All who succeed in life sets off to a bad start. That is a well known maxim preached so religiously to would-be entrepreneurs, innovators. But what if your bad start earns you a patent right to a cargo storage device for no mean a company than Ford Motors?
That is the story of Ghana’s Charles Amoh, a consultant, a strategist, a man who dreamt, led and achieved one of the most basic yet important inventions in the world’s famous automobile companies-Ford Motors.
In a task akin to finding a dark spot in a brand new white linen, Amoh and his team of seven students at the Carnegie Mellon University in the US were provided with a brand new Ford vehicle to come up with new ideas that would improve an already improved vehicle and make life comfortable for riders.
They had liberty to dent, break, crash even burn the brand new vehicle, if they so wished, but at the end of it all they were to add something new, original to the vehicle crafted with determination and an unassailable zeal of a person-Henry Ford- who left out the word impossible in his brand new dictionary to achieve what was, and still is, one of the world’s top notch, luxury vehicles of all times.
It was a semester long task but one that defined the world view of an African, a proud Ghanaian who against all formidable odds, led a team made up of Asians, Europeans and Americans, to add to the endless possibilities of a company known to achieve the impossible.
As if possessed by the wizardry of Mr Ford and his men, Amoh and his charges – Aaron Pavkov, Charlene Chu, David Lung, Jonlin Pei, Josh Urso, Konn Lam – amongst whom were into Finance, IT specialists, marketers, engineers, designers, strategists dug deep into their faculties and brought up an amazing feat of success in a form of a storage device that has since been patented by Justia Patents, USA, a top notch patent institution in America.
The device is to store personal effects of passengers, including laptops, watches, monies and is to be hidden in a part of the ford vehicle which will make it impossible for an ordinary eye to see let alone to steal.
“Society is made up for vices. People can break into people’s cars, people can vandalize and steal valuable items.
“We thought that if there were devices like airbags to protect the drivers and passengers, there ought to be a device to protect the properties of those passengers as well.” Amoh told Myjoyonline.com.
He said after days, weeks, months of tireless work, in which brains were racked, thoughts were challenged, tendons were stretched beyond every elastic limit, the hard work of the team was finally rewarded.
Even though other teams came up with other ideas or innovations in the university, it was the Amoh led- team whose innovation grabbed attention and was patented in 2004, with due recognition given to Amoh and team members who are now called inventors. Pittsburgh Tribune in a fitting report shortly after the invention said ‘inventors are born at Carnegie Mellon University”.
Story after the FORD Experience
Charles Amoh, who hails from Agona in the Ashanti Region says the Ford experience is a testimony that “nothing is impossible. One can create; one can develop; innovate and change societies in many unimaginable ways.”
He had since been living the Ford experience with an unflinching commitment to touch lives.
With a strategic mindset and a thorough understanding of the nuts and bolts of business, Amoh comes with a vision of transformation that changes the fortunes of businesses and set dying businesses on the path of recovery.
He says ‘I create out of desperate situations and change hopeless conditions into joyous and hopeful ones ‘.
He was the field lead for the SC Johnson Groundswell Project aimed at touching human lives at the base of human society.
The groundswell team – a collaboration between the SC Johnson, Cornell University and The Gates Foundation – primarily aims at creating social, product and service innovation in Ghana. Currently he is a BOP ( Base of the Pyramid), and a business turnaround strategist – changing lives through innovation and creativity.
For him, ‘To know the time in which we live, you need ideas rather than a watch.”
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