasing academic and managerial excellence, reducing maternal and infant mortality, indirectly reducing crime/violence and at the long run, increasing the average life expectancy. The effect of the idea cuts across health, education and human development sectors. The project was a result of a deep 'ideation' process – facilitated by our protem social innovation lab –, well thought-out research and deeply informed consultations, across board.
Image courtesy: FUNAAB

The competition was huge; but alas! We emerged finalists, and was rated one of the best teams – along with a sister team, in the country. Better put – everyone won :). Ideas always win, regardless of human ratings. Several weeks after that experience, I was reviewing – again – one of the lessons I re-learnt during and after the entrepreneurship week.
All ideas are important, but the people are more important. I imagine what might have become of us, if at the 'ideate' stage, we had focused more on carving out and refining our idea BY OURSELVES, without bringing a right set of people in – the beneficiaries. When we were brainstorming and getting clarity on what we want to achieve through the project, we had to involve representatives of clusters of affected communities; this made and still makes human-centered innovation efficient, the decisions inclusive and gives ownership across board.
Transforming ideas into reality requires clarity; it requires thinking from our goals, not only of it. It requires building a network, community or team of committed minds, who though divergent in thought are convergent in the collective mission. A team bonded in trust and other values, prepared to give their honest quota in realizing the shared vision. Beyond the ideas, we need to understand the system that influences our sphere of work. Understanding the system helps heretics like you and I to modify / create a better pattern within the system.
As we step out of our ideation corners, with lofty ideas on our hearts, head and palms, let us create time to build relationships that can drive the change we seek. Relationships help me learn, take risks and grow. Take precious moments to build trust-based relationship with your team and innovative community. That idea you cherish will generate solutions to at least a problem. Some people will immensely benefit from that idea. Have you thought about them? Have you brought them in?
Your idea counts, so do they!
Let's connect and continue our conversation on LinkedInTwitter or Facebook.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Of Harvard, Life and Mathematics

Previous years had availed me opportunities that were invested in meeting, learning (with) and growing with several people - young and old, great and greater. Apart from people, a conscious commitment to personal growth and knowledge have witnessed my learning from erudite scholars and institutions from across the world. One of such is my participation in the inaugural offering of JusticeX from Harvard University in April 2013. The course, led by Prof. Michael Sandel, enhanced my view of critical decision making as we explored through critical thinking what is right, and sought moral and political decisions.

Prior and after the encounter with Michael Sandel, I continue to make critical and simple decisions everyday - just like you. These decisions had, and will often dictate the quality of results we record. As we progress with life, you and I will continually have to make decisions - ranging from what we say, whom we hang out with, which problem we create/solve, to what type of life we decide to live. Funny enough, indecision is also a decision.

Sometime last year, I got the book 'Better than Harvard' by Steve Araba. I had met Steve on a number of occasions, gradually learnt from him and entrusted our time with each other.

My first meeting with Steve was at a Future Leaders Summit organized in one of the leading federal universities in the South Western part of Nigeria, where he was guest speaker. I was introduced to him by a friend I prefer to call Salt. It was a brief and pleasant meet up. Later in the year, we met again; this time, it was at the World Economic Forum on Africa. Steve, who was busy at the 'background' working towards the success of the Economic forum, came to pick me up after one of the sessions, we had another round of great honest conversations on several things (including nation building, youth development etcetera) and thereafter continued our conversation on phone and site. He is one young (though very much older than I) Nigerian I respect, for his commitment to chastity, truth and freedom.

With several truths outlined in the book 'Better than Harvard', I couldn't but notice the creative use of mathematical terms and their redefinition. I wouldn't review the book - at least, not yet. You can get a copy here. However, it is pleasant to note that just like Steve, we may also decide to change our definition of terminologies life lob towards us.

As young people and patriotic citizens, there remains the dire need to live right and contribute consciously to the development of our society and country. We need to make more commitment to the development of discipline and character.

We need to improve the scale for measuring the quality of our lives, personal growth and societal development. As Steve noted, mensuration goes beyond being a branch of geometry that deals with the measurement of length, area, or volume of shapes. It is a position or perspective through which you interpret and understand what or how you see, hear, feel and think about everything that happens to and for you in life.

A calculus of our relationships is important, as we forge alliances, make friends and build networks. Calculus in this context is the critical analysis of relationships in your life that either differentiate or integrate you, essentially indicating the life you could or will have, depending on the people variables you make available to influence you.

This is another year for young people (and every citizen) to model integrity, live intentionally and grow exponentially. Vote at the polls, make our voices heard, speak words and take actions, respecting the dignity of human. Take personal education beyond schooling and invest in holding ourselves and our leaders accountable for words, thoughts and actions.

Everyday in this newly flipped calendar will require timely decisions; let's make them wisely, seeking depth rather than mere heights. Our life and that of others count on those decisions. Thank you for your 'commitment' in previous years; let us do more, henceforward.

Damola Morenikeji