Do you know what a Barcamp is? What of a Science Barcamp? Well, to tell you the truth neither did I, until quite recently I attended my very first Barcamp gathering. You can describe it as a network of people who primarily gather due to learn and share in an open space.
The Science BarCamp organized by GhScientific in partnership with the GhanaThink Foundation and the Next Einstein Forum was an eye opener for me as a first timer. We all know that science is important, but did you ever consider the need to communicate science or commercialize it? Turns out there is a large community of scientists and inventors in Ghana doing things that are mind blowing, yet the means of marketing themselves and telling the world their stories is almost non-existent.
It started with a bang
At the beginning of the event, we heard from Alain Gbeasor one of the organizers of MOBEX and Eyram Tawiah Co-founder of Leti Arts who told us of how they had turned their passion in science and art into successful businesses. MOBEX brings together investors and enthusiasts of the ICT industry for a 3-day conference with seminars, product launches and exhibitions by 100+ quality brands. Lerti Arts on the other hand has been making African games based on folklore characters since 2009.
Following this initial engagement, we were introduced to other great minds such as Jorge Appiah of Kumasi Hive, Amma Aboagye of USAID and Dr.Paul Dsane-Aidoo. Together with Alain and Eyram, you could literally feel how charged up the seminar room was as each panelist spoke on various topics from bridging the gap between science and technology to how to protect ideas and assets while breaking barriers to promote science and technology. The passion and love for their work was evident and they graciously shared their knowledge. One particular message that resonated strongly from the panel was the fact that indeed science can be commercialized; after all the panelists are living proof of it!
The passion and love for their work was evident and they graciously shared their knowledge.
Speed mentoring, kinda like speed dating
One of the participants commented on how inspired he was by the panel discussion but expressed the fear of losing the “can do spirit” right after leaving the camp. According to him this was not the first time he felt he was on cloud nine and all charged up to conquer the world whiles attending a seminar or conference but lost that feeling after a few days. The next session which was a speed mentoring session seemed to provide a solution to this problem. The participants had a one on one discussion with a mentor and they had the chance to ask any question as well as the opportunity to stay in touch with the mentors to remain inspired.
Science is fun
The fun part of the Science Barcamp begun with games such as the Sudoku which saw competitors exhibiting their creative thinking abilities combined with math and the pipette wars which brought on a new appreciation of scientists. Finally we had the opportunity to use the Science-Set created by Dext Technologies in a fun game called the Circuit Wars. It seemed the ladies dominated the Circuit Wars by being the first on to completely wire up a circuit on multiple occasions.
What peaked the competitive side of the participants was the chance to win and taste products from Mr. Yoghurt, courtesy of one of the mentors, Michael Martey, CEO of Forward Thinkers Farms. The last part of the Science Barcamp saw both mentors and participants coming forward to tell the house their specialization and inviting those interested in those areas to join in a group discussion.
I’ve learnt a lot particularly pertaining to communicating and commercializing science. There are some experiences that can’t be described, using words would just dilute them and the reader won’t achieve the desired height. Being among people who do their work not only because they want to impact society but because they enjoy what they do rubs off on you and I wish more people would join in this change that is gradually taking over in the science and innovative community in Ghana.
Scientists in Ghana know so much but no one knows about them… who is telling the story. GhScientific is the voice of the STEM community in Ghana. Why don’t you join us across our social media platforms as we tell the stories of the Scientific community in Ghana and across the globe? Are you actively involved in promoting STEM through one organization or the other? Then visit our facebook page and let’s introduce you to the Ghana STEM Network.