Being an entrepreneur in my clime usually requires that you have a business or are creating a commercial product. This January, I experienced the Innovate for Africa’s Innovation Readiness Training which is a part of the 1year fellowship program. This changed my perspective on entrepreneurship and innovation to be more than an idea that disrupts industries or a business model of one's way to creating a high growth startup.
The Innovation Readiness Training is built on a foundation of five (5) key values; innovation, collaboration, grit, growth mindset, and inclusivity and diversity. The team which comprises educators and facilitators from The Harvard School of Education and MIT Sloan School of Management was amazing in ensuring the growth of fellows in the space of one month. From daily sessions on developing ourselves in several core areas including; personal branding, strategic analysis, design thinking and hard skills. They were also supportive in giving us feedback on our deliverables to test our readiness for startup life.
The personal branding curriculum had fellows learning and building their brands and portfolio to make them more marketable to potential employers, clients and partners. As important as your skillset is, your means of communicating it to outside stakeholders is extremely important as it could determine the type of interest you get from them. It involved a lot of self-reflection on my life’s goals and vision which truly affects my interests.
The design thinking curriculum involved applying what we were being taught in a hackathon aimed at solving problems relating to climate change, finance, education, health, etc. I had the opportunity to collaborate with like-minds on a solution to aid agriculture using the principles of empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, and finally testing. The product of all this was named; FarmSmart, whose success can be attributed to how well my team imbibed the IFA values. This perhaps is the beginning of our journey in agriculture.
The hard skills lab proved to be one of the more challenging and yet exciting parts of the innovation readiness training. I chose the product management track which is in line with my career path, I got to collaborate and consult for Afya-Pamoja, a startup providing public healthcare managers and providers with actionable data and insights to improve patient outcomes. I appreciate my mentor; Quadri Oguntade, for his guidance which contributed to my understanding of applying my acquired product management knowledge.
Finally, I would say my IFA journey has shown me that true innovation is less about individual creativity or resolve but a collective effort to make things better, whether the beneficiaries of this good are an employer, an individual, a community or even a nation. The future couldn’t be more exciting!
Partnering with a startup like yours will be an incredible learning experience for fellows like Moby, IN ADDITION to helping your startup accelerate with passionate African innovators. Sign in to our IFA Portal to see the range of talent that can join your startup today.