Sincere apologies to ardent followers of this blog for the inconsistency associated with my posts. Quite honestly, I have been extremely busy trying to get a lot of things done in a short period of time. When a naturally curious person, like me, gets a year out of the work work work cycle, there is a tendency to attempt achieving all the things one could not do while fully employed. If you have been in a similar situation I am sure you will understand. Basically, I have been out and about these past months, in search of adventures and learning opportunities, as I am a sucker for knowledge. I guess the abundance of opportunities is one of the advantages of studying at Imperial College Business School.
The past months have been filled with ups and downs, a fertile ground for reflection and birthing creativity and must say, I have really enjoyed myself. While I have experienced many losses – I have opted not to discuss these, I have continued my winning streak by emerging winner at the recently completed Kopf-Adeyemi African Healthcare Hackathon, held at Google’s Campus London. If you are wondering what the African Healthcare Hackathon is/what a Hackathon is in the first place, it is a competition where individuals/teams get together to solve problems within a time constraint. Typically, the term Hackathon is associated with Techies/Geeks coming together to crack some computer code or something. This was a different affair.
The brain child of Adebusuyi Adeyemi – remember the name, you’ll be seeing it a lot in the future, the Kopf-Adeyemi African Healthcare Hackathon was themed around solving problems faced by African Businesses operating in the Health/social care domain. I must say, for a 3-day contest, it was an extremely mind blowing experience. With participants arriving at the venue on Friday to form teams and register for the selected challenges, it was a fun packed opportunity to meet people from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds, with interest in moving Africa forward. I teamed up with; a colleague from my MSc. International health management (IHM) cohort at Imperial College Business School, Nyankhundi Phiri (Zambia), and 4 amazing, intellectually lively individuals from the London School of Economics – Jayla Johnson (USA), Aaron Munzaa (Kenya), Tobi Jaiyesimi (Nigeria) and Yossie Olaleye (Nigeria). Our task was to create a market launch strategy for an e-health platform looking to innovate the way Nigerians access health information amongst other capabilities.
If you want to avoid resistance, don’t attempt to radically change the way people do things. Find a process that the technology can improve and start there, over time, according to Orlikowski, technology will shape the social interactions and vice-versa…
Following 3 days of deliberation, brainstorming and a lot of networking, we emerged 3rd place, after presenting our plan to esteemed panellists including the likes of Denver Phiri – an economist with GE healthcare and Nennia Orji – a management consultant at PwC. From my tone, I’m sure it’s apparent that I enjoyed the experience. In retrospect, I will attribute our success to the approach taking by my team. While other teams set out to plan their events for the weekend, we opted to get to know one another over a spicy meal of chicken at Nandos. Nothing better than working with a team you are very comfortable with. The 2 days that followed, reflected the synergistic value of our approach. That said, our strategy was built on the knowledge gleaned from my health informatics module at Imperial College Business School, delivered by the great Dr. Benita Cox – MSc. IHM programme director.
Popularly known as Baggy, she is fast becoming one of the most influential figures in my career to date. One of her core concepts about implementing technology/informatics systems is to figure out a path of least resistance and integrate technological solutions with a minimal change to the way people do things. Inspired by her, we created a strategy that aligned with Nigerian cultural peculiarities and portrayed the usefulness and ease of use, of the platform. I eagerly anticipate the next Kopf-Adeyemi event scheduled to hold in June, with policy advocacy themed challenges.
Finally, as the incoming co-President of the African Business Club, which is being set up, at Imperial College Business School, I have convinced the founding team to replicate the hackathon and integrate it into the activities of the Club. As a matter of fact, we plan to make our launch event around this in the summer. So if this interests you? Watch this space.
Debo is studying our MSc International Health Management programme.