Monthly Archives: May 2015

Curiosita 26 May 2015

On the Tuesday afternoon of 26 May 2015, a Curiosita forum was held at the Da Vinci Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg. Curiosita, one of the Da Vinci seven principles refers to seeking truth through questioning and probing various sources of information and knowledge through analysing and evaluating. The notion of curiosity is a quest of receiving and searching for knowledge to ensure an overall understanding of the world in which we live, and those many events and truths that surround our society. 

The Curiosita forum strives for enhanced participation and discourse for greater experiential learning rather than just “death by PowerPoint” – to capture Aristotle’s notion of Dialectic rather than that of Rhetoric speech. 

The forum served as a platform for PhD student Gavin Mageni who serves as the Head of the SA Design Institute at SABS. His topic of discussion was, “Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: A case for accelerated new business growth and development reform in South Africa.”

His research methodology is Grounded Theory research with a philosophical framework as a Constructivist. Inductive approach. As part of his ontological perspective, Gavin indicates that he believes the world is based on different perspectives, settings and ideas as people see the world through different models, as described within the Constructionism within a connecting capability. 

Some input was given to Gavin related to incorporating the TIPS model which takes a holistic view of the Management of Technology, Innovation, People and Systems. Another view was that entrepreneurial ecosystem should be clearly defined so as to be understood by all reading parties. 

The Guest Speaker at the event was William Mzimba who is the Chief Executive Officer at Accenture South Africa. His topic of discussion revolved around the “Management of Innovation”.

Accenture South Africa is part of the #innovment which is essentially an innovation movement. William states, “If we can catalyse innovation in our country, we could reverse what is happening. As a country we are falling behind.” The Innovation index that started two years ago co-defined the system of innovation. The platform evaluates what companies are doing regarding innovation. Companies are that are living innovation within systems and processes are identified. These companies are then ranked and awarded regarding their excellence in innovation.

In 2015 another level was added in which the orchestration of the innovation movement will be a catalyst of innovation by working with the ecosystem of innovation. The world is currently going through an innovation evolution. Due to a lack of innovation, business models will become irrelevant and companies on the stock market will disappear. Through innovation we can expand the lifetime of corporations as the world falls within the digital era. William states, “Streamline innovation in everything you do.” 

The session was facilitated by Professor Bennie Anderson, CEO of The Da Vinci Institute and a networking function was held after the event where attendees could interact and network with each other.

Students start their journey within Sales Process and Management

On Tuesday morning, the 26th of May, twenty one students arrived as part of the new group for the Metro Minds Certificate programme which is applied to the Sales Process and Management Environment. The students are from different companies within the courier industry and the initial development of this qualification was done in association with SAEPA (South African Express Parcel Association), a Task Team from SAAFF (South African Association of Freight Forwarders) and The Da Vinci Institute as the accrediting body. The sponsorship from TETA through the TETA Discretionary Grants: Bursaries has assisted in the implementation of this project.

Piloted in January 2014, the programme has successfully seen two cohorts or groups of students complete their studies. Says Garry Marshall, CEO SAEPA “our members have seen the benefit of developing their sales staff into more than just sales people. They are developing Supply Chain Specialists who are able to provide best solutions to clients thereby becoming a strategic partner in their customer’s businesses.”

“The purpose of this Qualification”, says Belinda Goddard, Project Manager at Da Vinci, “is also to produce lifelong students who are equipped to contribute towards the debate on socio-economic transformation and managerial leadership development in South Africa. This purpose seeks to transform individuals, organisations (public and private, including self-owned businesses) and the community at large, dealing with managerial leadership development challenges such as the management of technology, the management of innovation, the management of people and the management of systems, from a Sales Process and Management Environment perspective.”

The 12 month programme will include core modules such as the management of technology and innovation delivered by The Da Vinci Institute as well as The Art of Selling & Presentations, Sales Finance and Supply Chain Value which is facilitated by Juliette Fourie, CEO at Metro Minds. Students will be required to attend workshops once a month at The Da Vinci Institute in Modderfontein. Assignments are workplace based assignments and require involvement from companies, mentors and managers within the respective companies. Learners will be required to meet the exit level outcomes with the related critical cross-field outcomes through integrated submissions on post-module assignments.

“SAEPA would like to thank all parties involved in making this project a reality – a special word of thanks to Tony d’Almeida and the SAAFF team for having the vision of this programme and driving the project to where it is today. We look forward to reporting many successes through our learners at the end of this programme and thank our members for participating in this project with us”, said Martine Maraschin, Skills Development Task Team of SAEPA.

Leonardo Group 20: PhD students start their learning journey

On the morning of Thursday 21 May 2015, 21 individuals found their way to the Da Vinci Institute. These individuals arrived in call to their curiosity by taking the first step of their learning journey. The Da Vinci team was on hand to welcome the PhD students by introducing the philosophy that Da Vinci relates to. Mr Simon Gathua, Key Account Manager for post-graduate studies was the first to address the group and formally welcomed them to the Da Vinci House. Mrs Carin Stoltz-Urban wears two hats at Da Vinci, within the Client Engagement Management as well as the Registry office at Da Vinci and took the opportunity in introducing the rest of the team including Administrators Boitumelo Serobatse and Lebo Toona, Assistant Registrar Karen Verster and Communications Manager Storm Thomas. 

Prof Bennie Anderson, CEO at Da Vinci also addressed the students by encouraging them to critically think, reflect and analyse around the workings of the world, taking into account their pre-conceived ideas and observations of the world and how this may affect or contribute toward the success of their research. The notion of truths was explored as students were encouraged to challenge the rules and norms of society whilst also being true and honest to themselves. As part of the essence that makes up the uniqueness of individuality, perceptions and perspectives related to beliefs, culture and values often define the skeleton of conditioned thinking that promotes enclosed thinking. An awareness of challenging this notion can lead to an opportunity to embrace innovation, out of the box thinking, whilst seeing the unseen and acknowleding the knowing of the unknown. 

The students were shown to their workshop room where they found their seat represented by their personalised learning journal. Prof Richard Chinomona facilitated the Research and Dissertation module which allows constant focus on the development of a research proposal by maintaining a skeleton and body that reflects that of the topic and the integration of such throughout their proposal. Prof Chinomona firstly introduced himself and then each student had the opportunity to introduce themselves. The energy in the room exuded dramatically as each student engaged with the rest of the group and similar interests and passions emerged. As the introductions commenced, a sense of networking and comradery developed which is essential for mode 2 research support as an adult learner, and even more imperative is the sense of community and belonging on a journey that becomes challenging at times but ends with a beautiful sense of achievement, meaning and contribution to the self, others and society at large both on a local level but also globally.

Da Vinci Registry office commits to overall quality assurance

The Da Vinci Institute is committed to cultivating managerial leaders through the process of stimulating critical thinking, assisting with research and encouraging reading and reflection. In ensuring that optimum quality assurance is kept with regards to student experience, support and academic integrity, The Da Vinci Institute is proud to announce that the Annual Report, which is sent to the Department of Higher Education and Training was successfully submitted in April 2015.
Furthermore, a submission to the HEQCIS (Higher Education Quality Council System) was successfully made. The process involves that Da Vinci submits student data on a regular basis. For these submissions, there is a lead table which indicates either a red or green status, of which Da Vinci received a green status. This implies that the submission was made on time and that the quality of the submission is good.
Da Vinci would like to thank the Registry office consisting of Carin Stoltz-Urban (Registrar) and Karen Verster (Assistant Registrar) for their continued effort in ensuring overall quality assurance for both the academic integrity as well as the experience for the students.

Student Feedback Report: April 2015

The Da Vinci Institute values the engagement, happiness and success of students as they proceed on their learning journey. In order to continuously improve the quality of the student’s experience, the Client Engagement team monitors regular feedback received by students after every workshop.
As part of the feedback, the details of their experience cover various aspects including content covered in the module and the learning outcomes, facilitation approach, the level of expertise of the facilitator, the impact of learning in the workplace and the overall client engagement experience.
In April 2015, 219 overall responses were received from students. Based on feedback received, the quality of the content of modules completed was rated at 83% which is exceptionally positive. The overall level of expertise of the facilitators experienced by students was rated at 91%, whilst the ability to stimulate critical thinking was rated at 88%.

The feedback received is also discussed with the individual facilitators to ensure that overall performance is maintained and that students have the opportunity to think critically, reflect on module content and apply such principles in their workplace. The notion of co-creation is essential as the facilitation, module content and mode 2 methodologies should be aligned to facilitate a journey of self-discovery.

New to the Da Vinci Library

From the Back Cover:

An updated revision of the bestselling leadership book for engineering and technology managers
Knowledge of modern technology management concepts and best practices provides the foundation for effective job performance in technology-driven business environments. Management of Technology discusses cutting-edge management concepts, tools, and techniques that effectively work in today’s technology-intensive organizations.
New management tools and techniques play an increasingly important role in every organization for creating quality products, services, and content faster, cheaper, and at a higher quality. Technology crosses virtually all levels and all disciplines of an enterprise. Therefore, the principles of managing technology are relevant not only to people in the traditional engineering-scientific community, but also apply to any organization and business that must effectively deal with the application, integration, and transfer of technology. Financial institutions, government agencies, architectural firms, and healthcare providers are just a few examples of the vast array of organizations that must function effectively in technology-based environments, and therefore be able to manage technology. Specifically, this book features:
  • Methods for assessing the effectiveness and performance of the organization and its management processes
  • Insight into the functioning of contemporary work processes, such as concurrent engineering, design-build, integrated product development, and phase-gate processes
  • Special tools and techniques for effectively managing technology-based projects, including dealing with organizational interfaces from R&D to markets
  • Discussion of real-world field studies, cases, and best practices
  • Emphasis on people issues, such as leadership, teamwork, communications, and commitment, throughout the book
Management of Technology is a complete reference book, invaluable for managers and professionals in technology-intensive business environments.

About the Author:

HANS J. THAMHAIN, PhD, is Professor of Management and Director of the Technology and Project Management Programs at Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts. His industrial experience includes twenty years in high-technology management positions at GTE/Verizon, General Electric, Westinghouse, and ITT. Well known for his research on project team leadership, he is the author of more than seventy research papers and five professional reference books on project and technology management. In 2000, he received the IEEE Engineering Management Society’s Engineering Manager of the Year Award.

Now available in the Da Vinci Library

Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation 

(5th edition)

By Robert A. BurgelmanClayton M. Christensen,Steven C. Wheelwright
McGraw-Hill Irwin, Boston, 2009
The 5th edition of Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation continues its unmatched tradition of market leadership, by using a combination of text, readings, and cases to bring to life the latest business research on these critical business challenges. Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation takes the perspective of the general manager at the product line, business unit, and corporate levels. The book not only examines each of these levels in some detail, but also addresses the interaction between the different levels of general management — for example, the fit between product strategy and business unit strategy, and the link between business and corporate level technology strategy. Each part of the book starts with an introductory chapter laying out an overall framework and offering a brief discussion of key tools and findings from existing literature. The remainder of each part offers a selected handful of seminar readings and case studies. Almost all of the cases deal with recent events and situations, including several that are concerned with the impact of the Internet. A few “classics” have been retained, however, because they capture a timeless issue or problem in such a definitive way that the historical date of their writing is irrelevant.

Third International PhD cohort starts their learning journey

On Tuesday 5 May 2015, twelve students landed in Johannesburg, South Africa. The countries of origin of these students include United Kingdom, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Latvia, Jordan and South Africa. 

Accompanied by Da Vinci international faculty, Prof Ronnie Lessem and Prof Alexander Scheiffer from Trans4M, students enjoyed their first day sightseeing at Maropeng (the official visitor centre of the Cradle of Humankind) situated North West of Johannesburg.

The first day of workshop took place on Thursday 7 May 2015 and the students were welcomed by the Client Engagement team, consisting of Carin Stoltz-Urban (Client Engagement Manager and Registrar), Simon Gathua (Key Account Manager) and Boitumelo Serobatse (Administrator). The welcome also offered favourited eats in the form of a simple yet elegant breakfast/brunch of croissants, muffins, scones and yoghurt. 

After the welcome, students were shown upstairs to the facilitation room where they found their seat together with their learning material, personalised learning journal and their Da Vinci green bag to fit their books and stationery in. The workshop was facilitated by Prof Bennie Anderson and the modules of the workshop included Self, Other and Social Context, Problem solving, creative thinking and decision making as well as managerial leadership development.

Prof Anderson opened the workshop in testing the awareness of each student in comparison to their worldly view and reality, whilst positioning the Da Vinci collaborative framework. Reframing is a part of SOS and allows introspection and self-reflection. The journey of a PhD student is a commitment to oneself, community and society at large. The discussion led to how aware we are in consciously making decisions, or do we often get stuck in the sub-conscious mind of doing things out of habit or of which may come more naturally. The point illustrated was to think out of the box and to see what sometimes cannot be seen, in order to effectively make sound decisions in life and in business.

As part of the problem solving, creative thinking and decision making modules (PCD), the students were given a Da Vinci crossword to complete. The difference between the Da Vinci crossword and other generic crosswords is that the words to be searched are scattered in various forms both diagonally, backwards, from top to bottom and vice versa. The student who finds all the words, as well as the mystery word which is made up from the left-over letters, is the winner and receives a Da Vinci prize.

The prize being a puzzle of a concept thought by Leonardo da Vinci in 1472 refers to what we know today as the helicopter. The winner in this case was Jubil from Nigeria who figured out that the way to separate the two inner blocks is to use the energy to release the two wooden dials within. This is the energy known as centrifugal force.

Students include:

Sara Khan and Robert Dellner – UK
Andrew Nyambayo and Chipo Ndudza – Zimbabwe
Yosuf Adeojo and Jubril Adeojo – Nigeria
Jelena Lapidus – Latvia
Alabbaddi Sameer – Jordan
Loshnee Naidoo, Premie Naicker, Frans Van der Colff and Marinette Hendriks – South Africa

The second day of workshop was focused on managing the systems way and systems thinking. This module was facilitated by Dr Rica Viljoen. The discussion revolved around that of social systems and how within an organisation, it is imperative to keep in mind various cultures as dealing with the human element. Systems thinking relates to the observation of a whole of a system with the exploration of the parts or sub-systems within it. This allows focus on effective problem solving by looking at it from different angles and perspectives.

The third day revolved around the understanding of managing people effectively and differs from general human resource management as it focuses on specifically working with the human element. This module was also facilitated by Dr Rica Viljoen and probed the realities of students in understanding the psychological and behavioral habits that employees may project. As an organisations workforce depends on engaged employees, it is imperative for a managerial leader to be able to read between the lines and to motivate their staff by promoting accountability amongst employees.

Day four and five was spent on the module of Management of Innovation which was facilitated by Dr Colin Steyn. Students were encouraged to think out side of the box and as part of the module, the group relocated to the outside gardens of Da Vinci House. Without the limitations of four walls, discussions were had around the four worlds way thinking by considering the perspectives of North, South, East and West.
The module deals with the identification of archetypes within ones self and those of others and Dr Steyn focused on the male and female archetypes by looking at paintings of various mandalas. One painting which was only half complete, encouraged the idea for the group to create their own painting which would depict a collective energy of the group, taking into account their own worldly perspective from their respective countries and conditioning background. The painting allowed a certain openness and vulnerability to be shared and shown which further develops the creative thinking within.

The sixth day served to be the final day of the weekly workshop held at Da Vinci House and the final module of the TIPS model (Technology, Innovation, People and Sytems) was the Management of Technology. Facilitated by Greg Tosen, the module focuses on the effective managing of an organisations technology to ensure competitive advantage, strategic alignment and operational effectiveness. At the end of business day, students packed their bags, made their farewells and embarked on another journey back to their homes.

To all our International PhD students and faculty, it has been a pleasure hosting you at Da Vinci House and to see the first step as you have embarked on a journey of life-long learning, self-discovery and exploration into the world of new knowledge and thinking methodologies.

Niche Integrated Solutions, TT100 Awards entrant

The team at TT100 Awards Programme recently received an email communication from Nisha Maharaj who is the Managing Director at Niche Integrated Solutions. Nisha entered the 2014 Awards Programme recently and the Awards Ceremony took place on 2 February 2015 at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria. 

Below is the quoted communication.
“I want to say that even though I did not win, the TT100 awards and logo has within months brought me so much luck and good fortune to the effect that :
·         TIA is talking to me about many things at present including matters such banking for entrepreneurs, technology partnerships with India to increase our tech IP in SA (in fact I’m partnering with the winner CampusLabs to bring their IP here to our country), searching the globe for innovations we can bring the IP to SA,
·         I won the contract to train Jhb COJ first ever digital entrepreneurship programme,
·         I won a seat on Ernest and Young global winning women programme for 2015,
·         Nominated on BHP Billion awards 2015, and
·         Made the second round on the Sanlam entrepreneur of the year 2015
“Carol Varga [Administrator at TT100], I can’t thank you enough for sending me that first message about participating in these awards, I laughed at the time never understanding the impact of technology innovation in SA but now, something exciting finds its way to me every day, I am so happy and I thank you so much for your encouragement, btw we even used Kirkpatrick at one of our events in SA recently, seems the whole of India is willing to take their chances in SA now –Thank you Prof Bennie for your lead to Kirkpatrick, she is truly a lovely woman.
Amazing things are happening ever since the TT100 awards day! I treasure my certificate and logo-it’s priceless!! I am not a business women chasing dollars, I am single parent who has had the most difficult life trying to make headways so when I say I thank you, be sure that I mean it wholeheartedly!
You are all really special people!!”


About Niche Integrated Solutions
Niche Integrated Solutions are a (Pty) Ltd company which is 100% owned by aspiring black professionals. They are actively controlled by women. The have a depth and breadth of expertise and experience gained in over 20 years of executive management level operations.
To bring to South Africa world best breed technologies and innovations in all business arenas by:
·          Understand business challenges and finding solutions to optimize performance
·          Create the culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa by engaging and mentoring young South Africans to help them realize their aspirations and dream
·          To formulate & implement strategies to achieve company goals and supersede expectations
About Nisha Maharaj
Experienced Consultant
·          Previously head of Credit (GM) and Risk at Altech and Kagisano, and  collections at African Bank
·          20 years’ experience in the South African Credit risk sector and extensive experience in micro-lending and banking
·          Varied disciplines across multidimensional business elements ranging from Risk, Operations, Credit and Sales
·          Well established within the SA context of credit and micro lending / financial services
·          Consultant in credit and financial services-International
About TT100 Awards

The TT100 Business Awards Programme, with support from various partners such as Eskom and government was launched in 1991 by the South African Engineering Association (SAVI).  The programme has been focused on drawing attention to the importance of developing a local culture of technological innovation and excellence. TT100 has evolved into one of the foremost business awards programmes that lauds South African companies for their business prowess in the Management of Technology, Innovation, People, Systems, Research and Sustainability, regardless of their industry. The programme is as an effective vehicle for achieving growth and innovation advancement in our country, while raising awareness of the critical need for South African companies to embrace the management of technology, innovation and people in a systemic and sustainable manner. Since 1994, TT100 has enjoyed strong endorsement by the Department of Science & Technology (DST) as the major government sponsor.

FNB BCom 1: SOS and MLD: Jean Grundling – Bank City.

A new group of learners looking to embark on their learning journey, started their first workshop of the BCom qualification on 29 April 2015 at Bank City, Johannesburg.
Members of the Da Vinci team were present including the FNB Key Account Manager, Heidi Smith, Administrators Berouzka Rheeder and Future Ngwenya, Information Officer Dewald Kruger and Student Support, Dr Linda Chipunza.
The format of the workshop was that of a relaxed environment where learners were introduced to the team and taken through their work packs. The self-directed learners were also given a virtual tour of the Da Vinci e-learning platform, Moodle which is utilised for submitting assignments. Furthermore, an additional virtual tour was displayed by Dewald Kruger, who gave tips on researching topics on the VUT library as well as for general searches on internet browsers.
Dr Linda Chipunza shared the importance of work-life-study balance as they begin their journey and how imperative it is to find a personal rhythm within their schedules to balance pressures at work, family life at home and the additional responsibilities of studying. Dr Chipunza also reiterated the co-creation that Da Vinci offers and that collectively all staff at Da Vinci understand the difficulties and challenges that a working adult learner experiences and encouragement was relayed to the learners, to never give up.
The workshop was facilitated by Ms Jean Grundling and the modules discussed over the two days (29 April 2015 / 30 April 2015) were Self, Other and Social Context (SOS), Managerial Leadership Development (MLD), Professional writing and Problem solving, creative thinking and decision making (PCD). These fundamental modules assist with the cultivating of skills in order to ensure a cultivated managerial leader that can contribute towards sustainable societies.