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How the Cake Concept Can Help Young Egyptians Create New Businesses

“Why not be the best version of yourself?” suggested AIESEC’s Egypt Youth to Business Forum last Saturday, as they brought together 1,000 young minds with top business experts to model the future of leadership. 

Among an exciting array of workshops, we were intrigued by a concept that promised to change the way we think about business. Anis Mohamed, expert trainer on Creativity and Innovation for institutions such as GIZ and ILO, sat with us for a few minutes and told us what it’s all about.

You spoke about breaking the creativity myths. What are they?

Firstly: that only some people are creative, which is a demotivating belief; everybody is creative, and I am not saying this with the dreamy motivating sense, but as a fact. The difference will be in the creativity level, the motive, the opportunity offered and the creative style itself, but all in all, everybody is creative.

Secondly: that only certain kinds of ideas are creative. Creativity doesn’t always have to be revolutionary or radical; people keep pushing us to think out of the box, which is fine, but how about those who explore the box, get to the root, and find new insights. Are they creative as well? Absolutely!

Can you tell us about the cake concept?

I made up this concept adapting an idea coined in 2005 by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne in their book Blue Ocean Strategy. Using such a name in a youth forum can sound scary, so I picked “The Cake” instead.

The idea is that companies compete all the time, each for a portion of the market, sometimes described as “a piece of the cake”; so if we imagine the market as an ocean and companies as sharks competing, with the increase in competition, the ocean turns bloody –a “red ocean”.

This strategy thinks differently: instead of a bloody ocean, it goes towards the concept of a vast calm blue ocean, which means the company will have the ocean for itself, it can eat the whole cake, and yet not have a monopolistic thinking. It’s about a more creative way of thinking;  how to create new solutions for the market for a new type of audience, while no competition exists for some time.

A piece of advice: what does it take to be an innovator in Egypt?

Persistence. We have many ideas, but the fear or failure and the risks of trying plus the bureaucracy of applying ideas are high, I have seen great ideas failing because the creators gave up too early, and mediocre ideas that thrived and grew because of the persistence and belief of the creators.

For more information: AIESEC Egypt’s website

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Valentina Primo

Journalist, globetrotter, and determined idealist. Since Valentina left her home country of Argentina, she has searched for ways to build bridges between cultures and foster dialogue. Her previous work in international organizations in Italy and Germany fed her passion for the world of development, while her 8-year journalistic experience in Argentina and Egypt increased her curiosity for everything that challenges the stereotype. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Human Rights.

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