A Creative Mind: Disrupting Stews and Birthing Nollywood

A great product or service very often starts with a question.

Why can’t we do this? Is there a better way of doing this? What if we did this?

Questions like these run through the human mind every day begging for answers. For some, they remain just that – questions in the mind while for others, the questions develop into an idea that doesn’t leave until it finds expression. Close your eyes and think for a second about how we live our lives today; from transportation to how we cook to entertainment, there is a lot of creativity at play. So much has changed and will keep changing because many questions were asked and some, thankfully got answers.

A Convenient Stew

In 2015, SLA (She Leads Africa) entrepreneur showcase winner, Kasope Ladipo-Ajai’s OmoAlata Food Services disrupted’ the approach to cooking the traditional tomato stew popular in Nigeria [and a base for many West African dishes, like the mighty Jollof]. Its flagship product, OmoAlata pepper mix is purely organic and is free of food coloring or artificial preservatives. In an interview, Kasope described the process of creating the pepper mix that begins from sourcing the highest quality organic produce. The product helps busy professionals cook healthy food in less than half of the time usually required. On top of all that, it’s eye catching and resealable packaging has helped in its market penetration.

Sir Kenneth of Nollywood

The story of how Nollywood, the second largest film industry in the world came to be is another tale of serendipity and creative thinking. Rather than let hundreds of empty video cassettes go to waste, an enterprising and smart Kenneth Nnebue decided to put them to use. He conceived an idea to create fresh content that he believed would resonate with the Nigerian audience. This resulted in the straight-to-video release of Living in Bondage, the film’s commercial success heralded the beginning of a new era in Nigeria’s motion picture industry, now popularly dubbed Nollywood. In his article, How Nollywood became the second largest film industry, Charles Igwe argues that, “The first operators in Nollywood created stories and scripts that fitted into what was being produced at the time, while supporting a business model that guaranteed profit. In the early days, movies like Living in Bondage, Rattlesnake, Violated, Glamour Girls, and Nneka the Pretty Serpent were financially very successful.”

The OmoAlata pepper mix and Nigeria’s behemoth,Nollywood, have the ingenuity of its founders in common. Where the regular mind sees problems, the creative one sees an opportunity, and takes on the challenge. From the concept to the final product/service, the creative mind will not stop in its quest for answers.

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