Oludare Ayomide Akinlaja is a Development Consultant focused on Learning and Development and Designing Strategy for Transformation, Growth and Innovation. He has worked across industries ranging from Startups, Education, Social Enterprises and Public Sector organizations; He is also a Lecturer that teaches Leadership, Systems Intelligence, Strategy and Design. He is also an Author and Theologian. He is the CEO of Oludare Akinlaja Research and Development Company a global knowledge sharing company with products and projects that drive individual and institutional transformation.He is the Founder of Yadaversity also know as University for Alternative Academics a Technology, Technical and Vocational Education Training School setup to improve the skill level of Africans. He is a passionate believer in the possibilities of growth on the African continent.
Speaking to Ediale Kingsley in this interview he reintroduced himself, “My name is Oludare Ayomide Akinlaja. I am from Ogun State, Nigeria. I studied Information and Communication Technology for my first degree, but I have also undertaken different courses around Business Analytics, Management, and Social Impact Development. I am a Development Consultant focused on Learning and Development and Strategy. I am also a Lecturer, teaching on Systems Intelligence, Design, Strategy, and Innovation. In addition, I am an Author and Theologian; I believe in the ability of principles from the Bible to drive both human and social development.
When and how did you start the Oludare Akinlaja Research & Development Company?
I started my company in 2018, but since 2010 I have been a trainer and facilitator, running different trainings in partnership with other companies. However, in 2018 I felt I could do more with my own company and expand the services and products so we can create more value.
What is your motivation and what drives you to greatness?
I am just passionate about transformation. I believe that both humans and societies can be better versions of themselves; So the desire to see this happen is what drives me to greatness. I have always loved to teach and share knowledge. I started teaching and training right from my 100level in the University. But what I found out was that I was passionate about knowledge that could be applied. In this part of the world we are so carried away with information overload that we don’t pay attention to the practicality of learning. I would always like to share knowledge that people could apply and benefit community.
What are your long term goals for OARD?
But when I left school I trained and facilitated with different companies. In 2019 I thought I could do more with the gift of teaching and sharing knowledge so I set up the company Oludare Akinlaja Research and Development Company. My long term goal is to be across at least 33 African Countries driving individual and Institutional transformation through Learning, design and Innovation.
Who are your mentors and how have they influenced your life?
I have 2 people who have tremendously affected my life. The first is my Pastor Rev Victor Adeyemi who taught me how not to be afraid to start. Also Bishop David Oyedepo taught me how to live a life of value and dare the impossible. The others who I have watched from afar and I admire and infact if you check I am building my company close to how they built theirs is John Maxwell and Anthony Robbins. I’m inspired by John Maxwell and Anthony Robbins because they’ve used sharing knowledge as a platform for transforming lives and institutions. If you look at these two people, they share knowledge but have also been able to create companies that have shifted individuals, organizations and generations.
Why is empowering others important to you?
If you really understood how important community is and how it can make people’s lives better, you would focus on empowering others and being candid with them. You haven’t truly lived until you’ve helped others reach their potential with the gifts you have.
What other business do you run aside OARD?
I also own a school called Yadaversity; It is a Technology, Technical and Vocational Education Training School. The idea is to train Africans with practical skills to empower them, reduce unemployment and make them productive members of society.
What is the Nigerian dream to you?
My Nigerian dream is to have a Nigeria that is structured to allow different states within the nation become independent enough to be productive. I have become less emotional about Nigeria we have to become more pragmatic. And the beauty of Nigeria would come alive when we manage our diversity. And we can only manage it when we take advantage of each others strength.
What advice do you have for aspiring young leaders?
I think young Leaders need to be Visionary, Focused and pay attention to the very things that matter. The noise is so much that you can get distracted with things that rarely matters. But as a leader you must pay attention to things like Sacrifice, Value and Service.
Are there a special project you are currently working on that you will require partners?
Well, we always have projects but for me what we are really looking out for partners now is Yadaversity. We need people who would support our desire to train Africans in different skills. We need Private sector individuals, Politicians. We want to build the largest school in Sub Saharan Africa and we need all the partnerships we can get.