Interview With Leading South African Managing Consultant And Motivational Speaker Dr David Molapo. Educator, renowned motivational speaker and leading management consultant, Dr David Molapo, is set to host one of SA’s leading seminars this Heritage Month in Johannesburg. Dr Molapo, who is the CEO of I CAN 4IR, is set to host the digital and virtual experience, as he aims to build and contribute capacity through empowerment, leadership development, education, networking, coaching and mentoring. We recently had an interview with Dr Molapo about his journey in education, motivational speaking, entrepreneurship, the 4th Industrial Revolution as well as his upcoming seminar. Check out the interview below!
1. What made you realise that you are passionate about education and motivational speaking?
When I was a “customer of the police with free accommodation” … in jail … a text from the Bible Philippians 4:13 changed my life. It evoked a world of possibility and I began to VISUALIZE, VERBALIZE AND MATERIALIZE about my dreams and future. Today my dream has become a reality. ICAN inspirational sessions are touching millions of life’s across the world. I realized that education ( formal and informal) was the ultimate key to my total freedom. Mind you, before I left South Africa I was already a Maths & Science teacher. However, upon my return from the USA loaded with a B Sc, Masters and 2 Doctorates I could not find a job. I then started to visit schools to “encourage, empower and equip” young people with marketing, work readiness, sales and entrepreneurial skills. I later discovered that was what motivational speaking was all about. I then got into that business only to discover that I was the first Black pioneer in this space. Today, we have thousands of incredible motivational speakers … some of them coached and mentored by me.
2. What problem did you want to solve when you ventured into establishing a career in these disciplines?
I was solving the “D”s problem namely: discouragement, demotivation, demoralized, depression and disillusionment of people … particularly targeting the next generation of leaders. I discovered that even the adults needed the skills of finding their purpose in life and maximizing their lives.
3. How did your speaking career manage to assist businesses in embracing the rise and adoption of digital solutions since it was established?
Inspirational speaking assisted organizations to influence the behaviour and attitude of employees to change. It’s only 10 %. The 90 % was all about HOT Skills ( Honest, Open, Transparent) dialogue on WHY business must embrace the rise and adoption of digital solutions. The truth of the matter is that there are serious barriers to digital transformation in our country. It is vital for leaders, managers and people of influence to continuously SPEAK, HIGHLIGHT, EXPOSE, SHARE, COMMUNICATE and ASSIST businesses to embrace digital solutions if we are to survive during the fourth industrial revolution and beyond.
4. Please highlight how embracing and utilising digital solutions can help young people in terms of establishing and running their businesses.
The education system is failing our youth. We are educating our young people to be unemployed. The spread of digital technologies can empower the youth and entrepreneurs with access to information, job opportunities and services that will improve their standards of living. Digital entrepreneurship platforms have created opportunities for young people. Digitalization does not require young people to have years’ worth of expensive education. Micro-courses can get them where they need to be in their entrepreneurial journey which is the key to their future. Digitalization gives the next generation of leaders an advantage because they are innately tech-savvy and they understand the digital world better. They are aware that their future is in utilizing digital solutions for employment and running their own businesses..
5. How do you make sure that I CAN 4IR provides relevant and helpful information that can be used to improve its client’s organisations?
By encouraging organizations to upskill, reskill and cross skill their employees. Due to new technologies that are deployed and changing demands we coach and mentor organizations to become more supportive of employees. We also provide practical solutions and share advantages thereof eg increased productivity, efficiency and quality in processes, greater safety for workers, enhanced decision making with data-based tools and improved competitiveness. We walk with them through the Change Management Journey so that they can end up with a Happy Engaged Workforce.
6. With your vast experience as an expert in the 4th Industrial Revolution space, what advice would you give other entrepreneurs who want to improve their startup’s 4th Industrial Revolution adoption?
The vital key to creating a successful start up in the 4ir era is about being willing and able to recognize, embrace and utilize technological advantage as a key part of their businesses model from the ground up. On-line and tech presence continues to become a core business model. Modern consumers are moving into that 4ir space. Entrepreneurs who want to improve their start ups, become bolder and smarter must also invest in the professional advice of a consulting company. They must immerse themselves in the world of technology. At the end of day, the 4IR is simply using data to solve business and social change.
7. As a person who is dedicated to enlightening people about the vast opportunities the digital space has to offer through seminars, what kind of social impact are you hoping to achieve?
We hope to accomplish the following … *Sharpening the knowledge of those in the workplace and emerging entrepreneurs. * Empowering the Life Skills Coordinators in the High Schools and TVET Colleges to learn about the latest innovations and start preaching about the Careers Of The Future * Demystifying the 4IR to the BBTs (born before technology) so that they can be generators of HOPE in their various areas of influence.
8. The Covid 19 pandemic managed to cause a major disruption in how businesses operate, what are some of the things you believe companies should implement in order for them to thrive during this time?
New Leadership skills must be developed and eg agility, flexibility, critical thinking, creativity and adaptability. Every organization must now assist their employees to deal with psychosocial and mental health issues. Finally, on-going communication and emotional intelligence sessions must be encouraged.
9. With the 4th Industrial Revolution seminar you are hosting from the 14th to the 16th September, what are you hoping people take away from the event?
• Gain and share new ideas and best practices • Learn about the latest innovations and insights • Meet influencers and industry experts face to face • Make new contacts and stay connected with friends and colleagues • Team building • Break out of your comfort zone • Re-energise!
10. Please elaborate why you think such seminars are important in educating people about the 4th Industrial Revolution?
In the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution, Covid-19 and their disruptive effects on all economies, there are things to consider as Africa aims to maintain its “Africa Rising” narrative. The development of digital skills is paramount. All industries are being digitally disrupted which presents an opportunity for a growing digital economy and public-private partnerships as powerful levers for change. As the crisis-stricken world transitions, business leaders are now faced with threats of digital disruption. CEOs must therefore prioritize innovation and strengthen their organization’s technology capabilities to create more value. The elephants in the room include answering these questions : * How will the CEOs reinvent their leadership towards a digitized business? * What strategies should be put in place? * What decisions should be made?
11. What motivated you to start your journey of educating people and businesses about the importance of the 4th Industrial Revolution?
Three reasons for this journey: – hopelessness amongst millions of unemployed youth, -slowness of our government in accelerating awareness sessions relating to the 4IR -and the opportunities that can enable us to leapfrog when the Private, Public Partnership join together to address poverty and inequalities in our country.
12. Since you have managed to build I CAN 4IR into a formidable business development organisation, what are some of the goals that that you seek to achieve in the next 5 years?
Within the next five years we’d like to accomplish the following: To contribute towards Africa’s Path to Tech Excellence with a supportive business environment. Sufficient funding flows and strong connections . As our by-line states …. Raising Leaders, Impacting Nations, that’s our 5 year goal.