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Ideas for people pursuing an empowered life,




Innovation for the jungle

I had the honor of participating in a highly innovative breakthrough on May 15th., when I was teleported across space and time to deliver one of my "Lessons from the jungle...".

It was a "world's first" and an absolutely amazing experience. Thanks to the "remote broadcast" experts at the TVA Television Network, and using Vidéotron high-speed cable network, I gave a conference to a roomful of people some miles away. At the Quebec City Expo-Cité Center, Meeting and Event Planners and Tourism Industry Officials saw me projected onto a stage as a virtual hologram.

I was there in "real time" but as a 3-D projection of a new technology called "Ghosting". From my perspective, I could see the crowd finding its tables, in a large atmosphere-added conference room, on a TV monitor in front of me. There, camera eyed the goings-on and I could hear the room's buzz in a tiny earphone.

At the front of the room, a raised stage held a strange item - imagine a human-sized frame covered with stretched plastic wrap - positioned center-front.

Meanwhile, 4 miles away, I was in a large, near-empty TV studio, chatting with a cameraman and a soundman. I was impressed by their equipment - a ragtag of bits and pieces - and was sizing things up to adjust my script. Around me, the floor, walls and ceiling were freshly painted a flat black. I sat in my wheelchair with my Mac computer on a small table at my right side.

At Expo-Cité, giant screens were on each side of the stage. I'd project a PowerPoint presentation onto those screens. The Emcee called the assembly to order, reminded them of the afternoon's agenda and then introduced me with all the drama the moment deserved.

As he said my name, the strange form at center stage was hit by light-beams from innovative projectors. The "plastic wrap", a new kind of screen, "absorbed" the light instead of reflecting it... and I just appeared - life-sized, in 3D and full color, like a ghost - and I said "Bonjour".

The crowd gasped, WOWed and burst into generous applause.

I thanked them for inviting me and told them I had 2 good reasons for volunteering to be the first ever person "teleported" to work. I referred them to January 1998, when I was in the jungles of Mayamü, Costa Rica, and invited to be the keynote speaker at MPI's -Meeting Planners International- annual event. I happily accepted but you can imagine that I drove away from paradise with a somewhat heavy heart for the long flight North.

At the Juan Santamaria Airport we heard that the weather was bad in Montreal and so we called ahead - to be assured the event would take place. We boarded our plane and, hours later, we were awed at the sight of Montreal... in total darkness. Freezing rain covered the Province of Quebec with a thick blanket of ice, electric power was out - and would remain so for some weeks - and business was cancelled.

I could have been on a tropical beach but instead suffered the cold. Never again, I thought, surely there must be a way to be in both places at once...

My second reason is that - being in wheelchair in a largely inaccessible world - I see more back alleys, loading docks, garages, kitchens and out-of-the-way corridors in my search for wheelchair access to places than you'd care to know about.

Now, I told them, thanks to innovative technology, both my problems are solved. I can stay in paradise and beam myself anywhere - including the seventh floor of a walkup. I can be in 10... or 100 places... at the same time. I reached for the mouse on my computer and clicked so that a picture of the jungle appeared on their screens.

I did 45 minutes and was enthusiastically received. In the Q&A that followed, people interacted with me and insisted that - after a few minutes - they really believed that I was there, and they confirmed that I'd reached them more than just virtually, I touched them emotionally as well.

More than just the latest fad or fancy, a real innovation has a transformational effect on one or more of the following:

  1. It offers a benefit to society or change social paradigms;
  2. It improves personal efficiency or behavior;
  3. It has a positive effect on the economy or the ecology;
  4. It adds value to a product, to production or to productivity;
  5. It improves management processes;
  6. It enhances a job function or description;

Before being considered innovative, an idea also has to be simple, efficient and it must fill a need or add value to an existing process, product or service.

Real innovations start small - i.e. they require little money, human resource or energy to get them off the ground. And they are conceived for the present not for the future.

Innovations have an immediate application but they most often have to be "sold" first. They'll require a strategy before they're accepted in marketplace and then can always be improved. I'm blown away when I imagine how "Ghosting" will evolve in the next 5-10 years. I'm looking forward to sharing a "Lesson from the jungle" by beaming into your place real soon.



This month consider thinking "provocatively". This technique forces new connections between dissimilar ideas, beliefs or structures to thus creates new potentials.

Provocative thinking uses analogy and metaphor to question connections and to arrive at new information mixes. It leads to the kinds of disruptive thinking patterns encouraged by Dr. Edward de Bono's "PO" (Provocative Operation) theories. Check out the details here.



In rainforest jungles, species learn "best practices" from mimicry - i.e. by seeing what works and copying it. This training will use that basic idea and a unique approach to teach the art of convincing others. Experience exciting visits, fascinating seminars and empowering activities led by expert guides in a "whole-brain" learning process.

For many reasons - its remarkable beauty, user-friendly ecology and warm people chief among them - Costa Rica is a perfect classroom to explore how we develop "client capital". A small group adventure for sales people, entrepreneurs and professional, this tour includes 7 wondrous days to explore "the art of persuasion", i.e. how to sell ideas, services or products to others.

A «heuristic learning program», this educational tour explores the motivation, strategy and personal power needed to successfully manage client relationships. See its daily itinerary here.



Got an idea that's worth thinking about? Write it down or you'll lose it. Creative people from the beginning of time have kept a "grimoire" - i.e. a sort of diary of their magical ideas.

As you just never know when a great idea will pop up, http://www.diary.org will let you record your personal musings online... and you can read other folks' diary as well. There's also an award-winning site that houses diaries from celebrities and deep thinkers from all over the globe at http://www.diarist.net.

You will find more scholarly journals at http://info.lib.uh.edu/wj/webjour.html. You can even get into web publishing yourself... begin at http://press.umich.edu/jep.

Need an inspiring mood? Check out http://www.soleildujour.com and bookmark a great site that lets you enjoy the day's sunset...



"Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought are commonly the most valuable." - Francis Bacon

"Don't be a speaker - be an expert who speaks. Don't be a consultant - be an expert who consults. Don't be a writer - be an expert who writes." - Robert Q. Anonymous

"The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it -- so fine that we often are on the line and do not know it." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"When you're through changing, you're through." - Bruce Barton

"It's not where you start out that matters, but rather where you end up. Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think." - Benjamin Disraeli

"Eighty percent of success is showing up." - Woody Allen



Sun Tzu's "Art of Strategy" has been studied for centuries and is considered a classic book on war. The principles expounded in it are so relevant that they are studied in military academies around the world even today.

The great thinker lived peacefully, high in the mountains that separated two enemy states, at a time when China was ruled by fierce men from many rival kingdoms.

Summoned by the ruler of one those places, Sun Tzu rode to his capital city to meet him. The king was said to respect talented people and he told Sun Tzu: "I've read your articles on military tactics with great interest and I want you to command my army... if you can prove your theories. Many men can claim victory... when success is only a theory."

Sun Tzu had written that discipline is the key to an army's effectiveness and success so the king suggested a test of his ideas. He proposed: "You say discipline is the key to success and that anyone can learn it. Will your training methods work... with women?"

In those days women were not much more than property... as were most of the common folk. Assured that his methods were proven, the King assembled 180 of his concubines for Sun Tzu to train immediately.

He divided them into two companies and appointed the two ranking women to be company commanders. Then the women were asked whether they knew their right hands from their left, and their backs from their fronts. When they assured him that that they did, he asked them if they could count to 2. They giggled and assured him that - of course - they did.

Sun Tzu told them how to carry out his orders: "When the drum bangs once, you must turn to your left. When it bangs twice, turn right".

He raised his arm, the drum signaled a right turn - and the women just stood there and giggled. "Perhaps the rules are not clear to you and you are not familiar with taking orders. That is my fault!" said Sun Tzu.

He patiently reiterated the rules and added: "You must change your behavior and obey the order. Then the drum sounded again. And again the women giggled and made no move. "The first time was my fault", said Sun Tzu, "...but now I know that you understand the instructions. You still do not obey so the blame is yours."

He then ordered both women commanders executed. The king was observing and he was stunned: "These two are my favorites. I love them and I cannot allow this. You must spare them!"

But Sun Tzu said: "If I am to be your commanding general, I must have a general's full authority. I will instill discipline as I must."

The king answered: "You will not lead my army. I order you to leave this place and return where you came from."

To which Sun Tzu replied: "Then your wanting a great army is only theoretical. Many men can claim victory... when success is only a theory."

The executions were carried out and the next-ranking women were appointed company commanders. Sun Tzu orders were given again and this time the terrified women followed instructions exactly. The general turned to the king: "These two companies of women are now at your service, Sire."

The king's highly disciplined army became an effective and successful fighting force and, with Sun Tzu at the head, conquered powerful enemies and unified the land. Once, with 30,000 troops, they defeated an army of more than 200,000 men.

As difficult as it was to learn, the king discovered that there is no change without discipline. He also learned that using war to succeed is more than a theoretical pursuit... it's a deadly one.

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