Monthly Archives: September 2015

Da Vinci celebrates World Escape Day

World Escape Day 2015: Johannesburg – Celebrating South Africa’s Culture of Entrepreneurs

Johannesburg joined 20 other cities around the globe on Wednesday, 24 September for World Escape Day. The aim, to take small steps to have a more fulfilling career and lead more meaningful lives. World Escape Day was an opportunity to connect, collaborate and inspire each other to escape from the City and follow our dreams. Whatever they might be.

As the event coincided with National Heritage Day, we incorporated a traditional “braai”, and many celebrated by wearing bright colours and aspects of traditional South African wear. The vivid colours added to the relaxed atmosphere on an already bright and sunny day, where people sat around in an open garden setting, informally sharing their own stories and plans to escape.

The event was hosted at The Da Vinci Institute, a local leader in managerial leadership education. The day was facilitated by Henra Mayer, CEO of Innocentrix and she welcomed all with a background to World Escape Day where after attendees watched a short introductory video by Dom Jackman co-founder of Escape the City. She then set the scene by talking about the power of collaboration, the genius of Africa, the need for support for small businesses and encouraged the audience to dream big, make a difference and create their own futures.

The stage was then opened to three inspirational stories from remarkable locals who shared their personal journeys:

The first speaker, Bandile Dlabantu, was a successful bio-scientist with 13 years of industry experience under his belt, when he decided that he needed to escape. He spoke about the “Top 5 lessons learned by an entrepreneur”. Having an entrepreneurial spirit from early on in his career, Bandile set out to start Khepri Innovations, a bio-conversion company with an innovative strategy to convert bio-waste into other, usable products. Bandile explained that, for him, starting his own business was the realisation of a dream – a chance to create change in his life as well as in South Africa. With an inspiring recollection of his entrepreneurial journey, including failures and success, Bandile told the audience that starting a business is hard work, requiring diligence and structure, “A business is built by hands, not pitches” and “structured dreaming will get you there”, said Bandile. But through all the work comes an unmatched satisfaction, the possibility to take your life into your own hands, and to create opportunities for others to do the same.

Bandile was followed by speaker Odwa Gulwa, a medical doctor, who is in the process of publishing a book called “Stop working: Get wealthy”. He spoke on “Why escape is a good idea”. Odwa explained how wealth is not necessarily materialistic or measured in money, rather, it is the personal feeling of fulfilment and satisfaction. He stated that people are often placed in a box – go to school, get a job, have kids, retire – which causes us to stop believing in our own dreams. His book is meant to inspire people to find their true passions, and not merely do what others tell them. Odwa encouraged the audience to go out, to escape, to live their dreams, and ultimately create a fulfilling life for themselves.

The final speaker, Kekeletso Khena, spoke about “overcoming fear of failure and taking the leap into your future”. Kekeletso shared a moving story about her life, explaining that when we are afraid to take the next step, we know we are in the right place, as fear shows that we are challenging ourselves and stepping out of our own comfort zones, which is where all the magic happens. Kekeletso followed her own dreams, even directing two short films, and is now a successful and independent social entrepreneur working to bridge the gap between public and private businesses.

After the three sessions from the speakers, the stage was opened for attendees of World Escape Day to “grab the mic” and share their own stories in an effort to create collaboration. This turned into the most inspiring aspect of the day – listening to people’s escape stories and plans. A lot of detail was shared by people from different walks of life perusing their own passions and dreams. The sharing prompted a variety of networking and collaborative discussions. People shared thoughts on their businesses, had ideas for collaboration, identified next steps and swapped a large amount of contact details to and fro. Some instant opportunities were identified and more than one shout of excitement was heard!

World Escape Day Johannesburg turned out to be a great celebration of passion with lots of inspiration and planning of next steps to achieve dreams. Taking small steps were at the centre of the conversation and all agreed that we are what we repeatedly do. Many a commitment was made to encourage each other to take action, and plans for the next gathering was discussed.

This was an opportunity to come together and next to the braai fire, under shady trees, share our passions, acknowledge our potential, and collaborate to enact an escape from unfulfilling working environments. The event attendance was an inspiring collective of individuals who wanted to make a difference, who wanted to create a fulfilling future for themselves and those around them and who wanted to prove that happiness and life, is what you make it!

World Escape Day is an internationally hosted event, focused on meeting other, local Escape members for a day of inspiration, conversation and action to help you in your pursuit of more meaningful work. World Escape Day 2015 was hosted on 24 September, simultaneously in 20 different cities from around the globe. The city of Johannesburg joined London, Berlin, New York, Hong Kong, and others in locally hosting this collaborative event. Innocentrix was honoured to be able to facilitate this event and acted as local volunteer organiser, to bring it to Johannesburg.

World Escape Day is part of Escape The City . Escape The City believes that today’s corporate environment is not ideal for many individuals, who ultimately end up feeling unsatisfied and frustrated within their corporate positions. To assist people in following their passions and finding more rewarding and fulfilling occupations, events like World Escape Day are created to establish a community of entrepreneurs and small businesses who can aid and support each other in perusing their dreams. Here a community of individuals who are building their careers on their own terms can be formed. These events are structured to advance collaboration between those looking to advance their own entrepreneurial dreams and create a fulfilling work environment, no matter the industry.

Da Vinci & Status Aviation host open day for BCom

The Da Vinci Institute for Technology Management is a private higher education provider that contributes towards socio-economic development and transformation. The Institute’s purpose is to cultivate managerial leaders through the core principles of work-based action learning by offering students a personalised journey of self-discovery and co-creation.
Status Aviation formed an association with The Da Vinci Institute in 2012 with the application of the Da Vinci BCom (Business Management) applied to the Aviation industry. This association has since seen nearly a 100 students start the BCom (Business Management) applied to Aviation Management with over 5 successful intakes.
An open day was held on Tuesday 15 September 2015 at The Da Vinci Institute for prospective students who were curios about the BCom (Business Management) applied to the Aviation industry. Thrishan Naicker, Key Account Manager for undergraduate programmes opened the welcome and introduced the two speakers for the morning.
Prof Bennie Anderson, CEO of The Da Vinci Institute probed the audience of attendees with questions of why are they at the open day. The discussion led to various answers by indivdiauls, all depicting a similar picture. A picture of self-discovery, co-creation and a journey of growth and learning.
Percy van Staden, Chief Executive Officer at Status Aviation presented some answers to frequently asked questions. The engagement of attendees was surely positive as engaged discussions were held, of which Percy facilitated.
After the information session, attendees were given the opportunity for further individual discussions, networking and a well deserved breakfast.

The 2nd Annual President’s Dinner – 2015

The Da Vinci Institute presented its Second Annual President’s Dinner on Wednesday 9 September 2015 at the Johannesburg Country Club.

The Da Vinci Institute for Technology Management is a private higher education provider that contributes towards socio-economic development and transformation. The Institute’s purpose is to cultivate managerial leadership through business driven action learning. Offering students a personalised journey of self-discovery and co-creation.

In this regard The Institute celebrates the accomplishments and achievements of the Da Vinci 2015 PhD graduands. The second annual President’s Dinner took place on Wednesday 9 September 2015 at the Johannesburg Country Club, Auckland Park, starting at18:00. 

The dinner was hosted by Prof Bennie Anderson, CEO/Vice-President of The Da Vinci Institute, and served to be a momentous occasion in the lives of Da Vinci PhD graduands. Held on the evening before the Da Vinci annual graduation, the President’s Dinner is an intimate and exclusive event held for successful PhD students, their partners and their Supervisors who have journeyed with them. 

Twelve PhD students graduated on 10 September 2015 after years of commitment and personal growth.

The research topics include the following:

Dr Rashid Abrahams, “A framework for broadband fulfilment and assurance in the telecommunications environment: A South African case study.”

Dr Vulumuzi Bhebhe, “Total early stage development of small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs): Creating a sustainability framework for emerging economies.”

Dr Jennitha Chinniah, “Data privacy and Energy Distribution Market: Revisiting implications of the Smart Grid Framework.”

Dr Marlo De Swardt, “Stategy formulation, performance implementation and performance execution: Developing an integrated framework to enhance organisational performance.”

Dr Rean Du Plessis, “The spiritual self of the corporate leader.”

Dr Musa Stefane Furumele, “Front-end governance of large water infrastructure investments within developing economies: A South African perspective.”

Dr Elliot Kasu, “Ubuntupreneurship within rural communities: Creating community colleages for a developing economy.”

Dr Mark Kenneth Marombedza, “The relevance of integrating exogenous and indigenous knowledge systems within an African education system: A Zimbabwean case study.”

Dr Winfrida Ndakaiteyi Mhaka, “Rural women entrepreneurship and sustainable development through musha mukadzi: The Case of the Svosve community in Zimbabwe.”

Dr Ronewa Mulea, “Competition forces and regulatory constraints within the Information, Communication and Telecommunication (ICT) industry: Developing a repositioning framework for Telkom SA.”

Dr Sheila Mavis Nyatlo, “Creating an implementation framework to improve the effectiveness of technology transfer offices at South African Universities.”

Dr Rooksana Rajab, “Contributions of the workplace in enhancing the employability of unemployed graduates through work integrated learning (WIL).”

Dr Mary Ritz, “Customer Management: Creating a sense making framework for developing economies.”

Dr Tapuwa Sherekete Rushesha, “African entrepreneurship development in emerging African economies: A Zimbabwean Perspective.” 

“The Institute is proud of presenting these candidates to business and government alike – they will make a meaningful contribution towards the creation and development of a sustainable socio-economic system.” Dr Linda Sibali, Dean (Academic Development and Research).


The evidence of great past projects still amaze us today as tourists flock to the ancient wonders of the world such as the pyramids, ancient cities and the Great Wall of China. In modern times the landing of people on the moon still captures the imagination. In some industries project management is a way of life, typically the armaments and construction industries. Today the project management approach and process is for everybody that wants to assure good results. Not all projects are that big. Some are small and undertaken by entrepreneurs and undertakers of various community projects. I am convinced that in our time project management has become a life and achievement skill.

Project management ensures success

Project management techniques such as a requirements analysis and a business case guide you to identify the real needs and requirements of a project. You are therefore sure to do the project for the right reasons and purpose.
The modern organisation is much flatter than the traditional hierarchy of the past. In many instances redundant middle and senior managers are replaced by temporary managers working on a project basis.
Project management is also applied for domestic, social and sport reasons. Trial and error and reliance on the contractor for performing the project alone may be costly and not good enough anymore.

A description of a project

A project is a series of inter-related activities that are undertaken to accomplish a specific goal or end result. We can also add that it is usually complex, non-routine and a one-time effort according to certain specifications to meet customer needs.
Project management is a proven method to produce deliverables according to a specified standard at a pre-determined cost within a defined time frame meeting specified quality standards.
We address risk and uncertainty management
Project management is, to a large extent, aimed at the reduction of risk and uncertainty and as such we utilise of a number of techniques which were developed for this purpose. Fundamental to all of these is the principle of breaking work down into manageable units along a principle of divide and conquer. The single most important technique towards this aim is the life-cycle approach through which a task is executed by adhering to its natural chronological life-cycle.
Goal-Orientation helps to achieve superior results
We use the project management approach to achieve excellent results through well-structured change.
To achieve goals in project management we use superior techniques that we apply in a disciplined way right through the project life cycle.
If you can dream it project management is the way to achieve it. Goal orientation means we start at the end where we would like to be and work back to develop the best plan for achieving the desired end result.

Emphasis of the importance of the result
Since project management is primarily aimed at the achievement of specific objectives within predetermined time frames its ultimate focus is on an intended outcome or result. This is achieved through the structured application of, several project management techniques:
• Clearly specified and measurable objectives
• Proper work breakdown and structure
• Clearly defined deliverables and milestones
• Defined schedule from beginning to end
• Financial discipline
Specific methodologies have been developed to support the use of these techniques. The application of these techniques, tools and methods distinguishes the professional from the amateur project manager and participant. You must look for opportunities to acquire these skills and techniques to become more proficient in project management.
Project management success criteria
The success of a project is determined largely by the following criteria, often referred to as project drivers:
• Cost (within budget)
 • Schedule (on time)
 • Technical Performance (delivering of physical requirement)
 • Client Satisfaction (what the client wanted from the project)
 • Corporate Responsibility (success of the whole business)
The importance of the project success criteria may vary from project to project.
If you want to succeed and achieve your goals there is no other way than the project management process to produce deliverables and complete successful projects. Project management is a learnable skill. As a manager or entrepreneur you must have good project management skills to achieve results.

Find out more about a public project management course that will be held at the DaVinci Institute Modderfontein, Johannesburg from 21 – 23 October 2015. Click here for access to the course brochure on ProjectManagement Principles and Methodologies.

MEDIA RELEASE: Adv Thuli Madonsela receives Da Vinci Laureate Award 2015

Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela was awarded the 2015 Da Vinci Laureate Award: Social Architecture from The Da Vinci Institute on 10 September 2015 at the Da Vinci Annual Graduation ‪#‎DaVinciGrad2015‬‪#‎ManagerialLeadership‬ ‪#‎SocialArchitecture‬ ‪#‎CommunityofThinkers‬
This award is conferred by the Council of The Da Vinci Institute for Technology Management on an individual, or groups of individuals, who through insightful leadership and a passion for the development of communities, has made a singular contribution to the re-definition of social systems, with a view to creating an equitable society, self-directedness and embracing unity in diversity.
A Da Vinci Laureate is expected to provide insights into complex systems and to make contributions to society at large. They are also recognised for honourable service to their country through applied engagements. Laureates distinguish themselves by engaging in specific domains within society and thereby contribute to the re-configuration of the social system. Past recipients include Dr Danny Jordan and Dr Ali Bacher.