Joel Kaplan, Founder of Thought Africa.
Winner of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Company Award for 2020.
At the age of 8 my best friend was an old Scottish engineer named Mr Barrie.
He had a garage with all sorts of tools and interesting things, and I’d visit him every day after school. He used to call me his apprentice and we’d build the coolest things together. He took me to working factories and I’d pass him screwdrivers while he’d be underneath the machine doing his thing.
My eyes were wide in awe of what he would do. I learnt so much about life, technology, solving problems and debugging volatile situations, just by being exposed to his environment and being in that energy.
I remember once he called me up at 2am and told me we had work to do. He took me to this half burnt down factory and there were no line diagrams of their production line, we spent hours trying to figure out which wires talked to which.
Fast forward to 2020 and I’m considered to be ‘one of those millenials’ that could change the future…
And that is our vision at Thought Africa: To help your children develop thinking skills for jobs that don’t exist yet and to lead them to become the Thought Leaders and Innovators of our future world.
The Big Question:
We see it over and over again, the look in a child’s eyes when they finally grasp a concept for the first time. Something they’ve been guided towards but have figured out for themselves. It’s such a rewarding feeling for that child and helps them gain the confidence they need to go out into the real world and build on that.
So how do you transfer that moment into a progress report?
YOU DON’T. Mr Barrie never kept a progress report for me, but he sure did keep me inspired and hungry to learn more. It was simply:
Pitch up. Learn stuff. Make cool things. Go home.
The immense value I got out of those days, which turned into months and years, is priceless. And that is what Thought Africa is re-creating for your children:
An environment where they can feel completely at ease, with no pressure for them to perform, but rather a spirit of encouragement that supports a logical ‘eagle-like’ brain state – where they can start to project their minds into the future and think from a more solution-based perspective.