I have been one whose interpretation of success was tied to academic excellence. I had always been at the top of my class from primary school up to the university, and all I could see for myself was to become an excellent physician-scientist. However, getting selected for the Young Innovation Leaders (YIL) boot camp in 2019 was a game changer. Reading through the profiles of the precious year’s participants, I began to anticipate the program even more, frequently asking myself what an environment of young but promising professionals from different backgrounds would be like. I looked forward to learning more about business and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as these were trending areas where my knowledge was grossly inadequate.

Arriving at the boot camp, I felt somewhat odd placed as the only medical professional among the participants. However, remembering my expectations from the boot camp, I was very open to interacting with others from different fields and learning from them.

The boot camp was an enlightening experience, with intensive learning sessions provided by innovation experts from home and abroad. Moreover, the frequent brainstorming exercises were mind-stretching and immensely beneficial to me considering the tasks that were ahead. I was privileged to be part of a ‘Digital Health Tools’ team that utilized the concepts in innovation and business that we had learnt to develop a solution in mental health under direct mentorship from an industry expert. This practical aspect to the immersion in innovation management made the concepts learned to be even more relatable. In addition, participating in the fellowship taught me more about teamwork and making the best use of available resources to achieve a common goal.

At the conclusion of the project phase, the final boot camp was another great learning opportunity, as I was taken through the process of developing a pitch for an idea or business. Putting together all that I had learnt from my YIL journey, I have made more significant progress in other projects as I have become a better-rounded person business-wise.

As an icing on a very tasty cake, being awarded the YIL fellowship was not the end of the journey but only the beginning as I am now being mentored by a professional in my own field who is committed to see me grow and achieve my full potential. Furthermore, I have made friends that we would together challenge ourselves to bring out the best in one another. The YIL fellowship is one that I would recommend for any young professional who wishes to be more, to accomplish more, and to impact more.

Author: Godspower Oboli MBBS (2019 YIL Fellow)