How the Lapid Leaders Experience Gives Students Real-World Challenges

Written by Ian Duncan, a student at the University of Nairobi, a Lapid Leader from Cohort 3:
As part of the Lapid Leaders Experience, we are equipped with the skills required in every leader today. These skills included: Communication, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Collaboration / Building relationships among others. The Project Challenge Day is the culminating event during which the students put into practice what they’ve learned.

On this day each squad in the subject cohort is given a major issue in the real business environment that is sort of a challenge, and they are to think critically about the issue and propose the best solutions to curb the adverse effects the issue posed initially. The solutions are to be presented in the presence of a panel of ‘CEO’s’,  yes I said it right CEO’s,  who would then evaluate each presentation and award marks thereafter.
deepend photography (10 of 35)

On the very day, I was the MC and I had the privilege of introducing the CEO’s, who were our judges. My squad, AfroAlmasi, was has been tasked to tackle the issue of how technology can be used to accelerate the growth of agriculture in Africa. It was critical in the very sense that agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy  contributing hugely to our GDP. The CEO for the task was a Senior Consultant from Dalberg Global Development Advisors, who had faced similar challenges often in her workplace.

Right from the onset teamwork set in when the assignment was given and individual members of AfroAlmasi had tasks allocated to them by the group leader, from research work all the way up to presentation, all the way up to the Project Challenge day.

My take-out

This was a great opportunity to engage with market leaders and learn from them. The main lesson that I learnt from this experience stems from the research. It is imperative to conduct a very conclusive research when one is working on a project, and the research has to go beyond the internet as that information is readily available to the ‘client’. The level of research conducted will determine the quality of the solutions proposed.

Other lessons included proper presentation skills especially while doing PowerPoint presentations,  proper time management while letting the CEO get to know the findings and conclusions of you research,  proper documentation of the research work and most of all suggesting the best solutions that can favor the organisation’s mission just before concluding the presentation. Our CEO was clear that we had a limited time to make the presentation, and it needed to have value-adding conclusions.

The link between the real-life projects and CEOs set these exercise apart from the academic projects we use in school. We also got real-time feedback from the marketplace leaders. When faced with similar assignments in the marketplace,  the lessons derived from the project challenge day will be of greater advantage to me justifying the important experience I went through. #IAmAlapidLeader


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