Considering the current difficult economic situation in Nigeria, organisations need to urgently develop strategies that will position them for superior competitive advantage. Therefore, initiatives that help organisations to stimulate growth by inspiring innovation for superior value creation are very critical. It is on account of this that These Executive Minds (TEXEM), a UK based organisation successfully developed and delivered the executive development programme: ‘Inspiring an Innovative Organisation for Sustainable Competitive Advantage’ on the 26th – 27th July 2017 at the British Deputy High Commissioner’s Residence, Ikoyi, Lagos. The programme was co-lead by world renowned Professor Rodria Laline from Harvard, who is also a visiting Professor at INSEAD and IESE and Clive Carpenter, Vice Chair Business Council for Africa. Carpenter’s expertise of leading in Africa and Laline’s wealth of knowledge and experience in innovation (she developed the intellectual property that is used in every ATM card and has led many multinationals in almost every continent in the world) was brought to bear. The programme equipped senior executives and business owners with the requisite skill sets that they require to successfully lay out the strategic direction of their organisations to attain sustainable competitive advantage while offering the opportunity to enhance their social capital and forge fruitful synergies.
Participants explained that the training was essential for organisations as it offered senior executives the opportunity to understand the many vistas of innovation methodologies they can use to provide strategic repositioning of their business, particularly in this critical time as it relates to return on investment, staying afloat and forging ahead.
Laline is the Chair and founder of Intrabond Capital and the company’s international holdings in Asia and has more than 30 years of business experience in the C-level suite of large-cap corporate companies. Professor Rodria said that “nothing more could have added to my challenge as an academic director in board governance programs at Harvard than the turbulent environment facing Nigerian leaders in solving the structural reform agendas which are crucial for growth, economic resilience and the creation of jobs in the country. I am glad that I was able to offer fresh insights that could help organisations succeed in these dire times.”
Carpenter is an international banker, a trustee, an independent non-executive Director and a corporate governance specialist. Carpenter echoed the sentiments of participants and said that he considered “TEXEM’s various programmes to be immensely valuable to executives and offers organisations via their directors, practicable frameworks to help stimulate superlative performance and acquire competitive advantage that endures.”
The programme was attended by reputable senior executives from different business sectors in the country, both public and private. Participants attended from Central Bank of Nigeria, Access Bank, Planet Projects Ltd., NNPC, Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management, Age Consult Ltd., Businessday, Tilimanjaro Nig. Ltd., Nigerdock, Polaris Digital, THISDAY, and NIRSAL. The programme commenced with networking and registration of delegates at 8 am. After which, the Head of Prosperity Fund and Deputy Head of Mission, British Deputy High Commission, Andrew Davidson and Chair of TEXEM, UK, Dr. Alim Abubakre delivered the welcome remarks. First, Clive Carpenter led an interactive session on ‘Strategies that Have Succeeded and Failed in Africa.
A session on strategies for inspiring and developing an innovative organisation was the next event of the day, delivered by Prof. Laline. Laline thereafter, presented ‘Optimising Decision-Making Process in the Midst of Uncertainty’.
In her presentation, Laline said: “At all occasions in Nigeria where TEXEM invited me, I was extremely pleased with the many enthusiastic references to the well-run organisations. TEXEM deepens and increases the insight of delegates in the complex issues of corporate governance, innovation, and leadership. TEXEM invest responsibly in the sustainable development of its leaders and the leadership in Nigeria.”
Subsequently, Carpenter presented some interesting case studies of businesses that had succeeded in Africa as well as those that have failed and, with the active engagement of delegates; he analysed the key factors contributing to both business success and failure on the African Continent-Thereby drawing out lessons. Carpenter said: “Through this programme, participants were able to learn how to build a culture of creativity, lead successful innovation initiatives in different areas of their organisation and target areas that require strategic advancement to achieve breakthrough performance for sustainable competitive advantage.”
The final segment of the day involved a brain storming session on the organisations that have successfully implemented innovation and attained competitive advantage chaired by Abubakre and presented by Carpenter and Laline.
The programme continued on Thursday the 27th of July, 2017 and was co-delivered by Prof Rodria Laline and Clive Carpenter who were both impressive in their sessions. They consolidated the previous day’s discourse by offering actionable insights to participants on strategies for developing an innovative organisation and how to develop an innovative culture for competitive advantage. Also, through this capacity development programme, participants said that they developed fresh perspectives into how to foster agility across their organisations. Furthermore, delegates explained that they were able to challenge assumptions about how to successfully manage organisational politics for excellent results and learn different approaches to optimising the decision making process in the midst of uncertainty.
The programme ended with the presentation of certificates by the faculties, the CEO of TEXEM and the Director for International Trade, West Africa, John Woodruffe. This executive education programme provided the platform for high-level executive networking, and it was successful, given the very positive remarks provided by the participants at the end of the programme. Excerpts of the feedback from some delegates include:
“I love the networking; I love the training center. It’s good to know that I don’t have to travel abroad to have this type of training. The facilitators have been fantastic. I think I am going to recommend that some of my colleagues that have not been here should please give it a try, they would really enjoy it”, said -Dele Adewunmi, Head Internal Audit Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management Board.
“I’m really glad to have taken this course. I sincerely recommend TEXEM’s courses. You will be made better if you attend their courses”, Elizabeth Agu, Branch Controller, Central Bank of Nigeria Asaba.
“Before this session, I had never heard of TEXEM, but after this session, there are a lot of things I’m taking away from here. In Nigeria, you don’t really have this level of exposure, but the fact that TEXEM has brought in personnel that has broad experience overseas to Nigeria to show us things on competence is a very significant addition. I see that there is a lot of value”, Agu added.
Also Adebola Adesoye, Head HSEQ Nigerdock commented: “I am very pleased to have attended this training. It’s been quite interesting, and I will recommend it to my colleagues.” It’s been insightful and educative. -Niyi Okuboyejo. CEO Polaris Group.
Head, Group Project Management Courses, Access Bank, Ms. Barong Taiwo commented: “I have participated in this programme, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. What was particularly interesting to me was the part about innovation and how they can be applied in the organisation and even in the country at large. These sessions have been very stimulating. I will truly recommend this to anybody as the sessions are really value adding.”
“The training has been very insightful. I will highly recommend this training to all executives in Nigeria to attend”, said Executive Director, Operations, Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing System Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Kennedy Nwaruh.