Creativity Goes Beyond The Brilliance Of Good Grades.

The other week, I attended a finalist Sabbath worship at the Technical University of Kenya, my alma mater. When I received the invitation, I asked myself a few questions. Was it necessary? Could my presence matter? Let me say that I found it very necessary to attend now that those finalizing were my friends and intellects. I also realized my presence did need to matter because I was not going there for the sake of presence but to worship truly and then get to hear the experiences of these young men and women of promise.

I attended the event to also get other people’s stories; I love hearing other people’s stories more than saying mine. One of the greatest gifts in this world is the art of storytelling, i witnessed it there. The beauty of it all is that I got to enjoy every bit of the worship. While the event was moving to the last bit of it, the finalists had time to talk of what they had learned and experienced over the years on a personal context. I loved this moment. As every individual came to give their presentation, one question ringed in mind, was oratory and presentation skills learnt or inborn? I didn’t find the answer then. Why the question? Because there were those who understood why meeting the audience’s needs is critical in making a presentation a success. They exactly understood the needs of the audience. There are those who used words to speak to the emotions of the audience. Then there were the encouraging ones who made the audience feel their charisma. At the end of the day it was personal testimonies and not rapporteur.

Pieces of art on a water melon, very high creativity.

Creativity goes beyond the brilliance of good grades. The ability to instinctively meet the demands of the situation is creativity. Creativity means that you are going to do something a little different and will by all means make people see and accept your side of thing though unfamiliar. In the entrepreneurial world, we refer this as USP (Unique Selling point). The thing that differentiates you in the market and simply carves you a market niche. In the manufacturing world, creativity is not mostly a boardroom thing. It is born in the research and development (RD) labs and departments. The boardrooms talks of continuous improvement and the RD department meets this. Again it is not always born of the RD team, it comes from the casual guys and production team which sometimes lack the good grades we talk of.

In the finalist event, four guys caught my most innate attention and I will talk of two here. One, Godwins Otieno, a medical laboratory technologist, who I learnt comes from the coveted Migingo island had the oratory charisma. This young man had a way of creatively meeting the demands of his audience. Every time he opened his mouth to speak a word, you could be sure to smile. I don’t know if he knows of his charisma and how to contextually fit it in a situation at hand. Altogether, his creativity and oratory skills will stay with me for a long time.

The other guy was Benard Ombaba, a designer who by all means faced the odds to pursue his passion. The drive for him was the mere fact that he was doing what he loved and cherished. Of course he had to face a lot of opposition since we are born of a culture that demands of every child to become a doctor, lawyer or an engineer. The resolute and grit defined the purpose of Benard. He was not going to bend low in terms of what he wanted to pursue in this life. That is how he found himself a finalist, not merely a finalist but a designer at the same time. He later showed us a few of his designs and even shared some with me with some verbal interpretations of the same. I really loved it. As an entrepreneur and a mentor; I know I have an obligation to give him insights on how to explore in his journey and I also know I will learn some things from him too.

Creativity: What did you see first? did you realize it is a chimp?

Benard scored very low grades in high school, didn’t find admission to any college or university until technical University admitted him, basically not because of grades but the purpose and creativity in some of his design works he presented. The only limit to him today is the skies. So I learnt of creativity, that it is not grades or intellect alone that determines people’s creativity or even their success. In as much as Benard competed with degree holders, he beat them all in most competitions.

A few weeks ago, I struggled to inflate a balloon, then one lady creatively suggested a way to me and I thought to myself, I couldn’t figure that out? She went ahead to help me tackle some simple challenges for me and then I realized intellect and brilliance doesn’t necessary mean creativity. In a nutshell, let us encourage creativity among our children with their varied abilities. It has to be in areas they have passion for because out of that will come innovations and inventions that change the world. Out of those, we will have Edison’s and Einstein’s of our time.

Copyright @ 2017


Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Manufacturing, Technology, Innovation, Governance, Management and International Emerging Issues. For featuring, promotions or support, reach out to us at
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