Wilmien: welcome to the passion, purpose, potential podcast. I am Wilmien Davis and I will be your host for today. Today we carry on with the second part of the interview I had with Bruce Wade – Batman for Business – Here is a taste of what you can expect in today’s session. Absolutely. And Bruce, what advice would you give yourself? How many years ago when you left corporate and you started on this journey to become an entrepreneur ? wouldn’t you love the answer to this question? But listen on and you will get it. Enjoy the interview. So I hear you had the dream. We can call it a purpose, vision there is so many words to call it, but why didn’t you give up? It’s interesting if you say you’ve been the most, unlikely person, you had the dream and everything sort of seem to turn against that. So that is a lot of resilience to be able to pursue it without necessarily people supporting you. So where do think that came from,
Bruce: you know, I think, I think there’s a few things that I, that I hold onto. So firstly, one of my key philosophies is it’s easier to say sorry, then please. Okay. And that has got me into a whole lot of trouble, but it’s got me a lot further than then I go anywhere. The other one is that I can live with failure. I’ve learned to live with failure but regret haunts me terribly. And so I’d rather try and fail than not try at all and that has progressed me a huge amount today. So you have failures except I’ll make something, it’ll fail. It’s not a big deal because I know I’m going to try again and try again and try again. So I’m quite happy. I’ve got a little workshop at home that I’ve made that my little man cave and I go there and I try, experiment with things, make electronic things and I make, you know, various models and I’m remaking a whole lot of kind of.
Bruce: I’m trying to make a bamboo water clock at the moment and you know, and it’s, I’m on now. I don’t know the kind of attempt and it’s a horrible failure. I’ve actually taken the whole thing apart, but I’m not upset by it because I know that we keep trying and if I didn’t try, I’d actually feel worse than trying and failing because I see we embrace failure here. We want people to fail because it said step forward and we want to push people with it. So those are my two kind of mantras that we, that we have and I’ve, I’ve actually got two tattoos on my interests that I’ve got a guy can, so the one that says always it done and the other one says, always let it go. And it’s interesting. We’ve gotta learn how to let go of the past failures. You’ve got to let go of our past grudges and stuff, but the other hand we’ve got to keep getting it done and we’ve got to keep doing it. So don’t put off what you can do today for another day because you might not have that opportunity but don’t hinder yourself today because of past regrets and issues. So they’d go get it done. And so those two were worthy of tattoos on my arm. Just to remind me on a continual basis, that’s the focus in life.
Wilmien: That’s brilliant and Bruce, this many people in corporate that had that entrepreneurial creative innovation spirit, but unfortunately many times, even though they say they want innovation, the way that failures are not accepted in corporate thing to make people very scared of failure. So I can see why many people that stepped out of corporate sometimes have that fear in them. What advice would you give someone to be able, because that has been ingrained in their being for so long, what advice would you give them if they want to make the steep into an entrepreneurial space to get them going?
New Speaker: Well, one of. One of the things we do, we help people escape out of what we call cubical nation, so there are so many people that are literally trapped and I spent far too long there. I spent far too long sitting in a cubicle, kind of two meters by two meters with blue screens on my desk and my name tag, and I think exactly that failure’s frowned upon and so much of your energy in the corporate world goes towards protecting and covering your back and you’ve got to exhort, you know, they say up to 60 percent of corporate energy is focused on just trying to protect where you are, so therefore no one takes a risk. What do we need to do? We need to change that mindset and I really want to challenge anybody and I constantly do this, is if you have an idea, write it down and start working on that and even if you just add a couple of words to it, every so often that idea would start to grow and become like a little bit of yeast within a doe and before, very long way we can do that, but ignoring an idea and just saying, oh yeah, I could never do that.
Bruce: It’s too much of a risk. I could never get that done. Then definitely you’re going to end up with with a regret and we’re going to write on your gravestone here, lied a person with brilliant ideas, but nothing and I think unfortunately most of the corporates nowadays are still in that. They still about you plan you get paid to do and not to think and be creative, but there are some that we definitely seen. There’s a whole bunch of companies that are really embracing this word innovation and say let’s try something new. You know, allocate so many hours a week per person to do creative thinking, to think outside the proverbial box and and what about ideas and things. So there’s some corporate debt even reward financially for clever ideas that get implemented and things for Google. The guides these one day a week at Google where you’re not allowed to work on your work.
Bruce: You’ve got to work on something new and I think that’s the type of mentality that we need to embrace in corporate South Africa to say, how do we get a brown? That’s how do we get around our human issues? How do we get around our technology issues? How do we get around our social economical issues and how do we then go out and make the world a better place instead of sitting at a cubicle, but at the coffee machine moaning and groaning about the life and that we that we could have out in the world if things were perfect one year. Did you go out there and start making that perfect world yourself?
Wilmien: Yes, and it’s interesting that statistic that you say that 60 percent of people are using the time to protect or 60 percent of the time spending corporate is to protect me and to cover things up in that for corporate embrace that I can tap into that 60 percent last time and just enhanced creativity. Even if they don’t even have that innovation focus, they can at least enhance productivity and efficiency by not making finally a such a big thing and that doesn’t mean no accountability because it’s a problem if people don’t want to take accountability for the failures and it’s a problem if people fail over and over at the same thing again. I mean, innovation really is you filed and you learned from that and you adapt from it. You’re not hiding against the failure, but yeah, I can see a major advantage if companies are willing to embrace more of that or people embrace more of that.
Bruce: Our main focus at the moment is is innovation and with all these new ideas we find a lot of people are unable to translate their inventions or innovative ideas or just an idea into something. So we’ve created what we call the wind tunnel. Now a normal wind tunnel is kind of a big tube area and they blow heavy wind and it’s a new invention in there and see whether it can stand up to the forces of the wind. So we’ve done that. It’s a, it’s a. it’s a kind of metaphor of what what we’ve created. We’ve created a wind tunnel for the serial innovation ideas, so we opened up to anybody with an idea and they can come in and the first stage of the six stages in the wind tunnel is to come and tell a panel and we group a panel together. Depends on the.
Bruce: On the idea, it’s normally two to five people and the guys can come in there and they pitched their idea. They’re not pitching for money. They’re not pitching for support all day. Pitching boys. This is my idea. What do you think? Okay, and we’ve got a little framework that we hand them out, so we helped write the pitch and it’s literally 15 minutes. They can come and stand in the wind tunnel and we even put a name to blow them to make them feel like in the wind tunnel, but it’s the idea of this is my idea. What do you think? Where do we go with us? And with that we’ve seen such relief both emotionally and physical way. People have come in and actually shared their ideas to say, this is where we add to how do we go with that, and then that opens up the door for us to take that idea and iterate it and rework it over and over again to a point where we can then make it from something that’s an idea into something that’s workable.
Bruce: And then we go through the different stages or phases of the wind tunnel where we do market research and we validate the problem that you’re trying to solve and then we, um, look at the actual product or the idea or service or concept that you’re looking at and we say, is this a viable thing? So we got a viability report that we do and it’s fairly comprehensive using all the required tools and stuff that they teach for business schools around the world. And we use all that to be put it together. And then we look at the whole Ip issue. Is this a trademark, a design, a patent or all that. We then help cover the invention that we looking at. And then we started looking at the creation of the actual product. We team up with a number of people. So we hook up with the local universities and colleges and some other clever people that we’ve got.
Bruce: So we’ve got, you know, we’ve got food technologists and engineers and electronic guys and graphic design and three d printing and all that. So the people around, you know, in our one referral, I’m kind of space and we bring those people in creative team and we build that product right up to kind of proof of concept. We take it to market, we raised funds, get a prototype done and then we able to license into and go to market with it. So we, we first strike that as fast as we can with the limited resources and with it. But the key thing about the, the wind tunnel is we got very clear checkpoints that we do so we don’t do people waste their money or their time. We have big failure points at very critical areas along that road. So even right at the front, if someone comes and says, this is my idea, what do you think? And we say, that’s a really stupid idea. I’m stopped thinking that. Then at least I’ve only spent a little bit of money with us and then they know that it’s a stupid idea because too many people go and spend all their life savings and mortgage their house and mix a credit card out on stupid ideas that somebody else is already working with them.
Wilmien: Yes, exactly. Because the longer I work on that, the more time I put in, the more energy I put in your it earlier, so emotionally attached to it, stop it earlier and jump on the next bandwagon where you can quicker they reach to that level of and I left the wind tunnel idea. I remember in the mechanical engineering departments that also had a wind tunnel to taste the aerodynamics of the wings with aeroplanes, so I can think that if someone survives you wind tunnel, you help them to take off like an airplane going on this and that, and I left the idea how you have. We worked also with the stage gate model where you have a stage and then you taste it to see is a viable to go next and it sounds to me a very similar approach. These, so that’s very unique and also like the way how your back integrated and front integrated.
Wilmien: You don’t only help with the ideas, it sounds to me you start in the beginning phase, you take it through to the face where it’s viable and then you also help the client to implement it further so you don’t walk back and say, okay, I, I told you it’s a good idea and now it’s not a success. It sounds to me. Or putting it through and make sure that what your practice is speech and for work and you learn from that. You’re bringing it back to the front end to help the next person. So that’s quite cool.
Bruce: Definitely. We’ve even got one client who will be working with and we’ve gone to one of the local art school colleges here and we’ve given the concept to the graphic design, a second year students and we say you come up with a brand, so we now using them because the product’s actually aimed at their age and my client is not that age. So we say, okay, instead of us old fogies trying to come up with an idea or a brand for the young millennials, we’ve gone to the millennials to say, design your own brand that’s funky and hip that you can identify with and then we’ll use that brand back into that. So, you know, be able to collaborate with a whole bunch of people, which makes it actually quite fun.
Wilmien: That’s not, I liked that idea. And what a great experience for the, um, for the younger guy to go get experience doing that without being in the marketplace already. Do you think you’ve reached your full potential by now?
Bruce: No. No Way. There’s still so much left in me. You know, if, if, if you look at that, I’m only halfway through my life and you know, there’s, there’s a good chance that I might even get to 100. It’s in my genes. My grandmother died at 100, four, like kind of half there. And you look at that and go like, oh, I’ve still got so much to do. It’s just if the body can keep up with it then the mind is ready and we’ll, we’ll keep going. So no, there’s still more to come watch this.
Wilmien: Yes. And what is your biggest challenge that you are planning for? For not necessarily 2018, but for the next year ahead?
Bruce: I think I, I really passionate about a Western Cape, Cape Town south, you know, and as I’m not a politician and I, I, you know, we speak to the politics and we speak into them and you know, through the cave chamber and various other channels and separate, I would love to see I owe economy and our people begin to thrive. I’d love to see the, the kind of the things that, that are floating around in small hubs. And we see this small groups of people and little what they call innovation tribes have bidding and things I’d love to see that spread throughout the western and Cape and then through arts kind of Africa and there’s a couple of people in Garner that we’re speaking to that a got the same kind of mentality and I’d love to see Africa becoming Troponin Ariel in innovative instead of, you know, so hooked on racial issues and cultural issues and tribal issues and yeah, how much can we steal to get it right and all that stuff is actually hunker to the future. That’s really what we want. So we want an innovation contribution and I definitely want to be a instigator in making that happen.
Wilmien: So I can see winter, no popping up, as you say, across the whole of Africa. So your current wind tunnel, where is that located?
Bruce: Well, it’s kind of everywhere. We’ve done a couple here. Um, you know, because it’s such a virtual thing that we can, we can do it anywhere. So, you know, next month I get to chat to a whole group of companies throughout Africa and looking forward to that because we can start sharing those ideas and networking with people across the African continent, especially sub Sahara Africa, and getting people to start getting that mindset of changing their business and not just thinking they can open up a cleaning company or Muffin company or something like that. And do copy somebody else. We don’t want a copy cat companies. We want innovation and dropping is absolutely.
Wilmien: And Bruce, um, what advice would you give yourself? How many years ago when you left corporate and you started on this journey to become an entrepreneur?
Bruce: Sure. I would say take more risks. You know, foster don’t be so fearful about what other would you think other people think? And I think that is, that is a huge hindrance that I’ve had. I’ve always been so conscious about what I thought other people would think of me that I was. I was so focused on fear and now you know, they say after, after 50 years actually stopped caring about what other people think of you. If I’d done that at 50, would have been a much better person here today, but I’m pretty happy with where I’m at. So yeah, it’s been a journey I am today because of my past, so I wouldn’t really want to change too much a month post. Uh, but otherwise y’all love, love harder and take more risks. Oh brilliant. And any last thoughts from your side before we closing off? Well, I just really want to kind of say, you know, if you’ve got an idea, if you’ve got something milling around in your head, if anybody has this thing that wakes him up at 3:00 in the morning or a sketch or an idea scribbled on a Soviet, don’t sit on it, bring it out, come chat to us and we’ll help you even get it into reality and get it out of your head into something that’s tangible, that could actually make you some money in the long term.
New Speaker: Brilliant. And how can people reach you way to connect, contact you? What’s the best avenue?
Bruce: The best avenue is straight to our website, which is em-solutions.com. And everything is on our website or you can get hold of me directly at brucewade.co.za That’s my website with the Batman theme and either one will lead you straight to me and then we can sit and have a chat.
Wilmien: Brilliant. And I will put that in my show notes as well. Thank you Bruce. It was lovely chatting with you. Thank you very much.
Wilmien: And that concludes the interview I had with Bruce Wayne, Batman for business. Isn’t it amazing on how he learned early in his life to accept failure, not to move away from it, but to grab it and to work through it and get that resilience and they fall. He is creative. Therefore you’re able to be the innovation coach helping lots of businesses to, to find those good ideas and to test is through the wind tunnel. So yes, if you want your great ideas to be tasted by Bruce, get good business advice, please contact him
Wilmien: and if you need that passion, if you find will I be able to be an entrepreneur? Do I have it to take a business from nothing and build it up? Come to me, do your strength finder, the specialist still valid till the end of the year. If you pay before the end of the year, even if we do it only in January, you will still be viable for your discount, but it helps you. It helps you to know how to use your strengths to be able to push through with these big goals and these big ideas. It also helps you to know what you’re not good at and to fill those gaps. Find other people to fill that gap or how can you maneuver it? You do not want to be stuck in a job that does not in brace your potential and your purpose and gives you passion. Hope you enjoyed it. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas time spending with family raised. Think about life and next year we get together again.
Wilmien: Until next time, may the Lord bless you and keep may His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May he turn His face toward you and give you peace.
You can get hold of me on my website:
e-mail: Wilmien.email@example.com or
cell phone: +27 836339525
My favourite books, which I can highlyy recommend: