Afrolutionists Arts & Culture Socialutionists State Of Mind

FUTURISTIC PRESENCE: IDEAS EXPO 2016 (Day One)

While the world harvests the ripe ideas of the creative sector, our continent remains in a steadily growing childlike state; where ideas have the ability to churn into influential brands but are hampered by various factors, some including but not limited to financial constraints, and lack of entrepreneurship skills. With Ideas Expo as a platform for sharing and nurturing the creative generation sharing wisdom in tunneling ideas into legitimate businesses.

Our Afrolutionist Maipelo Zamabane hands her experience of the first day of the expo.

People. Passion. Progression: a simplistic way to sum up Ideas Expo in a nutshell. I was thrilled to be able to attend this innovative event that promised a platform for all creative’s to meet, share ideas, experiences and how they can continue to make a difference in the world. I had the pleasure of visiting the stalls and chatting with the owners who were excited and thankful for having been given the opportunity to have their products on display.

Neo Miraj, the expo’s host, allowed the event to kick off with Engineering professional Mr Rapitsinyane to elaborate on the theme “The Future is now”.  Citing that design is not just about production and prediction but it’s also about community building’ inviting all creative’s from different industries to wrap their ideas around this ideology.

The opening translated into a social networking session – in real life at this day and age. While networking with invited dignitaries, speakers, partners and friends of the Ideas Expo 2016, it was the aesthetically Afrocentric quartet I See a different you  that garnered our attention. The original manner in their rendition of their captivating story to paint a picture of their creative journey held my, and the audience’s attention hostage. Sharing how they decided to use their creativity to change the narrative on Africa and the African perspective through expanding into brand ambassadors  for Levi, Visa and work with DSTV was undoubtedly inspiring. Their current project SA Kings and Queens to celebrate everyday people in South Africa.  taught me the essence of brand identity and packaging oneself/ones business.

Prior to their talk, Head of Strategy of Wired Y & R Botswana Isaac Adom spearheaded all conversations on ‘the broken Agency model’. The talk raised a handful of present issues plaguing the creative industry in Botswana and sparked feedback from many attendants. In closing, Adom urged the participants ‘to be present about our reality, our model is broken and it needs fixing’.

A brief coffee break led us into an interactive and critically engaging panel discussion lead by

Michael hall, Kenanao Phele, Gabriel Mothibedi, Bogosi Matsheka titled ‘can creativity make a difference’ and facilitated by The Dialogue Group’s head Tonderai Tsara. Tsara  sparked off the panel discussion by asking what ‘creativity meant’ to which Mothibedi answered, ‘creativity is current thinking and it is this thinking that will expand your horizon’. Perhaps the most interesting statement of the day came when Kenanao Phele exclaimed ‘creativity can be used across a mirage of industries and is not just limited to marketing and advertising, an ironic statement considering that 96% of the speakers were from these aforementioned industries. Realigning the conversation into wealth distribution, digital marketing manager, Bogosi Matsheka said ‘the future is already here it is just unevenly distributed’ solidifying Adom’s broken model and Peele’s statement of creativity being seemingly confined to only two industries.

The panel sparked an engaging conversation centered around the fact that creative’s need to change their mindset, be able to understand change and invest in the needs and wants of the consumer. From the panel and additions by the attendants the major take home for me was, It isn’t enough to have an idea, but its turning that idea into a viable, profitable and sustainable business and that is what separates your brand from the crop.

Perhaps the most impactful message/ presentation was by Tonderai Tsara who shared a tear jerking, internet breaking and humanity restoring ad campaign by Water for Africa  featuring the now famous woman who walked the entire length of the Paris marathon with a 20 liter bucket of water on her head to raise awareness of the scarcity of access to water in Gambia. This campaign saw social marketing in a different light – as through this advertising campaign, funds were raised and boreholes were dug up in her region in Gambia. In closing, Tsara mustered to inform an already heart gripped audience that it takes every person to change their mindset and give back to the community, basically be the change don’t preach about it.

Closing the expo was Cliff from Horizon Ogilvy gave interactive account of the many possibilities of mobile technology exclaiming that markets are conversations and that technology is getting faster and shared Moore’s law that theorizes the amount of over a period, the number of computer processes increase exponentially through the years. Simply assessing the amount of people using a cellphone in a room enabled him to create a hypothesis that there are more cellphones in Botswana than the population. This means that content is consumed at a higher, faster pace. ‘This is the new generation of consumers, make your brand message original, relevant and fresh and a confluence of all this elements will ensure that you hit the sweet spot with your brand conversations’.

This marked an end to the first day of inspiring and engaging Expo – where the theme produced a mind shift in how we look at our audiences (in terms of marketing) to shift from a mass approach, to individual interest.

Maipelo M Zambane, poet, writer, serial entrepreneur who is passionate about youth empowerment through the arts and creative industries. An eternal optimist, she loves reading, travelling and a perfectly grilled T-bone. Follow her on twitter