Select Page

Quality of thinking

I spent the last two months on topics related to the “take action” aspect of innovation. Nonetheless, before you take action, an idea must be born first to inspire action.

I have written about creative thinking many times, it is a topic that both fascinates and eludes me, as the more I read and learn about it, the more it evolves. However, I have made some exciting discoveries since I last wrote about this way of thinking, and this I want to share and discuss in the next couple of deliveries.
Thinking Environment
As you know, I believe that every person has the ability to be creative. Creativity is not something that you have or not have, it is a skill that can be developed and excelled in. This viewpoint is also extensively advocated by Dr Edward de Bono, widely regarded as one of the foremost experts in the fields of creativity and lateral thinking.
As with any skill a person develops, there are conducive circumstances and there are inhibiting circumstances when developing the skill. As an extreme example, it is going to be tough to learn to play the violin while you are running a marathon, it will probably be better to try and learn to play the violin in a music studio or a classroom environment.
It is the same with thinking. The brain is an extremely complex organ and as such, it adapts to- and focuses on the task at hand. To use another extreme example, when a lion is chasing you, your brain will go into survival mode and probably give instructions to pump as much adrenalin as possible, not really the ideal state for the brain to solve mathematical problems. So, in a corporate environment, where most of us are usually focused on getting some job done, fulfilling the boss’s instructions, getting results or evading the next crisis, our brains are not really in a state to think of the “next big thing” that will delight your customers or a solution to that annoying problem that has been going on for years.
The case I am trying to make here is that to do quality thinking (i.e. come up with great ideas), you have to create the right environment for your mind to perform that task properly.
I know some of you are already thinking that I am talking about sitting on top of a mountain after you have done an hour of meditation. Well, that will probably help, but it is difficult to find that environment in the concrete corporate jungle most organisations find themselves in.
No, what I am talking about is a “Thinking Environment”, a concept developed by Nancy Kline, author of “Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind”. Over the past 15 years Kline has identified 10 behaviours that form a system called a Thinking Environment, a model of human interaction that dramatically improves the way people think, and thus the way they work and live. Kline’s framework is built on the realisation that the quality of everything we do depends on the quality of the thinking we do first.
The quality of our thinking depends on the way we treat each other while we are thinking. She has identified the ten behaviours that generate the finest thinking, which have become known as “The Ten Components of a Thinking Environment”.
The ten components are: Attention, Equality, Ease, Appreciation, Encouragement, Feelings, Information, Diversity, Incisive Questions and Place.
I was on a course last week where we applied some of Kline’s principles, and I can honestly state that it really works and it made a difference for me. For those of you who are interested in this topic, I seriously recommend reading Kline’s books.


Next Time
The lesson in this article is that you must create the right environment in your organisation to foster quality thinking. I am also a big campaigner of the fact that the quality of the questions you ask determines the quality of the ideas you come up with. When you ask the best questions, you invite the best answers. So, once you have created the right environment for quality thinking, the next issue is to ask quality questions, the topic for next time. I conclude with a quote from Robert Frost: “The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get to the office”.
Nancy Kline

About The Author

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.