Were you at the Development Dialogue on Thursday, 26th November 2015? If you weren’t, why? It really rocked…simply put! An energetic rallying point for those promoting social good, the Dialogue lived true to its purpose….it was a defining moment of learning, networking, value exchange and inspiration for change makers!
Ideation Hub Africa is very proud as host of this event, and we are extremely thankful to all the amazing professionals, partners, media agencies, businesses and speakers who came in all shades of glamour.
Big thanks to our distinguished speakers – Dr. Ousman Dore, Mrs. Ndidi Nwuneli and Mr. Akin Fatunke, for the tremendous insights, sector-specific counsel, and practical field-based perspectives they shared!
Super Thumbs Up to our steaming Panelists – Chude Jideonwo, Akin Olukiran, Dele Osunmakinde, Mosun Layode, Adenike Adeyemi and Iyinoluwa Aboyeji! The Session was practical, fun, very relevant and visionary.
We also thank First Bank of Nigeria, Phillips Consulting, Exxon Mobil and Chapel Hill Denham for sponsoring the event, and supporting us tremendously.
Here are 10 of big insights we are taking away from the Development Dialogue;
1. To do better, development practitioners and social entrepreneurs have to move beyond altruistic motives, to building a sustainable organisation, or creating an innovative product/ service that truly solve Africa’s pressing challenges. There’s a lot to learn from our “for-profit entrepreneur” counterpart in terms of clarifying the mission, business model, structure and corporate governance.
2. Collaboration is the new Cool! Silo mentality is out, and working together is in! If your desire to change the world, is greater than your egoistic desire to have your name stamped behind an initiative, collaborating will be easier for you. Remember that the continent’s toughest challenges can’t be solved by only a few. Akin Olukiran says we need to collaborate within the social profit sector, and then across to the private sector and government.
3. Data is Crucial. Learning to research, uncover, use, leverage and analyse data is a valuable skill for growing your social idea and validating your theory of change. Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and Adenike Adeyemi say you don’t even have to be a techie to understand data.
4. Poverty Reduction and Job Creation are still at the heart of Africa’s development needs. Dr. Ousman Dore said despite the fact that our continent has been one of the fastest growing economies, it still struggles significantly with extreme poverty and unemployment. There’s a clarion call for development efforts that translate to better livelihood and more jobs.
5. We are in an Opportunity Era! Echoed all through the Dialogue by most speakers was the fact that we are currently in a powerful splurge of opportunities for learning, structured education, mentorship, business support, funding, scholarship and virile partnerships for social entrepreneurs, development champions and start-ups than we have ever ever been! Place yourself in the midst of information, there are more opportunities in this space than you’ve explored.
6. Social Innovation is more than a Cliche! It is a big need on a continent seeking new, creative approaches and bold solutions for education, healthcare, agriculture, energy, environment, housing etc. Ndidi Nwuneli asks “Where are your bold ideas?” She says we must also scale these innovations to reach as many people as we can. There’s a world of learning on Social Innovation, find it!
7. Focus First! Funding Later! It was clearly a consensus at the Dialogue…all speakers strengthened the viewpoint that if you focus on building a strong organisation with right structure, governance, process and talent; those you need will find you. Chude Jideonwo said “If you focus blindly on funding, you’d lose your creative foresight.”
8. Avoid a Mission Creep. Rooted in military terminology, Mission Creep is the expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals, often after initial successes. Mosun Layode stressed the tendency for growing social enterprises to become more ambitious and delve into impact areas beyond the boundaries of their mission, in a bid to get funding, grow “relevance” or find bigger partners.
9. Find your Big Why! You need to uncover the deepest reasons for doing what you are doing, and make sure money is not first. The Africa Enterprise you seek to impact is a knotty one…so you must be here for the right reasons. Chude Jideonwo put it in an inspiring way when he said “Don’t let anything stop you from dancing to the music in your own heart.”
10. Entrepreneurship is Entrepreneurship!! Whether you work for social good, with the government, rural communities or within multinationals to promote their CSR vision; just know that when rubber meets the road, development work is every bit entrepreneurial. You need grit, knowledge, persistent, powerful network and a lot of passion to see it work.