InnovatorI was recently asked what were the three most important traits of an innovator. Before I could provide an answer to this question I paused to firstly consider the definition of an innovator. To most people an innovator would be someone who comes up with something new and novel, typically an invention or a new concept that may also be protected by a patent. These types of innovators that come to mind include Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Michael Faraday and Thomas Edison. However, I challenge the traditional view of an innovator and present a revised definition as someone who applies creative ideas or innovative concepts to create something of value in the market, which could be a new product/service, a new process or organisational system. True innovators include Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Richard Branson who all have built successful businesses through their creative ideas and opportunities.

Therefore, if an innovator is defined as someone who comes up with something new and novel such as a new invention then three major traits (there are numerous) required are CURIOSITY (open minded, asking why? or challenging the status quo), THINKING CREATIVELY (using imagination, intuition and lateral thinking) and EXPERIMENTATION (the power of observation, scientific method, analysis, deduction and recording outcomes). A good example of this type of innovator was Leonardo da Vinci, a great inventor but never applied any of his inventions to create true innovations. Conversely, if an innovator is defined as someone who applies creative ideas to create something of value in the marketplace, in society or in an organisation the traits for a true innovator would then include VISION (the ability to see opportunities before anyone else), PERSISTENCE (the discipline and commitment to see things through) and ENTREPRENEURSHIP (the ability to convert ideas into successful commercial outcomes that create value). A recent example of this type of innovator would be Mark Zuckerberg who created Facebook.

Dr John Kapeleris

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Transforming Your Life

February 12th, 2014 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Personal Development - (0 Comments)

Doing the same thing_Albert EInsteinDoing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, is the paradigm in which most people live. They rely on hope and fate to achieve a better outcome in their lives. Having coached a number of business executives and entrepreneurs, I have found that the first step in achieving different outcomes in your personal and business life is to change your current thinking and behaviour.

Many people fall into habits that become part of their daily ritual and find it very difficult to implement change. Change is the key to transforming one’s life. People have to start doing different things that generate results in their personal and business lives. If every morning you are used to getting out of bed later than the optimal time and then struggle to have breakfast before going to work, then you need to change your behaviour. For example, you will need to use an alarm that wakes you up at the optimal time to ensure you perform your daily exercise program, have time to meditate and reflect before having a healthy breakfast and getting ready for work. To achieve this behavioural change, you must first make a mental commitment and then a physical commitment that you will have to maintain for at least 30 days before it becomes a new habit. Discipline and commitment together with repetition will achieve your behavioural change.

Following are seven simple steps to achieve positive change to transform your life:

  1. Focus on positive thoughts and remove any negative thoughts from your mind
  2. Face your fears and challenges in life as a first step to releasing your negative blocks
  3. Find your direction and sense of purpose in life through positive beliefs
  4. Establish clear goals and objectives that will provide you with positive change
  5. Focus on one goal at a time eliminating any distractions
  6. Develop a plan of activities for each goal and take action
  7. Establish a daily discipline that you can maintain for 30 days

Good luck!

Dr John Kapeleris

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AchievementThe end of another year is fast approaching once again. Most people will look back over the year and ask what achievements have been made in their personal and business lives. For many people they will find that little progress has been made. Essentially how they started out during the year is not that different to how they finished off the year.

You may also want to ask whatever happened to those New Year resolutions that were made at the start of 2013. Most New Year resolutions fade within weeks from when they were made. Observations and experience gained from studying successful people demonstrates that setting clear goals and objectives and reviewing those goals and objectives periodically, will have a big impact on your personal and business life.

The end of a calendar year is a great time to review your previous goals and objectives, identify the achievements made and learn from any failures experienced. If you did not set goals and objectives last year you can still review the achievements made and learnings from any disappointments. It’s never too late to set new goals and objectives to drive your success in your business and personal life. The following simple steps can be used to get your new goals and objectives set for 2014 and therefore, displace the need to make any New Year resolutions, that many of which will eventually dissipate.

Your goals should contribute towards achieving your ultimate goal or “Major Life Purpose”.

For goals to be affective they must me be SMART Goals. That is:

  • Specific – don’t be vague
  • Measurable – quantify your goal
  • Attainable – be honest with yourself
  • Realistic – real and practical
  • Time-based – set a timeframe

Although your goals should be attainable it is also important to include a few stretch goals that have the ability to take you out of your comfort zone.

Step 1 Brainstorm all your goals and objectives

  • Take a sheet of paper or use a journal and list all your goals and objectives. They could also include your dreams and desires in life.
  • Some people (Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy) have suggested you list 101 goals for this step, but if you can’t get to 101 don’t worry
  • Once you have your list then prioritize and label each as follows: 1 = goals to be achieved in one year or less, 3 = goals that are two to three years out, 5 = goals that will take about five years to achieve, and 10 = your ten year goals and dreams.

Step 2 Focus on your One Year goals

  • Ensure your goals satisfy the SMART criteria and rewrite if required. For example, your goal may be to “lose weight”, however this does not satisfy all the SMART criteria as it is written. The goal should be written as – “Lose 5kg by 30 Jun 2010 through 30 min of exercise at least 4 days per week, coupled with a healthy eating diet”.
  • Group your goals under the following categories:
    • Financial/Material Goals
    • Business/Career Goals
    • Personal Relationship/Social Goals
    • Health & Recreational Goals
    • Personal Development & Growth Goals
  • Further prioritize your goals under each category. I usually have 4 – 5 goals for each category and I prioritize further by asking what are the more important goals that will have the biggest impact in my life

Step 3 Develop Action Plans for each goal

  • Write each goal at the top of a fresh page and develop the details of your plan.
  • Break down the plan into workable individual tasks. Assign a completion date for each task.
  • Some goals may require the assistance of other people. You will need to assign specific tasks to the individual people identified who can assist you with your plan.

Step 4 Repeat Steps 2 and 3 above for your 3, 5 and 10 year goals

  • Some of your longer term goals may be dreams or desires. You will need to convert these dreams and desires into specific and defined individual goals with timeframes. The individual goals together with their specific tasks and actions, collectively will achieve your overall dreams.
  • Long term goals require periodic review to ensure you are on track to achieving the outcomes that you have documented in your plan.
  • You may need to revise your plans if you discover that you are not progressing as originally planned.

Step 5 Take Action

  • You now have the winning combination of a goal with a plan.
  • Take action immediately with the highest priority goals.
  • Self-discipline and commitment will be needed to work on your goals and plans every day. Do something every day, no matter how small, to move towards achieving your goals.
  • Document your progress in a journal or diary and make any adjustments, if required.
  • Celebrate your success and achievements by rewarding yourself.

To your success in 2014!

Dr John Kapeleris

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Passion“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius

Many people end up in jobs or careers that are not aligned with their passions or life purpose. They may generate good income, have a great family and some leisure time, however, deep down they feel negative about their jobs. Passion is not a topic discussed in training manuals or university courses. However, by finding your passion and turning it into a career you can align your physical, mental and spiritual being. Nothing is impossible when work, pleasure and lifestyle become one.

Following the aftermath of the recession many people lost their jobs and found themselves at the crossroads pondering on their future careers. Many people were suddenly forced into following their dreams and have become highly successful in their new careers.

So how do you find your passion in life and turn it into a career? You can find your passion by considering a few questions:

  1. Are you currently enjoying your job and career? If you are enjoying your job where you can’t wait to get to work in the morning, time passes quickly, you like talking about the work you do with your friends, and you find yourself in a relaxed lifestyle, then your current career may be aligned with your passion.
  2. What did you enjoy doing as a child? As a child you may have had a hobby or obsession such as motor vehicles or you enjoyed trekking. Then pursuing these childhood passions may result in your ultimate lifestyle career.
  3. What do you enjoy doing as an adult? You may have a weekend hobby or a casual job that you enjoy immensely. Alternatively you find that a small component of your work is thoroughly enjoyable and you would like this to be the main part of your work. For example, you may enjoy coaching and mentoring your staff, which can ultimately turn into a successful coaching career working for yourself.

Many of us become complacent in our current situation or we may fear change, which stops us from pursuing our passions in life. We need to stop and evaluate whether the work we are currently performing is aligned with our passions and providing satisfaction in our lives. If not then we must develop a plan that will allow us to transition seamlessly into a new career where we can follow our dreams!

Dr John Kapeleris


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Creating an Ideas Factory

February 13th, 2013 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Ideas | Innovation - (0 Comments)

Ideas FactoryMany people come up with ideas on a daily basis. However, they don’t capture the ideas in a written or electronic journal and the ideas soon dissipate.

The process of generating, capturing and implementing ideas is the basis of innovation. Ideas can solve problems within organisations but can also generate opportunities for new products and services, innovative business models and organisational systems, and novel marketing concepts. Ideas also help organisations keep an eye on the future by anticipating future trends and technologies and applying these ideas to deliver the needs and wants of the future.

The concept of an “ideas factory” can be implemented within an organisation to capture the wealth of ideas generated by individuals but also ideas that come from customers and other external sources. Some of these external sources could include the internet, publications, competitors and suppliers.

How do you create and implement an ideas factory within your organisation? Following are some of the key steps in creating and implementing an ideas factory within your organisation:

  1. Create a culture that supports and encourages the continuous generation and flow of ideas. The continuous flow and capture of new ideas provides organizations with a source of new products and services, product improvements, and novel processes that contribute to the organization’s survival and growth. Creativity is therefore an important key driver of innovation by providing new ideas and new ways to solve organizational problems.
  2. Develop a well defined ideas management process - Generating, Capturing, Processing, Evaluating, Implementing and Measuring Outcomes. Organizations need to adopt a formal ideas management process to capture, develop, evaluate, protect and implement ideas and suggestions, which form the foundation of new opportunities that satisfy needs and wants in the market.
  3. Provide the skills and tools for employees to develop competencies. Harnessing the creativity of the workforce forms a critical component of an innovative culture. Professional development of employees should include skills development in creativity tools and techniques. Furthermore,  creating an environment that encourages participation, learning and fun allows new ideas to be generated and improvements implemented.
  4. Evaluate the ideas using a set of pre-defined criteria – impact, strategic fit, value, cost, risk, timeframe etc. In evaluating ideas an initial feasibility should include a preliminary market, technical and risk assessment to determine the viability of the opportunity. It should also include an intellectual property search to determine whether someone else has already patented the idea, and to confirm that you have the freedom to operate.
  5. Implement the ideas to solve a problem, capitalise on an opportunity or transform your organisation. One of the most difficult steps is the implementation phase. Implementation requires the development of a project plan and then the execution of the plan through action. A typical implementation process may involve:
    • clarifying the objective,
    • developing the plan,
    • identifying key processes and tasks,
    • prioritizing activities,
    • resourcing and budgeting,
    • funding,
    • assigning responsibility, and then
    • doing it!

An ideas factory will require top-down management support, in addition to committed and disciplined champions who can drive the processes and methodology. Collaboration will also be an important element in the ideas factory. Champions can also make a significant contribution to the implementation stage.

Dr John Kapeleris


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Effective Execution

January 9th, 2013 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Action - (2 Comments)

Effective Execution“Success comes from transforming thoughts, ideas and opportunities into action”. John Kapeleris

Despite the emphasis on taking massive action and getting things done as the cornerstone of success, we continue to make new year’s resolutions that dissipate within a few weeks of starting the new year. Individuals and corporations find it difficult to effectively execute personal and strategic initiatives. Although we have clear goals and objectives, detailed plans and the commitment to achieve the results we want, we continue to struggle with effective implementation. Therefore, what can we do to implement effective execution in our personal and business lives?

Gilbert, Buchel and Davidson in their book “Smarter Execution: Seven Steps to Getting Results” identify seven steps to achieving effective execution:

  1. Focus first – Focus can provide clarity and at the same time magnification of the tasks we want to achieve. If we focus on the high value tasks that will make the difference in our work and personal lives, then we can easily execute our plans.
  2. Pick the best possible team (resources) – You need to have the right skills and capabilities for effective execution. If you are assembling a team of people ensure that you have the correct alignment of skills with the tasks required. If the skill set is not available internally then it should be outsourced.
  3. Set the course – You need to set a clear direction of where we want to go and develop clear execution steps that remove confusion.
  4. Play to win – The team and its members need to possess a winning spirit. Strong personal motives can drive projects and tasks to successful completion.
  5. Think it through – You need to think through the foreseeable future steps and have in place alternative courses of action. Mental rehearsal provides a clear pathway but at the same time can anticipate potential impediments that can be overcome in advance. It is important to think through the resources required, reviewing the key success factors and being prepared for any risks for the upcoming execution steps.
  6. Get all aboard – Every team member must be committed to the vision and direction of the project. Communication will be an important factor to ensure the team is informed of the progress against the agreed vision and direction. Any deviation should be evaluated, agreed and communicated to the team.
  7. Follow through – One of the critical steps in achieving effective execution is the follow through. The lack of follow through could certainly guarantee failure.

Wishing you a happy, prosperous and successful New Year 2013!

Dr John Kapeleris


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thinkerReflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Charles Dickens

We are fast approaching Christmas and this is always a sign that we have once again reached the end of another calendar year. I always find the end of the year to be a time of reflection and review. It is also a time to evaluate the progress of your life purpose, goals and objectives that were set at the start of the year or the longer term goals set in previous years. Your life purpose, goals and objectives should be part of your Personal Development Plan.

The end of the year also offers a fresh start for activities that we had intended to do but never got around to doing them. Although I had previously stated that any day can be the start of the rest of your life, the end of the year can be a special time because it can provide closure to outstanding action items that may no longer be relevant, but also removing limiting beliefs by leaving them behind in the current year. The dawning of a new year provides the incentive to start a fresh action list and the motivation to get things done immediately.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions, however, they quickly discover that the resolutions fade even before the first quarter of the calendar year is reached. It is not just about making New Year’s resolutions at the dawn of the New Year, it is about making a committed effort to set written goals and objectives for the coming year and for the medium to longer term timeframe. Numerous studies have shown only three percent of the population set goals and only about one percent actually write them down.

I challenge you to make a committed effort, that is, take ACTION, to review your previous goals and objectives, and to set new goals and objectives for 2013. Begin by identifying the major achievements and highlights for 2012. These could include work achievements, financial objectives, family highlights, personal development, educational achievements or personal success outcomes. Achievements should also be acknowledged and celebrated to ensure mental reinforcement and capitalizing on the motivation that this can provide to your subconscious mind. I try to reward myself when I achieve a particular goal or objective. For example, I will buy a gift for myself that reminds me of the success that I have achieved, or I will organise a special holiday trip for myself and my family. In early December of 2011 I took the family to Hawaii for 17 days to celebrate a very successful 2011. In previous years I bought myself a Rolex watch to remind me of a successful multi-million dollar deal I had closed.

I use a visual journal with white pages to document my goals and objectives for the new calendar year. Once I complete this activity I then develop Action Plans for the major goals and objectives. Throughout the year I periodically review my goals and revise any action plans that are not progressing as expected. You should also prepare a vision board which consists of a portfolio of visual material or a collage of images that portray your vision, goals and objectives. The vision board helps to stimulate your reticular activating system in your mind to reaffirm your subconscious.

Like most people I also identify a few missed opportunities or disappointments for the year. This allows me to learn from the experience so that I can strengthen my future plans moving forward. Go ahead and document the missed opportunities and disappointments. Ask yourself, “What could I have done differently to capitalise on the missed opportunities or overcame the disappointments?”, and document potential changes and actions for the future. Don’t spend too much time regretting the missed opportunities. The rest of your life starts now, therefore focus on your future goals and plans for 2013. Some of these goals could also be carried over from 2012. Particularly goals that were over ambitious, which is common amongst high achievers.

I had also previously posted a number of blog entries that can provide further detailed information on developing your goals and objectives (see below). Furthermore, I have included a Personal Development Plan Template that may also be used as a guide.

What does your personal development plan look like?

Have a merry Christmas and I wish you every success for 2013!

Dr John Kapeleris

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Entrepreneurship is defined as the process by which a new venture is created when an entrepreneur identifies a new opportunity in the market to create economic products and services. An entrepreneur is therefore someone who is willing and able to convert a new idea or invention into a successful innovation in the market. The innovation could be in the form of a product, a service, or a novel business concept or model.

The typical characteristics of an entrepreneur include:

  1. An enthusiastic person with a vision
  2. The ability to identify new opportunities
  3. Calculated risk-taking
  4. Responsible in decision-making
  5. Overwhelming urge to succeed
  6. Discipline and persistence
  7. Confident and persuasive communicators
  8. Driven by the sense of accomplishment
  9. The ability to coordinate and manage scarce resources (time, money and people)

Studies according to Arthur Cole (1959) have identified four types of entrepreneurs:

  1. The innovator
  2. The calculating inventor
  3. The over optimistic promoter
  4. The organisation builder

Entrepreneurship is a very difficult undertaking, where many new businesses fail. Only a very small percentage (approximately 1%) of people who go into business succeed. Entrepreneurial activities range from solo businesses, many now being created online, to establishing large businesses, such as mining, employing large numbers of people. Entrepreneurs can also exist within existing organisations who identify new opportunities able to grow the existing organisation or alternatively are involved in spinning out new businesses. These entrepreneurs are referred to as intrapreneurs. An innovative high performing organisation should nurture and support the development of intrapreneurs as this activity can create significant growth for the organisation, either through the internal development and commercialisation of new ideas or through the creation of subsidiary businesses. If organisations do not identify, nurture and support intrapreneurs then many will leave the organisation and create their own businesses.

Entrepreneurship has been identified by many economists, including Joseph Shumpeter, as a driving factor that creates value in the economy through the following benefits:

  • Creating new jobs
  • Expanding new markets
  • New products and services
  • Satisfying domestic consumption
  • Developing new and existing industries
  • Income generation and economic growth
  • Healthy competition creating higher quality products
  • Supporting the existence of government and their budgets

Dr John Kapeleris

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You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want”.  Zig Ziglar

On the 28th November 2012 a great man passed away. His name was Zig Ziglar, and he had left a lasting impression on me as a result of his knowledge in sales, his wisdom on success and his inspiration in life.

It was 1996 when I first met Zig Ziglar at a Jim Rohn event in Brisbane, Australia. I was a fledgling in sales just having acquired the role of Business Development Manager for a Medical Diagnostics company where I was responsible for establishing international markets in Europe, Asia and North America. Since Zig Ziglar had an excellent reputation in sales knowledge and experience I was looking forward to learning some of the skills that would differentiate me in the market.

After listening to one of the most inspiring and influential presentations from Jim Rohn, including a number of goal-setting and personal development activities that changed my life, it was time for Zig Ziglar’s presentation. His unique southern US drawl with a preaching style voice hit my senses immediately. The words and ideas that were delivered captured the attention of everyone in the room and became influential and motivational for me in decades to come.

Following ia a summary of the notes I took on how to be a top performer:

  1. Regardless of the past, tomorrow is a clean start
  2. The choices you make today will determine what you will be, do and have in the tomorrows of your life
  3. Top performers learn to make the right choices – There is something you can do right now to change your future and it is your choice!
  4. Don’t waste time blaming others; fix the causes – You are the only one who can solve your problems
  5. You can change what you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind – It is what happens inside of you that matters.
  6. Top performers learn every day by seeking new ideas – Establish an “automobile university” and listen to audio CDs on the road
  7. The most important conversation you will ever have is with yourself
  8. Develop a wall of gratitude that highlights the people who have made a difference in your life
  9. What you send out is what you get back – Improve your conversations and your attitude
  10. Serving others is the foundation for relationships

Dr John Kapeleris


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Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living; the other helps you make a life.” – Sandra Carey

According to Russell Ackoff, knowledge is defined as the acquisition of data and information that provides the ability to answer (How?) questions, while wisdom is defined as the practical application and use of the knowledge to create value.

Wisdom is gained through learning and practical experience, not just memorisation, however, to practically apply knowledge learnt, a deep understanding of the knowledge is required. “Understanding” is what allows knowledge to be converted into wisdom through cognitive, experiential and analytical processes. Wisdom gives people the ability to make the right judgements and correct decisions, but can also synthesize new knowledge.

For example, memorising data and information allows you to acquire knowledge which can be used to answer questions (such as in an exam), however, when posed with a problem to solve, then a deep understanding of the knowledge is required to successfully solve the problem. One of the challenges in our educational system is that deep understanding of knowledge through cognitive and analytical processes is not taught in-depth. Curricula require the inclusion of education programs on how to analyse knowledge and synthesise new knowledge. To achieve a deep understanding of knowledge, additional “thinking about thinking” or cognitive techniques are required to be added to the curriculum. For example, in 1998 the University of the Sunshine Coast introduced a core compulsory first year interdisciplinary course called “Thought and Communication” intended to encourage students to think deeply, in addition to learn the importance of communication.

Beyond wisdom is enlightenment. Enlightenment can be defined as a higher form of understanding and wisdom that enables clarity of perception and awareness. It is a state of being that provides insight through reasoning and self-awareness.

The following table provides a summary of the Knowledge Hierarchy:

I have also represented the Knowledge Hierarchy in a pyramid format below:

Dr John Kapeleris

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