InnoVoice, Samuel Akpobome, tells us how he is boosting his employability skills

It was in Vienna that Samuel Akpobome first took part in the InnoEnergy Game-Changing Impact Challenge. Here Samuel talks us through what happened, and how it has helped him start to supercharge his career.

Collaboration is key

The European Utility Week was held in Vienna, towards the end of 2018. I wasn’t the only InnoEnergy student attending, and we took the opportunity to learn more about teamwork and develop our softer skills.

The InnoEnergy Game-Changing Impact Challenge saw us, virtual strangers, split into teams. The first thing we did was use The GC Index® framework to understand just how we would all be able to contribute, how our proclivities could combine most effectively, and how we approached problems.

Considering hardly any of us had met or worked together properly before, it was amazing to see just how much insight we could gain via such a simple way of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Each team was given a real-life business problem to work on, with the emphasis on finding a solution whilst working as a team. Those solutions had to be presented to our peers on the third day.

My team was set a challenge on Creating Value From Smart Metering. Sponsored by E.ON, the challenge gave us all a much clearer understanding of how the business world works, how we all have adapt in order for the wider team to flourish, and the need to collaborate.

It was a very engaging challenge. Being a group of strangers thrown together, we knew that we would need to get to know each other quickly. That was where sharing our GC Index® results really helped. It meant we all went into things with our eyes open, we could engage and interact from the outset, understanding what our colleagues wanted to contribute. Everything was not just more productive, but more fun.

According to The GC Index® I am a Play Maker, which means I am at my best orchestrating things, making sure everyone else knows what they are expected to do, and that the entire team communicates effectively. Naturally this is a big ask when the team has only just been put together, but it was a great opportunity to put my skills to the test.

Once we had worked out what are roles and proclivities were, we set about tackling the problem itself. The challenge we had been set was insightful and engaging, providing us with the chance to produce something tangible and with genuine potential for the future.

Coaching to become an effective decision maker

Another invaluable part of my development has been working with my coach, Wojciech Busz. Wojciech has given me endless advice around how to make better decisions, and suggested tools and frameworks I can use to support myself.

All of this was incredibly useful when it came to working as part of a team, as well as tackling more complex problems. Wojciech has helped me understand that the skills and processes I use to solve problems every day, are exactly the same ones I need to tackle what, at first glance, seem like much bigger issues.

The starting point is the ability to analyse a situation to decide on a course of action. I have learned that, no matter how overwhelming a challenge might seem at first, most of the decision-making steps are fundamental. I have put these frameworks to the test in all sorts of situations and feel confident in my ability to make decisions no matter what I am confronted with.

Gaining practical work experience in the energy sector

I am currently on an internship based at Coreso SA (, a regional security co-ordinator that proactively supports transmission system operators to ensure the security of electricity supply on a European regional basis. At Coreso, I support the Common Grid Modelling (CGM) and the short and medium term adequacy (SMTA) project teams.

Whilst it is always a challenge to manage studies whilst working it is fantastic to have the opportunity to put my skills to the test. I am enjoying the fact I am able to draw on my previous work experience and translate what I have been studying at university into practical employability skills.

As part of my role I am supporting two very senior people within the business. It is great to get the experience working face-to-face with senior energy professionals and be the one providing advice about actions they should take.

My studies are super-relevant to what they are doing and it is just amazing to be able to showcase my skills, whilst gaining some more work experience.