2022 Founder's Note: The Journey to Africa continues.
<![CDATA[Nine (9) days into 2022, it’s a new year and New Year do come with high hopes, high energy, high spirit, new resolutions and post-holiday blues but hey holidays are over and we have to set the ball rolling.
Here are a few briefs we want to share insights on.
- Building the team and staffing
The team has to keep getting better and stronger, we will continue to bring the bests on board, recently we added a few team members, we have onboarded some while some are yet to be on-site and still working remotely, they are Abdullahi Muhammed, Aisha Atanda and a new corp member – Joseph Akinwole, please let’s all welcome them and make sure we treat them to lunch one after each other.
At the top and lower level of operations, we will introduce OKRs/ KPIs and in addition, some important metrics for managers, long term OKRs will be reviewed quarterly while short term OKR’s will be reviewed monthly, a template will be shared concerning this.
- Our Strategic Processes
The Strategic Process continues till the end of this year, it has helped in the complete overhaul of the entire company structure and with it, we have been able to optimize a lot of things like working towards the company’s long term vision.
The company will be organizing a retreat later in Q1, it will be inspired by our 5th anniversary, the retreat was to happen in the early days of January but because of lack of stability in the products, we are looking at February for that for now, it is expected to bring together all relevant stakeholders like staff, remote guys, different product groups and create quality time for bonding.
We are hoping to get a befitting hospital this January, a medical centre that will support the growth of the team on-site and when formal processes are completed with the centre, information will be communicated across.
- Therapy Sessions
To avoid burnouts, improve productivity and increase sharpness, and to find the right balance in terms of mental wellbeing, we will be introducing group therapy sessions and in the long term or as the company grows individual sessions will come up too.
- COVID-19 protocols and Office Safety
Starting from Monday 10th January, we will strengthen the covid 19 safety measures, all employees on-site are to be on Face Mask, employees off-site are to make sure they imbibe this too wherever they seem to be because life is important, all expected visitors and guests are to be on a face mask and follow the leading protocols. Finally, according to the last survey, some of us had shown interest in taking the vaccine, please we can still go-ahead to do that and abide by the office safety measures.
The company will allow the products (JSP, JD Lab Academy and others ) to lead the B2C marketing strategies while we continue to adopt sponsorship of life-changing programmes.
Recently, the company also brought in a growing business developer to help in developing strategies on how to create a marketing structure for the Lab, increase traction across products and create adoption plans for the Lab’s product.
On social media handling, we will look inward either through the internship program by creating a team that will handle our social media channels most effectively.
We will try to reach more global audience by partnering with film-makers to put our stories out there especially on top leading media houses like BBC, Aljazeera and others
- Capacity Development
As usual, we will continue to uplift the team’s capacity by sustaining our annual Q1 training targets, for the new guys, what usually happens during this period is that every staff is given a 3 months deadline to submit a certificate of online training in any of the areas he/she has a deficiency, for this year the company we will assign areas to each person on what training field or expertise to go for.
We will also continue with the CB Friday, by quarterly creating a theme and setting topics that will be discussed as the year winds down.
Finally, for exposure and measure up with the global standards, each product group will look at conferences that will happen this year and submit at least one that the group or an individual will attend, for now, these conferences can be online or physical within the country Nigeria.
- Working Conditions
Through Labspace, we are getting some funds in to put up one of the best working environments in the country, most of the pioneer staff knew how we started and how we spread the inventory process of the Lab into phases, the company bootstrapped so the inventory process didn’t come easy but rather get to be improved almost after every year, the funds used for these are usually from the earnings of services provided, continuos re-investment by the founder and the main financier, but as highlighted earlier we will use Labspace to speed this process up since most of the spaces in the building will be commercialized.
Pension is back for active executives since it was set to be in 2020, we are also looking at giving the lower-level staff a promising future by enrolling a few of them in post-secondary education.
- On Products
JSP recently had a new Product Manager, he (Umar Madugu) is coming to lead the product to a stable state, more partnerships are expected according to the product’s road map to increase adoption, organise annual training for the schools currently on the platform and many others.
It is not a new fact that it’s our most precious product, with this product we have been able to position the brand well to our immediate target markets, in the coming days, we’d introduce growth driven features in the designs and user experiences, some of the new features will be AI inclined as we have shown some in 2020.
Hopefully this January, we get to conclude the partnership with EduTech for the birth of EduSpark.
Its’ sister product J-Learn is coming up with programmes for Colleges of Education and Health Schools in Nigeria.
Finally, on JSP, we added 2 more engineers to pilot the add-on solutions like ID card to debit card project, Result Systems and Hostel management system.
— Netbuildr Africa
Kindly recall that we have tested the beta version of this product and we got reasonable feedbacks from important stakeholders especially the targeted users on how to move the product to the next stage.
Also, when SIP started we chose JSP to lead the company out of the COVID crisis just to have more time to focus on a few things and reduce distractions and cost of running the business, due to these reasons we have not been able to move the product beyond its current state but it is expected that in Q2 of this year 2022 we will focus on it by bringing the next line of actions back like raising funds, build custom AI solution to refine the customer order processes and make getting an online presence for SMEs in Africa easy and within minutes.
Lab space is currently at the implementation stage, there is pre-seed fundraising going on right now and the implementation team is open for funding as N5Million has been committed out of the N16Million budget set out to go round the stage, we are pushing to close the pre-seed funding stage by end of February and do a pre-launch at end of Q1 or at the beginning of Q2,
Other projects like biiya.ng, e-governance projects are still on and we will continue to outsource some while we use remote teams for a few others.
Conclusively, 2022 promises to be a better year, we hope and pray to have a good outing and I want us to remember the 3Ps (people, process and products) and always go by the founding principles of the Lab:
- — Longevity
- — Focus
- — Agility and Scrum
- — Quality
- — Blue ocean
- — Respect
- — Great team
- — Promoter
- — And Extra does it
Abdulkadir Suleiman Lapai,