Wycliffe Litabalia is a Survey Operations Manager at GeoPoll. He leads our survey operations processes, from survey design to research data handover to the research team. Below is a conversation he had with Frankline Kibuacha, Digital Marketing Manager, about his experience at GeoPoll since the early days and his roles.
Frankline Kibuacha: Let us start from the beginning, what were you doing before you came to GeoPoll?
Wycliffe Litabalia: Before GeoPoll I was working as a project coordinator at KenCall, an outsourcing call center company. For the many projects I worked on there, I was tasked with making sure that every aspect of a project, from understanding the scope of work to execution moved seamlessly.
What drew you to GeoPoll and made you join the team?
I didn’t see it coming! GeoPoll had just set up base in Kenya and I was invited by my former boss to a presentation on how GeoPoll works. I could see the impact and the massive changes GeoPoll was making in the research industry through new, unique data collection methodologies. I was so intrigued by the processes laid out, the speed, and the technology that all I wanted from that point on was to be part of the revolution I had just seen. The rest is history.
That sounds like a very long time ago…
Well, time really flies, I am almost clocking 7 years here. I was amongst the first few employees at GeoPoll!
How has the company grown since you joined?
For a start, we were only about 5 employees in Nairobi at the beginning and now we are close to 70, and numerous other offices in other countries have since been established. I have seen tremendous growth, not just with the numbers all round but also advancements in how research has been conducted. I have seen GeoPoll improve the world and the research industry with the many research projects we have completed, and the efficient mobile data collection system we have developed over the years,
Tell me about your role and responsibilities as Operations Manager at GeoPoll. What excites you most about your work at GeoPoll?
I oversee the GeoPoll survey operations team and its day to day activities, including quality assurance, setting budgets, tracking our costs and the overall project performance, researching and proposing new system developments to promote efficiency, measuring and improving team performance, among many others.
Mine is a diverse role and this is what keeps me going. We encounter new challenges every day, where we must critically think for solutions, gather ideas, and deliberate on various project requirements to make sure the end result is a success for the client. That keeps my mind busy and whatever keeps my mind busy excites me.
New things every day. Do you get a lot of surprises, then?
Operations within a research firm as dynamic as GeoPoll is full of surprises – you need to be ready for challenging projects. Those don’t surprise me as much as the flexibility and the team’s ability to collect data in countries I have never thought of. The speed and teamwork that goes in to make things happen in GeoPoll is something that will always remain a wonder. No challenge is too big for this team.
What are you excited about in terms of where GeoPoll will go in the future?
I have been here for more than 6 years now and I can tell you it is not only the future that excites me but also the “now”. The company has made major strides and we have a great team that lightens up the “now” for the future. With the speed of innovation, we live in the future every day.
How about the research industry? Where would you say it is headed in the next five years?
I think there is still a lot of room for technological advancement in the research world. As the world keeps evolving, in my view, I think there are still new methodologies and tools of data collections that we are yet to come up with that will be more engaging and that would match up to the evolution – as we have discovered with mobile research.
What’s a fact about yourself that people may not know right away?
I am the same person publicly and personally, at home and at work. Thankfully, my workplace lets me be me.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love listening to music and traveling from time to time to explore new places.
Finally, what does it take to succeed in your line of work?
In my line of work, it takes teamwork, effective communication, hard work, and responsibility whether in times of success or failure, and most importantly, leadership.