Super lecturers sign mega deals from big sports brands.

The author Dr David Dunkley Gyimah is one of @Mediums top ten writers in journalism.

OK Wait! Just wait a minute! I know how this looks. You’ve rocked up to this post looking for who the hell these are and what the heck a sports brand has to do with this. This is one of those OMG — did that happen pieces.


Then 2/3 into this post, it’s like er. “Is this one of those conceptual stories like, Look Up — where the probability of a meteor wiping out the earth could happen, but humankind doesn’t know when?”

By the way eminent scientist Prof Brian Cox has given the film the thumbs up for the accurate portrayal of the doomsday scenarios. If this thing ever happens, we’re caput!

Some conceptual stories are wrapped around a foundation of evidentiary or emerging evidence. Gene Roddenberry’s insight into a world of Tricorders, plasma screens and holo decks back in the 1960s.

The Spice girls, yes! Spice Girls. It was only a matter of time before some pop svengali figured there were approximately 50% women in the world, so you think putting together a band amid the testosterone oozing groups wouldn’t be a bad idea , because guess what? You could market to young women, as well as boys.

How that work out?

Or that some security guard with crazy ambitions to turn his daughters into mega athletes made him a constant meme for the ridiculous. His mantra to his daughters “You’re gonna be the greatest of all time” was crazy headline huh!

Everything seems crazy until it happens. In Steve Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From, its evolution’s walk in the park nudged on by the unexpected — exaptation. Taking something from somewhere into some place no one could possibly think is right. A hen’s coup in a barn became the basis of babies’ incubators — no lie.

BTW, If that comet doesn’t get us first, then climate deniers the last laugh won’t be an appetising one either.

So the super lecturer? Wtf are they? The super lecturers are like those on-tour key noters. They prep big A** themes to CEOs and huge gatherings. At their institution they’ll walk into a 1000 seater auditorium and perform.

They are the lecturing equivalent of Russell Howard — but not quite Russell, because that comparison ties them too down to a personality. They combine facts with fiction, the science of understanding with storytelling, and they yearn to be in front of an audience, however small.

I got speaking to a Vice Chancellor at my old university who predicted the future in 2010 talking about lectures going online, students making up their own curriculum, but, he said, there will be the need for a superstar lecturer. No quarrels my end, except me saying to him, good thing I didn’t say that cuz that’s rad Chancellor — difficult to keep the white coat people away.

In Berlin, I did this lecture to an international audience interested in video journalism. That’s one person crews who do everything. Strange back in 2000, not so much now. Even more rad back in 1994 when some of us went Pro doing it.

The Prof, who the day before had handed me a glass trophy called me ‘colourful’ . I can’t quite remember the night myself but I do recall being on the floor a number of times and, don’t ask, attempting a hand stand.

Every year UK teachers gather at the British Film Institute. It’s a really cool group of teachers who get together at a two day event and share great practices. It’s a good place too to see other teachers in action.

I got asked to present with a couple of days and thought I’d demo how stand up works without professing to be a stand up.

If you’re a teacher you know this already and what makes your classes difficult to ignore.

Closest I got to stand up was accidentally nodding off at a Nish Kumar Edinburgh Festival show and him balling me out. “ Look at this f****er falling asleep”. I was consulting for Soho Theatre ( Comedy Club) at the time and it was my 6th show of the day. Sorry Nish.

My sister who is an exemplary teacher once entered her class with a face mask, flippers and angel’s wings. The examiner pulled her aside afterwards and asked if he could join in next time.

Less the Goodwill Hunting approach on problem solving, more Dead’s Poet Society, if you’re remembering your teacher Miss Hunt or Mr Pine right now, it’s because of that performance, those memorable lines. That inspiring pick-you-up.

But you’ve still not said what this has to do with sports?

“For companies to succeed, imagination work must become their competitive advantage. Working imagination must become a part of organizational culture”, writes Mariano Suarez-Battan in Forbe’s The Rise Of The Imagination Worker.n

We’re re-entering a world where creativity is king and queen. The sport has become thinking! Thinking and delivering! There’s already a market in Chess Boxing run by a friend of mine in the UK, or the dominating Master Class series. But in the latter there’s a more physical display in the offing. “Oh captain, my captain”.

Teams of imagination workers, Mariano writes, are building the future at Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, and Publicis Sapient

For my money Prof Jonathan is the archetypal performance-lecturer. 4X voted top Linkedin Voice, his lectures, and online ones combine branding, popular culture and deep pedagogy in an interdisciplinary fashion.

Prof Jonathan — a polymath lecturer

He’s played to huge audiences around the world and mixes up tropes and disciplines. Branding, which he’s an expert on is like gravity and it’s always seeking new markets.

But who can forget this favourite. Physics in the classroom with the performance which is death-defying. Death defying only, if you don’t know your stuff.

Dur: 3.18

In the 1960s, from reading Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog, it’s difficult to think now why branding runners and athletes was a big deal. Equally difficult in the 1990s was to imagine in the noughties companies would be sponsoring Influencers.

Hence, for that tad moment now it’s a bit difficult imagining how performance lecturers could be perceived as being athletes — the sports men and women of the mind hacking at the world of creative thinking.

It’s not just the lecture and notes, but the sell in a world of obfuscation, weird news and fairies and witches walking the streets. Are there really more witches in the US than Presbyterians?

It’s about markets and returns too. Learning, creativity and the rest is a multibillion dollar market and it still remains largely untapped in being disrupted.

We run this Story Lab supported by members of one of the UK’s wealth groups acting as mentors. Today, everyone’s an undisputed contentor (content providers), but there’s been relatively little disruption in education.

All it needs is one sponsor to take the leap of faith: the battle of the super lecturers. Format on a postcard coming soon. Er, and in case I might be completely off my trolley. No mind. I once had this big organisation in the US hand me this award and say my work “foreshadows the future”. This idea could just happen. Nike are you there?

Duration 49 secs

Super Lecturers sign mega sport deals from big sports brands, 5th September 2024

Author being captured in Times Square presenting at the ONA New York

Subscribe to more stories from the author who is one of eight UK academics on the advisory group and book of the British Library’s Breaking the News — Five Centuries of News event open in April 2022.




Top Writer & Creative Technologist, Int. Award Winner. Cinemajournalist. Cardiff Uni @jomec. PhD (Dublin). Visiting Prof UBC, Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled.

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Dr. David Dunkley Gyimah

Dr. David Dunkley Gyimah

Top Writer & Creative Technologist, Int. Award Winner. Cinemajournalist. Cardiff Uni @jomec. PhD (Dublin). Visiting Prof UBC, Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled.

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