Late last night South African time, The Gates Foundation announced their latest Round 10 Grand Explorations Challenge awards. Matchboxology's proposal (designed with our collaboration partner CSI+) was one of the few chosen for an initial round of $100,000 in seed funding. So what does this mean for Matchboxology?
Matchboxology has banked some impressive frequent flyer miles in the past few months working on a fascinating bouquet of challenges for GTZ, the UN and The Gates Foundation. Each of the projects were inspired by a need to look at public health or economic development responses with new eyes. What brought us to these new places was Matchboxology’s unique approach to innovation based on exploring the human truths that drive the behaviours of citizens as well as the development community experts and roleplayers.
Yesterday was a definitive South African day. The much anticipated State of The Nation speech was even more disappointing than I thought it would be. The topics covered in the speech were a good indicator of where the headspace of our leadership is at. But what was most teling was today's front page headlines. None but one led with the State of the Nation story.
My 11 year old twins are obsessed about becoming someone's Valentine today. Pairing up seems to a basic human need. So much of what Mat©hboxology does adds up to connecting dots that are otherwise unconnected. Today I thought I'd take a quick peak at interesting new relationships emerging out of seemingly different somethings.
Muzi Kuzwayo and I share Board Positions at Project Literacy--one of South Africa's longest running and most respected non-profits. In one sense, we also share backgrounds; both mutated from successful careers in the advertising world. But Muzi is an author and professor and speaks out from time to time in newspaper columns on topics that rile him up. Recently he touched on the role of corporate social responsibility versus government in moving things positively forward here in South Africa...a topic close to mat©hboxology's heart. I told him to quit quoting old fashioned economists...
In many parts of the world, the choice beween loyalty and integrity is not clear cut. We're raised from an early age not to "tell on"; not to be a "rat" or a "snitch." Yet we hear just the opposite from our leaders.
Brands and companies have an undeniable footprint on the development landscape of South Africa society. How else can we explain the existence of Izikhothane (a crazy phenomenon where gangs of township kids actually bully others for not sporting the latest in luxury branded clothing and cellphones), Ministers insisting its mission-critical to be driving luxury branded vehicles and the insatiable shopping sprees of high profile corruptocrats and bribezonians engaged in an endless one-upsmanship reality show.
Sadly, very few private sector leaders and institutions stand up to take accountability and responsibility for their role in these sort of social developments.
Connecting the dots is such a cliché that I hesitate to mention it in new business presentations. But in fact, that’s where Matchboxology’s methodology and expertise lie, which is why I was so excited over the holidays to find a fascinating book on the science of how inspiration occurs.