Title: What a scrapyard in Ghana can teach us about innovation

Presenter: DK Osseo-Asare



  • You began by inviting us on a journey to a scrapyard that you described.Your organization was to describe the environment, contrast it to formal education, describe the results of a partnership between the two, and then provide an optimism for what this can accomplish.
  • I have some mixed feelings about your slides. I favor the type of slides that you used: photos that dramatically supplement your message. For me, this raised the effectiveness of your message. What I don't like is that you used so many photos that were really repeating the same message at the start. I'd like to see you select a subset of the best photos and leave them on the screen longer instead of moving on so quickly to the next one. 
  • Your slides that simulate a blueprint (the cycle drawings, the makerspace kiosk), though, were practically unreadable by me. There's not enough contrast between the blue background, the violet lines, and the red labels. I think these slides would work better with a white background.
  • I'm not sure if this is your intention, but it seemed to me that you were making a value judgement that school has to be boring because it's only lecture and memorization. I think it would be better to emphasize the scrapyard learning-space in contrast to the complaints the youth have about typical school in Ghana, or something similar. That way, you're contrasting the two types of learning experiences among somewhat-peers.
  • I like that you defined STEAM when you first introduced it. I understand STEM, and I had hoped that you would explain how Arts contributes to the projects and the future careers of these youth, because this is the first reference I've ever seen to STEAM, and I haven't been convinced why it's a better model than STEM. Maybe this will be your next TED presentation.
  • After you described the makerspace system, you told us about sankofa. I would have appreciated more transition to this next section. Perhaps something simple such as: "when I showed you our learning model, I promised to tell you more about Sankofa." This next section was very different than what you'd been talking about up to that point. Your journey began by showing us the real conditions and  skills developed to use what's available. Then it described the practical marriage of learning and innovation and the concrete results of makerspaces. This section about sankofa, though, is about culture and goals and an aspirational future of Africa — the peak of our journey. Give us a long pause before you start this section of the presentation, shift your position, tell us "but there's a lot more to this story than just harvesting and reusing scrap metal." Use anything and all of these. Use every technique to show us dramatically that we've been in the Tell portion of the presentation, and now we've reached the Think part.
  • You don't need to thank us when you finish. I thank you for working hard to share your story.


Chuck Hinkle has been formally evaluating and coaching speakers worldwide for over thirty years.

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