By: Aaron Ohms
Friday June 17, 2011: Kumasi and Accra, Ghana
What is synergy? What does it mean? To me, it means multiple points that complement one another coming together and to create a common working entity. How we get to this point is the tricky part. One way I do this is B.R.T; also referred to as building relationships and trust. Don’t worry, this acronym will catch on soon enough; just you wait. Let me explain how the team did that and where we are at this point.
When we started this project we did not know what to expect. The only thing certain was the uncertain. After four weeks in Ghana, meeting with all of the stakeholders and a variety of other valuable acquaintances, I think we are starting to see synergy come together. It is really bridging that gap of connecting people so they may work together. The team has a good understanding of what needs to happen and who needs to do what moving forward to make gel fuel and this project a success.
For example, just this past week, my colleague and I went to Accra where we were able to hold important meetings and introductions. One was with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre or GIPC. Using this tool of B.R.T, we laid a foundation for this relationship moving forward. GIPC would be a key knowledge resource as we develop this market for gel fuel. Additionally, we also visited one of my colleague’s personal favorites, Blue Skies Juice Company. Seriously though, he is obsessed; everywhere we go, “do you have Blue Skies?” Response: “No”. This goes on and on; I think my colleague needs to work on his success rate. Anyways, I digress (which I forgot to do in the last blog, my apologies), back to the Blue Skies meeting. The premise of the meeting and company tour is the idea that the project may be able to use excess waste of pineapple and mango from the Blue Skies factory to help produce the ethanol in the still. This was a fantastic company visit, complete with an assembly line tour and a drive to their waste site (very important). We also were able to meet the CEO of Blue Skies by his request, upon from his prompt return from London. Of course, this information was brought to our attention on short notice, so I made my colleague and myself by a tie and shirt from the street market in Accra. We needed to roll in with style.
It was not until we arrived at Blue Skies and met the CEO and other managers, that we realized a tie was not needed. It is a very flat organization, where everyone collaborated and worked together. I was surprised and pleased by this at the same time, and was extremely impressed by the man himself that ran the show; he was already able to create that synergy. Before we could even finish our pitch and explanation of the project, Blue Skies had offered to help in any way possible regarding utilizing their waste for out ethanol purposes. The CEO expressed, “Hey, why not take a risk? You are helping the local community, we want to help you.” I attribute that to B.R.T. This is the first step in that synergy and long-lasting relationship. I strongly feel that Blue Skies could be a strategic partner for this project moving forward. At the least, to see how you run a successful and sustainable company that benefits the local Ghanaian community directly. Point taken my friend, lesson learned.
Bye for now,