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Creative Thinking and Idea Generation – Charles Maisel

Guest speaker – Charles Meisel
 “Creative Thinking and Idea Generation”

Charles is an Ashoka fellow – Ashoka Fellows are the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. They champion innovative new ideas that transform society’s systems, providing benefits for everyone and improving the lives of millions of people.

Charles Maisel has been involved as a founder of many social entrepreneurial projects such as 5in6 project, Men on the Side of the Road project, Black Umbrellas, Save our Beach Huts and many more for 22 years.  He has also developed the seeing the leaves technique over the last 20 years and implemented all over the world. He loves surfing, art, and food. He is married with 2 boys and intends to start another 100 projects before he dies.

Charles Meisel, a social entrepreneur, and innovator, shared his incredible journey of travelling the world. Also known as the man who wears no shoes.  He explained how different cultures utilise their surroundings for self-sustainability and presented his findings and experiences on how communities in Latin America and India exhibits impressive innovation.

Charles argues that teaching local innovation to our young South Africans is inadequate since he thinks it to be a skill that can be learned.  His innovation-promoting strategy is predicated on the notion that seeing equals believing. Charles emphasised the value of newspapers and the fact that while journalists can draw attention toissues facing the community and society as a whole, it is ultimately up to the individual to propose answers. He also emphasised the importance of visuals, especially images.

Charles shared a short story about a young man who saw a photo of people waiting for medication and came up with the idea of providing medication by bicycle.  The young man built a customer base of over 1,000 people and Shortened the lengthy wait time at hospitals. The initial investment needed was R1 000 to purchase a bicycle.  Today the young man owns a prosperous company worth over a million rand.

Charles also provided numerous further examples of how people used newspapers to spark concepts and offer answers that resulted in profitable ventures. Newspapers are still available and can be a terrific source of inspiration in this digital age that we live in.  Charles is adamant that innovation can be taught.  

Johann Gerber, the immediate past president, thanked Charles for his motivational speech and left the crew to “think it maybe a new experience.”

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