Inspiration for Innovation in Cameroon, Africa

Two weeks working with almost 100 senior and emerging leaders in Douala, Cameroon in West Africa at the end of April 2015 has left us inspired in so many ways. My sister and collaborator, Valerie McIntyre-Baird, and I were hired by the national electricity company, ENEO, to design and deliver a leadership development programme. At the heart of our "Leadership Through Service (LTS)" workshop design, we developed a two-week Innovation Challenge that encouraged and guided programme participants to find, adapt and scale the "bright spots" of hidden innovation in their corporation and/or in other industries. The results were astonishing in terms of the potential scope and scale of the social, commercial, and technological innovation opportunities that emerged. Kudos to all the ENEO participants for their hard work, ingenuity and camaraderie throughout.

AND we were honoured to have been able to experience one of the most welcoming, creative and intriguing countries we've ever visited. Cameroon is officially bilingual like Canada (French, English) + Pidgin & over 200 traditional linguistic groups, with many of its electrical engineers having studied in Montreal at the Polytechnique. The country is known as "Afrique en miniature" as its varied landscape, vegetation and climate represents all of the African continent. The Cameroonian stories, villages, eccentricities, history, laughter, music, food, culture, fabric, designs, kindness, roadtrips, and friendships (old and new) will be with us forever. We will be back soon!