Success, Preparation, and why these two words love each other.
They say success comes when preparation meets opportunity. Some like to call this phenomenon using a very strange word - luck. Let's talk more about this.
I (My real name is Chiratidzo by the way), together with a good friend of mine, Steve, became the First Runners Up in the SeedCo Innovation challenge. Have a look at an excerpt from the herald (for the full article, click this link)
Fadziso Mundawarara Herald Reporter
SEED Co, in partnership with Boost Fellowship, shelled out over US$2 500 to motivative students who come up with new agricultural concepts.
The ceremony was held at Seed Co plant in Stapleford, north of Harare, last Friday [20 March].
Seed Co regional managing director Mr Denias Zaranyika said innovation was key, and had become the lifeblood of organisations across the globe.
“Evolutionary and revolutionary innovations are coming in to disrupt the status core. Digital systems have brought a new breath of fresh air to the world, and innovation hubs across the world everyday are dreaming of new and better ways of meeting customer needs and expectations,” he said.
Students who made presentations were each awarded US$300 and WiFi routers.
Ronald Murove from the Midlands State University (MSU) came out tops and bagged US$1 000 while second position went to the duo of Chiratidzo Charakupa and Steve Tadzoka from the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT), who pocketed US$700.
The third prize of US$500 went to Prince Mazimuku from Lupane State University.
Seed Co deputy managing director Dr Edworks Mhandu challenged youths to create solutions for problems and bring creative ideas.
In this article, I made a long analysis of what led to us becoming successful.
What was the competition for? And What did we need to do?
Seed Co Zimbabwe, a company registered to operate in Zimbabwe with a mandate to breed, produce, process and market hybrid crop seeds in partnership with BOOST Fellowship sought to enhance the capacities of young people in Universities and Colleges of Agriculture in developing innovative and technological ideas that would create value for the company as well as improve farmers livelihoods in Zimbabwe. Seed Co was looking for ideas or concepts which could be developed into solutions. Once the ideas had been generated, they would be selected and developed into actionable solutions by the idea generators. The challenge wass open to all University and Agricultural College students from first year up to PhD level.
Concept ideas could include, but were not limited to:
New technologies and business models that would make agribusiness more inclusive or use collaborative solutions to improve market penetration.
Innovations that would empower Seed Co farmers to fully participate in agribusiness and gain revenue from employment or entrepreneurship such as new distribution channels
Initiatives that would lead to new products that are bankable and meet the client needs of Seed Co farmers.
Marketing, production, social impact or technological ideas which would lead to new products, improved business practices, profitability and potential improvement in production, quality and overall products in the Seed Co stable.
The winners would be given the opportunity to further develop the proposal for implementation with the full backing from Seed Co, for a period of 6 months. (Maximum 3 people on a team)
Solutions or Ideas were supposed to focus on adding value to Rural Farmers, Commercial Farmers, Seed Producers, Seed Research Communities, Seed houses (SeedCo), Farmer groups and Farmer organisations, Schools (Agriculture), Universities and Colleges
Ideas and proposed solutions could be around these areas in agriculture. Customer Loyalty, Sales, Logistics, Seed research, Weather, Agronomy, Marketing, Breeding, Farm
Activities, Financial reporting, Retail networking, Warehousing, Procurement, Seed Processing, Collaboration and Communication, Seed Quality Assurance and Product development.
What approach did we take?
Brainstorm. Research. Iterate.
We came up with crazy ideas. We found the most suitable one – a system that minimizes post-harvest losses for farmers! We did our research. We found out that there are companies that offer such similar systems, and we had to find our point of differentiation. Our main selling point was the use of complex algorithms that minimize post-harvest losses to an absolute minimum.
We then filled in a google form, making sure that we filled in EVERYTHING in as much detail as possible.
We then saved a backup copy – just in case we were chosen to present, and boy did that come in handy.
What was the most challenging part of getting it done?
The application phase. It’s very easy to say – hey that’s not for me! Let’s just leave it. I was by HIT (the Harare Institute of Technology) this linkwhich is a university in which we always have loads of courses so finding time to do the research and all with my team mate was very challenging.
What did number one do different?
He had a killer PPT. He had a killer system. He had a killer presentation. He had a hell of a lot more experience than we did.