Olusina Thorpe

I recently got the following story from the social media and it has since got me pondering. It goes thus:

The owner of an underwear making company was having a tough time with shortages in his factory. On departure for home, all worker’s bags were searched and everything always seemed to be alright.

All security measures were put in place. Auditors were called in, but still no one was caught red-handed. All workers, including management, were checked on departure, and funny enough, each was wearing just one underwear, and no one was caught with more than one pair.

Then one day, a very junior worker (the tea Girl) thought out of the box-Why not check people, as they come, rather than when they go out?  Her idea was accepted and the security officer was directed to check all staff on arrival.

Then came the shocker!  All the staff, including management, had no underwear on them on arrival at work. Based on her ingenious idea, tea girl was promote as Head of Innovation and Strategy at the Factory and Associated Group of Companies!


 The first thing that came to my mind as I pondered over the insightful story is that, unlike what we have been made to believe, the world does not have an unemployment problem. Yes, I am very certain about that.

Rather, the main problem we have is a dearth of men of idea. Every organisation is in search of men and women of idea, who could come up with ingenious concepts that would widen the frontiers and radically change things. I bet you, there is no organisation that would deny such access to job.

This implies that vacancies always exist for innovative minds who could think outside the box and create opportunities where others are looking at obstacles.


Famous Nigerian success coach and pastor, Rev. Sam Adeyemi, once affirmed, and rightly so, that ideas rule the world. The quality of ideas available in a given society determines the quality of life and opportunities available in such society.

Many people seem not to understand that the quality of our lives as human beings is substantially a reflection of the quality of ideas we generate. Many still seem not to comprehend that the ideas which we conceive, like kola in Igbo culture, is life in itself.

Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook in his twenties, and as a university undergraduate. Thanks to the strength and depth of his idea, today, he ranks among the world top billionaires. Today, through his idea, Zuckerberg has become a wealth creator, generating better job prospect for thousands across the world.

Facebook has created a new way for people to stay in touch and communicate. It has also changed the way people obtain their news, thus giving people the ability to share stories and videos. Facebook has created a whole generation that finds all their sources of news and entertainment online. Time named him Person of the Year in 2010 and he landed on the Fortune 500 in May 2013, the youngest CEO on the list.

While Facebook has continued to change the way people interact with others and get their news, Zuckerberg has started giving his millions to several philanthropic causes. His first in 2010 gave $100 million to Newark, New Jersey’s public school system. In September 2016, he and his wife announced they would invest at least three billion dollars into scientific research to help cure, prevent and manage all diseases. Just imagine the fruits of a single idea!


Presently, our nation is passing through a painful economic route. Oil, which has been our major source of revenue for decades, no longer commands huge financial status in the international market. But then, that should not be the end of the world, as the Zuckerberg model has shown that having bright minds is better than possessing billions of oil wells. The utility of the latter is tied to the earlier. Without the required human resource, whatever prosperity that any nation possesses will eventually amounts to nothing.

Without bright idea, there cannot be innovation. And it is innovation that brings development. Innovation is the natural by-product of idea. Innovation is the prime basis for socio-economic progression in any society.

Prior to the discovery of the Internet, no innovation did more for the spread and democratization of knowledge than Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press. Developed around 1440 in Mainz, Germany, Gutenberg’s machine improved on already existing presses through the use of a mould that allowed for the rapid production of lead alloy type pieces.

This assembly line method of copying books enabled a single printing press to create as many as 3,600 pages per day. By 1500 over 1,000 Gutenberg presses were operating in Europe, and by 1600 they had created over 200 million new books. The printing press not only made books affordable for the lower classes, but it helped spark the Age of Enlightenment and facilitated the spread of new and often controversial ideas.

In 1518 followers of the German monk Martin Luther used the printing press to copy and disseminate his seminal work “The Ninety-Five Theses,” which jumpstarted the Protestant Reformation and spurred conflicts like the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48).

The printing press proved so influential in prompting revolutions, religious upheaval and scientific thought that Mark Twain would later write, “What the world is today, good and bad, it owes to Gutenberg.”

Innovation is a journey. But it is an endless one. For anyone to remain relevant, he/she must keep thinking, developing and working.


It dawned on me that most inventors deeply believed in spiritual forces and performed spiritual practices: hence, raising their state of consciousness. This higher state of consciousness provided them with extraordinary levels of intuitive intelligence that enabled them to make extraordinary discoveries. Thus, the mind is a power house for those who can creatively use it to construct and bring to life things that never exist.

I used to wonder how an individual, particularly Graham Bell, could invent a practical telephone that enabled communication between people separated by thousands of kilometers. I wondered how he knew that an electric current could carry sound from one gadget to another. I then realized that Graham Bell believed in the power of the mind.

Besides Graham Bell, Isaac Newton also made several discoveries because he embraced the innate power of the mind to attain a higher level of consciousness that allowed him to see things clearly.

As Jonathan Black observed, ‘scientists like Pythagoras and Newton suggest that by means of these peculiar kinds of altered states they were able to discover new things about the world, to see its inner workings and understand patterns that are perhaps too complex or too large for the human mind to grasp with its every day commonsensical state of consciousness (Jonathan Black, The Secret History of the World)’.


50 years ago, controversial American physicist, historian and philosopher, Thomas Samuel Kuhn, coined the term ‘paradigm shift’. What he was referring to then is the moment when our worldview essentially alters as a result of a new idea.

However, you need to reconstruct your mind for it to become the creative mind it ought to be. Negative and destructive emotions such as hatred, envy, jealousy, bitterness and the likes must be decisively flushed out of your mind to make it the real power house that it is.

The world is changing with advancements in technology, medicine and the development of new products. Many innovators have contribute to the advancement of the world by making it a better place to live for generations to come.

The world also needs you. Yes, you could be the next in line on the next list of the most influential world innovators. As a matter of fact, you might be the person the world has been waiting for- the wanted one!


There is something for individuals with ingenious thinking in Lagos. No man of knowledge stays in Lagos and wallows in hopelessness. From the art to entertainment and from sports to tourism and across every sector, the city gives something refreshing to anyone with ideas, skills and potentials.

Recently, twenty-three young innovators and tech firms were awarded a total grant of N100 million to pursue various technology-driven innovations across the six pillars of the Development Agenda of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration.

The recipients are the first set of beneficiaries to be picked to benefit from the N250 million seed capital earmarked, last year, as Research and Innovation Fund by the State Government.

Also, for developing a user-friendly mobile application named Alausa sabi to aid seamless communication and efficiency of the entire Lagos Government workforce, Seun Ogunmolu, a GL08 officer in the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, was promoted to Level GL10 by Governor Sanwo-Olu.

That is the spirit of Lagos!

Thorpe is Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.


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