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Where business meets art and books September 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus, Books Life Greek.
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An innovative book will be launched in Cyprus this week

Talk about creativity and you are probably bound to wander into arts, crafts, architecture and fashion. Talk about business and you’ll be focusing on numbers, competitors and marketing. If you think the two have nothing in common, then you should probably pay attention and get your hands on Dimis Michaelides’ book, The Art of Innovation, billed as the world’s first management art book. It has been praised as ‘the Bible for 21st century CEOs’ and ‘a book that will inspire change in individuals, teams and organisations.’

“Despite years of academic research on the topic of corporate innovation as well as thousands of books on the subject, there are still too many misconceptions on how to promote innovation in organisations,” says Constantinos Markides of the London Business School in the book’s preface. “Prominent among these is the belief that innovation is all about coming up with new ideas. It’s not. Coming up with new ideas is obviously necessary and important but innovation is much more than that. It’s the implementation of these ideas in the market to satisfy customer needs in an economical way that ultimately creates value.”

The point is that over and above the ability to come up with new ideas, innovative organisations have something else. And it is this ‘something else’ that Michaelides has managed to identify. “Having worked for large organisations such as the World Bank, Zeneca and the Popular Bank Group, lived in Paris, London and Washington, among other places, and been a creativity leader, a consultant and a business speaker, I believe that designing work and life in organisations is an art and the synthesis of the twelve key points in the book is crucial because each one, while important in itself, is incomplete if it stands alone,” he says.

The book is about innovation and how to make it an integral part of an organisation. “In times past, creative ideas and the innovations they generated were the domain of just a small number of exceptional individuals,” says Dimis. “In the business world, it was not until the 20th century that the joys of discovery and profit led to the establishment of research and development departments, dedicated to inventing new products, and marketing departments, devoted to finding new ways of matching products and markets.”

Dimis believes that on the way, we discovered that all human beings are creative and that innovation is as much about R&D and marketing, technology and processes as it is about production and selling, service and operations, data and information, management and motivation.

What is most remarkable about The Art of Innovation as a book is its ability to combine art and business through symbols, quotes and original, high-quality artwork, presented in an eye-catching graphic layout. Colours are abundant and almost every page makes a statement of its own. “There were two reasons as to why I wanted this book to include art,” says Dimis. “First of all, aesthetically, it is pleasing unlike many business books that all focus on text. The way it is structured also means that one can begin reading from any given point without losing the main picture through a very unusual angle and with a very original frame of reference, which we know promotes creative thinking.”

Speaking in more local terms, Dimis explained that innovation is risky and this is an area into which many business in Cyprus do not dare enter. “We are in danger of remaining in a stage of knowledge and analytical thinking, which is something we are taught at university but that’s not all. Innovation can be dangerous, leading to losses, bankruptcy, breakdown and disappointment but it can also be rewarding, leading to profit, progress, joy, efficiency, motivation and wealth,” Dimis explains. “Look at Greek Cypriot Sir Stelios Hadjioannou, the EasyJet entrepreneur! I’m guessing he used innovation!”

The Art of Innovation will be launched on Friday in the presence of Dimis Michaelides, Constantinos Markides and the book’s artist Umit Inatci, whose series of 16 paintings will be exhibited for the first time. Friday September 28, 2007. At 7.30pm. Journalists’ House, 12 RIK Avenue, Nicosia. Tel 22 446090. It is available at all bookshops. Dimis’ company Performa Consulting also provides workshops for companies. info@performa.net or call 22 315930.

Nicosia hosts the second Urban Arts Festival September 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus, Arts Exhibitions Cyprus, Arts Festivals.
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Next Saturday will see Nicosia host the second Urban Arts Festival

When the first Urban Soul Festival came to life last year, it was a brave move on behalf of the Pantheon Association. As a passion for the arts was mixed with a touch of urban culture, central Nicosia was buzzing with artists, musicians and writers who came together in the park between Eleftheria and Solomou Squares.

Breaking down the boundaries of everything the public had known, art moved beyond the four walls of a gallery and music shifted from the closed confines of a venue. As crowds lazed on the grass, soft electronic music played in the background and interactive performances lured the crowds in. Some artists were busy with their installations; others had their films screened with projections on the surrounding walls.

This year, the Pantheon is pushing the re-play button and organising the second festival of its kind. Wishing to take art out to the general public, the organisers hope that shoppers, those going for walk around town, or friends having coffee, will make time to stop by the festival.

A new addition to this year’s festival is a children’s area, which will include an exhibition entitled ‘The Euro Children Voyage of Exploration and Creation’. Through simple painting and paper cutting techniques, children will be able to create musical instruments, masks and costumes that will then be used for musical improvisation. The children’s scene is to be organised by artist Marlen Karletidou and musician Agni Sakka. 

The music scene will consist of DJ Magos, DJ Zen, Yiannis Trifon and others presenting hip-hop, reggae and electronic beats. Local bands and performance artists will also be putting on shows throughout the day. Expect some great vocals with funk-edged rock by Nicola K, a British-born Cypriot who will impress with her distinct soulful sound blended with an amazing power. You can also look forward to the fantastic sounds of the much-loved Zara der Arkelien, as well as a number of other acts to sweep you away.

Take a stroll away from the music tent and you’ll stumble on the independent publishers section, filled with local and international independent magazines and publications. You’ll also be able to look through comics, posters, stickers, t-shirts and postcards while you do a little shopping, as most of these items will be on sale. Scattered around the area will be a series of installations and works by various artists, with film screenings to be projected throughout the course of the evening. A map of the area will be available, also giving information about the concepts behind each work of art that you see.

Other interesting events to really heat up your night are an inspiring drum performance as well as Fire Poi Spinning, another variation on the ancient art of fire spinning. In this specific version, the spinner uses a special pair of fire-wick balls on a chain, twirling them in rhythm to create brilliant fire trails, patterns and circles.

For all those of you looking for a chilled out Saturday, you’re in luck as there’s plenty of space to relax as various food and drinks are served up. It’s a free, non-profit event bringing the arts practically to your doorstep. What more could you ask for?

Second Urban Soul Festival > Open-air festival with live music, art works on show and much more. September 29. Park of Eleftheria Square, Central Nicosia. 12 noon to 12 midnight. Free. For additional info call 22 670843.

Related Links> www.urbansoulfestival.com

Greek hero Odysseus’ longest swim September 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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Good swimming summers are made of good swims, as Robert Frost wrote, “out far and in deep”, wherever the ocean is.

Frost claimed the record for the longest swim in literature belonged to the Greek hero Odysseus, who after shipwreck swam the sea for two days and two nights. The Greeks, who made the best poetry, had a wisdom about many things, not the least of which was their poetic contemplation of the wine-dark sea.

The British scholar M.A. Screech wrote that when the ancients “wished to accuse someone of extreme inadequacy they used the common proverb, “He can neither read nor swim”.

Musical based on Greek mythology September 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Asia.
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The newest junior college in Singapore celebrated its official opening recently with a musical inspired by Greek mythology.

Students of Innova JC shared the highlights in a clip that was submitted for MediaCorp News’ Roving DV competition, where students shoot, edit, script and narrate a news clip involving their school. Student reporters, Marvin Tang and Kong Jeng Huey, reported live at the musical performance that was put up by Innova students.

The musical was largely inspired by Greek mythology as the ancient Greece had significant accomplishments in producing thinkers, pioneering the study of science, developing the model of democracy, as well as cultivating the love of finer things like culture and literature.

During her opening address, Principal Yeo Hong Mui officially announced the new status of Innova Junior College as the Centre of Excellence for New Media and New Media Arts. Innova JC’s school song was penned by celebrated songwriter and performer Dick Lee, with added lyrics by Madam Citra.

MTN takes over Cyprus’ Areeba September 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Telecoms.
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You may have seen the billboards with the catchy “Y’ello” logo and bright yellow background heralding a new mobile phone provider in Cyprus.

Actually, appearances can be misleading. The ads do not refer to a new entrant in the local telecom market; it’s just that Areeba has changed its name. So forget Areeba, folks. From now on, it’s going to be known as MTN. The name change is due to Investcom, Areeba’s parent company, having been bought outby South African telecom giant, MTN.

Areeba, which has 16 percent of the market share in Cyprus with some 122,000 subscribers, will continue providing their normal mobile services, but reportedy also plans to get into the landline business.

According to reports, internet providers PrimeTel have approached both MTN and CyTAmobile Vodafone with an offer to create a package combining broadband, landline and mobile phone services. So watch this space.

Mobile Telephone Networks (MTN) is a South African cellular network operator and is listed on the Johannesburg stock exchange. Launched in 1994, it now has close to five million subscribers. MTN’s GSM network is one of the largest in the world. The company, which is primarily active in the African continent and the Middle East, will be one of the sponsors of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Related Links > http://www.areeba.com.cy

Energy saving bulb giveaway exceeds expectations September 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Energy.
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The scheme to give away free energy-saving light bulbs has exceeded all expectations with 133,000 already picked up by consumers in eight days, the Cyprus Electricity Authority (EAC) has revealed.

The response has been such that some stocks have already run out and must be replenished, the EAC said in a statement. But it said consumers need not worry because the lack will only be temporary. “We want to confirm that all those who want the bulbs will be able to get them,” the statement said. Each household is entitled to six free bulbs and may purchase others if they want more.

The scheme, which began last week, is set to run until 2010. In the first eight days EAC offices around the island were inundated with requests from around 22,000 members of the public, with over 16,500 of the compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs a day being handed over to over 2,500 people on average. The CFLs come in a range of styles, shapes and sizes including bayonet, screw cap fittings and dimmer bulbs. In the first two days alone, 5,000 people arrived at EAC offices looking for the bulbs, the EAC said.

Schools, churches and charity organisations are allowed to have ten free bulbs and burnt bulbs may be exchanged within two months. Four types of bulb are being given out, two are 11 watt and two 20 watt. The 11-watt bulb corresponds to the normal 40-60 watt bulbs, and the 20 watt to the 100 watts.

“Simply by using these lamps households can save around 80 per cent of what they spend on lighting,” the EAC said. The bulbs can burn for 10,000 hours. About 19 per cent of an average household bill comes from lighting.

“The giveaway is part of a five-year plan aiming at a conservation of 1.0 per cent yearly on energy consumption and reaching a total of 5.0 per cent until the end of 2010. The total cost of the project is estimated at £2 million.

A Greek island hopping September 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands Aegean, Greece Islands Ionian.
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The beautiful Greek islands are just perfect for a spot of hopping, as many will tell you. But you don’t need to live out of a backpack and navigate your way round the island’s hostels, hop aboard a luxury liner for a tour of the very best places in Greece.

Santorini > One of the world’s most dramatic backdrops of cliffs, sea and sky in the world was sculpted by a volcanic eruption during the Bronze Age. The explosion caused the middle of this once-circular island to sink, leaving an enormous sea-filled crater flanked by mammoth cliffs. This cataclysmic event is the reason for many of the island’s remarkable features, from its black-sand beaches to exquisite wines grown from the fertile volcanic soil.

The town of Fira, located on the island’s west end, is perched on the edge of sheer 260m cliffs. Wonderful views combine with quaint streets filled with souvenir shops, jewellers and fine restaurants. To truly appreciate this cliff-clinging spot, descend by cable car to the port of Athinio below. If you’re truly daring, zigzag down the face of the cliff on a donkey.

Rhodes > Rhodes is said to be the sunniest place in Europe, with an average of 300 days of sunshine a year. Inhabited since prehistoric times, the island has a rich history spanning millennia. The Old Town’s character is greatly influenced by Italian architecture and this well-preserved society still maintains its charm of a medieval town with Venetian and Ottoman influences. This ancient harbour is where the famous Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, once stood. There are also ruins of the ancient acropolis and the Temple of Apollo.

Buy fine pottery, leather goods and painted vases in the winding streets of the old town. Savour some local olive oil, homegrown fruits and vegetables and well-reputed Rhodian wine. Tour Sokratu Street for the best shopping and cuisine choices on the island.

Mykonos > Mykonos is a dazzling destination filled with whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches and beautiful beaches set against an equally striking blue sky. The Hora, or main village, of Mykonos is filled with a maze of tight-winding streets. With over 20 accessible sandy beaches, you’ll discover secluded locations and family-oriented beaches.

Mythology cites Delos as the birthplace of Apollo, son of Zeus. Visit remnants of temples dedicated to Apollo or take a stroll to the Sanctuary of Artemis, dedicated to Apollo’s sister. The House of the Dolphins and the House of the Masks showcase superbly colourful mosaic pavements. The Terrace of the Lions, a row of marble lions erected in the 7th century BC, stand as eternal guardians of the sanctuary.

Corfu > Although most of the Greek islands are located in the Aegean, Corfu is in the Ionian Sea. Lush and fertile with a cooler climate, Corfu is dotted with olive groves, orange and lemon orchards, and graceful cypress trees. Explore living history in the streets of Corfu’s old town and take in the old and new fortresses, or citadels, surrounded by delightful gardens. Narrow, winding streets, wander past quaint village squares, and richly decorated churches and homes.

Empress Elisabeth of Austria built the Palace of Achilleion. Adorned with statues and motifs associated with Achilles, the palace features a dramatic statue, the Dying Achilles, by German sculptor Herter. The palace grounds feature lush and tropical terraced gardens with sweeping views of Corfu Town and the countryside.