African Mgmt Initiative – Research
It has been an overwhelming week. I had to take myself off social media in order to digest it all so that I could give you a clear picture of this experience.
Our group of twelve has been broken into sub groups of three. I’m working on an SOW for African Management Initiative (AMI) along with a software developer from Germany (Christian) and a Human Resources Manager from France (Celine). Both are living abroad with Christian in Palo Alto and Celine in Vancouver. Our team is very dynamic in education, work/life experience and personalities.
AMI started as an NGO and is famous in the media (CNN, NPR, LA Times, Financial Times, Fast Company and various local media) for creating Africa’s first Massive Online Open Course (MOOC). African managers and entrepreneurs are tech savvy but depending on family background or where they grow up may not have access to the business schools and business training that we do. So AMI has designed an innovative platform which delivers training on the web using videos and content from African Professors from the top schools based in Africa around the fundamentals of business in a fun and interactive way. The MOOC pilot was so successful that AMI has secured impact investment funding and become a social enterprise. AMI’s vision is for an Africa transformed by one million African managers and entrepreneurs performing effectively and responsibly by 2023. AMI’s strength is that the content is practical, affordable and locally relevant.
Our sub team is specifically tasked with creating a franchise model. We are working on the viability of packaging up Learning Labs which can deliver the online content in a classroom using a facilitator that does not necessarily have the knowledge of the professors but in the repeatable and scalable fashion such as McDonalds or Starbucks. However there are many considerations and a large one is geography and how to scale this from a large city like Nairobi where the internet is available to a remote village in Africa where there may not be a reliable internet connection.
The A Team at dinner with some of the AMI Team:
Our methodology for the project is how SAP traditionally tackles product design and or business problems by using Design Thinking. In order to obtain a grasp of the different stakeholders we participated in a Learning Lab with an AMI facilitator at a partner named I hub. It was wonderful to meet some Kenyan Entrepreneurs and Managers in the training and ask them about how they felt about the course content. The consensus at my table was that the localised content was fantastic. The facilitator breaks you into teams by table for the purpose of group activities but the most valuable part of this is the opportunity to engage, network and learn from peers. The idea is that you become accountable to each other and form a network for the future to share ideas.
My Learning Lab Team Sharon, Vyolah and Doris:
I’m still in touch with my friends above and will be checking in with them for feedback as our project progresses. All were tech savvy and keen to make a connection with SAP as well as understand how we are working on a CSR project specifically for Africans.
Our next major meeting was with potential Franchise owners ranging from senior teachers and facilitators who may already deliver training with course content from other companies to younger entrepreneurs who are interested in the concept. The localised African course content and platform were again really well received so I think it’s safe to say AMI is onto something here and now we need to give them the framework to deliver.
That’s enough about the project for one week. It has most definitely been a time of highs and lows (more highs though!) and something that captures Kenya really well is the following quote:
“There is an Africa that you don’t hear about very much… this is the Africa that
is changing, the Africa of opportunity, the Africa where people want to take
charge of their own destinies.”
– Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala