Category Archives: managerial leadership

PFK Electronics: The art of dealing with ‘hunters’ and ‘farmers’

PFK Electronics

#TT1002016 Winner of the Da Vinci Award for Excellence in the Management of People

Category for large enterprises

The art of dealing with ‘hunters’ and ‘farmers’

When it comes to salespeople, there are acquisition salespeople or “hunters” and then there are retention salespeople or “farmers”. Understanding the differences and, more importantly, mobilising them advantageously, is a critical success factor for PFK Electronics, South Africa’s biggest manufacturer of advanced automotive technology. PFK uses its sales force to identify and nurture partnerships around the world as it is a partner-centric business.

“Our Global partners are key to our business strategy and a key to the PFK end customer. Nurturing these partnerships is incredibly important for our success. That is why it is critical that we appoint the right sales profile to look after our partners and customers, tailored to the sales lifecycle and market they find themselves in,” says Marco Valente, Managing Director of Sales & Marketing.

“Choosing the right people for the job – whether in sales, R&D or the assembly line – is a key part of PFK’s strategy to grow into a multibillion-rand business in the next five years,” says Valente.

“No one gets it right all the time. We’ve all made hiring mistakes, but the important thing is to understand upfront what and who it is that you want and need. Once your talent engine within your business understands exactly what they are looking for by using the various talent profiling tools we’ve developed, it makes for a mutually rewarding relationship for both the employee and employer,” he says.

From semi-skilled to skilled

“We invest greatly in skills, specifically in turning semi-skilled employees into skilled employees and giving them a career path. We also pay attention to the wellbeing of employees and support the health of their families.” Recent health and wellness initiatives include factory floor talks on early screening for cancer and many other health and wellbeing related topics, in addition to the availability of qualified nurses to assist with healthcare matters.

Valente believes that while it will always matter what salaries companies pay and what benefits they offer, company culture is crucial too.

“In our company, we like to encourage debate and there is no such thing as a stupid question. The company structure is very flat and I would describe the leadership style as open and passionately communicative with the goal to challenge and grow our people to meet their career aspirations.”

About PFK

Since opening its doors in Durban in 1985, it has grown into the largest automotive electronics manufacturing company in South Africa, with solutions that include vehicle alarm and immobiliser systems, stolen vehicle recovery, driver behaviour profiling, insurance telematics, fleet management telematics, video telematics and, under the PFK Shurlok banner, Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) approved plastics, instrument clusters, harnesses, among others, as a first and second tier OEM supplier.


Misfits and the power of collective genius

Systemic Logic Innovation Agency

#TT1002016 Winner of the 2016 Blank Canvas International Award for Sustainability

Category for small enterprises

Misfits and the power of collective genius

Individually, the people who work at Systemic Logic Innovation Agency are a “bunch of misfits” – their own choice of words – but collectively, they’re a formidable team. “Innovation has become a team sport. It is the many little things done by many people that make a big difference. It is where enlightened trial and error trumps the workings of a lone genius,” the business incubator and accelerator services company said in its TT100 entry.

The adjudicators were certainly impressed with Innovation Agency’s clear vision, range of technologies and the way it has integrated its processes to form a cohesive organisation. Highly commendable, they said, was the patent the company has been granted for its innovation implementation approach.

Patenting is often a good indicator of business sustainability as it implies uniqueness that is protected from copycatting, enabling the holder to maintain its competitive edge.

The adjudicators also liked Innovation Agency’s strong focus on implementation, especially its emphasis on helping clients turn ideas into reality. “We bridge the gap between great ideas and real results,” the company says, referring to this space as the “dark side” of innovation.

It helps shed light on this dark side by offering incubator and accelerator services such as advice on how to turn good ideas into “great ideas with true commercial potential”, assisting with market research, business development and innovation strategy, and running practical workshops that expose clients’ employees to innovation design thinking and methodologies.

Innovation Agency works with established businesses wanting to fast-track product innovations, as well as with start-ups in the critical early stages and small businesses seeking to grow into successful sustainable enterprises.

“Business incubators are the lifeline of innovation, especially in social settings where support for start-up businesses is limited,” says the company, which has so far helped accomplish over 200 of its partners’ major innovation goals.

And it all comes back to a belief that innovation takes place through the collective effort of many people. “Ideas are everywhere. It is about our collective genius … Because no one is smarter than everyone.”


Leading Innovation

Leading Innovation
By Henra Mayer 
Da Vinci Head of Faculty: Management of Innovation
The significance of innovation is widely recognised as an important business driver in a dynamic world of rapid change and shifting business models. Many organisations invest in innovation initiatives to create more competitive and resilient organisations, but how to continuously produce repeatable, strategically significant outcomes remains a challenge for many. 

Intent needs to be supported with effective innovation practices, and at its core, this includes a focus on innovation leadership. It invariably points to the leader’s ability to enable a strategic vision for entrenching an end-to-end innovation capability within the organisation.


The annual Da Vinci Technology Top 100 (TT100) Business Innovation Awards programme was launched in 1991 to create an awareness of the role of technology and innovation leadership in South Africa.  It employs the TIPS™ model, which refers to the inter-relationships between how we manage our technology, innovation and people in a systemic way to enhance sustainable development within the organisation.

In essence, this model acts as a good starting point for focusing the leader’s role as orchestrator of innovation by integrating management disciplines that considers:

The Management of Technology (MoT)

The management of technology is all about the ‘tools’ and metrics organisations use to gain competitive advantage.  Simplistically it is “a way of doing things better” and may involve the use of anything from computers and hi-tech, to simple hand-held tools.  In this context, it refers to the small “t” in technology where organisations manage their technology to best position their products or services to maximise their market share.

The Management of Innovation (MoI)

The management of innovation is about how an organisation stimulates and capitalises on the ideation process to develop an innovative product or service which demonstrates either commercial or social value. It’s about hard metrics such as income generated from new products, processes or services as well as success rates in commercialising new offerings, coupled with the softer side of change management, co-creation and employee engagement.

The Management of People (MoP)

The management of people is all about the human technology interface.  It embraces both the employee and the end user.  It is about the processes that organisations deploy in the development of their human capital, and how they retain and re-skill existing employees, how they incentivise their people and how they plan for succession to ensure organisational longevity. 
The Management of Systems (MoS)

This is the process of synthesis, where systemic integration of all organisational activities and performance is used to solve unique problems, and where a hyper-competitive redesign of the landscape occurs. This includes internal synovation and organisational ecology that allows the parts to become greater than the whole.

It is evident from the TT1000 research results gathered over the past 25 years that companies who link their technology and innovation practices effectively tend to become more agile. Agility in this sense refers to the link between people and innovation practices so that employees become engaged in seeking solutions at work.  The appropriate linkage of technology and people practices tend to create better alignment to react to changing circumstances and this ensures that the organisation up-skills (by acquisition or development) the appropriate human capabilities to match, and even exceed the technological needs at any one time. From here the organisation develops, improves and adapts its technology needs and appropriate innovation is applied to generate real market value and profitability. 

It is about speed to market, response to change and an ability to cope with new world flexibility. But none of this will lead to real-world outputs if people do not make it so. People and innovation need to be managed in such a way that it impacts on the commitment and motivation of people in the workplace so that people take personal initiative and accountability. The TIPS™ model is graphically depicted below.
Figure 1: The TIPS™ model used with the TT100 Awards
In a sense, the TIPS™ framework could serve as a meta-framework for managerial leaders within the workplace, but leadership is about more than frameworks. It talks to the heart of an organisation.  

In the 2016 South African Innovation League Awards, administered annually by Innocentrix, innovation leadership emerged as South Africa’s strongest capability. It seems to be driven as a clear outcome by the majority of organisations who believe that overall strategic objectives are translated into innovation objectives. 

Although executives are demonstrating an intent by aligning innovation outcomes with overall organisational objectives and supporting tactical thinking with concrete strategies, leadership intent alone is not going to make innovation happen. Success lies in the execution of intent and while organisations are willing and able, it is clear from the League results that much room is left for improvement as weaknesses in execution coupled with ad-hoc activities and misaligned interdependencies needs attention.[1]

Effective approaches for leading innovation could include enabling a strategic innovation vision, a focus on the customer and creating a climate of reciprocal trust. Add to this the importance of communication, the power of persuasion and an emphasis on speed[2] and it becomes clear that the role of the leader is more about being an orchestrator and supportive enabler of success. If the point is to foster organisations that are willing and able to innovate over the long haul, then tomorrow’s leaders of innovation must be identified and developed today. Great leaders of innovation, see their role not as take-charge direction setters but as creators of a context in which others make innovation happen. That shift in understanding is critical to fostering the next generation of innovation leaders and must permeate the organisation and its talent management practices.[3]

In the end, leaders who do innovation well focus on providing an enabling environment,  they create an open culture and inspire an engaged workforce, they act with strategic intelligence and foresight.  They get the experts together and connect from ground level up to forge relationships within the innovation eco-system on a local, regional and global level. Inspiring leaders provide opportunity, mentorship, and empowerment and they act with integrity and courage in integrating these values across the organisation.

For more information on the Da Vinci TT100 Business Innovation Awards Programme and to enter the Awards programme, visit www.tt100.co.za or email carol@davinci.ac.za. To talk innovation and the SA Innovation League, please contact Innocentrix by emailing henra@innocentrix.co.za or by visiting www.innocentrix.co.za.



[1] SA Innovation League Report (2016) by Innocentrix (www.innocentrix.co.za)
[2] Research: 10 Traits of Innovative Leaders (2014) by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman (2014): Harvard Business Review
[3] Collective Genius (2014) Linda A. Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove, Kent Lineback: Harvard Business Review

Andries Agenbag shares his Work Based Challenge with us

How to make lighter work of a heavy load

Transporting a heavy load such as a 625-ton ship or lifting a 1 200-ton conveyor belt structure is no mean feat but lighter work can be made of it through integration and teamwork. That was Andries Agenbag’s thinking when he set out on a journey unlike any he’d embarked on before: his work-based challenge for his BCom degree in Operational Risk Management.

Like every qualification from The Da Vinci Institute, relevance to the workplace is essential. So Agenbag chose to tackle a problem that had troubled him for quite some time: the need for greater operational integration at Vanguard Rigging (Pty) Ltd, specialists in heavy lifting and abnormal load transportation.

“When planning a big lift or transportation move, there are two key components – the lifting machinery element and engineering element, on the one hand, and safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) on the other,” he says. “But, having served on a lot of SHEQ and engineering committees, I have seen that the two areas don’t speak the same language.”

The language of SHEQ is legal compliance; the language of engineering is technical. When the two are out of step, planning big lifts or transportation moves take longer and can be more complicated than necessary.

As SHEQ Manager at Vanguard Rigging (Pty) Ltd, Agenbag had noticed this and been trying to figure out what could be done about it. He had even gone so far as to complete a Lifting Machinery Inspection course and registration process with the Engineering Council of South Africa, ensuring that he understood the language his engineering colleagues were speaking. “The problem was that I didn’t really know where I was going with this.”

Finding direction

His BCom studies and specifically the requirement that he do a work-based challenge put an end to that uncertainty. “Through my challenge, I gained a proper sense of direction. My BCom gave me the tools and knowledge I needed to define the exact steps I needed to take towards operational integration.”

Agenbag’s chosen topic was an “assessment of the impact of non-integrated operational systems on service levels”. He began with a literature review and extensive consultation with subject matter experts in the SHEQ, engineering and lifting machinery sectors.

“The feedback from 80% of subject matter experts was that it is possible and preferable to run SHEQ and the engineering side as one. One of the biggest benefits of working together is the time saved on planning, and greater efficiency and effectiveness.”

After presenting his findings to the company’s board of directors, he received the green light to formulate and implement an action plan to make operational integration a reality. This included developing a software package to support integration and appointing auditors to conduct a gap analysis and identify risks.

The implementation of Agenbag’s action plan is underway, and he is confident that the company will reap the benefits of operational integration. “My BCom made it happen. The idea was there but I didn’t know how to put that into practice. My studies opened it up for me.”

Kirkonsult (Pty) Ltd: Keeping food and beverage-making clean and simple

Kirkonsult (Pty) Ltd

Winner of the Eskom Award for Excellence in the Management of Systems
Category for emerging enterprises

Keeping food and beverage-making clean and simple

When opening a bottle of beer or a can of soda, few consumers pause to wonder about the cleanness of the equipment used to make it. They shouldn’t have to: the laws around the cleaning of manufacturing facilities for food and drinks are stringent, and manufacturers are obliged to test their equipment for residual contaminants.

The downside for manufacturers is that it may take up to two or three hours to clean the equipment before starting on a new batch of product, and four to five days before the microbiological assessment results from the last batch come back. In the meantime, the products they have just manufactured sit in a warehouse under quarantine for four or five days until the equipment and process under which they were made receive the all-clear from the laboratory.

Through the ingenuity of Dr Robin Kirkpatrick of Kirkonsult, the time taken to test for possible contaminants can now be drastically shortened.  He has developed and patented Carbotect™ to do the same job in a matter of minutes.

Colour-coded test delivers quick results

“It’s a quick, colour-coded diagnostic test that picks up residual contaminants in the equipment or the water used to clean it. My technology can pick up extremely low levels of contaminants and it can do it within five minutes instead of five days,” says Kirkpatrick, who originally trained as a vet before switching to Microbiology, in which he has a PhD. He was also one of the brains behind the development in South Africa of Radical Water, which uses electro-activation to treat water and is now used worldwide.

Back to food and beverage manufacturing and the cleaning of equipment: Kirkpatrick says that manufacturers use high-pressure, piping hot water and various chemicals to clean their equipment, and at the end of the cleaning process, use more clean water to flush everything out. “That final water is tested to see if it is clear of any residue.”

Apart from affording a rapid and highly sensitive result for the detection of organic contaminants, Carbotect is simple to use and can be administered by a relatively unskilled worker. “I developed the solution in close association with South African Breweries, whose requirements were for a low skills-based, rapid and reliable piece of technology,” he says.

Plenty of scope for expansion

His technology is well suited to other high-risk, perishable products too, from fruit juices, soft drinks, soups and sauces to pharmaceutical syrups and other liquid-based preparations. It has also been used at membrane-based water treatment plants.

There is also scope to upscale this colour-based diagnostic system for more sophisticated settings, such as by digitalising it, as well as the potential for growth beyond South Africa’s borders. “I am now finalising the product for the international market,” says Kirkpatrick.

He is on a constant quest to improve and enhance Carbotect, which was in development for several years and went through a number of versions before he was satisfied it was ready to patent and trademark. “I never stop questioning the status quo and looking for new avenues and new opportunities for fresh insights. So far, I have barely scratched the surface.”


Innovation Systems – Making Sense of the Noise

Innovation Systems – Making Sense of the Noise

Technology is recognised as an enabler of innovation and growth. Having a software tool, specifically the right software tool, can greatly accelerate your innovation results by creating an easily accessible and self-sustaining platform for ideation and innovation management. Over recent years, however, the innovation technology systems market exploded and an influx of players are contributing to an ever increasing maze of offerings with functionality that features internal and external collaboration capability, enterprise communication tools and in some instances the integration of various ecosystems for co-creation.

The result is an increasingly growing and crowded landscape of innovation management tools that are becoming more and more difficult to navigate – a trend that is expected to continue as new and existing offerings incorporate more radical technologies such as artificial intelligence and crypto currencies.

The current innovation technology market is estimated at over $200 million and boasts up to 250 vendors (and counting), almost doubling its size in the last two and a half years. In a fragmented innovation system market differentiation is not easy to come by. This does not come as good news for increasingly frustrated customers trying to make sense of it all. The very reason the innovation system vendors make a case for their software (to help organisations innovate and differentiate) might become a paradox in itself that begs the same question from them – how are innovation technology vendors creating new value and differentiation in an increasingly dynamic market?

At Innocentrix we understand this problem as we work with both vendors and clients to make innovation intentional, repeatable and supportive of next level growth. One solution will not universally fit all needs. Organisations need to understand the functionality on offer, how it fits the organisation’s own requirements, the financial and business models available as well as how this aligns with current innovation maturity levels and future goals.

Where to start is not always easy to figure out. The aim of this article is to offer a practical point of departure to assist organisations to navigate this landscape better.

But we can Build?

Customers increasingly look for a voice in the development of a solution that best meets their needs and prefers “exceptional service” as opposed to traditionally offered technology services. This might be one of the reasons investigating in-house development is often one of the first activities undertaken by organisations when the need for an innovation management system has been identified. It is possible that certain organisations by the nature of what they do have the ability to develop in-house and it seems like an attractive option when one ponders the crowded innovation technology landscape mentioned above. Add to this foreign currency hurdles if you are considering best of breed international solutions that also naturally comes with geographical and time zone challenges. The other reality is the speed of change, the impact of digital innovation and the requirement to have to run hard just to stand still, for what could be considered to be a non-core activity. Building you own is not impossible but with the rise of mobility and SaaS offerings, it is becoming increasingly challenging to do so well. 

Apart from functionality and development costs, organisations need to consider time available for development as well as servicing the organisation’s future innovation aspirations.

Other considerations should be:
Insight
Does your development team understand the organisation’s technical and innovation-critical requirements to enable it effectively? Can you map the minimal viable product (MVP) and do you have a good understanding of the future roadmap for the product? Moreover, does the development team really understand innovation and innovation software development?

Skill
Does your organisation have the required technical in-house experience to deliver a solution that is reasonably comparable to what is available off the shelf right now? Will you have continued access to these skills in the future and do they have the time available to bring the product to the organisation reasonably quickly?  

Relevance
Innovation software vendors have been in the game for several years, they understand the dynamics of the market and are trusted by some of the world’s largest companies. This is their core competency, the reason they exist. It is in their interest to remain relevant and at the forefront of best practice in innovation management. Consider the internal stakeholder challenge as the organisation has to continually justify the investment and when it becomes a cost/price game the 3rd party vendor has the scope to offer compellingly lower prices.

Total cost of ownership
It is necessary to consider the complexity of total cost of ownership. The allure of building your own is attractive when one considers the ubiquity of the tools and seemingly low barriers of investment, but what costs are associated with personnel, ongoing maintenance, and continuous development. Opportunity costs if this is not a core competency for the organisation also need to be considered.

Building an in-house solution is possible but it is not straightforward. Initially and at low levels of innovation maturity in-house built systems can serve their purpose, but they soon fall by the wayside as maturity levels and the complexity of needed functionality increases. Another challenge is that in house development can become someone’s pet project. Organisations often fail to maintain their systems due to a change in roles and responsibilities over time, resulting in an eventual waste of not only money but time as well.

So how do you make sense of it all?

It is important to select a fit for purpose tool to fulfil the organisation’s objectives in support of its innovation business case, and to be able to adapt as the organisation matures on its innovation journey, or as needs become more varied.

Answering the question is, in essence, coming back to basics. Innovation is a business necessity but it is important to understand what you are trying to do and what good looks like for you. What are the organisation’s aspirations in this regard? Once that is defined, the road to find the best tool and operating model might be less complex.   

The Forrester Wave Report (2016)[1] used 26 criteria to evaluate a list of 15 current Innovation Management vendors and grouped them according to (1) current offering in the market (2) strategy of the vendor and (3) market presence. This resulted in a list of leaders and strong performers that according to the report represent strengths and trusted expertise in the field. But the picture is much more complex as the authors allude to in the introductory contextualisation.

Consider the following nuances.

Technology firms operate on very similar business models

Industry operating models chase brutal quarterly targets, a maximisation of licenses sold to customers and discounts for multi-year deals.  Painstakingly logged and managed, sales discussions will focus on these main aspirations which can be counter to client needs. Continuity with staff presents another challenge. Direct dealings with a vendor can become problematic as staff turnover impacts on relationships and the history with the vendor. Consistency becomes a moving target. One can argue that the technology sector is still in its formative years. Standards and interoperability across platforms are limited, with the story often being about the ‘best’ widget in town. Some have compelling features that are more influenced by the development of user interface design, but in many cases, there are much maturing to do. 

Many organisations want a voice to get what they view as valuable. They prefer more flexibility in their engagement models with vendors, as the needs of the organisation will change with a maturing innovation capability and as new learnings are integrated.  Which brings us to the next point.

An innovation system does not create an innovative culture

There are many great systems out there. None of them is going to guarantee that innovation work in your organisation. Your system will most likely become your cornerstone for success and enable innovation if managed well, but your people and doing the right things will be your secret sauce. You will need to consider many things like strategy, leadership, management, effective communication, impacting on engagement, measurement of outcomes, ROI and much more. It is important that you manage this from the beginning.

The need for partners

Many vendors have not eloquently addressed the need for partners. Strategic services are being offered by some whilst sharing their view of best practice for the use of their solution with customers is part of the package. But as put forward by Forrester’s report, few innovation management solution vendors can address wider business transformation requirements alone and need to work with outside consulting partners. Recent partnerships between KPMG and Idea Factory and IdeaScale and the content platform InnovationManagement.se play to this point. It will, however, require vendors to actively build and contribute to the market in a collaborative manner. In too many instances the opposite is still true and vendors are found to dilute the innovation ecosystem instead of positively and actively contributing to it. The winners in the innovation systems market will most likely be those that recognise the exponential power and value of true collaboration to the benefit of all parties, especially their client’s. The most valuable partnerships will be those between a vendor and a partner offering expert strategic innovation expertise. Trust, ethics and respect still make good business sense and often provides an indication of vendor reliability. Choose your vendor well in this regard.

The market, maturity and attitude

In all of this, however, the client has a responsibility too. Do you have real strategic intent for innovation in the organisation?  In other words, do you have a budget in support of building an innovation capability and culture, and are you open to working with your suppliers to make it work? It might seem like an obvious question but it is an important one. Why invest in an innovation management system if you do not intend to enable it. Tripping over dollars to pick up pennies does not make sense, especially in this scenario. Your innovation team, if you have one, needs to be empowered for success. They cannot be expected to go at it alone. That is setting them up for failure from the beginning. And just like your vendors and your strategic partners, it is necessary to pull together a dynamic innovation team internally as well. This is no place for ego’s, immature jockeying for power or feeling intimidated by partners or team members for fear of being stood up for expertise. You will need to collaborate to be successful. Your external team are there in support of your success. If your innovation team cannot appreciate this your efforts will be compromised and your investment will most probably be wasted.  Take heed, this is a leadership responsibility.

So when starting out on the road in evaluating innovation management systems, think further than the obvious. Whichever way you dress it up, innovation is a complex coming together of multiple capabilities. Getting it right is hard and finding the right solution takes effort.

This article attempted to call out a number of the key tenets to consider when setting off on the journey.  Like in all relationships, it is often the little foxes in the vineyard that can destroy something good.

This article is written by Mrs Henra Mayer, CEO of Innocentrix and Da Vinci Head of Faculty related to the Management of Innovation.

About Innocentrix

Innocentrix is an ideas and innovation company. We help our clients to deliver the future. We improve existing offerings or bring to market new business models, projects, products or services. We help our clients to Create, Engage and Deliver. Find us at www.innocentrix.co.za.



[1] The Forrester Wave™: Innovation Management Solutions, Q2 2016 

Media Release: TT100 awards show innovation is alive and thriving in SA (Winner Announcement)

Media Release
28 October 2016
TT100 awards show innovation is alive and thriving in SA

Despite widespread pessimism over South Africa’s skills shortages and economic prospects, the country has a thriving culture of business innovation capable of flourishing in adversity. This was abundantly clear at the 2016 TT100 Business Innovation Awards, where the quality of the award winners revealed the depth of innovation in South African companies of all sizes, from emerging and small enterprises to medium and large.

From car-locking systems that won’t let the driver behind the wheel if over the limit to technology that ensures the integrity of cleaning procedures in the food and beverages industry, the achievements of the winners showed how companies are putting their talents to work to overcome uniquely South African challenges.

The 2016 TT100 awards – the 25th edition since the programme was established in 1991 – were presented at the Johannesburg Country Club on Thursday, 27 October, under the auspices of TT100: The Da Vinci Institute School of Managerial Leadership. Da Vinci’s awards partners are the Department of Science and Technology, MTN and Eskom.

Minister of Science and Technology Mrs Naledi Pandor gave the keynote address and presented the awards, which recognised top-performing companies in four main categories: management of technology, management of innovation, management of people, and management of systems and sustainability.

In each category, awards were presented to the top emerging, small, medium and large companies.

In addition, four special awards from the Minister and Director-General of Science and Technology were presented for overall excellence. 
  
Here are the 2016 winners and finalists in each category:


MANAGEMENT OF TECHNOLOGY CATEGORY
Emerging enterprise
WINNER:  SVA Innovate Pty (Ltd)
Finalists: RocketMine Aerial Data Solutions
                JoinCircles (Pty) LtdVicfirth6
                Niche Integrated Solutions (Pty) Ltd
Small enterprise
WINNER: Technetium (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: X/procure Software SA (Pty) Ltd
                Agilitude
                COLONYHQ (Pty) Ltd
                Hazleton Pumps International (Pty) Ltd
Medium enterprise
WINNER: Cornastone Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: SSG Consulting
                Accsys (Pty) Ltd
Large enterprise
WINNER: Allied Electronics Corporation Limited
Finalists: De Beers Technologies South  Africa (DebTech)
                PFK Electronics

MANAGEMENT OF INNOVATION CATEGORY
Emerging enterprise
WINNER: SVA Innovate Pty (Ltd)
Finalists: IoT.nxt (Pty) Ltd
                Tuluntulu (Pty) Ltd
Small enterprise
WINNER: COLONYHQ (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: Technetium (Pty) Ltd
                X/procure Software SA (Pty) Ltd
                Hazleton Pumps International (Pty) Ltd
                Khonology
               LucidView (Pty) Ltd
               BOSS Office Projects(Pty) Ltd
               Systemic Logic Innovation Agency (Pty) Ltd
Medium enterprise
WINNER: Cornastone Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: Accsys (Pty) Ltd
                SSG Consulting
Large enterprise
WINNER: Allied Electronics Corporation Limited
Finalists: De Beers Technologies South Africa (DebTech)
                Altech Netstar (Pty) Ltd


MANAGEMENT OF PEOPLE CATEGORY
Emerging enterprise
WINNER: No winner
Finalists: RocketMine Aerial Data Solutions
                SVA Innovate Pty (Ltd)
Small enterprise
WINNER: X/procure Software SA (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: COLONYHQ (Pty) Ltd
                Metro Minds (Pty) Ltd
Medium enterprise
WINNER: Accsys (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: Cornastone Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd
                Five Friday
Large enterprise
WINNER: PFK Electronics
Finalists: Allied Electronics Corporation Limited
                African Oxygen Limited
      Altech Multimedia (Pty) Limited

MANAGEMENT OF SYSTEMS CATEGORY
Emerging enterprise
WINNER: Kirkonsult (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: Memeza Shout (Pty) Ltd
Small enterprise
WINNER: Khonology
Finalists: COLONYHQ (Pty) Ltd
                Systemic Logic Innovation Agency (Pty) Ltd
Medium enterprise
WINNER: Accsys (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: SSG Consulting
Large enterprise
WINNER: Allied Electronics Corporation Limited
Finalists: I CAT Environmental Solutions
                Altech Netstar (Pty) Ltd
                Altech Multimedia (Pty) Limited
BLANK CANVAS INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR SUSTAINABILITY
Emerging enterprise
WINNER: SVA Innovate Pty (Ltd)
Finalists: RocketMine Aerial Data Solutions
                Tuluntulu (Pty) Ltd
Small enterprise
WINNER: COLONYHQ (Pty) Ltd
       Systemic Logic Innovation Agency (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: X/procure Software SA (Pty) Ltd
                Khonology
Medium Enterprise
WINNER: Accsys (Pty) Ltd
      Cornastone Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: SSG Consulting
Large enterprise
WINNER: Allied Electronics Corporation Limited
      PFK Electronics
Finalists: De Beers Technologies South Africa (DebTech)
DIRECTOR GENERAL AWARD FOR OVERALL EXCELLENCE
Emerging enterprise
WINNER: SVA Innovate Pty (Ltd)
Finalists: RocketMine Aerial Data Solutions
                Tuluntulu (Pty) Ltd
Small enterprise
WINNER: COLONYHQ (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: X/procure Software SA (Pty) Ltd
                Khonology

MINISTER AWARD FOR OVERALL EXCELLENCE
Medium enterprise
WINNER: Accsys (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: Cornastone Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd
                SSG Consulting
Large enterprise
WINNER: Allied Electronics Corporation Limited
Finalists: De Beers Technologies South Africa (DebTech)
                Altech Netstar (Pty) Ltd
How the winners are chosen

The winners of TT100 awards were chosen through a unique selection process, starting with pre-qualification. To qualify, companies must have been in business for at least one year and must not merely resell an existing product or service but must have introduced an innovative element within the TIPS™ model.

Next, after completing a comprehensive online questionnaire, each participating company is invited to a two-hour consultative interview with the awards adjudicators.  For the first 45 minutes, each entrant gives a presentation on the company and its business. The last 45 minutes are spent on questions from the adjudicators, all of whom are champions of innovation and have experience in enterprise development or entrepreneurship.

For 2016, 22 adjudicators representing a cross-section of the economy, from banking and business incubation to auditing, energy and public policy-making, volunteered their time and expertise to the judging process.

Scoring is done electronically. The adjudicators individually assign scores to each company and input these into a dedicated TT100 awards system. The system collates and consolidates the scores, and produces a matrix of the winners and finalists.

Unique opportunity for feedback

A special benefit of the TT100 awards programme is the feedback participants receive from the adjudicators. This takes the form of the verbal feedback received during each two-hour adjudication session and an electronic dashboard that each entrant can download after the awards. The electronic dashboard contains detailed, confidential comments from the adjudicators on where the company concerned is doing well and where it could consider making improvements.

In addition, each participant receives a 30-minute post-awards feedback session with the chief adjudicator.

Winners and finalists receive the additional benefit of becoming part of the TT100 community and being invited to participate in TT100 events, including business forums held jointly with government and partners involved in promoting business innovation, particularly the Department of Science and Technology.

The quality of the feedback participants receive is the reason why many companies enter the programme year after year – regardless of whether or not they win an award. In fact, some companies entered the awards for the first time in 1991 and are still taking part today.

Enter now for 2017 awards

Entries for the 2017 TT100 Business Innovation Awards are already being accepted. Entry is open to all companies, South African and international, as long as they have been in business for at least a year and consider themselves leaders in the way they manage technology, innovation, people or systems.
To enter, please register @ www.tt100.co.za or send an email to Carol Varga at The Da Vinci Institute, carol@davinci.ac.za


Ends
Contact
Storm Thomas
Communications Manager
The Da Vinci Institute / TT100 Business Innovation Awards Programme
011 608 1331 / 078 797 0096

Media Release: TT100 awards show innovation is alive and thriving in SA (Winner Announcement)

Media Release
28 October 2016
TT100 awards show innovation is alive and thriving in SA

Despite widespread pessimism over South Africa’s skills shortages and economic prospects, the country has a thriving culture of business innovation capable of flourishing in adversity. This was abundantly clear at the 2016 TT100 Business Innovation Awards, where the quality of the award winners revealed the depth of innovation in South African companies of all sizes, from emerging and small enterprises to medium and large.

From car-locking systems that won’t let the driver behind the wheel if over the limit to technology that ensures the integrity of cleaning procedures in the food and beverages industry, the achievements of the winners showed how companies are putting their talents to work to overcome uniquely South African challenges.

The 2016 TT100 awards – the 25th edition since the programme was established in 1991 – were presented at the Johannesburg Country Club on Thursday, 27 October, under the auspices of TT100: The Da Vinci Institute School of Managerial Leadership. Da Vinci’s awards partners are the Department of Science and Technology, MTN and Eskom.

Minister of Science and Technology Mrs Naledi Pandor gave the keynote address and presented the awards, which recognised top-performing companies in four main categories: management of technology, management of innovation, management of people, and management of systems and sustainability.

In each category, awards were presented to the top emerging, small, medium and large companies.

In addition, four special awards from the Minister and Director-General of Science and Technology were presented for overall excellence. 
  
Here are the 2016 winners and finalists in each category:


MANAGEMENT OF TECHNOLOGY CATEGORY
Emerging enterprise
WINNER:  SVA Innovate Pty (Ltd)
Finalists: RocketMine Aerial Data Solutions
                JoinCircles (Pty) LtdVicfirth6
                Niche Integrated Solutions (Pty) Ltd
Small enterprise
WINNER: Technetium (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: X/procure Software SA (Pty) Ltd
                Agilitude
                COLONYHQ (Pty) Ltd
                Hazleton Pumps International (Pty) Ltd
Medium enterprise
WINNER: Cornastone Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: SSG Consulting
                Accsys (Pty) Ltd
Large enterprise
WINNER: Allied Electronics Corporation Limited
Finalists: De Beers Technologies South  Africa (DebTech)
                PFK Electronics

MANAGEMENT OF INNOVATION CATEGORY
Emerging enterprise
WINNER: SVA Innovate Pty (Ltd)
Finalists: IoT.nxt (Pty) Ltd
                Tuluntulu (Pty) Ltd
Small enterprise
WINNER: COLONYHQ (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: Technetium (Pty) Ltd
                X/procure Software SA (Pty) Ltd
                Hazleton Pumps International (Pty) Ltd
                Khonology
               LucidView (Pty) Ltd
               BOSS Office Projects(Pty) Ltd
               Systemic Logic Innovation Agency (Pty) Ltd
Medium enterprise
WINNER: Cornastone Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: Accsys (Pty) Ltd
                SSG Consulting
Large enterprise
WINNER: Allied Electronics Corporation Limited
Finalists: De Beers Technologies South Africa (DebTech)
                Altech Netstar (Pty) Ltd


MANAGEMENT OF PEOPLE CATEGORY
Emerging enterprise
WINNER: No winner
Finalists: RocketMine Aerial Data Solutions
                SVA Innovate Pty (Ltd)
Small enterprise
WINNER: X/procure Software SA (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: COLONYHQ (Pty) Ltd
                Metro Minds (Pty) Ltd
Medium enterprise
WINNER: Accsys (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: Cornastone Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd
                Five Friday
Large enterprise
WINNER: PFK Electronics
Finalists: Allied Electronics Corporation Limited
                African Oxygen Limited
      Altech Multimedia (Pty) Limited

MANAGEMENT OF SYSTEMS CATEGORY
Emerging enterprise
WINNER: Kirkonsult (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: Memeza Shout (Pty) Ltd
Small enterprise
WINNER: Khonology
Finalists: COLONYHQ (Pty) Ltd
                Systemic Logic Innovation Agency (Pty) Ltd
Medium enterprise
WINNER: Accsys (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: SSG Consulting
Large enterprise
WINNER: Allied Electronics Corporation Limited
Finalists: I CAT Environmental Solutions
                Altech Netstar (Pty) Ltd
                Altech Multimedia (Pty) Limited
BLANK CANVAS INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR SUSTAINABILITY
Emerging enterprise
WINNER: SVA Innovate Pty (Ltd)
Finalists: RocketMine Aerial Data Solutions
                Tuluntulu (Pty) Ltd
Small enterprise
WINNER: COLONYHQ (Pty) Ltd
       Systemic Logic Innovation Agency (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: X/procure Software SA (Pty) Ltd
                Khonology
Medium Enterprise
WINNER: Accsys (Pty) Ltd
      Cornastone Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: SSG Consulting
Large enterprise
WINNER: Allied Electronics Corporation Limited
      PFK Electronics
Finalists: De Beers Technologies South Africa (DebTech)
DIRECTOR GENERAL AWARD FOR OVERALL EXCELLENCE
Emerging enterprise
WINNER: SVA Innovate Pty (Ltd)
Finalists: RocketMine Aerial Data Solutions
                Tuluntulu (Pty) Ltd
Small enterprise
WINNER: COLONYHQ (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: X/procure Software SA (Pty) Ltd
                Khonology

MINISTER AWARD FOR OVERALL EXCELLENCE
Medium enterprise
WINNER: Accsys (Pty) Ltd
Finalists: Cornastone Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd
                SSG Consulting
Large enterprise
WINNER: Allied Electronics Corporation Limited
Finalists: De Beers Technologies South Africa (DebTech)
                Altech Netstar (Pty) Ltd
How the winners are chosen

The winners of TT100 awards were chosen through a unique selection process, starting with pre-qualification. To qualify, companies must have been in business for at least one year and must not merely resell an existing product or service but must have introduced an innovative element within the TIPS™ model.

Next, after completing a comprehensive online questionnaire, each participating company is invited to a two-hour consultative interview with the awards adjudicators.  For the first 45 minutes, each entrant gives a presentation on the company and its business. The last 45 minutes are spent on questions from the adjudicators, all of whom are champions of innovation and have experience in enterprise development or entrepreneurship.

For 2016, 22 adjudicators representing a cross-section of the economy, from banking and business incubation to auditing, energy and public policy-making, volunteered their time and expertise to the judging process.

Scoring is done electronically. The adjudicators individually assign scores to each company and input these into a dedicated TT100 awards system. The system collates and consolidates the scores, and produces a matrix of the winners and finalists.

Unique opportunity for feedback

A special benefit of the TT100 awards programme is the feedback participants receive from the adjudicators. This takes the form of the verbal feedback received during each two-hour adjudication session and an electronic dashboard that each entrant can download after the awards. The electronic dashboard contains detailed, confidential comments from the adjudicators on where the company concerned is doing well and where it could consider making improvements.

In addition, each participant receives a 30-minute post-awards feedback session with the chief adjudicator.

Winners and finalists receive the additional benefit of becoming part of the TT100 community and being invited to participate in TT100 events, including business forums held jointly with government and partners involved in promoting business innovation, particularly the Department of Science and Technology.

The quality of the feedback participants receive is the reason why many companies enter the programme year after year – regardless of whether or not they win an award. In fact, some companies entered the awards for the first time in 1991 and are still taking part today.

Enter now for 2017 awards

Entries for the 2017 TT100 Business Innovation Awards are already being accepted. Entry is open to all companies, South African and international, as long as they have been in business for at least a year and consider themselves leaders in the way they manage technology, innovation, people or systems.
To enter, please register @ www.tt100.co.za or send an email to Carol Varga at The Da Vinci Institute, carol@davinci.ac.za


Ends
Contact
Storm Thomas
Communications Manager
The Da Vinci Institute / TT100 Business Innovation Awards Programme
011 608 1331 / 078 797 0096

Awards come and go but TT100 shows staying power

Business awards in South Africa may come and go, but one awards programme has showed staying power for a quarter of a century. The 2016 TT100 Business Innovation Awards of The Da Vinci Institute, being presented in Johannesburg on Thursday, 27 October, is the 25th edition of these long-running awards.
“The longevity of the TT100 programme is one of the qualities that make the awards so unique,” says Carol Varga, TT100 Awards Manager for The Da Vinci Institute.
The awards have been presented annually since 1991 and recognise emerging, small, medium and large companies that excel in managing technology, innovation, people and systems.
“Some companies entered the awards for the first time in 1991, when we started out, and are still taking part to this day,” she says, mentioning De Beers and Altech as examples. There are other regular participants that have been entering year after year for as long as 15 years as they use the TT100 process as a benchmarking tool.
“The process is very unique in South Africa,” says Varga. “To enter, companies don’t just fill in a piece of paper. They have a two-hour consultative interview with the adjudicators, who provide detailed feedback on the company.”
Detailed feedback, expert adjudicators

This takes the form of verbal feedback during each two-hour adjudication session, an electronic dashboard that each entrant can download after the awards, and a 30-minute post-awards feedback session with the chief adjudicator.
This year, 22 adjudicators volunteered their time and expertise to the judging process. All are champions of innovation, have experience in enterprise development in one form or another, and represent a cross-section of the economy, from banking and business incubation to auditing, energy and public policy-making.
The awards have also succeeded in attracting and retaining some of the country’s biggest supporters of innovation. The Department of Science and Technology has been a sponsor since 1995.  This year PWC are the official auditors of the programme, and MTN, one of the original sponsors from 1991, is back this year after a brief break, as is Eskom.
That’s staying power for you.
Ends

Cloudy outlook clears as Lean’s studies take him higher

New horizons have opened up for commercial airline pilot Lean Janse van Rensburg. Where once the outlook was cloudy and visibility limited, his studies at The Da Vinci Institute have given him fresh perspective on life, work and his place in the world.
Grounded and jobless

“After 1Time airlines went bankrupt in 2012, I couldn’t find another job in flying. South Africa has a small aviation market and there were about 90 other pilots looking for work at the time,” he says. “I’d always wanted another qualification in case I lost my medical licence and couldn’t fly, so in 2013 I enrolled at Unisa.”
That didn’t work out, so he kept himself busy doing odd jobs until he happened to see a “random” Facebook advert for The Da Vinci Institute. “I contacted them and we sat down and they reassured me I would get all the necessary support as a student.”
In March 2014, Janse van Rensburg signed up for a BCom degree in Aviation Management. All went well – so well that his average at the end of his first year was 85%.
Looking up

Things started looking even better in 2015 when he joined Safair as a pilot and was earning a salary again.
Then he ran into a hurdle – the Management of Systems module he had to complete for the second year of his Da Vinci studies. “I didn’t know what was going on. I contacted my lecturer Greg. We sat down and he made sure I understood.”
Meanwhile, back at Safair, he was starting to be noticed. “Every assignment I did for my studies had to be work and industry-related. As a pilot, I hadn’t been exposed to finance, marketing, sales and how the operations run, but through Da Vinci, I plugged into these areas. In the process of learning about my company and industry, the company learnt about me.”
Intriguing discoveries

During his research, for example, Janse van Rensburg discovered that flying from Johannesburg to Cape Town with Safair was only R1 more expensive than going by train, and R35 cheaper than going by bus.
He brought this to the attention of management, who liked his suggestion that the company start targeting its marketing at travellers who normally travel by train or long-distance bus.
Other assignments brought him into contact with other areas of the business, opening up all kinds of new possibilities. “I’ve been asked if I would be interested in becoming involved in sales, scheduling, the technical department and even the pilots’ union.”
Now in his third and final year, Janse van Rensburg says he feels “more relaxed” than before about the future. “I know there are opportunities to expand my possibilities of where I could work if I couldn’t fly.”
What’s more, Management of Systems, once his worst subject, is now his best. “The penny has dropped. When Da Vinci talks about how everything is connected, it’s not just philosophy. I really am seeing the bigger picture and how everything fits together.”
Ends