‘Motho ke motho ka batho’, a Setswana proverb proves th
at the human experience is characterised by the experience of others – citing that no man is an island. This fal
ls the same for the creative industry, particularly that creative collaborations are what pulstates industry growth. Lateral growth, that ensures long term sustainability in the industry. Our Afrolutionist Maipelo Zambane documented the presence of this theme at the second and last day of the expo.
Dj Khenzo started off the morning with a tribute set to the late and beloved HHP and Obakeng Kokwe of Sturgeon Digital and Official MC ushered in the first speaker, Mr Monareng Makwetla presenting on ‘Creativity’.
Starting by defining Creativity as ‘the use of imagination or original ideas to create something’ adding that creativity is all around us and it is influenced by art, fashion, architecture, film and music’. The purpose of creativity is to create strong emotions, communicate ideas, explore nature of space, and create sense of beauty and identity. Makwetla also shared that creativity involved divergent thinking, being open minded and problem solving, ‘basically it is taking ideas and seeing them as no one else sees them’.
Makwetla’s talk was followed by a panel session. It included Kenanao Phele of Gaborone Book Trust and Kenneth Middleton of Setso Games conversing on the ‘relevance of culture in influencing 21st century Brands.
According to the panel, when building a brand it is important to infuse relevant elements of traditional and modern culture to mould brand character and personality, adding ‘the biggest problem we are facing now is that brands don’t know who their customers are they are disconnected from them and their realities. “To connect and converse, brands should be able to speak the language of their customer’’ said Phele, further sharing that it should be a learning curve for all client servicers in Botswana.
Middleton shared that when he created Setso games he was garnering for something unique and that spoke to his childhood memories and advised brands to be tuned in and have ‘ideas that are not only competitive in the market but can be monetized’.
The three main lessons from the interactive panels were to build a brand with people in mind and knowing who it is you are trying to sell to. Secondly immerse and educate the people behind the brand to ensure exact execution of brand vision and image representation. Due to increased globalization and digital consumption, brands need to be deeply rooted/invested in creating authentic cultural narratives and incorporating language right in line with brand identity. Lastly, Language is part of heritage and personal identity in the continent, therefor brands need to create authentic cultural narratives
After a much needed coffee and health break and stunning mini ramp show by Geofrey’s models we went back into the conference room. The Second speaker of the day was Tshepo Tsheko of Botswana Innovation Hub, talking about ‘Cracking the code of Innovation. ‘the role of creativity in innovation is creating something someone wants, basically turn your ideas into something valuable.
‘‘Innovation is strongest when you leverage your culture which ensures that we build an ecosystem of innovators,” Tsheko noted, cautioning that creating doesn’t automatically make you an entrepreneur. “‘Innovators create a legacy,” he further added “ and when you are creating be honest about what you are trying to achieve and strive for sustainability, lastly play in areas that government doesn’t have their hands in. trust is instrumental in building an innovation and getting people to invest in your idea, so make sure your results are practical.”
Mqondisi Gumede gave the most educational and thought-provoking presentation of the day on ‘leading with power and purpose. Leadership is influence and it is visionary but most importantly it is purposeful, when you know your why your what becomes more impactful’. Gumede went further on to share that ‘The greatest way to enslaving people is not through science or geography but it is attacking their history. Without history they can accept any version of themselves. Gumede asked the audience, ‘how is it that we know of the great wall of China but not of the great wall of Benin (which is noted as the largest man made structure ever created on the planet).
He ended his presentation by stating ‘Today there is no question about our potential (as African Creatives), we need to face reality because for centuries our reality has been intentionally hidden from us’. It was after this presentation that I realized I need to unlearn a lot of what I consumed and was fed as part of my education and to start actively learning about Africa and her past and all other narratives that can illuminate and enlighten me.
Karabo Songo of Brave Group gave a nugget filled presentation on brand leadership versus brand management opening with the fact that the revolution is happening now and calling all creatives to scale up and bring the world to their environment. True creativity ticks all boxes, ‘it is performative, sustainable and stands out’.
The four disruptive trends were ‘a quickly evolving environment, constant introduction of disruptive technology, accelerating digitization and democratization of information and lastly the new war of talent. The four qualities a manager must have in a changing world were, understanding technology, follow from the front, lead by example and embracing vulnerability and being honest about weaknesses.
Effectively leading brand change requires
- Pursue common understanding
- Create space for success
- Communicate early and often
- Steward smartly and celebrate success selflessly and acknowledge setbacks swiftly.
Overall the conference was inspirational and my take home was that being a creative leader was not only about transformative arts and ideas or expertly colouring outside of the box, but creative leaders should always strive to spark relevant and relatable brand content that speaks to the current socio-economic landscape and informs or influences cultural narratives.