I started 2021 on a positive mindset after surviving the Covid19 pandemic. On the 4th of January 2021, I would begin my fellowship with Innovate for Africa. I have never been this efficient in my life. I've practically been brushed up by the organizers of this fellowship. Let's say I was positive but this level of change is what I never expected. I used to feel like I was market-ready till I had to listen to lessons, carry out tasks and get feedback from different areas of the Innovation Readiness Training; Personal Branding, Design Thinking, Strategic Analysis, and Hard Skills Lab. After the training, I realised that I was never ready prior to this. Now, I feel sorry for all the companies I'd previously interviewed with and sent my resumes to.
In 4 weeks, I had a better resume, was more prepared for interviews, learned how to work with diverse teams, communicate better, and use different productivity tools to create user-centred solutions using design thinking.
After the sessions on personal branding, I became an ambassador for concise and effective communication, telling everyone I meet how to showcase their brand to appeal to individuals from diverse communities. When it comes to showcasing our brand, important values are critical to explaining our personalities. Thanks to IFA, I have imbibed values such as grit, collaboration, innovation, growth mindset, and inclusivity and diversity which I learned while working with different teams at different points in the training.
The design thinking session was my first attempt at collaboration in the training. My team was to create the prototype of a solution that will solve a societal problem in 3 weeks. At first, there was friction between members as everyone was imposing ideas on the other. After a couple of lessons on the design thinking process and a couple more tasks later, we worked pretty well together and created my most proud prized possession; Gcyclers, a product that will aid reduce pollution in Nigeria through plastic recycling.
There were sessions where we had guest speakers who were actively involved in various industries in the innovation ecosystem. They talked about their experiences which encouraged me to be more innovative and forward-thinking. They were individuals who had lost resources repeatedly but still kept trying? Incredible! They talked about being headstrong but logical about the steps one takes. I could relate so much to Medsaf founder; Vivian Nwakah as I was smitten by her story for some reason.
Finally, I have to talk about the people that made this whole experience worth it. The Innovate for Africa team and facilitators, Viviana Rivera; for her wonderful feedbacks and corrections, Margaret Wang, Mary Nagel, Maria Camila Jaramillo Cardenas, Omozusi Guobadia, Cynthia Obiora and Quadri Oguntade; for always coming through. To my mentor; Christian Desrosiers, thank you for guiding me as I developed as a product manager and consulted for Splitspot. I'm so grateful for this opportunity, and I'm more than ready to apply myself.
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