My favorite topics for Uncommon Conversations are anchored in my continued observations of Nature, of natural history and of the Cosmos in general, seeking to understand unifying patterns that keep everything together in spite of wholesale ecological destruction to be observed across the globe. Among the topics of interest to me are San rock art and journeys to rock art destinations in Namibia and Botswana, examining lessons of leadership, survival and sustenance from these images; birds and bird behaviour on our sub-continent as markers of sustainability or lack thereof, comprising of birding tours to birder-friendly or interesting bird destinations across the sub-continent; and spending time in the Namibian or Botswana arids listening to the language of silence – structured conversations seeking to explore the basic tenets of a common language that would enable us to observe with curiosity Nature and the Cosmos in general, to listen with empathy, to communicate with a receptive attitude, and ultimately to find fulfillment in our natural surroundings. Given the nature of these conversations, I prefer single clients, or couples at most, though special requests may be considered.
Our conversations about technological leadership delve into a variety of topics involving the nature, history, impact, and future of technology, and also spending time with the uncommon topic of the philosophy of technology. Among these topics are, respectively, the developmental history of technology, starting with speech, drafting, writing and printing, and then browsing over at least five techno-economic revolutions modern society has since experienced. Certainly, we will stand still at the future of technology, the future of humankind and technology, the future of work and indeed also the future of the Cosmos were technology left to its own determining inclinations. These conversations at heart are presented in order to enhance (and measure) technological literacy, to enhance management capacity towards technological leadership, to enhance our decision-making capabilities about complex technology choices and indeed also to master the uncommon challenge of subjecting technology to our will instead of being led by technological determinism. An aspect of this service that deserves special mentioning is that my focus is on leading clients towards technology choices focusing on relevance (there must be an immediacy of need), appropriateness (technologies must be fit for their purpose) and functionality (leading to efficiency outcomes without ecological costs). Furthermore, these conversations can be had for boardrooms, with my presentations based on the perspective of the Chief Technology Officer role. For these purposes, I am presenting an independent Chief Technology Officer service.
I am an experienced mentor across all disciplines in my portfolio, but I choose to follow a slightly more uncommon approach in my mentoring sessions. My goal with the development of mentees is to lead each towards becoming a complete personality. In this regard, I subscribe to the notion of holistic thought which in its modern version offers an interesting heritage including German philosopher Goethe whose works had a major influence upon statesman, botanist, soldier, and father of Holism Jan Christiaan Smuts. While studying at Cambridge towards the end of the 19th century Smuts penned down a book titled “Walt Whitman: A Study in Personality”. This book unique as it remains was only published in 1971 and never reached a wide readership, but it shares fascinating insights about the ideal personality seen from a holistic perspective. Smuts’ ideal personality comprises of a dimension each for emotions, the intellect, the physique, the spiritual, the natural, and the romantic. I quite like this model and continue to experiment with it. Mentoring conversations are otherwise unstructured, spontaneous, often emotional, and heavily relying on the natural order and functioning of things in Nature. Lessons emanating from San rock art and readings about this rich culture form part of the foundation of my mentoring approach.
I am an experienced project facilitator and project manager and have been working with multi-disciplinary teams implementing IT solutions, completing academic projects, as well as conceiving of and successfully completing conversations between disputing parties in the IT industry. I am offering my abilities in this field to any party seeking to complete difficult, stagnated or unplanned projects of any kind outside the construction industry. I will mediate where necessary, facilitate where necessary, plan where necessary, organize where necessary and see to the completion of suffering projects in accordance with our formal agreement. These engagements may happen in selected natural settings conducive to the solution pursued.
Facilitative mediation follows a very particular methodology that ensures total impartiality of the mediator, complete confidentiality of matters discussed, as well as a facilitative approach ensuring that parties in dispute reach an agreement of and by themselves. This simply means that the mediator does not act as an advisor, because doing so carries the potential of prejudicing one of the parties, or even a third party. Facilitative mediation, furthermore, is court-annexed in South Africa, as in fact it is also in Namibia and Botswana, which means that admissions, concessions or offers made by the parties are without prejudice, and cannot be used against the parties in a court of law, as well as that agreements formally reached in a mediation forum once reduced to writing and signed by the parties become binding upon the parties and are also recognized by the judiciary. Given an extensive professional background, I am ready and willing to act as a mediator in disputes of a commercial nature, of a political nature, of an environmental nature, and of a personal nature.
I have a history of speaking from podiums on uncommon topics in support of sustainability in its widest sense, and I remain available to do so upon request and following upon the required arrangements. Selected topics of current interest and reflective of the ethos pursued with Uncommon Conversations are listed here.