careers, creative process

Grow the small things


I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the local creative industry in Nigeria and why it has neither “picked up” nor “peaked” to the point of international recognition and it’s been quite mind-bugling. It’s like, you know that there are a fixed number of core problems but they then spiral outwards to a complicated spider-web of intricately connected issues/problems that no one seems to remember the core issues.

But I’m not here to discuss the problems we have but rather to deliver a simple charge:

Grow the Small Things!





Passengers wouldn’t come when the Bus is all built — they will come when they see the Bus is moving Click To Tweet





This has probably happened to you: You think up an idea and try to reach out to folks to collaborate with. You’re met with scepticism, idea-pokers and a barrage of nay-sayers. Then you finally find someone to help with the push but you can feel the partial commitment issues….and you understand it’s not their fault: they too have lives and other commitments plus, let’s face it — you’re not paying them….yet….
Then the depression comes in and you question the feasibility of the idea and then other responsibilities come crashing in and SPLAT! there goes another idea.

There are no clear fixes for this besides what I’m about to tell you:
Start Small and Start Alone.


If you’ve got this idea and it’s burning in your gut, just get the base resources and start with it. Make a plan and prepare to fling that plan out the window at a moments notice. If you can’t take off with all the components, take off with some of the components. Still can’t do that? Take off with a few of the components.
The general idea: START SMALL and START NOW. Feel that the idea is spiralling and frightening too big? Awesome! Scale it down and start with that. Run with it.

Why? My answer might be cheesy but work with me here: Some years ago while still co-running ND, I came upon an analogy by happenstance: Imagine your product/Idea is a Bus and you’ve got to build this Bus and get it on the road. Passengers wouldn’t come when the Bus is all built — they will come when they see the Bus is moving, some scampering and flinging themselves at the vehicle just to get in and have a sitting space. Got the idea? Good. Now go out there and get some doing done.

Bonus tie-in:

When many “small-thing” initiators come together to connect, that’s when something truly solid comes out and I believe even that cascades to the Nigerian Design scene.


Post by Leslie Williams, Oct 3, 2015.  Find Leslie on Facebook.

We discovered Leslie on Medium and he had a great piece of advice. Our reaction to this article was “Preach Les!” Did this encourage you? Leave a comment below letting us know.

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