Monthly Archives: February 2018

Da Vinci @ Work: Meet Zipphora Swanepoel

How Zipps is turning a bright idea into a winning innovation
The difficulty with implementing great ideas is that it is easier said than done. Zipphora “Zipps” Swanepoel, an employee of one of the major banks and a second-year BCom Business Management student, is successfully bridging that gap.
Her idea for transforming the way the bank interacts with customers applying for home loans made her a finalist in an ideas competition during 2017 and is being implemented – under her supervision, using her knowledge and expertise obtained through her studies at The Da Vinci Institute.
“Sometimes you have an idea of what needs to change but you don’t know how to go forward, or if you take it up with somebody, they might say it’s not very important right now. You need to know what to do, where to go and how to back yourself up,” says Zipps. “Now I know how to do that, and it’s because of my studies at Da Vinci.”
Thinking out of the box
What attracted her to the Institute was a “think out of the box” challenge during an entrepreneurs’ day at her place of employment. “Da Vinci had this wooden object with a stick in the middle and you had to get the stick out of the box,” she recalls. “That caught my attention.”
Not long afterwards, in April 2016, she and other colleagues enrolled for the BCom Business Management programme. “Mode 2 learning is exciting because everything we do relates to the workplace,” says Zipps, a quality assurer.

“It was difficult at first, but the facilitators were awesome, and when I reached my second year, it was a different level of thinking. You do all the research and that gives you the knowledge you need to approach innovation with confidence.”

For instance, when she entered the competition, she was ready for any and all questions from her colleagues about her idea – which was to consolidate separate, parallel home loan customer processes into a single, streamlined process.
“Before my studies, I would not have known how to answer questions like, ‘how do you know this will work?’ and ‘have you tested it?’ But I had done the research and I was prepared,” Zipps says.
Thus, her proposal for consolidating the two customer interaction processes into one, saving time and money and eliminating wastage, was voted one of the top three new concepts in the bank’s home loan division.
Now Zipps, who has since moved up to “process efficiency practitioner”, is part of the team making sure that her idea becomes a reality at the bank. “It’s very nice and I’m very lucky to have this opportunity and to be able to work and study at the same time.”



Prof Edward Kieswetter receives Life Time Achievement Award for Excellence in Management

Johannesburg, 2 February 2018

Professionals from various organisations gathered at a gala dinner in Montecasino Ball Room on the evening of 1 February 2018 to honour the best amongst them. The South African Professional Services Awards sponsored by Sanlam were being hosted for the third time after a rigorous process of determining winners through strict criteria.

Sally Hutton of Webber Wentzel was crowned SA’s Best Professional while Paragon Architects took home the Best Professional Services Firm Award. There were winners in different fields drawn from two main categories namely the built environment and commerce law and management.

“These awards are important as they give visibility to disciplines that are desperately needed in this country. They also reward entities for performing well in important areas such as transformation, customer service, contribution to the community and commitment to ethical best practice,” said Gert Bezuidenhout, Regional General Manager – Sanlam Gauteng Region.

KC Rottok, founder and project manager of the Awards, confirmed that there had been greater participation at this year’s events with a significant increase in individual entrants.
“Since hosting the competition the past two times, a greater number of individuals were nominated for professional of the year. They were judged based on a host of attributes including demonstration of leadership skills, changing of paradigms and innovation within the bounds of available resources. We also conferred a number of Lifetime Achievement Awards to deserving recipients who had served their professions faithfully for many years,” said Rottok.

The full list of winners is as follows:
Engineering firm of the year – Bigen
Construction sector firm of the year – PD Consulting
Architecture firm of the year – Paragon
Engineering professional of the year – Welekazi Cele (Hatch)
Construction sector professional of the year – Anthony Afordofe (Akweni)
Architecture professional of the year – Henning Rasmuss (Paragon)
Built environment young professional of the year – Gabrielle Wojtowitz (Aurecon)
Law firm of the year – Bowmans
Big 4 firm of the year – EY
Accounting firm of the year – Sekela Xabiso
Consulting firm of the year – Africa Business Group
Consulting professional of the year – Tapiwa Njikizana (W Consulting)
Law professional of the year – Sally Hutton (Webber Wentzel)
Big 4 professional of the year – Shirley Machaba (PWC)
Accounting professional of the year – Ndumi Medupe (Nexia SAB&T)
Woman professional of the year – Shirley Machaba (PWC)
Commerce, Law and Management young professional of the year – Ayanda Kanana (City of Joburg)

Lifetime Achievement Awards  

Prof. Edward Kieswetter (Alexander Forbes/The Da Vinci Institute), Philip Hourquebie (EY/Investec), Dr. Azar Jammine (Econometrix), Mzi Nkonki (Nkonki Inc.), Dr Peter Day (Jones & Wagener), Dr. Pine Pienaar (Nyeleti), Dr. Snowy Khoza (Bigen), Pierre Lombart (GLH Architects) and Nico Van Der Meulen (Nico Van Der Meulen Architects)

Special commendations

SNA Civil and Structural Engineers, Mathieu Du Plooy (WSP), Nonku Ntshona (NNAQS), Lynne Pretorius (ITS Engineers), Louis De Waal (Bosch), Elene’ Olwagen (Boogertman + Partners), Tommy Strydom (Inyatsi), Paul Badrick (Grant Thornton), Nexia SAB&T, Luyanda Mngadi (PWC), Riza Moosa (Norton Rose Fulbright) and Peter Goss (SNG).