Monthly Archives: October 2015

Da Vinci Annual Graduation: 10 September 2015

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.

The Da Vinci Annual Graduation Ceremony will take place on Thursday 10 September 2015 at The Linder Auditorium, Johannesburg. As The Institute’s 15th Graduation Ceremony, it serves to celebrate the accomplishments achieved by Da Vinci students as they arrive near the end of their learning journey, walk across the stage and collect their qualification of which they have sacrificed for and worked tremendously hard for.

This year’s Graduation served to be an auspicious and momentous occasion as the first cohort of Da Vinci BCom students stand in line to graduate. For the first time in history The Da Vinci Institute awarded the BCom (Business Management) qualification to eleven individuals on 10 September 2015. Nine of these individuals are IRCA Global students and started their BCom programme in 2012. The other two individuals are Status Aviation students and started their programme in 2013. 

In addition to this was the graduaton of fourteen PhD students who successfully reached this point 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).

Another highlight of the Graduation was the awarding of the 2015 Da Vinci Laureate Award: Social Architecture. The recipient of this award was Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela.

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.

TT100 forum meets with the DST to focus on the relation with the DST and what can be done to facilitate engagements between innovative organisations and the DST

Earlier this month, Wayne Aronson from Technetium, a past winner from TT100 facilitated a session attended by a few top representatives from the DST. The objective of the session was to meet with the DST and focus on what can be done to facilitate engagements between innovative organisations and the DST. 

A few points were debated including the current position and challenges faced by organisations in South Africa as well as suggested ideas put forward to the DST to aid start-up companies in South Africa regarding grants, tax breaks and funding. 
Technetium related their experiences from when they commenced trading, stating that they had missed out on funding and tax breaks due to ignorance. From the discussions, it was found that there are initiatives in place which in fact, do help start-up companies in South Africa, but the benefit thereof is missed because companies are generally unaware that they are available. 
Ms Cristina Pinto, Chief Director, Department of Science and Technology, responded by stating that there are organisations that host workshops for start-up businesses and she offered to facilitate access to these. It was also noted that small businesses will continue to play an important role regarding the growth of the South African economy. 
Around the question of initiatives and funding, the DST discussed the R&D initiative which they make available to support technology development within an organisation in South Africa. A suggestion was to set up a workshop for all those interested, to explain the processes involved in becoming part of this initiative. 
Another finding from this session was that there is a lot of support available for SMMEs from other organisations particularly the DTI. There seem however to be a lack of communication and a general lack of awareness about the resources available to businesses in South Africa. The DST is currently working on a project which will aid this challenge. 
A second session is to be set up including a panel from the DTI, as well as the DST for further discussion around initiatives available from both parties regarding the development and support of SMMEs. 

Amazing Race: Investec MSc Group 3 starts their learning journey

“Happiness is not a destination you arrive at, it is a manner of travelling.” – Unknown
On Tuesday 13 October 2015, the Amazing Race marked the day of a new dawning as 23 young and energetic individuals battled it out in teams to see which team could arrive in the shortest distance possible from their Investec offices to The Da Vinci House.

Teams of 4-5 people aimed to get to Da Vinci in the shortest distance possible and had one and a half hours to finish the race. If that was not easy enough, teams had to also collect or bring proof of the following:

• Something yellow

• A piece of nature

• A “Onsie” 

• Number of red robots you stopped at

• Number of orange cars you saw along the route

• The route you took, indicating the kilometres travelled 

The rules of the Amazing Race was simple. No speeding. Adhere to all traffic rules and

enjoy the journey

On arrival at Da Vinci all the teams needed to locate one final item.

The clue:

There may be yellow

There may be blue

Will take the edge off

There is one for each of you

The final item was the Da Vinci Edge book located on the bookshelves.

Once all teams arrived safely at Da Vinci, each team had to prepare a presentation to the other teams explaining the above items of collection, including the number of red robots stopped at and the route they took.

The Amazing Race served as a prequel to a journey of learning that would commence in full force on 14 October 2015. This day marked their first official day of workshop which was facilitated by Prof Bennie Anderson. The modules of this workshop allowed for the collection and connection of dots as the students were shown ways of solving problems, thinking creatively and making decisions. 

Over and above this, was ways of reframing the mind and discussions of finding out their specific learning style which assists in knowing how best they learn.

15 October 2015 involved a facilitation by Richard Goddard involving professional writing which opens the door to academic writing, referencing and citing correctly. Other modules on this day included Global Environment of Business, taking a global view of the economies of the world. Followed by assistance and training of the e-learning system and Da Vinci library databases by the Da Vinci team.

Welcome to your learning journey at Da Vinci. Through co-creation of new realities, we look forward to your addition to the body of knowledge.

New group of Aviation students start their learning journey

On Tuesday 13 October 2015 Aviation enthusiasts entered Da Vinci House with feelings of excitement, apprehension and a speck of uncertainty. These feelings were clustered into an overwhelming sense of positivity and wonder. These individuals were to start their learning journey which be one of encompassing self-discovery and change of perspective. 

Through a formal welcome given by Louise Fuller, Key Account Manager of the cohort, messages were also given from other Da Vinci colleagues including Dr Linda Sibali, Dean: Academic Development and Research and Carin Stoltz-Urban, Registrar. The overall key messages was one of co-creation in which Da Vinci indicated that this learning journey is one of self-directedness however the team at Da Vinci will always be available to assist them along their journey.

The first day of workshop involved modules of Work-based Challenge, Managerial Leadership Development and Problem Solving, Creative Thinking and Decision Making. As pilots in the Aviation industry, the BCom (Business Management) applied to this industry serves to cater for Managerial Leaders within the Aviation space. As pilots possessing the technical prowess of flying, it is with the association of Status Aviation that this qualification aims to empower pilots to think both from a technical aspect whilst flying, but also possessing the managerial leadership perspectives of running a business holistically.

Curiosita 29 September 2015

Guest Speaker: Mitch Marescia | Group Chief Executive | Camargue

“Managerial Leadership in the Insurance Industry”

In just 14 years, Camargue co-founder and CEO Mitch Marescia, has transformed a relatively small startup underwriting business into one of South Africa’s most successful niche insurance underwriting agencies. Prior to starting Camargue, he enjoyed first-hand the challenges of managing his own business, MGM Corporate Solutions. His experience preceding MGM’s launch was grounded at AIG where his initial position was that of Financial Controller and Company Secretary. With a growing list of responsibilities Marescia was soon promoted to Vice President of Operations and Company Secretary. The knowledge he has gleaned during his extended exposure to the intricacies of the industry have well positioned him for his leadership role of the greater Camargue Group. Focused on growing the business, Marescia is steering the strategic and sustainable direction of Camargue. He is heavily involved in exploring opportunities in Africa, while also securing new local and international partners. A man with great vision, he is passionate about the industry, empowering people and starting new businesses. His love of this country and its people, and his constant striving to uplift South African society, is engrained in the culture he has determinedly fostered within Camargue. A non-conformist, his energy, razor sharp focus and invested leadership style, will undoubtedly carry the business forward for another excitingly successful decade in the insurance industry. 

PhD Student Speaker: Aslam Ismail: Global Business process lead – Africa | Mass Mart

“The Influence of Transformation on Consumer Behaviour: A South African Typology.”

Aslam Ismail currently holds the position of Global Business Process Lead of the African region at Mass Mart. He has over 20 years’ experience in general management, project management, stock controlling and customer relations ranging from various industries. His strengths include people management, strategic thinking and good communication. Ismail is currently busy with his PhD at The Da Vinci Institute in Modderfontein, Johannesburg.

Facilitated by Professor Bennie Anderson, CEO of The Da Vinci Institute

How to achieve project success – by Piet Joubert (Da Vinci Faculty)

I have read many articles on how to prevent project failure and asked myself why the glass should be half empty and not half full. I have therefore decided to explore reasons that will make projects a success. Project success depends to a large extent on the initial conditions or start of the project. There are definitely some “things” that we can control, especially at the inception of a project.

The butterfly effect

Butterfly effect

Many project managers and stakeholders don’t have a clue what the butterfly effect is. To refresh your memory here is a very short version. A person by the name of Lorentz was looking for a way to model the action of chaotic behaviour of a gaseous system. On one specific day his computer program was started with inputs that were slightly different from his previous models. When he checked the results a day later he was amazed to find very different end results. This effect is called the butterfly effect because in analogy when a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil it could cause a tornado in Texas. Small variations at the inception of a project could cause large scale unwanted/wanted effects later in the project.

Lorenz made a significant breakthrough in not only chaos theory, but life. Lorenz proved that complex, dynamical systems show order, but they never repeat. Since our world is classified as a dynamical, complex system, our lives, our weather, and our experiences will never repeat; however, they should form patterns.

In mathematics, a nonlinear system does not satisfy the superposition principle, of whose output is not proportional to its input. Linear is a property of straight lines, of simple proportions, of predictability and good behaviour. Nonlinear on the other hand applies to systems that do unpredictable things that cannot be solved exactly and need to be approximated, the one-offs that don’t fit the expected pattern.

Project management takes place in a nonlinear economic and social system. We should therefore do our best when conducting a project to stack the odds in our favour by ensuring favourable initial conditions.

Project management

Project management as a profession is young but not the implementation of projects. We find large and small projects as we go back in history. Many of them marvellous achievements. A few that I can recall are the Tower of Babel that we know was not a success. On the other hand Noah’s Ark ensured the survival of many species. Up until today we can’t replicate the results of the pyramid constructors. The fundamental prerequisite of a project is its temporary nature and a specific time line.

Project management is a method of management applying unique tools e.g. a phased approach and a WBS (work breakdown structure) to lower the risk of the project and make second order problems visible. In order to manage a project from start to finish we model the project life cycle; that is how the project is planned, controlled and monitored from its inception to its completion. Many variables and issues when conducting a project are not controllable in line with the behaviour of a nonlinear system.

Organisation strategy and projects

The logical starting place to ensure project success is the strategic reason for the project. All the “what’s and why’s” of the project. Strategic management provides the theme and focus of the future direction of the organisation. Projects should contribute value to the organisation’s strategic plan. Each project manager should also see her/his project in relation to other projects. The small business and entrepreneur should ask the same questions.

  • Do you have a good business case? How will your project add value?
  • The requirements analysis process should be properly conducted and not be merely a wish list but reflect the real needs of the client.

Systems thinking

Holos is a Geek word meaning all, entire, total. This means we should consider the total organisation when performing a project. It is important for the whole organisation to benefit when we run a project. Systems thinking are about gaining insights into the whole by understanding the linkages and interactions between the elements that comprise the whole system.

  • The “solution” of the project must be considered for creating other unintended problems. The “green” electric cars that are becoming popular lately may after all be not so “green” in many countries because we use coal to generate the electricity for charging the car batteries. The burning of coal causes large scale pollution of the atmosphere.  To understand the butterfly effect one must be able to do systems thinking.
  • Use the life cycle approach. That is all phases or stages between the project’s conception and its termination. We develop a standard set of outputs for each phase.


A project should have a good plan. Planning is part of the inception process. It is the foundation of the project. The plan should be achievable. Some projects plans are not realistic and based on wishful thinking and conjecture. No matter how many people are involved it takes on average 9 months for a baby to be born.

Involve stakeholders in the planning process at an early opportunity to ensure good initial conditions. The project stakeholders will contribute to comprehensively identify requirements; needs and possible risks/opportunities. The client must not be seen as an enemy but rather as an ally.

Risk management

It is important to recognise potential and unforeseen trouble. In project management we take certain risks in order to achieve our aims. Some risk events are predictable and others may be a total surprise for us. Preventative planning is an attempt in creating favourable initial conditions. People tend to focus on consequences and not on the events that could produce the consequences.


Modern project management requires a new way of thinking in line with nonlinear and complexity theory. A project is much more than an administrative process of identifying deliverables and putting them in a sequence in order to draw a bar chart for tracking purposes. We have seen that we must develop a new way of thinking being able to identify and develop favourable initial conditions to improve the chance of project success. We must also remember that a butterfly is not a better caterpillar but an entirely different creature. More about this in a next article.

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 learn-able skill. As a manager or entrepreneur you must have good project management skills to achieve results.

Aim for results

Project management course

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 Project Management Principles and Methodologies.

Selected references:

Lucas, C. (2007, June). Nonlinear Science – Chaos Tamed [Online]. Available: [2009, September 1].

Donahue Manus J., III (1997 December). An Introduction to Mathematical Chaos Theory and Fractal Geometry. [Online].Available: 2009 September 1].