Oluwatobilola Ogunbowale is a Field Researcher. She is the founder of Field Approach Consult, a research Support Company that focuses on conducting excellent field research support services for clients across the world in different fields, including areas like science, medicine, marketing, arts, history, music and management.
Her journey into Field Approach started as a result of her love for the academia. “I love conducting research and my passion for finding out things drives me. As a child I had my own little laboratory, where I could conduct my research. Just after my defense as an undergraduate, my supervisor gave me the opportunity to help out in her research. So I was put on a team of experts. With these people, I was able to learn and keep my motivation active. Even when there were difficult tasks to be done, I was given the opportunity to take the lead when other senior researchers were not available. So, I can say that my curiosity and the quest for knowledge drove me and have sustained me in this career. So I just want to serve humanity by making research easy and convenient for researchers through Field Approach Consult.
The field researcher noted that there were a lot of challenges when they started. “Many people thought we were just a group of people helping students write their projects and all that. It was difficult for those around us to understand what we do and that it was beyond conducting basic undergraduate or graduate level researches but that we also work for organizations that need market surveys to make concise policies for their product. There was also the financial aspect of conducting the research, since we were a small company, we wanted our work and deliveries to speak for itself, so we wouldn’t ask our clients for upfront payment but we went ahead to source for funds to conduct the work. Having to move from one place to another, get the right materials and people cost money which was always difficult to source. However, we stood by our company philosophy of delivering what was valuable to our clients and so even in the face of the challenges, we didn’t drift from our goal. The motivation has helped us to grow as a company. One of the challenges we faced was moving from an academic mindset to a business frame. I wasn’t a business person I had always been in the Academia so starting a company was very stressful and there wasn’t a lot of motivation for the business part of it, but now things are getting better and we are unstoppable as we go.”
Tobi draws inspirations from movies and the real world alike. “I have always been a dreamer so I draw inspiration from TV series like superman, X-files amongst others, the curiosity made me want to be a superhero that served humanity in my way. I get a lot of inspiration from my family, friends, mentors and also the environment. I look at what I am currently, what I want to be and find a way to get there so I get inspiration from myself too.”
One of the projects that engaged her a lot was one they had to do for some postgraduate students. “It was very tedious because they at some point were not decisive about the work, changing plans and trying to cut cost along. But in all, a great work was achieved and the money didn’t affect the quality of the job. As much as it’s a business, Field Approach is a passion, so it just encouraged her to get the best out of every situation. Also attending business networking platforms has been of great help because we got to meet people and Field Approach starting gaining contacts from there some which are currently clients.”
Moving forward, she is hoping for more clients and funding to take the organization beyond Nigeria. “Research is one area that many people don’t focus on because we believe that things just happen. But on the contrary, many world innovations and inventions are as a result of research, Africa and Nigeria stands at a very vantage point when it comes to research that can benefit the world. But if people are not enthusiastic about this, then we will continue to depend on what other people have done to live. Research is all about improving the daily lives of people, and so we must be committed to exploring new ways of doing things. Field Approach consult aims to maximize the dearth or lack of enthusiasm for research in the nation and also become a formidable partner to organizations, multinationals and global bodies in conducting research.”
On youth empowerment, she has a lot to say. “The Nigerian youth has the knowledge and the skills to be the best. What is lacking, however, is the opportunity to showcase their skills. People often say no one will give you an opportunity; you just have to push for it. While there is a truth factor to this, people must also be provided with that platform to showcase what they can do. Youth empowerment is not about giving people empowerment, it’s about the sustainability of this empowerment I believe we should empower our youths intellectually. The youths as well should be ready to learn a trade or a skill. Whatever skill you have cannot be taken from you, it becomes a seed. It is possible to say we empowered 1million youths by giving them money to start businesses, but are they taught how to start or even grow a business? Youth empowerment should be more intellectual. That is why at Field Approach, we engage ourselves with the process of producing new knowledge for our clients. Knowledge is key but new knowledge is superior, knowledge and life is not static, and so research is central to knowledge, living and youth empowerment.”
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