"But if you're trying to change things, there are going to be bright spots in your field of view, and if you learn to recognize them and understand them, you will solve one of the fundamental mysteries of change: What, exactly, needs to be done differently." Chip & Dan Heath
Just before publishing this article, I read about the University of Benin carrying out the first stem cell transplant. Amazing.
By definition, bright spots are any positive action being taken consciously or unconsciously that is making a difference (causing change). In the book "Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard" by Chip & Dan Heath (I strongly recommend this book), I learnt that one of the key ways to implement change is to search for & identify what is working and study it to see why it is working. When that has been done, it would provide a model to replicate elsewhere to ensure the change is given a wider area of impact.
In our quest for the development of our beloved nation, I believe it is essential for Nigerians to dedicate more time to identifying the bright spots that are enabling the development of our nation (no matter how small it looks) and to see how we can capture that model and replicate in similar other settings to spread the positive impact.
Besides helping to reduce our negativity (which is affecting our faith in Nigeria and our ability to contribute to her development), it would also help us to support the practitioners of the bright spots and that encouragement could cause them to do significantly more.
This is how Chip & Dan Heath puts it concerning bright spots, “These flashes of success – these bright spots- can illuminate the road map for action and spark the hope that change is possible”.
It is time we become less obsessed with failures, setbacks and disappointments and instead invest more energy in identifying successes (bright spots). In effect, we have to develop a solution seeking mind-set instead of a problem seeking mind-set.
When I talk about bright spots we Nigerians will automatically assume the search must be entirely on our government (federal, state & local levels) and many will conclude there are little or no bright spots. With a solution seeking mind-set, I am sure we can identify some bright spots in government but the focus here is not on government but on us the critical mass of Nigerians with a deep desire to build a developed Nigeria.
We are the victims of the many years of unfulfilled promises. Therefore, the onus is on us to seize the moment and begin to effect change in our nation. We need to start looking for bright spots in our lives, our communities, our workplace, place of worship, social associations and even in the news.
For example, have you seen or heard of a school that was doing poorly and have recently turned things around? What can we learn about that and how can we ensure that other schools can benefit from the lessons learnt from that bright spot? It is not enough to change our children to the school and leave everyone else to fend for themselves. Those same poorly trained kids will live in the same society as our children and quite possibly be a danger to them.
Take another example and this time in health epidemic. Why are some states with no cases of Cholera, Measles and other epidemics and others are still struggling with it? Are there any bright spots in implementing a successful immunization campaign which the problem states can learn from? Please don't say this is government's problem alone unless the high mortality rate amongst fellow Nigerians does not upset you. If it does, let’s do something to stop the loss of lives.
As Chip & Dan Heath said “To pursue bright spots is to ask the question “What’s working, and how can we do more of it?””. This is the key question we must ask whenever we seek to effect change in any facet of our society.
Some of us would be more passionate about change in our political process, some about education, some about primary or secondary healthcare, some about security, some about sports development, some about welfare for the aged & children, etc. One fact is clear, there is such a diverse range of areas of our society that is in desperate need of change and we need to find our specific along with our collective areas to seek the bright spots and to ensure their implementation on a wider scale.
To witness the building of Nigeria into a developed nation, one of the key ingredients would be a critical mass of Nigerians seeking solutions to implement that will lead to the development of our nation. Finding, learning and replicating bright spots is one of the key ways we can implement change. As I stated in a previous article ‘Government Does Not Have the Solution', we the citizens have the solutions needed for our development and our nation will remain stagnant until we arise and effect that solution.
The success of identifying and replicating bright spots will rest on the notion that to have a developed Nigeria, it would require the efforts of more than those in government. Do you believe this? If yes, starting identifying bright spots and also implement the lessons learnt. If no, this article was not for you.
Bobby Udoh is a nation-building evangelist, passionate blogger, impact public speaker, trainer and change agent, who seek to equip Nigerians with the vision, direction, focus and tools to become nation-builders. Read more articles on his weekly blog – http://nationarise.wordpress.com/