My AFG Experience – Afolabi
My AFG Experience – Afolabi
Since I was a child, I have always believed in Africa’s potential for development, growth and excellence despite its recognised challenges. I always identified with the energy and industry of the people around me. Still, at the same time, I also struggled to understand why this seldom translated into wealth, positive outcomes and high levels of productivity. As I evolved in my career, I recognised that there was essentially a skill and knowledge gap that needed to be filled. This provided the opportunity for those with appropriate skills and expertise to help steer and facilitate the growth of start-ups and existing businesses alike.
As an academic, my expertise lies in understanding complex real-world problems and theorising them. From experience, I find a gap between these theories that attempt to explain the world and the real-world implementation of ideas and solutions. I am currently researching construction projects in developing countries, innovation in construction and strategies for digital technologies in construction. My research interests include pedagogies, especially for online education in tertiary institutions and skills/capacity development.
In 2019, I was invited to join the pool of freelance consultants at AFG as a key expert in construction and higher education. The invitation was a perfect match for my aspiration towards creating a nexus between theory and practice. Freelancing at AFG is an exciting model as I am able to provide my skills and expertise while continuing my role as an academic in the Built Environment. It allows me to plan my consultancy engagements flexibly and concurrently explore current issues in education and the built environment through research. Thus, my experience has been a pleasant surprise as I have been positively inspired by the vision of AFG and the competencies of other freelancers on the project and the wider AFG talent pool.
Through my time at AFG, I have witnessed its phenomenal growth in its people, organisational structure, training and engagement with consultants. I find the engagement initiative quite important – as a slight drawback of the freelance model is that freelancers can feel slightly isolated from the organisation’s core. However, true to some of its core competencies (strategy and engagement), AFG has identified this challenge under its dynamic leadership and has created a community manager role to address this problem and make everyone feel part of a warm family. This demonstrates the value AFG places on its people.
What has impressed me most at AFG is its dynamism which underscores its core competencies in strategy, stakeholder engagement, research and implementation. Not only have I seen this during my engagement on a mission for clients, but I have also witnessed AFG apply similar principles in its growth from a nascent firm to a leading consultancy capable of creating leading thinkers and steering African companies into leading global organisations. I have particularly found the African Hidden Champions Initiative to be a very welcome one as it recognises ‘giants’ who are making great strides on the continent whilst highlighting the potentials that they can achieve if the best strategic decisions are taken in an informed, data-driven environment. AFG has made great strides so far and is indeed an exemplar for the organisations it provides its services. I am excited for the future of AFG and the impact it is sure to have in the African sphere.