Work History

Work History


Cognician Software (Pty) Ltd

As CEO and co-founder of Cognician Software, my role is to oversee the development of Cognician, an application that presents you with a range of provocative and creative questions that help you think better, further and faster about the challenges you face in your work or life.

My role also entails building partnerships with publishers, authors, bloggers, academic institutions and non-governmental organisations whose content can be adapted into cogs, the medium of Cognician. Initially our focus is on four areas: entrepreneurship and start-ups, creativity and innovation, leadership and self-improvement. If you have content that focuses on intellectual, decision-making or cognitive guidance then Cognician represents a great opportunity to adapt your content for this new medium and open up new income streams. I'd love to hear from you!

Jun 1999 - Present

Creative Director and Imagineer

Thunderbolt Thinkers / Bright Sparks


As co-founder of Bright Sparks, Barry Kayton has been responsible for the conceptualisation, design, development and delivery of a wide range of education and training products for learners ranging from sophisticated post-graduate students to disadvantaged adult illiterates, and school learners in grades 2 to 12. As content architect, Barry undertakes needs analysis, learner analysis, research, creative idea generation, conceptualisation and development. For some of the products listed below Barry combined the roles of instructional designer, writer and graphic designer. For other products Barry briefed and managed a team of writers, copy editors and illustrators. 

For MBA students

Client: University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business (GSB) Audience: MBA students Product: Seminar in critical and creative thinking Developed and delivered a systematic process to promote interdisciplinary ways of seeing things as a springboard for critical and creative thinking. For sophomores

Client: South African Institute for Entrepreneurship

Audience: University of Western Cape 2nd year entrepreneurship students

Product: BEST Plan Developed and delivered BEST Plan, a comprehensive course in business plan writing.  For freshmen

Client: South African Institute for Entrepreneurship

Audience: TSIBA first year students

Product: Venture Plan

Developed and implemented a crash course in business planning, in which students are required to plan, start-up and shut down a business every week for four weeks. 

For disadvantaged young adults

Client: LoveLife

Audience: Youth at risk

Product: Trade-Offs

Conceptualised and developed (with business partner Patrick) a training game where players aim to achieve life goals while keeping eight life areas in balance: self, family, health, money, mind, social life, work, spirit. 

For disadvantaged young adults

Client: LoveLife

Audience: Youth at risk

Product: The Ten Commitments

Conceptualised and developed (with business partner Patrick) a training programme and workbook which aims to impart a world view which entails the commitment to: Loving life, Reality, Reason, Independence, Purpose, Productiveness, Honesty, Co-operation, Justice and Individual Rights.

For disadvantaged young adults

Client: LoveLife

Audience: Youth at risk

Product: Tracks

Conceptualised and developed Tracks, a comic which appears monthly in LoveLife's Uncut magazine. Barry and Patrick develop the characters and plots for each comic; Patrick writes the dialogue; Barry edits. 

For senior high school learners

Client: South African Institute for Entrepreneurship

Audience: Learners Grade 10, 11 and 12

For learners in Grades 10 through 12 Barry developed Team Up, Link Up and Work Up, comprehensive learning programmes for Business Studies used in schools throughout South Africa.

For junior high school learners

Client: South African Institute for Entrepreneurship

Audience: Learners Grade 8 and 9

For learners in Grades 8 through 9 Barry developed Sort Out and Break Out, comprehensive learning programmes for Economic and Management Sciences used in schools throughout South Africa. 

For primary school learners

Client: South African Institute for Entrepreneurship

Audience: Learners Grade 3 to 6

For learners in Grades 3 through 6 Barry developed Dream Up, Help Out, Look Out and Try Out, comprehensive learning programmes for Economic and Management Sciences used in schools throughout South Africa.

For primary school learners

Client: The Shuttleworth Foundation

Audience: Learners Grade 4 to 6

For learners in Grades 4, 5 and 6 Barry and Patrick Kayton developed Kusasa, a course in analytical thinking. Content includes:

  • Comics for role modelling creative and critical thinking attitudes and habits.
  • eLearning modules delivered by means of LAMS.
  • eToys modules for elementary software modelling. 
Mar 1996 - May 1999


Ship Photo Service

Trained photographers for Ship Photo Service in Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Greek islands, Jordan, Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa. Responsible for training and managing a team of five photographers at a time: taking photos of cruise passengers, developing, printing and selling photos. Barry developed a system for providing inexperienced trainees – many who had never done any photography at all –  with a crash course in photography, making them productive and efficient in the shortest possible time. 

Mar 1993 - Mar 1996

Training and Development Manager (Adult Education)

Brand Knew (Pty) Ltd.

Trained more than 100 trainers to facilitate Brand Knew's adult literacy courses throughout South Africa and Namibia. Designed Brand Knew Express, an English communication skills course. Developed five edutainment books and three edutainment games for children. 


Jan 1993 - Dec 1993

Postgraduate Diploma in Advertising and Marketing

AAA School of Advertising

Majored in Copywriting. Graduated with Honours. Minor subjects included:

  • Account Management
  • Advertising
  • Direct Marketing
  • Marketing
  • Market Research
  • Media

Awarded Best Research Report, 1993, for thesis on Brand Knew, an innovative training programme using advertising as a springboard for adult literacy training. As a result of this research, which involved implementing Brand Knew with a group of adult literacy trainees at the Cape Technikon during 1993, Brand Knew offered Barry the position of Training and Development Manager the following year.

Jan 1990 - Dec 1992

Bachelor of Arts

University of Natal

Majored in English Literature and Classical Civilisation: Ancient Greek and Roman literature, history, art and architecture. Minor subjects included:

  • Linguistics
  • Psychology
  • Politics
  • French

Awarded the Standard Bank Prize (Top of Faculty, 1991)

Awarded the Whitely Prize (best student in a first-year course in Classics, 1991)



Personality according to the Keirsey Temperament Sorter

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter indicates that Barry is a Rational Mastermind (INTJ). Although each of the four types of Rationals have different traits, all Rationals share the following core characteristics:   Rationals tend to be pragmatic, skeptical, self-contained, and focused on problem-solving and systems analysis. Rationals pride themselves on being ingenious, independent, and strong willed. Rationals make reasonable mates, individualizing parents, and strategic leaders. Rationals are even-tempered, they trust logic, yearn for achievement, seek knowledge, prize technology, and dream of understanding how the world works.   Masterminds are skilled at planning for the many possible contingencies that can occur in large, complex projects. They are able to see what can go wrong when executing a large project. They may become consumed by a project and will work long hours to complete it successfully.

Strengths according to Gallup's StrengthsFinder

The Gallup  StrengthsFinder indicates that Barry's top five strengths are: Intellection; Relator; Maximizer; Strategic; Learner.      Intellection  People who are especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.    Relator  People who are especially talented in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.    Maximizer People who are especially talented in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.   Strategic  People who are especially talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.    Learner People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.     


“Having worked with Barry for over a decade I have found him to be a stimulating colleague who combines an impressive array of attributes. As a key instructional designer and developer of many of the South African Institute for Entrepreneurship’s materials, Barry combines his creativity with methodical, logical, clear-thinking. He has the ability to conceptualize from a clean slate, use his encyclopedic knowledge of resources and methodologies and produce a sophisticated and complex product – while maintaining a healthy respect for deadlines! Barry’s expertise as a project manager and skilled trainer means that he is able to synthesize a vast array of information to produce products that are perfect for whichever target group he is writing. The many skills that Barry has range from a wonderful command of language to an impressive ability to create using cutting-edge technology. All this combines into products that are used world-wide and which are world-class." Margie Worthington-Smith  Founder and Director The South African Institute for Entrepreneurship (SAIE)

"Barry brings to every task his total commitment and focus and the full force of his considerable innate creativity and intellect. He combines pro-activity and energy with mature judgment and careful and honest analysis.

"Barry has strong people skills, interacting at MD level and with illiterate workers equally comfortably. He has had unusually broad exposure to the corporate and academic market that this company serves throughout southern Africa. As a team player he is very effective, but is also totally independent and very resourceful.

"He has an open mind, is not risk averse and stretches himself outside his comfort zone. Barry is well-read and intimidatingly computer literate. His special skill is turning data into information and information into knowledge.

"As a teacher/trainer he is comfortable in a multi cultural environment, is enormously empathetic and never patronizes. He is naturally hard-working, has stamina and thrives in a high pressure environment."

Pug Roux

Managing Director

Brand Knew (Pty) Ltd