NEXTI2I Organizes Fifth Lean Research Workshop In Ghana.

NEXTI2I Organizes Fifth Lean Research Workshop In Ghana.

Nexti2i Organizes Fifth Lean Research Workshop.

On the 10th and 11th of December 2019, The New Entrepreneurs Xchange for Transformation: Idea to Impact project (NEXTi2i) organized Lean Research workshop at Ashesi University. Led by co-Founder of Lean Research, Kendra Leith, with support from Dr. Gordon Adomdza, Arkeisha Amissah-Arthur, Jewel Thompson, Megha Hegde, and Elizabeth Hoffecker (co-founder of Lean Research), the workshop brought together 54 practitioners and instructors from across Ghana. On the first day, the team held an introductory session for participants with a general interest in lean research and a Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop for those with an interest in facilitating lean research on the second day.

Introductory workshop

Ms. Kendra Leith led participants, which included researchers, entrepreneurs, project heads, incubator and hub managers, through the Lean Research principles of rigor, respect, relevance, and right-size and how these concepts are  being applied to improve research administration. For the first time, MIT D-Lab has made a commitment to disseminate Lean Research training for the purpose of creating a partner to support and improve research excellence in Ghana. The participants had the opportunity to apply the Lean Research principles  to hands-on scenarios. They role played different characters and acted out scenes that are components of the research process. They then identified challenges in data collection in the scenes acted out and developed potential solutions in a skit. Some of the challenges included language barriers, which affect the quality of data collected; how authoritative figures like parents and elders can influence the data collection process; and insufficient engagement and collaboration with the participants before the research, which often leads to inconsistencies in data collection. To end the introductory workshop, the participants mapped out their ideal research processes and identified areas where they could make their research leaner. 

 Dr. Gordon Adomdza, Program Director of NEXTi2i, explained that “Lean Research seeks to minimise the burden on the participant of the research by being more inclusive and that also helps to improve the quality and accuracy of information gathered from the participants.” 

Ms. Leith  noted that the skits showed that there was a general understanding and acceptance of the barriers to effective research data collection and urged the participants to take the concepts into practice in their various fields of work. She reminded the participants that, “Lean Research draws on concepts from lean production, human-centered design, co-design, and participatory action research and provides students, faculty, practitioners, and donors with a concrete framework for doing research, monitoring, and evaluation activities leaner.” As such, the participants should also endeavour to connect with the foundation of the approach in their continued efforts to make their research better.

Training of Trainers (ToT) sessions

Ms. Kendra Leith orienting the ToTs to provide table facilitation at the general lean research workshop

During the Introductory Workshop on December 10, the selected ToT participants got an introductory  dry run helping Ms. Leith with the general lean research session. Ms. Leith held a brief orientation session where the potential trainers were oriented and equipped with the tools to table-facilitate the introductory lean research workshop sessions. They went on to facilitate the activities in teams of two or three playing the role of student and teaching assistant simultaneously. MIT D-Lab held another workshop for individuals to be part of a Training of Trainers (ToT) program to train participants to help support the onward dissemination of the Lean Research approach on December 11, 2019. One of the goals of the NEXTi2i project is to realize a sustained impact on research excellence.

With the experience conducting facilitation at the tables, eighteen (18) ToTs had the opportunity to reflect on this experience from the previous day, create their own content, and practice facilitation act again but for different activities included in the introductory workshop. Since they were training to be able to facilitate in the future, they generated scenarios and introductory content, adapted the existing facilitation materials, practised the facilitation, reflected on their own implementation, and provided feedback to others. The participants were able to gain a better understanding of the process to design each of the activities, identify tips for teaching the content, and ask questions to facilitate groups. This was the first of a series of workshops, trainings, and evaluation activities as part of the Lean Research Facilitator ToT program.  

“This session has helped me realise how beneficial the lean research process is, not just from an ethical standpoint but also because it improves the data, it improves the results, it is better for clients/stakeholders, for the community we are intervening in and for the subjects. This will help our company and others improve our  digital product,” Mark Smith of YUX, a research and design company based in Dakar, Abidjan.

Application of Lean Research

Those who attended the Introductory Workshop and the Training of Trainers Workshop were excited about the prospect of not just applying lean research but also helping others use it appropriately in their research. Some of the participants had this to say about how they plan to implement the lean research methodology: “Lean approach to research will improve the data collected on a research I’m conducting in Ghana about culture for my blog”,”I will use it to improve my engagement with other stakeholders”,“I will apply it to an ongoing intervention at my hub in the upper west”, “We are developing new intervention projects at work and I believe this will greatly improve the outcome of the project”, “ This has empowered me to train students to assist with their academic work.”

 What’s next

In March 2020 and June 2020, NEXTi2i will host an additional workshop as well as evaluations as an aid to further develop the capacity of trainers. The trainers are expected to take lean research to the ends of Ghana and beyond. Hence the partners are developing a program that will not only train them on facilitating the process but also a program that supports their research agenda and ensures that they are not only ‘preaching’ lean research but also practising it. 

NEXTi2i will publish additional Lean Research training,resources, and how practitioners have implemented Lean Research in Ghana and other locations in the coming months. 

To learn more about Lean Research and the NEXTi2i program can go to