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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The Power of Knowledge

September 25th, 2012 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Knowledge - (2 Comments)

“Knowledge is only potential power” Napoleon Hill

One of the keys to success is attaining the knowledge that can be applied in a given situation or in our daily lives, and to convert that knowledge into value for ourselves or the organisation in which we work. Knowledge is attained through a number of avenues, including formal education and schooling, through parents and mentors, on-the-job training, and through self-education and personal experience.

The unfortunate situation is that our schooling system, although it provides general knowledge for many topics, it fails to provide specialized knowledge for developing life skills. Specialised knowledge for developing life skills usually comes from our parents and mentors, on-the-job training and through self-education and personal experience. More importantly educational institutes do not specifically teach people how to organise and use the knowledge after it is acquired. Knowledge becomes power when it is organised and intelligently directed through practical plans of action and to a definite end. In other words, practically applying the knowledge to develop skills in a particular activity, business or profession.

To successfully run a business or undertake a specific profession you need to acquire specialized knowledge. The first step is to determine the sort of specialized knowledge you require, and the purpose for which it is needed. To a large extent your major purpose in life and the goals toward which you are working, will help determine what knowledge you need. Once you have achieved the first step, the next step will involve identifying dependable sources of specialized knowledge, including the following:

  • Formal education and training e.g. universities and colleges
  • On-the-job training
  • Using a mentor and/or mastermind group
  • Self-education courses e.g. seminars, books, DVDs/CDs, online courses

I have found that self-education courses through books, DVDs/CDs and online courses have provided me with the best specialised knowledge to develop life skills and specialized business skills. Reading books at least one hour per day in a specific topic can provide a significant source of specialized knowledge. Furthermore, I try to listen to CDs in the car when I drive to work or visit clients taking advantage of the time available. As Zig Ziglar states, “Turn your car into an automobile university of success“.

Once the specialized knowledge is attained, the final step is to put the knowledge into use through plans of action. The translation of knowledge into practical application will achieve successful outcomes (John Kapeleris). Many people make the mistake of continually sourcing and accessing knowledge but they do not apply the knowledge to their definite purpose, business or profession. It is important to develop practical action plans that have a defined objective, and to work towards the objective on a daily basis.

Dr John Kapeleris

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Beyond Mediocrity

September 10th, 2012 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Innovation | Personal Development - (0 Comments)

Having grown up in Australia and being exposed to its unique culture and beautiful environment one of the disappointing aspects has been the “fair go” mentality. From a legal and human rights perspective giving people a fair and safe environment to live in is extremely relevant and important. However, when we as Australians use the “fair go” or the “she’ll be right mate” mentality it unfortunately reduces our competitiveness to a playing field that is well below some international standards, thereby negatively influencing our attitudes and productivity. We begin to blame the system or someone else, instead of taking responsibility and massive action to change the current situation.

When one of my children states, “It isn’t fair Dad!”, I reply with, “Yes you are right, because life and business is not fair, but highly competitive”. If our sporting heroes and teams adopted a “fair go” or “she’ll be right mate” mentality, Australia would not have been so successful in many of its sporting achievements. Business and work life is no different, therefore we need to have the passion and the desire to succeed in a very competitive global arena.

One of the drivers of productivity is innovation and I don’t mean just research and development, although this is a very important component of the innovation ecosystem. Innovation in the sense of the practical application of new and creative ideas to generate value in the market, either through, new products and services, processes, organisational systems or novel business models, can provide competitive advantage for an organisation and stimulate increased productivity. A good example is reflected in traditional manufacturing firms that adopt innovative practices through design integration, business model transformation or simply adopting advanced manufacturing concepts, such as additive manufacturing or systems integration, that can differentiate themselves in the market place, increase productivity and transform into a high performance organisation.

Australia’s recent productivity metrics have been well below international levels, continuing to deteriorate despite the mining boom. The deteriorating trends can be confirmed in the recent article “Australia’s Productivity Performance and Real Incomes“. Many sectors, in particular retail and manufacturing have been suffering in the current economic environment.

It is important to note that the majority of productivity improvements can only be made as a result of management decisions and strategies implemented in firms. Public policy can also play an important role in improving Australia’s productivity, particularly in areas of regulation reform, taxation reform, public spending and skills development. Australia is already the third highest cost environment for businesses in the world and with diminishing productivity this can only get worse for Australian businesses.

I believe innovation is the key to improving productivity in Australia. Innovation can create higher value products and services, improve production process efficiency, design new business models, and differentiate firms in the global market. There is no doubt we have to work harder, but more importantly work smarter to improve productivity efficiency. Having a “fair go” or a “she’ll be right mate” attitude is not going to help Australian businesses become more competitive on the global arena.

Dr John Kapeleris

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The Scale of the Universe

March 22nd, 2012 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Knowledge - (1 Comments)

I came across the following application which is innovative and entertaining. The enormity of the universe is phenomenal. Life is fantastic!

Click on the image below and press the start button.


Dr John Kapeleris

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Daniel Pink quoted in one of his presentations, “Left brain thinking gets you the job, right brain thinking gets you the promotion“. Since we are living in a ‘conceptual world’ through the impact of the digital economy we need to use both our analytical left brain but also our creative right brain. However, many of us struggle to develop our creative right brains because our educational system focuses on analysis, critical thinking, and facts and figures.

A key driver of business growth and development is the ability to nurture the intellectual capital in organizations (that is, the employees, their tacit knowledge, skills and experience). One critical success factor is to enhance creativity in people and subsequently in the organization by creating a “Hothouse Effect”. Dr Barton Kunstler author of the The Hothouse Effect describes a number of ways to intensify creativity in your organization using secrets from history’s most creative communities. The book describes common characteristics of history’s “Creative Hothouses”, including ancient Athens, Renaissance Florence, the creative communities of the Parisian salons (early 1900’s) and the German Bauhaus (1919-1933).

Following is a summary of the ‘Four Dimensions of the Hothouse Effect’. Learnings, observations, behaviours and processes from the creative hothouses  are outlined that can be applied to the modern organization to stimulate new thinking, creativity, innovation and breakthrough ideas.

I. Values/Mission.

  1. Values drive organizational goals, strategies and operations and should be ‘lived’ by employees throughout the work environment both explicitly and implicitly.
  2. The organization should support the creative expression of individuals and utilize their knowledge to solve problems and capitalize opportunities.
  3. Employees are driven by the vital impact and meaning they create for other individuals, organizations and society.
  4. Highly creative groups challenge assumptions and conduct in-depth research to gain a better understanding of the situation or problem.
  5. The organization’s mission aspires to universal application in the market.

II. Ideas/Exchange.

  1. The organization provides recognition and respect for thinkers and the products of thought.
  2. Create a system to facilitate the circulation and flow of ideas throughout the organization.
  3. Intellectual exchange inputs into the evolution of organizational culture.
  4. Employees tap into the expertise across disciplines and teams, and utilize other fields of knowledge.
  5. Mentoring relationships are cultivated throughout the organization.
  6. Hubs of creativity are encouraged which proliferate throughout the organization.
  7. The organization continually analyzes the impact of core technologies on all aspects of operations, development and strategy.

III. Perception/Learning

  1. The organization encourages and actively promotes education for all employees.
  2. Employees have access to tools and problem-solving methodologies to perform their work and deliver services to clients.
  3. Perception-based methods are implemented into the employees’ daily work lives.
  4. Creativity training is provided to employees to better understand the creative process, consisting of immersion, incubation and illumination.
  5. The organization and its employees maintain an open mind to external opportunities, networks and collaborations.
  6. Employees are encouraged to enhance their mental operations through various activities, including ‘thinking about thinking‘ and “design thinking’.

IV. Social/Play

  1. The organization has a strong business model that provides the resources and structure to encourage and support creative activity.
  2. The organization continues to develop its future leaders.
  3. Crises draw employees together and release hidden reserves of energy and creative inspiration.
  4. Playing with ideas, information and material encourages experimentation and removes the fear of failure.
  5. Social activities are planned imaginatively and promote social interaction and rapport.

The knowledge and practical approaches are available for any organization seeking a competitive advantage in this interconnected global arena. The challenge lies in the commitment and implementation strategy.

Dr John Kapeleris

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Leonardo da Vinci is remembered by most as an artist with realistic paintings such as the famous Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, that dominated the Renaissance period. However, when you study the life of Leonardo da Vinci you uncover more than just the artist. You find a multidimensional person who contributed to art, science, medicine, engineering, the military, town planning and politics.

Leonardo da Vinci was born in Vinci in 1452. His father was a notary in Florence and his mother a 16 yr old servant girl. He grew up in his grandfather’s vineyard and orchard overlooking the valley of the River Arno. In his early years Leonardo was educated by the local priest, asking many questions and challenged the existing beliefs of the time.

Leonardo eventually moved to the bustling city of Florence, which was a key city of the Renaissance period. He studied as an apprentice in the studio of Andrea del Verrochio where he worked on various art projects. Leonardo da Vinci worked with like-minded people to learn his trade, and share knowledge and technical skills, including drafting, chemistry, metallurgy, metal working, plaster casting, leather working, mechanics and carpentry, as well as the artistic skills of drawing, painting, sculpting and modelling. Leonardo made a significant contribution to refining the art of realism and the use of linear perspective. Leonardo was asked to complete one of Verrochio’s paintings and when Verrochio viewed what Leonardo had completed, he was astounded at the high level of detail and realism that Leonardo achieved. Verrochio had vowed that from that moment on he himself would not paint again. It is clear from the painting below the artistic contribution that Leonardo had made (the detail in the image of the left angel and the distinctive rocky background).

The Renaissance period followed the Middle Ages and began around the 1400s. The period was dominated by learning, discovery and inquiry. Ancient Greek and Roman knowledge was revisited and revised from the perspective of the Renaissance period. One of the key movements during this time was the transformation of two-dimensional Middle Age art to a three-dimensional perspective, creating a sense of realism in artwork. Furthermore, the Renaissance period spawned new discoveries in art, science and adventure. For example, new lands were discovered by Christopher Columbus (1942) during this time.

From an early age Leonardo began to draw and record his thoughts on paper. He kept numerous notebooks of his drawings, designs and observations. He also recorded a number of questions and then tried to answer them as part of his quest for knowledge and understanding. One of Leonardo’s peculiarities was writing many  of his notebook entries  in mirror image (reverse text) demonstrating superior spacial skills. It has been postulated that he wrote many entries in reverse to try to hide some of his notes, thoughts and ideas from prying eyes, or simply because he wanted to prevent smudging as he was mainly left-handed (although he was also ambidextrous).

Leonardo displayed certain distinct characteristics common amongst creative people, including:

  • Curious and open-minded
  • Challenged assumptions and sought the truth
  • Optimistic
  • Tolerant of ambiguity
  • Comfortable with imagination and intuition
  • Viewed problems as opportunities
  • Persevered and didn’t give up easily
Michael Gelb in his book “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci” identified seven principles demonstrated by Leonardo da Vinci:
  1. Curiosity
  2. Demonstration
  3. Sensing
  4. Ambiguity
  5. Whole-Brain Thinking (art and science)
  6. Physical Being
  7. Interconnectedness

Leonardo utilised the seven principles to achieve a number of outcomes. For example, in 1502 he worked as a military engineer for Cesare Borgia the son of Pope Alexander VI at a time where many Italian city-states were always at war. Leonardo’s job was to design new devices to better kill the enemy. He also came up with ways to remove, redirect or poison enemy water supplies.

Leonardo also identified and recorded a number of observations in his journals, and designed a number of inventions before their time:

  • 40 yrs before Copernicus – wrote that the earth is not the centre of the universe
  • 60 yrs before Galileo – large magnifying lens to view the moon
  • 200 yrs before Newton – theory of gravitation
  • 400 yrs before – concept of flight, parachute, helicopter, submarine, tanks, recoil-less gun and other inventions

By studying Leonardo da Vinci we find that we can identify a number of learnings from his life that we can adopt in our personal and working life, including:

  • Be curious and open-minded – a wealth of opportunities emerge when our mind is prepared to be open to ideas and curious about our surroundings
  • Ask questions to solve problems – asking “Why?” is a great way to solve problems by finding the root cause or causes
  • Capture ideas and experiences in a journal – thinking on paper by keeping a journal is a great way of expressing your internal creative spirit
  • Balance art and science – get the best of both worlds through reading and creative activities
  • Harmonize body and mind – use whole brain thinking techniques by stimulating and reprogramming your subconscious mind
  • Appreciate nature and our surroundings – enjoy and protect our world by considering the implications of increasing waste and carbon emissions
  • Set goals and aspirations – ensure you set SMART goals that are backed by action to create successful outcomes
  • Create a harmonious work-life balance – both work and play are important for humans, therefore ensure that your work and personal life are integrated and balanced

To continuous learning and creative inspiration!

Dr John Kapeleris

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Crowdsourcing refers to the outsourcing of tasks and activities, traditionally performed internally by an employee or an external contractor, to a large group of people (a crowd), through an open innovation approach or an open call.

In their book Wikinomics Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams discuss how mass collaboration can impact big changes in business. They also present a number of case studies of successful outsourcing and collaboration, including Goldcorp and Proctor & Gamble. In the case of Goldcorp, a Canadian gold mining company, after internal reports and advice from technical staff indicated that the gold mine had run out of gold, the CEO placed all the geological studies, surveys and reports related to the gold mine into the public domain via the Internet and offered a sum of money to whoever could come up with new information or leads for new gold deposits. The CEO’s strategy was successful. New computer modeling technology located in another small organization was able to predict the location of new gold deposits using the existing geological survey data.

By utilizing an open call to an undefined group of people (generally through the Internet), the call brings together people who are in the best position to be able to solve complex problems, provide new ideas and develop new opportunities.

Crowdsourcing has a number of advantages, however, it can also result in intellectual property (IP) issues, including ownership issues and confidentiality of IP. An appropriate governance process is required to ensure the disadvantages of crowdsourcing are minimized. Some of the advantages of using a crowdsourcing approach can include:

  • Reducing transaction costs of organisations
  • Finding new business opportunities
  • Building appropriate teams by finding the right  external people
  • Re-using previous work
  • Building user defined products and services
  • Solving difficult and complex problems

A number of online sites are available that specialise in bringing together different parties or groups to work on a particular project or solve a specific problem. Alternatively an organisation can also ask a question through one of its online networks such as facebook or LinkedIn. A selection of crowdsourcing sites of interest are outlined below:

  • ChaordixBusiness innovation – Engaging crowds through the web to solve your business problem
  • kluster – Brainstorming / feedback – Harness the power of your own hand-picked crowd to brainstorm ideas
  • namethisBrand names – A 48 hour competition site to find a suitable brand name for your venture
  • innocentive –  Problem solving – Brings together seekers who have a problem together with solvers from around the world who may be able to help
  • Rent A Coder – Software development – International marketplace to locate software coders
  • Global Ideas Bank – Social innovation – A site which collects social inventions that can change the world, which are rated by online voters.

One specific type of crowdsourcing strategy is crowdfunding which is also referred to as crowdlending. Crowdfunding is the collective cooperation,  attention and trust by people who network and pool their money together, usually via the Internet, in order to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. For example, crowdfunding has been used to fund open source live chat software, online services, music, independent films, charity and social enterprises.

A number of online crowdfunding and crowdlending websites are available that can be used to raise funds for specific projects or for charitable work. A number of websites are described below:

An entrepreneur seeking seed funding for a new venture, who has not been successful sourcing funds through either government funding programs or through traditional angel investors or venture capitalists, could use crowdfunding from online communities to solicit pledges of small amounts of money from individuals who typically would not be professional financiers. The amounts pledged are usually so small people tend to support a venture that has the right value proposition for them. Confirming a threshold value also ensures that all pledges will not be used unless a threshold target amount is reached.

Crowdfunding, therefore, has the potential to help launch simple ideas through minimal investment, resulting in faster outcomes and the development of new products or services, particularly for social enterprises.

To your success!

Dr John Kapeleris

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In establishing your life purpose and lifelong ambitions the best way to start is to think about your passions and interests in a world without limitations or constraints. For example, if you were given the option of any position or career in the world what would you choose?

However, we generally find ourselves in a paradigm that is familiar to us, has clearly defined boundaries and has become comfortable. We have learned to become complacent with what is presented to us and we don’t generally challenge the status quo. As a result we get the same thing out of life that we have always gotten, because we don’t do anything differently and many of us try to avoid change.

The world is changing at such a dramatic rate that we must also adapt to the changing environment. We must stop and think about our current situation, and determine whether our life path is being driven by ourselves or influenced by external people. We therefore need to re-evaluate our purpose and ambitions in life.

Following are a set of questions that I have used to identify my passions and desires in a life without limits. Try answering the questions below as an exercise to better understand your defining purpose and your ambitions in life.

1. If I wrote a book, the book would be about…

2. If I produced a movie, it would be…

3. If I painted a picture, the subject would be…

4. If I wrote a stand-up comedy routine, I would tell stories about…

5. If I composed a song, I would write about…

6. If I was going to do something nobody would expect me to do, I would…

7. If I was going to cook a meal for a number of friends, I would cook…

8. If I won $5000 to throw the party of the year, I would make it memorable by…

9. If I designed my dream home, it would have…

10. If I designed my ideal vacation home, it would certainly have…

11. If I could be paid to study any subject for a whole year, I would study…

12. If I could spend two months anywhere in the world, I would go to…

13. If I could live anywhere in the world, I would live in…

14. If I could have dinner with anyone on the planet, I would want to dine with…

Don’t hesitate. Give the task a go. You will never know what new ideas or opportunities emerge.

To your success!

Dr John Kapeleris

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“The purpose of man is in action, not thought.” — Thomas Carlyle

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.

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.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions, however, they quickly discover that the resolutions fade even before the first quarter of the calender 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.

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 2011. Begin by identifying the major achievements and highlights for 2010. 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. Last January I decided to go to Byron Bay and live in a beach house for ten days to celebrate a very successful 2009. In previous years I bought myself a Tag Heuer watch to remind me of a successful multi-million dollar deal I had closed in the year.

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 2011. Some of these goals could also be carried over from 2010. 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. A decent driveway paint site will get you the driveway paint you want.

What does your personal development plan look like?

Have a merry Christmas and I wish you every success for 2011!

Dr John Kapeleris

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My high school’s motto was “Scientia est Potestas” which in Latin means “Knowledge is Power”. The well-known phrase was first coined by Sir Francis Bacon in 1597, when he wrote “scientia potestas est” to mean “knowledge is power”. I continue to hear this phrase mentioned in presentations and discussions, particularly in the academic world. I would like to challenge the phrase and provide a variation to reflect current thinking.

Someone once said to me that knowledge is power if you actually use the knowledge or share it. Hoarding knowledge alone will not result in power. Now you would think that in the academic world, knowledge is openly shared, however, I have found that many academics do not openly share their knowledge as they are afraid that someone may acquire their ideas or take advantage of the knowledge. Academics generally share their knowledge when they are “ready” and have something to write about, usually in a high-tiered journal. I praise those academics and researchers who, in addition to publishing in peer-reviewed journals, also contribute to blogs, submit online articles and write content for trade journals and magazines. By sharing their knowledge to the greater masses, this can stimulate better diffusion and adoption of knowledge by the wider community, rather than just a limited reader group in an academic journal.

By the way I am not advocating sharing confidential information that may result in protectable intellectual property such as patents, trademarks, designs or trade secrets. I am merely stating that non-confidential information or know-how should be shared where possible. That is, once a preliminary assessment of the value of the know-how has been undertaken to ensure that a patent opportunity has not been inadvertently disclosed.

Applied knowledge is what will create value in the market, in society or in organisations. If we can translate research outcomes and tacit knowledge into applications that result in products and services, or assist in solving industry and societal problems, then we will create the power that we seek.

The diagram below outlines the Knowledge Cycle which involves knowledge production, knowledge transfer, knowledge application and knowledge diffusion. Other inputs required include creative inspiration, an intellectual property strategy and entrepreneurial skills and resources, including funding.Unfortunately, one of the most difficult processes that we encounter, both from a research-borne or industry-borne perspective, is the translation of great ideas into practical solutions and applications. A number of factors contribute to the difficulty in successfully applying knowledge and ideas , and conversion  into products and services:

  1. Humans are generally risk averse
  2. Limited availability of early stage risk capital
  3. Access to know-how required to take ideas to market
  4. Scarcity of entrepreneurial skills and experience
  5. Lack of motivation and desire – it is hard work!

Those who seek and acquire knowledge through reading, learning, observation, investigation and experimentation will grow and develop in their specific disciplines. Those who then adopt or apply the knowledge will create significant value for society.

Dr John Kapeleris

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