Introduction: Read This First For Context
Thank you for checking out my book. There are literally thousands of other things you could be doing with your time right now, for you to choose to spend it reading this book, I appreciate you.
First things first, I am not yet an acclaimed inventor. I do not have any invention to my name as at the time of writing this book. I rather consider myself to be a learner and a reporter, I am learning a lot about inventors and inventions, then happy to report back to you.
It is not like I do not have achievements of mine to boast about. I have plenty of bragging rights: I was nominated in 2011 for a National Youth Award for ICT innovation by the Nigerian Ministry of Youth. For 3 consecutive years, I was shortlisted as one of the hundred most innovative minds working in the Nigerian tech scene. A list backed by one of Africa’s most innovative bank; GTBank. I have won a lot of awards and recognition for my work.
So, I have quite the track record of creativity and innovation spanning over a decade. I developed a social networking platform (named Gistcaster) when I was just eighteen years old! As a 300 level student of Physics Electronics at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), South-Western Nigeria, I developed an interest-based, location-aware, SMS longcode newsletter system which I named g160. We went on to sign up over 3,000 students within 3 weeks of launching that.
I was a “superstar”, however, I count that all as inconsequential when I compare it with what lies ahead of me. There are so much more inventive ideas I am nursing within me that will announce me to my generation than the little I might have done already.
Right now, I am building a digital technology-enabled platform to empower 100, 000 business owners across Africa and enable them to build profitable, formidable businesses.
While I agree with your objection that only an Inventor should write a book boldly titled Unleash Your Inventions: The Secret Origin Of Creativity And Inventions, I also think there is great value in what I am about to share with you as you might learn a thing or two from it.
It is just like back in my school days, when I would attend tutorials organised by my colleagues who had done some extra hours of study ahead of me and could teach me within two hours what they had stayed up all night trying to figure out.
I could learn from them even though we were both undergraduate students. I learnt a lot from them even though they were not yet certified as Physicists. I got value from those tutorials because they helped me figure out the course contents faster, and they also got value because you learn more when you teach others.
Similarly, this book is likely to save you thousands of hours of research on your own journey towards becoming an inventor, and I will also get value because it takes a lot of clarity and discipline to write a book and publishing this book will no doubt make me a better person all round.
You win. I win.
My REAL goal with this book is to start a conversation about creativity and invention. I think it is important to start that conversation because I firmly believe that we need fresh approaches to solving the problems in the society. You must exhibit creativity and inventiveness if you will survive in the long term. That is what makes you ever-relevant and truly irreplaceable.
The thing about creativity and inventiveness is that it is a state of mind that anybody can achieve. It is not the birth right of anyone, it is not connected to the size of your wallet or colour of your skin or your geographical location.
It is interesting for me to admit that I have put off writing this book for as long as I could. These was not because I did not know what I wanted to say, but because of the nature of the things I wish to discuss.
Many years ago, I discovered an ancient truth about invention and I decided to dig in deeper and study it. The things I discovered were quite contrary to what I had been taught in school about knowledge, science and the application of these things to practically solve problems around us.
When I talk about application of knowledge to solve problems around me that was actually non-existent in my schooling experience. We were simply taught a bunch of things we were expected to memorise ahead of the examinations. I did not escape the familiar cycle of Cram, Pass and Forget that is common in my own part of the world.
When I say creativity and invention, I think both words are more or less the same; however, we tend to associate invention more with scientific or technological breakthroughs, and creativity with matters of art, craft and ideas in general. I maintain an argument that both notions are the same and rely on the very same human talent.
My attention is more focussed on invention with respect to science and technological triumphs as opposed to endeavours of music, movies and poetry. I do not do these because those are in any way inferior to invention (they are not), but I see that many people already flow easily and apply their creativity in that manner. When it comes to science and technology however, the story is much different.
Some years ago, I responded to a Facebook thread and when I suggested that blacks could also originate breakthrough ideas and inventions, I was attacked for being so naïve.
In fact, about six months ago, I put up one of my original thoughts on my Whatsapp status: “Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: to those whose gift is invention, let them invent according to the proportion of their faith”. I was NOT shocked when a friend replied “That’s true… [I] am guessing the white [obviously referring to Americans, Englishmen, Chinese, Russians; the white race] has this grace in abundance”.
Albert Einstein said “Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act, and in that action are the seeds of new knowledge”. I realised there and then that I had a duty to speak up and share some perspectives with my generation; sowing the seeds of new knowledge.
The major challenge I had however, was the nature of what I discovered, for I had discovered that the first thing anybody needs to know about creativity and inventive endeavours is that it is more of a spiritual affair. I discovered that nobody experiences a breakthrough discovery without some spiritual input.
That is the reason I was reluctant to write this book.
I have since then realised that I have to proceed with my conviction and put my thoughts into writing. This book you are reading right now is just the introduction to the invention discourse. This is just a conversation starter, meant to get the invention train started, to seed the thoughts of invention in your mind.
That is why I am sharing this, for us to have that conversation. I look forward to your criticisms, comments, observations, reservations and objections. I do not care much whether they are constructive or destructive in nature. I can stomach both.
I just really need to hear from you.
08 November, 2019
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