The Sixth Wave of Innovation

in life •  last year

Rather abruptly in May, I learned the company I was working for was shutting down its business development team and retrenching the two senior business development managers. No prizes for guessing that I was one of those! Time for some re-invention and inspiration from the broader world around me, including nature and Steemit.

Design a business from a flower? Really?

Arum lily

The simple arum lily, so ubiquitous in South Africa, gives some inkling that a clear outcome can emerge from complexity. The lily inspires with its elegant form and sumptuous colouring. We see shapes such as the spiral so often in nature and because it sits in a familiar entity such as a flower (or a snail or seaside shell, for that matter), we tend not to consider the generations and generations of genetic variation that got the entity to that niche in its ecosystem - we look at it and say "that looks nice". Similarly, the juxtaposition of the deep ochre spadix and full-cream milky white spathe (I just learned those terms now) may look artful, but it will have taken the arum lily genus generations to get to this configuration which attracts just the right kind of pollinators.

When I got married in Montreal in 1987, I wanted Calla lilies in my flower theme because I thought they were unique, rare and exotic - ah, the arrogance of youth. Maybe they were rare in Montreal and maybe the florist overcharged, but in South Africa these puppies grow in ditches. So there was a hint for me - whatever they're doing in their ecosystem, it's working for them. They thrive.

What the heck does that have to do with starting a business?

Well, we want something which is simple, elegant and easy for pollinators (clients (!)) to understand and be attracted to.

We want to learn from previous generations.

And we want to thrive and be sustainable.

Know where we're going

My Steemit tagline drops a big hint about what I care about and love doing, and how I like to do it: "Infrastructure business developer, passionate about Africa and keen to crypto into the continent, love connecting dots...and all things systemic". So infrastructure, and private investment in infrastructure, are key. Doing it in Africa is key. Crypto? A new wrinkle, but since the sustainability of infrastructure depends on its affordability both to the provider and the user of the infrastructure, it makes sense that the user be able to pay for it sustainably over time. It doesn't make sense for electricity payments to cripple small business in rural Tanzania before they get going. It does make sense for the provider of the electricity to make enough money back from selling electricity to their client base to maintain their equipment, reinvest when necessary and pay their staff fairly. If that last part was as easy as it sounds, over 640 million Africans wouldn't still be struggling without access to energy. So maybe, just maybe, crypto could be part of the changing financial architecture which could address Africa's infrastructure needs.

Those who remember my post on strategy a while back will know that my approach to strategy is future driven - you first decide where you're going, and then pack for the trip, not the other way around. Most of the companies I've worked with pack their capabilities in their backpacks, look for the biggest mammoth to spear, then happily set off without a clue where mammoths migrate to, what they like to eat and frankly, that mammoths don't really like to be speared. They expect their capabilities to dazzle the mammoth, which will then walk up to them and start eating from their hands. So the company I create will be client-focused and relationship driven.

And you also know from my Planetary boundaries post that sustainability is deeply important to me.

To add to the mix, I've often been accused in the engineering world of being too people-oriented, of loving my clients too much. Well, tough tiddlywinks. If I'm going to design a business, I'll make sure that people are at the heart of it. Clients are people, not companies, regardless of what SuperPACs in the US may say about companies being people. Nope, people buy from people, not companies. And whether those people buying from other people are buying on behalf of a company, they're still buying from people. So relationships are critical. And relationships are dynamic, always changing, needing nurturing (here's where the arum lily is a really bad example - you can stick one in a pot and forget about it; it's about as nurture free as you're going to get in gardening. But I digress, because mammoth.).

So the business has to be about building and growing other infrastructure businesses in Africa. And doing this with sustainable outcomes so its clients, their customers and the company owner (moi, with my little birdies and the others in our ecosystem) can all thrive.

Starting points

I won't comment too much on the retrenchment process and experience other than to say that I've left two other companies previously and have retained deep and strong friendships with the colleagues I was working with there. Nickel & diming and lying were not features in those departures. Ah well - new experiences are terrific teachers. There's an interesting creature in the South African corporate world, which I've come to know unaffectionately as Teflon Man (or Woman; let's not be sexist). It's someone who simply isn't accountable for anything. It wasn't me, they say, pointing their finger somewhere, anywhere, except at themselves.

The experience might have been unpleasant and unsettling at the time, but it has been quickly overshadowed by the thrill of collaborating with like-minded and like-hearted people, entrepreneurs who understand we live in a time of disruption and possibly the only conservative choice is to be disruptive. And my goodness, they did make it easier to leave.

Fifty-five, a foreigner in an insanely tough job market and birdies not totally out of the nest. One is almost Steeming, but still testing fledgling wings while waiting to start university next year. The other? Well, I remember partying a lot in my 20s as well. They are where they are. They've been well-fed little birdies but that birdfeeder is on shutdown for the moment.

House? Yes, we're the proud owners of a mortgage and an ambitious renovation plan.

With a year on Steemit, and 30 years of experience in African business development, what could go wrong for Kiligirl and these ambitious plans? And yet I'm tremendously optimistic, because we are living in a time when things are changing, and changing so fundamentally we probably don't even notice how fundamentally.

The Sixth Wave

We're in the Sixth Wave of Innovation already (graph alert - don't be scared). People around the world have already lived through five waves of innovation, and their lives are, overall, much improved in large part because of these waves of innovation. I know that's counter-intuitive for many, but changes in inequality are a subject for another, or many other, posts.


Source

The First Wave started towards the end of the 18th century and was all about humans learning to harness the power of nature at a certain scale. The Second Wave gave us steam power and trains, cotton (slavery) and steel (tycoons). The Third Wave, in the first half of the last century, gave us cars and moved us from gas to electricity for streetlighting. Phew! Then in the Fourth Wave, say between the 1950 and 1970s, we achieved space flight, flew Concordes between London and New York, and watched the Middle East achieve extraordinary growth exploiting their fossil fuel resources. Then came the digital revolution, we got smartphones that have far more capability than IBM's first computer - and it took up a whole room, and you had to wear weird paper slippers to keep from shocking it to death. Biotechnology and nanotechnology, cloning (remember Dolly the sheep?) and super advances in understanding genetics were cover stories for Time magazine.

And now we're in the Sixth Wave.

Sustainability is the watchword of this wave of innovation. I won't put in any links because it's such a complex (and yes, like the arum lily, simple) topic that we'll look at its different dimensions as we live through this next wave of innovation. We'll learn through hindsight and through inspiration. Biomimicry will inspire us. Renewable energy is already beyond buzzword and now part of our homes and thinking about the world.

Inspiration from Steemit

Steemit is the quintessential Sixth Wave company. Steemit has elements of biomimicry to it - it's like a new species in a crypto and fiat currency world which is continuously adapting and evolving to find its optimal niche in this ecosystem. Mostly, it's a fundamentally different way of creating and exchanging value.

It's all about value

So ultimately, it's all about value, how we perceive it and how we trade value between us at the individual and societal levels. Can you build a business on that? I think so. And I've called it 6th Wave Africa.

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Wow. An inspiring post. I wish you well in your new endeavours and I've no doubt you'll succeed. I love the angle of sustainability that you've embedded in your new business design, I think that is crucial and there are so many amazing ideas out there that aren't mainstream but that have huge potential.

I also love how you speak about being "client centred' and not just focusing on the bottom line. I used to work for a conservation NGO and to be honest, I felt at the end, that there was a big piece missing in terms of managing and caring for people - the focus was on saving the planet, but somehow the people working to this end were just cannon fodder sacrificed for the broader aim.

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Thank you, @whistle jacket - I really appreciate your comments and perspective... a like you've been there. Look forward to hearing more from you.

Sorry to hear this happened to you @kiligirl. But your post on the experience and the thought you've been putting into it is inspiring. I can't wait to hear what you've come up with.

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Thank you, @thinknzombie - I really appreciate your comments. I can't wait to hear what I've come up with either! 😁 Seriously, it's an exciting time and like Steemit, this is one big experiment in optimism and gauging human behaviour, with enough science and experience thrown in to make it more than a gamble.

Thank you for the great post! You will look back at what's happened to you now in the corporate world as the best thing ever, I'm sure of this after reading your post. Retirement forced me to think outside the box and we set up a small guesthouse, initially started with airbnb, been going for a year and a half and it's been the best job ever, reaping the benefits plus meeting fabulous people! Wish you well!

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Thank you so much, @lizelle - I really appreciate your supportive comments 😊

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Wow and thank you for the nice upvote, appreciated! Spoke a little about it in my intro post, https://steemit.com/introduceyourself/@lizelle/hi-steemit-this-is-lizelle-from-laid-back-city-of-durban
I'm currently working on a guide to help others with setting up a guesthouse, should post the first part on Monday. Have learnt a lot so far, hoping to possibly help other steemians :)

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I really enjoyed your intro post. Sad I missed it when you posted it!

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It will be great to learn about your guesthouse experiences!

I love the chart that visually displays humanity's innovations over time. It's amazing to see how exponentially fast our advancements are taking us ... literally to the moon. I remember when I was partly studying fashion design alongside my main degree of meteorology/atmospheric science that sustainability was a big topic. Of course, many people in the 2000s thought it'd be a fad, but it's definitely a part of the fabric of our society, regardless if people agree or not.

But what an inspirational company name, 6th Wave Africa ... and agree, with cryptocurrencies ability to be at the hands of anyone ... literally can help ALL people around the world .. it's just we need to get that information and knowledge out to the people who wouldn't necessarily have access to it via lack of computers/laptop/smartphones.

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Thank you so much for getting it, @hustletoparadise! And wouldn't it be an excellent way to live the brand if we were able to do this over Steemit 😊😊

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Thank you so much for getting it, @hustletoparadise! And wouldn't it be an excellent way to live the brand if we were able to do this over Steemit 😊😊

OK.. so this is why I like Steemit. I throughly enjoyed reading your post. Your world is far away from mine, but I gratefully gained some other perspective and information from reading this and have not read the word ‘tiddlywinks’ for far too long! The point at which society become or individual are criticised for being too people focus is just to sad to think about. God luck to you on your new adventure killgirl.

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Thank you so much, @theorderofthings. This was a real experiment for me. Although I'm active on LinkedIn and FB, I don't share my inner thinking there. I'm really glad you enjoyed this post.

A moving post. I wish you well in your new attempts and I've probably you'll succeed. I adore the edge of manageability that you've inserted in your new business outline, I believe that is vital and there are such a variety of astounding thoughts out there that aren't standard however that have colossal potential.

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Thank you, @istiaq69 - I really appreciate your kind comments and hopeful attitude.

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weclome

@kiligirl awesome post I do agree with you people are the most important part of the ecosystem . Most people in there struggle for more and more forget or don't have time to realize what is important in live. I often sit back and look at the diversity of cultures in our country , and the difference in my mind as to what is the true value in life differs tremendously in those cultures . But that we live in exiting times your Sixth Wave is absolutely true ...

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Thank you so much, @louiscpt. Appreciate your insights into the value of diversity, and diversity in values. We are truly at the coalface of the great human experiment on the planet here in South Africa, and we seem to get it horribly wrong and amazingly right at the same time.

The 6th wave, eh? I like it. I recently wrote about this, perhaps as part of a seventh wave. I imagine the sixth wave must first happen, but after that, I've begun to plot a course deeper into the madness of science and technology.

A path upon which very few have tread, and when they do attempt to tread, oh how heavy their footfalls are, sinking them deeper and deeper, helplessly pulling them into the fetid mud beneath their feet.

How can we escape this mud which within we sink? We are so heavy, the mud so thick. And the forces pulling us into the mud... I curse them! Muhahahah!

Check it out if you wish.

https://steemit.com/science/@heretickitten/a-fragile-flame-is-not-to-be-underestimated-yet-the-vastness-of-my-inquisition-troubles-me

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Woohoo, @heretickitten, inspirational stuff! And a friend asked me what I would do with the company once we're through the 6th Wave - I said "change the name". 🙃

I cannot say I am sorry for you losing your position as this is what has catapulted you into a new direction. I am not in the slightest worried about you succeeding. I am positive you will. And yes, people. Nothing can truly be achieved without people.
Man... when I read you, I feel so lacking...

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Thank you, Dale, I deeply appreciate your moral support. The thing about this place is one simply has to make it work, as there is no safety net. Sure, on paper there's UIF, but in reality nothing. The other think is that this is more of an unleashing than a catapulting 😎. Have had a number of client meetings already but I do think this is going to be an uphill climb. You would have noticed I didn't post this article on FB - it's the first time I've come face to face with the distinctions between the communities - would not feel comfortable sharing the basis for my business on that other platform! Thanks for being here with me, TFAY 😘💓

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I hear you. And I know what you mean about not wanting to share certain things with the FB community. They would think you were whoo whoo anyway... ;-)
Climb away, I've no doubt you will do what needs to be done and learn along the way. For sure there will be hurdles but they have to be there, right? How else do we grow and learn?
I am in awe of you.

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😘 😘 😘 😘 😘 😘 😘 😘 😘 😘 😘 😘 😘 😘 Well, you get the drift 😊

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I do. 😘😘😘

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And I don't know what to say when you say you feel lacking...I admire you so much for rebuilding yourself after the most unfair of twists in your life...you get out there and start dating, you cope with the hormonal monsters which will eventually become people again, you get back into the working world.... You're a total heroine! And in the midst of all that, you have your peaceful places with Zeke, you nurture lovely friendships and you blog like a pro. 💓💓💓💓

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I just meant that what you wrote was more or less above my head - because you are so smart - yes, I know I'm smart, just not in that department!
However.
I shared your response above with a friend of mine who answered with a
I TOTALLY AGREE WITH HER!!!!! (and she said I should frame it...)
So... consider me brought back to reality by the virtual smack behind the head and slack-jawed and teary-eyed from such wonderful words directed my way. Luv ya!

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Jeepers, I made me teary writing that. And you have really smart friends - keepers. Have a great weekend back in reality (but not too much reality, just enough to suit)! xxx

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Well... I was just asked to come in to work at 2 instead of 4 so there goes my organised time... sigh...
Thankfully I have tomorrow off (requested 2 weeks ago so I can go to a BBQ at some friends') but back to work on Sunday... I'm too old for this shit...

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Eish! (That's good South African onomatopoeia)

Hello my friend Kiligirl
So sorry to hear about your recent departure from your position. I think you have a great plan that you are about to embark on. People, people people...... if only I could tell you how many times I have been reprimanded for caring about the people! There is a philosophy out there that will bring both worlds together. When reading your post regarding the millions of people without electricity, I was reminded of a SuperBowl game several years ago. Maybe in LA(west coast) the entire power grid for that event was generated by volunteer bicycle riders. I thought it was ingenious. That being said... you have a lot of steem support. Count me as one of your biggest cheerleaders! 🐓🐓 E. Mae

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Wow, Ellie Mae, that's amazing! I had not heard about the bike riders powering the Super Bowl. That's such a good example of people coming together to do it well. And on the people "thing" - sometimes I find that men use that as a way of defending themselves and their lack of empathy. I don't say that in a judgmental way. They've been raised and then socialised in their companies to see caring and listening as weakness.

Oh wow, I came back to this reply about 6 hours after starting it! 😳 Didn't realise I hadn't sent it.

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Thank you for being such a wonderful people person (and clearly a wonderful chicken person too) 🐣 🐔 🐓 🐓

interesting n informative post thanks for sharing

very interesting and educational.. take your vote xD

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Thank you, @ferroche - much appreciated. I'm glad if you got something out of it. 😊

Very interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

Wow

woow. good job
#Vote

Very well said . Put value into all of your work

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Thank you, @journeyoflife 😊

very nice sharing

Impressive @kiligirl
Kip it up

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Thank you, @pobi 😊

Nice post! Upvoted

Very inspiring - it is so scary what is going on in our country at the moment and how many people are loosing their jobs. But still we fight back and stand up. I just know you will be one of them...Great post. Resteeming

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Thank you, @anneke...I really appreciate it. You made me tear up a bit there because you're right, so many people are losing their jobs here and it's mostly because of politicians not giving a rodent's rump about the people they're supposed to represent while they strip the country of all its assets and hand them over to one family (ok, two - let me not leave the Z part out of the Zuptas). Thousands of mineworkers losing their jobs. Thousands. At least I got a bit of a retrenchment package, so I don't have to panic right away. But it keeps me humble to know that there are so many people facing tonight and tomorrow not knowing where their bread is going to come from, and how they're going to feed their families. Thanks so much for your support 😘

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Very sad . It is my pleasure - now you just go out there and kick some butt

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Thank you so much, Anneke - I think I might just do that 😊😊

Great post. Upvoted and following you. Please visit my blog and upvote. Thank you

Good post thanks

awesome article @kiligirl! is so bad that great post like yours are not getting more awarness. Anyway, this is an awesome video of what really frugal innovation is. By the way i met this guy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=161&v=lA2WOgZcq_c

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 20.01.58.png

@kiligirl ~ Hello Dear. It is 9:45 a.m. here atm .. it has been a long night Indeed. After reading this post, I decided to put on a pot of coffee and just plow on through, or "Break on through to the other side"!
The more I read, the more I respect you. ALL BS aside. This post really touched me, "Deep inside ..The day, the music ... died" I guess I am different than most american males, I detest the macho crap, although I am still able to "Handle myself" when push comes to shove, but empathy is a very special word to me. Because of what I have seen our society de-volving into and the way people in this country treat others hurts me so bad that I have become a recluse and want nothing more in the world than to get back up into the mountains and live in peace and isolation.

Until I read this post.

6th Wave is just so damn sexy ! I want to do SOMETHING ! I WAS married for 25 years, one of the main reasons I married her was because she said that she shared my dream of someday adopting like 25 underprivileged or abused kids, because I have always had this "need" to help others. (she lied)

You make me want to do something ... What ? I am not sure yet, but you have certainly lit a fire in my heart that has been gone for several years now, Thanks Hon.

You know, Matt Damon has an office in Kansas City, or used to, he was involved with I believe digging or supplying water pumps in impoverished villages in Africa if I'm not mistaken. I have been wanting to call him for a couple years just to see if he is still involved. I used to be an electronics tech and electrician and love solar power. If you see where I'm going with this .. i could be doing SOOO much MORE. Hiding in my cave is not helping anyone, and damn sure not me. This isolationist crap is killing me inside. "I got two strong arms, I can help" (Old song) I NEED to be helping, I need my life back.

This comment is not actually about me, it's about you ! This post brought tears to my eyes, both sadness and tears of joy. I have known you for what? 2 days ? But I have to say, I am SOOO proud of you ! You have joined the ranks of not a human being, but a HUMANE being.

This post is 2 months old, I am so excited to know that by now, you are already actively engaged in the formation of 6th Wave. WOOT !!! You GO Girl !, lol

There are a thousand things I would like to say, but I will leave it at that.

Good Luck new friend !!! "You can DO IT!!" /hugs

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