NSMQ and lessons for organisations

An explanation as to why birds could stand on a live electric wire without getting electrocuted, but human beings could not do same has metamorphosed into a nationally accepted quiz. The discussions, debates, education, fun, social media posts and news stories that are generated from the annual National Science & Maths Quiz (NSMQ) continues to grow since it started 30 years ago.

For participants and viewers, there is obviously so much in science and mathematics that can be learnt from this quiz. However, the potential lessons are not limited to the main topics of the quiz. Organisations such as businesses could also pick up a few lessons that would be beneficial to them in several ways.

From the activities around the annual production of the quiz, there are a number of lessons organisations can learn. Let us take a look at a few of these lessons. 

1. Teamwork and collaboration

Competing schools usually have large teams working throughout the year to prepare their teams. Tutors, past students, former competitors, parents and many other stakeholders try to play their roles to adequately prepare the teams for victory in the quiz. Some schools even have dedicated buildings and resources for this purpose.

Some of the team members research solutions to previous quiz questions. Others work on videos of past and current editions of the quiz. Financial support for the team also come from several quarters such as old students who want to keep their school’s flag up high.

Organisations must also learn to work together towards achieving collective objectives. Various units must collaborate with the big picture of organisational success in mind. Nobody should be an island in an organisation if they all have the same vision.

The activities of all members and units must be aligned towards achieving targets and objectives for any given period. The structures of the organisation must encourage each person to regularly assess themselves to check if their actions are in line with the collective objectives. 

2. Consistent quality delivery

The NSMQ is a private production with a national character. Over the years, is has gained more popularity and support due to several reasons. Chief among these reasons is the quality of the entire quiz production. From the regional competitions to the finals of the national competition, the quality of work done is evident.

Despite a few protests over the years, the show has been widely acknowledged as having credibility through the quality of output. This is a feather in the cap of the organisers, Primetime Productions.

If an organisation cannot be trusted to be consistent in the quality of their output, their survival over time may be cut short. A key reason customers would continue to patronize a business is because customers can trust them to deliver on a certain expectation. Any organisation worth its salt must endeavor to at least maintain the quality of their output. Consistent improvement should actually be the way to go.

3. Healthy Competition

The effort competitors put into their preparations in anticipation of the annual quiz helps them in several ways. Though they may be targeting the bragging rights as winners of the competition, they equip themselves with so much knowledge and resource their institutions to strengthen their capabilities.

Similarly, when organisations encourage healthy competition, they inadvertently drive their members and staff to develop their potentials better. Sometimes, relevant resources, like new technology, could be acquired to augment the capacities of individuals or units within the organisation. Often, this can create a ripple effect of staff constantly seeking opportunities to do better and ultimately lead to healthy organisational growth.

There are many schools who have come into the limelight after their exploits at the competition. Given the right opportunity, many potentials can be unearthed. Organisations must provide the platform for members and staff to showcase their potential. This could lead to many positives for the individuals involved and the organisation as a whole.

4. Adaptability to relevant trends

Previously, only 32 schools were invited to participate in the quiz. Currently, the participating schools have seen tremendous increase and now has a better national appeal. Since 2014, the quiz has involved 135 schools from all parts of Ghana in the annual competition. This is an answer to those who felt their schools had been left out of such an outstanding program.

The real time media production, that pertains currently, has helped to significantly publicize the quiz.  Hordes of sponsors have been attracted to the programme for that reason. This is to take advantage of the several eyeballs and ears that follow the programme in real time, especially towards the final stages.

The social media pages of the NSMQ also attracts several reactions and impressions. One can hardly ignore the intriguing social media posts across platforms during and after the quiz. This further heightens the excitement around the event.

A lesson for organisational leaders and business executives is that they must be in synch with changing trends and be adaptable for the mutual benefit of the organisation and stakeholders. Marketers, for instance, must look out for opportunities within traditional and new media to place their products and services right before their target markets. The space for that is infinite.


Certainly, the lessons enumerated above are not exhaustive. A close observation of the current production of the National Science and Maths Quiz would reveal many more lessons for organisational management.

Beyond noticing the lessons, it would be more progressive to apply them for personal and organisational growth and improvement.

All the best in the quest to excel in various organisational contests.

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