Category Archives: research

Da Vinci Appoints Remarkable Executive Dean: Profiling Professor Krishna Govender

 
The Da Vinci Team welcomes Professor Krishna Govender who has joined The Institute as Executive Dean. This profound scholar and leader certainly knows what it takes to be Remarkable, with multiple accomplishments to his name.  
 
Prof. Govender is a renowned academic, postgraduate research supervisor and a top rated researcher – with well over 100 articles published and various accolades amassed. He has held several senior and executive positions in his robust career, such as Academic Director, Rector and Executive Dean of faculties and schools in several private and public higher education institutions in South Africa and abroad.
 
This insightful man lives by the words of Nelson Mandela that “…an educated enlightened and informed population is one of the surest ways of promoting the health of a democracy.” To this end, Prof. Govender has over an expansive career not only enlightened and informed countless curious minds, at both high school and tertiary level, but also supervised over 50 postgraduate students in the last 6 years alone. Thus, contributing significantly to knowledge generation and the cultivation of research and business leaders that are impacting their organisations and the societies in which they research and operate. Outside of assisting others to hone their research skills, he is himself a prolific well-published academic researcher who is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and was listed amongst UKZN’s top 30 published researchers in both 2016 and 2017.
 
Prof. Govender holds true to the Da Vincian Principle of Curiosita (seeking the truth), with his insatiable curiosity in life and learning all he can, as well as an unrelenting quest for continuous learning not only through his various lauded research endeavours but also through his own formal studies. Prof. Govender holds a B Pedagogics (Commerce) (UDW); B Ed.; B Com. (Hons.) (Unisa); M Com (Natal); Ph.D. (UCT) and in 2018 was awarded a DBA (Honoris Causa).
 
Prof. Govender comments that he looks forward to engaging in Da Vinci’s co-operative learning culture and through this, he hopes to co-create a Learning Organisation, which embeds knowledge generation, dissemination and application as a cultural imperative.
 
We wish Prof. Govender an innovative, dynamic, unique and remarkable journey with us, and we certainly cannot wait for all Da Vincians to co-create with this mindful and deeply passionate Da Vinci scholar and leader.
 

Showcasing Da Vinci’s Research

Dr Mary Ritz is the Owner and Founder of Almenta International. She holds a PhD in Business focussing on Customer Centricity, an MBA with a concentration in International Business and an undergraduate degree in Marketing.
RITZ, Mary
Customer Management: Creating a sense making framework for developing economies

The overriding goal of the study was to determine if the customer management phenomenon should be treated and managed differently in different economic environments to improve its probability of success. This was based on the viewpoint that most of the literature on customer centricity seemed to be based on the developed world’s ways of thinking and doing, and the assumptions given were that these (often) western originated frameworks, would work in any socio-economic environment. However, if, as part of the study, the above was proven not to be true, the researcher indicated her need to develop such a framework for developing socio-economic contexts. The proposed framework consists of attributes that were considered best and most relevant for the developing world. Therefore, the main objective of the study was to address the phenomenon from a socio-economic perspective in the hope of offering new knowledge that can possibly assist people in the workplace to solve some of the challenges experienced in the customer management domain. The researcher’s underlying epistemological perspective is influenced by systems thinking. The relationship to the Cynefin Framework (Snowden and Kurtz, 2006), which makes reference to different market domains, was also referenced and adopted for the study. The researcher identified the customer centricity phenomenon as relevant to the Complex and Chaotic domains where context is unordered , which means there is no direct or obvious relationships between cause and effect, and problem-solving in these domains is accomplished by determining emerging patterns. Lastly, because the study was based on a particular socio-economic context, the researcher found it appropriate to base some of the thinking on Lessem’s (2001) principles of the “Four Worlds”. In addition, a literature review was carried out that confirmed the complexity of the matter under review by looking at some constructs of customer management (customer service, customer experience and customer relationship management). It was established how these components were complex in their own right. From the same literature review, certain aspects of the customer management phenomenon were identified, e.g. business performance and culture. A Grounded Theory methodology was followed utilizing a variety of data sources. The proposed customer-centric framework is based on the findings derived from a developing context, which in turn has been compared to a framework that was derived from the 5 customer management frameworks utilized for purposes of this research.

Academic supervisor: Prof B Anderson 

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Dr Vulumuzi Bhebhe is the Executive Chairman of UI Group, a consultancy firm specialising in corporate advisory. He holds a PhD in the Management of Technology and Innovation, an MBA with a concentration in Marketing Research as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management.

BHEBHE, Vulumuzi

Total early stage development of small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs): Creating a sustainability framework for emerging economies

The study investigated the total early stage development of SMMEs in emerging markets, and the tributary objective of this thesis is to create a sustainability framework. The study’s pinnacle focus was on five constructs (Internal Market Capacity; Relationship Marketing Capacity; Innovative Capacity; Customer Satisfaction and Business Performance) that affected sustainability and performance of start-ups and SMMEs in emerging markets. These business performance constructs are comprised of one predictor variable (Internal Marketing), three mediator variables (Relationship Marketing, Customer Satisfaction and Innovative Capacity) and one outcome variable (Business Performance). The research results reveal that all the business constructs (Internal Marketing, Relationship Marketing, Innovative Capacity and Customer Satisfaction) are antecedents of business performance. However, it was also observed that paramount and central to these constructs for business performance is Customer Satisfaction. The analysis revealed that Internal Marketing positively influences the mediators and outcome variable in a significant way. Academic discernments drawn and pragmatic implications provided are based on the thesis’ findings.

Academic supervisor: Prof R Chinomona;
Field supervisor: Dr M Ncube 
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Dr Rashid Abrahams is Senior Manager at Network Field Services: data and advanced services at Telkom SA since the beginning of 2009. He is currently responsible for assurance/fulfillment/projects and first line maintenance for Data and Advanced Services. He started his career in Telkom in 1984 and progressed through the ranks as Manager up to Senior manager – Operations.

ABRAHAMS, Rashid

A framework for broadband fulfilment and assurance in the telecommunications environment: A South African case study
Telkom SA faces a situation in which slow revenue growth is experienced primarily due to the decline in telecommunications traffic proceeds, while expenditure is escalating. The combined results of Telkom SA’s inability to rapidly respond to changing market conditions, shifting customer requirements and the decline in fixed-line business have affected profitability. For Telkom SA to succeed and stay relevant it should re-invent itself by continuously transforming from within a traditional telecommunications services provider paradigm by employing innovative services, state-of-theart technology and skilled people. The focus of the research was to benchmark the current network technology against international Next Generation Networks (NGN), and explore the present skills capacity and transformation of Telkom SA’s Fulfilment and Assurance services. It was to determine capabilities and capacities that could expand Telkom SA’s ICT services, and significantly reduce its fault and repeat report rates. Research findings and recommendations are presented in a framework for implementation of essential strategic imperatives. Timeous deployment of strategies could lead to building an invincible network, resulting in the successful turn-around of the current Broadband Fulfilment and Assurance service offering, and significantly enhancing Telkom SA’s broadband customer experience.

Academic supervisor: Dr MG De Kock;
Field supervisor: Mr DC Phiri
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Dr Musa Stefane Furumele is the Chief Executive of Gandlati Strategic Equity (Pty) Ltd. He is also a fellow of the South African Academy of Engineering.

FURUMELE, Musa Stefane

Front-end governance of large water infrastructure investments within developing economies: A South African perspective

The study aimed to offer insights into how front-end governance could be improved in pursuit of better project outcomes. It follows a qualitative exploratory research approach and embraces critical realism to emphasise the interface between the natural and social sciences. The study focused on multiple-case designs concerning large water infrastructure projects in their real settings. Sources of evidence include interviews and case-related documents. Research findings indicate that six salient elements of front-end governance influence the outcomes of large water infrastructure investments: 1) Large water infrastructure investments should be approached in a cross-cutting manner and planned to be multi-purpose and address broader societal challenges as access to water will remain the rallying point for social progress, sustainable livelihoods and poverty alleviation. 2) Clear and well-understood project-specific objectives, responsive to the needs and priorities of critical stakeholders contribute to better outcomes. 3) Strategic depth and flexibility, represented by consideration of major risks and iterative screening of project concepts within an interactive and adaptive decision-making process are important in securing a robust investment case and in turn, the accrual of favourable results. 4) While continual leadership is important in turbulent environments, strategic and timeous intervention is vital in salvaging those projects that seem destined to fail. 5) Empowerment and co-production of project outcomes with critical stakeholder, as opposed to mere consultation of stakeholders leads to better results. 6) While a supportive policy and regulatory framework together with enabling political, social and economic factors, is crucial, precise definition of roles and responsibilities of key parties and sensitivity to historical contexts is important. It is important that critical stakeholders are empowered and equipped to engage meaningfully during the conception of the investments. Four important interventions are proposed: focusing political leadership on critical points of strategic intervention; formulating multi-dimensional project definitions to secure robust investment cases; building the capacity of stakeholder groups; and the establishment of quality assurance protocols overseeing the front-end phase.

Academic supervisor: Dr MG De Kock;
Field supervisor: Dr O Busari

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Jennitha Chinniah

Qualifications:
Ph.D. Management of Technology and Innovation, MSc Information Systems
Positions Held:
Chief Information Officer
General Manager IT Operations
IT Executive
Director at International Consulting Practice
Chairman of School Governing Body
Lecturer at CEEF Africa
Skills, Expertise & Experience:
Jennitha is an ICT professional with over 24 years of experience with qualified successes in Advanced Programme Management; Enterprise Architecture and Strategy formulation and implementation.

She is recognised for her exceptional skills in advanced business & systems analysis as well as Business Intelligence & Management information systems. Her leadership traits and astute customer relation’s abilities with particularly strong people-related and communications abilities is an asset to the organisation. She has managed multi-million rand Technology and Capital projects including the setting up of project offices for large to medium sized organisations. 

CHINNIAH, Jennitha
Data privacy and the Energy Distribution Market: Revisiting implications of the Smart Grid Framework

The study explores best practise information security and privacy principles as a systemic solution to the issues presently experienced in the smart grid. The Delphi technique was utilised to collect information from an expert information security panel to construct a SAFE framework implying Supporting Service; Assurance; Functional requirements and Enterprise Security Strategy, Architecture and Governance. This culminated from data being interpreted and constructed with the intent to outline all of the critical security considerations already in place. The assurance is data privacy in the automated metering infrastructure (AMI) and more specifically in the home area network (HAN). The interview technique combined with the outcomes of the SAFE framework was tested against three utilities that are currently rolling out AMI in South Africa. The findings were then presented by benchmarking three case studies against the SAFE framework demonstrating that the SAFE framework can be implemented to provide an assurance to other utilities on national and international level.

Academic supervisor: Dr MG De Kock;

Field supervisor: Dr H Geldenhuys

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Dr Marlo de Swardt

Background information
Dr de Swardt is a skilled senior information, communication, and technology manager, combining strong business acumen with extensive experience in Human-Resource Management, Administration and Facilities, Strategic planning and execution, and Supply-chain Management.
He started his career in IT operations and progressed to Systems Development, Project Management, Budget Planning, Analysis, Design, Architecture, Consulting, Strategy, and General Management. Beyond his overall grounding business acumen and doctorate (PhD) in Technology and Innovation Management, he has built a personal style and brand upon his skills, experiences and accomplishments to be a strategic adviser on how to formulate, implement and execute a strategic plan.
His qualifications includes a PhD and MSc in Technology and Innovation from The Da Vinci Institute of Technology Management and a B-Tech, Information Technology from UNISA.
Title:
Strategy formulation, performance implementation and performance execution: Developing an integrated framework to enhance organizational performance.
Abstract
The researcher conducted a quantitative study applying a positivist research paradigm combining the philosophy of ontology, epistemology and axiology in order to understand the social phenomena resulting in the failure of PM system in organisations. The rationale for the study was based on the global evidence of high failure rate of strategic formulation process where it is noted that almost 70 % of strategic plans are not implemented successfully.


A detail survey was undertaken across a spectrum of organisations. Through the use of a cross correlational check between research findings and a comparison with the findings in the literature it was concluded that key to failure is the disjuncture between the strategic plan and the PM system. The study was culminated with the development of an integrated framework which provides the key linkages between a well-developed strategic plan and an executable PM system. 

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                                                          Dr Rean du Plessis

Rean holds a doctorate in the Management of Innovation and Technology and sees himself as an African with a passion to “unleash Africa’s wealth through leadership”. He has been involved in executive coaching, strategic leadership alignment and group interventions for two decades; and in leadership development, through his focus on leading leaders and in his career as an Industrial Psychologist for almost three decades. During his doctoral research with industry leaders in South Africa he came to the conclusion that successful leaders at the height of their careers are looking for cognitive stimulation in the form of complex assignments and the need to make a meaningful a contribution in the lives of others.
His focus in coaching is on strategy, enhancing business performance, influencing effectively at executive and board levels, career transition and increased self-insight and self-belief, understanding of own potential and focus. Rean believes strongly that people will deliver on deeply held beliefs and intentions. Coaching is a way to direct and support these intentions in order to achieve powerful business outcomes.
Rean’s philosophy and coaching approach is holistic and systemic and this has resonated with the many leaders he has coached during times of pressure over the last sixteen years.
BUSINESS EXPERTISE
Rean is currently a Director of Change Partners. He has led his own company which specialises in leadership assessment and development, recruitment/executive search and performance improvement interventions since 1999. During the 10 years he worked at Anglo American his focus included leadership assessment and development.
In addition, he has experience in having worked in the public sector for 6 years in the Department of Correctional Services.

QUALIFICATIONS• PhD in Management of Innovation and Technology with his thesis on the Spiritual Self of the Corporate Leader.
• Masters in Industrial and Personnel Psychology.
• Post-graduate certificate in Executive Coaching from Middlesex University UK.
• Du Pont’s Coaching Training for Sustainability in Switzerland.

TITLE of THESIS

The spiritual self of the corporate leader

ABSTRACT

The researcher initiates this study from a deep existential question: How does the transpersonal impact on corporate leadership within the context of deep ecology? The researcher convincingly follows Geisler and Geisler (2014) in separating spirituality from religion in defining spirituality as the ontological essence of the self, but from a functional stance, as ‘a yearning for guidance and connection with God’. The term God is understood simply as a cause greater than self. This anthropologically seated need is necessitated by the overwhelming issues that confront the corporate leader today. The researcher argues that the current complexities of life and management per se require a normative system that transcends human abilities. In this regard the content fully reflects the title of the script and the research focus makes a promising contribution to the development of a more holistic understanding of corporate leadership. The researcher found a qualitative approach, with reference to grounded theory, the best methodological angle to yield inductive research findings. In doing so the outcome is co-determined by corporate leaders with the potential of funding new theories that may serve as indicators for the future. Epistemological issues, ethical norms and personal values and world views are all synthesized into a coherent whole that follows a logical development of the train of thought. Due consideration is given to applicable matters one would expect to be covered by the study such as spirituality and God and the potential role of religion.

Academic supervisor: Prof B Anderson;
Field supervisor: Prof JJL Coetzee
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Dr Elliot Kasu

Dr Elliot Kasu is a Zimbabwean, a holder of a PhD in Management of Technology and Innovation from the Da Vinci Institute of Technology and Innovation of South Africa, a Master of business Administration degree from Zimbabwe Open University, a graduate and associate member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Zimbabwe (CIS). He also holds a Diploma in Logistics Management from Pakistan School of Logistics. He is a competent academic, intellectual, researcher, consultant and expert in integral research, quantitative and qualitative research, facilitation, training, monitoring, evaluation, implementation, strategic development, innovative entrepreneurship development and financial management.
He possesses several years of public service and corporate experience at strategic level and has a deep knowledge in indigenous knowledge systems grounded in Africa. He has held several appointments up to director level in Zimbabwe’s ministry of defence, company secretary and finance manager for the Zimbabwe Defence Industries, Managing Director of Kasimboti Trading P/L, Finance and Administration Director of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and currently is one of the founders of Integral Social & Enterprise Research Centre (ISERC) where he is employed as a senior researcher, finance & corporate services director. As such, he is a creative and innovative strategist, consultant, researcher, public accountant, chartered secretary and team player with vast experience in strategic planning, leadership, human resources management, financial management, administration, logistics and corporate secretarial practice.  

Title: Ubuntupreneurship within rural communities: Creating community colleges for a developing economy

Abstract: The study utilised the four world rhythm, the 4Cs (Lessem and Schieffer, 2014) and the CARE (Lessem and Schieffer, 2009) pattern in collaboration with the Tangwena people. The ideas of ‘mushandirapamwe’ or collective wealth generation are indeed relevant for purposes of this thesis. The focus on ‘Zunde ra Mambo’ is a relevant security arrangement and indeed an effective way towards indigenous volunteering. The study has also indicated that the use of ‘permaculture’ could assist communities to create sustainable habitats by following nature’s patterns. The study has demonstrated a sincere focus towards ensuring meaningful life for the Tangwena community. The use of African Ubuntu values as tool of solidarity and interdependence seem to provide a solid foundation of African economic redemption, which in turn could lead to effective African economic humanism. The model ‘towards co-creation in Zimbabwe’ is well argued and structured. The story telling aspect of the research is informative which has truly reflected traditional values while African humanism has been well articulated throughout the thesis. The indigenous exogenous community-based learning and innovation research facility within the community seems to contribute towards the institutionalisation of the community college. The researcher followed the appropriate southern path and effectively demonstrated a good practice of the Participatory Action Research (PAR) aimed at community activation in alignment with the needs of the Tangwena people. The ‘ubuntuneurial spirit of agriculture’ ideology is sound, and, indeed an effective approach to solving communal poverty issues, which is the strength in the study.

Academic supervisor: Dr A Schieffer;

Field supervisor: Dr PC Muchineripi

Dr Rica Viljoen (Faculty at Da Vinci) launches new book

On the 22nd of July 2015, a launch of a new title was held at Knowledge Resources Headquarters in Bryanston, Johannesburg. 

The new book titled, ‘Organisational Change and Development: An African Perspective’ was written by Dr Rica Viljoen. The launch allowed a narrated approach as Dr Viljoen shared with attendees, an overview of what the book entails. By walking through the various chapters of the book, Dr Viljoen called up the respective authors to elaborate on the structure of their contributed chapter.

Earlier in the day a seminar was held at KR Headquarters on Organisational Change and Development where the following issues were explored:

Organisational change and transformation in the new world of work

Spiral dynamics for Africa – Creating productivity at the bottom of the pyramid

Organisational development in practice – Influencing societal dynamics in an integral manner

Alternative OD modalities

Strategy and organisational change and development

The link between organisational change and development and consulting psychology

World Café exercise – conceptualizing the future of OCD in Africa

Through the optimalisation of individual functioning, leadership capacity can be built, and ultimately business decision-making can be optmised. Focused organisational change and development (OCD) interventions can significantly contribute to enhance individual dynamics, to increase functionality in teams and rewire organisational strategies, structures and practices to ensure congruence between what is happening inside the organisation and outside the system. An in-depth understanding of the social containing system in which the organisation is operating, ensure relevant and appropriate reactions to external impacts.

Organisational Change & Development (OCD) is designed to capture leading-edge thinking about OCD in organisations as it merges with traditional African wisdoms. It manifests in issues that differ from organisational effectiveness efforts to a highly individualised craft of catalyst practitioner. 

In an attempt to provide a solid conceptualisation of the field of study, a framework of inclusivity that can be followed, case studies and OCD methodologies, this book strives to combine some of the practices into reality.

Format: +-250pp (Soft cover) | E-version (available) 
Price: R375.00
Publication Date: 30 June 2015

Get your copy of Inclusive Organizational Transformation: An African Perspective by accessing the link below: 

www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781472422996 

(A Kindle-edition will also be available soon.)


Dean: Academic Development and Research – Introducing Dr Linda Lunga Sibali


Dr. Linda Lunga Sibali (Pr. Sci. Nat.; MRSSf.; SACI)
BSc. (Hons.); MSc. (Chem.); D. Tech. (Env. Mangnt.)
The Da Vinci Institute wishes to advise you of the new appointment of Dr Linda Sibali who will join the Da Vinci team on 1st August 2015 as Dean: Academic Development and Research.
Dr Sibali has been married to Thulile Sibali for 3 years since 10 April 2012 and has two daughters aged 22 and 2 years old. He was born and raised in the rough and dusty streets of Kwazakhele Township in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. When he grew up he found that the youth had a certain perception about education and how to achieve what you really want. Education was perceived by the youth as the long route to achieve what you want to be in life, whilst doing crime was the preferred route as it was assumed to be a shorter journey. Hence, his passion in life is to continuously engage with youth on the benefits of education. He always wanted to be educated, achieve more in life and be a role model to the youth in his township.
Dr Sibali’s impressive repertoire consists of a published book titled, ‘Determination of selected endocrine disrupting Compounds in water and sediments from the Jukskei River Catchment Area.’ He has published ten manuscripts in various publications such as the American Journal of Analytical Chemistry (2015), Water Quality Research Journal of Canada (2010), Water SA (2010) and many more.
Dr Sibali obtained his Bachelor of Science in 2000 from the University of Fort Hare in Eastern Cape, majoring in Chemistry and Microbiology. In 2002 he went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science Honours in Chemistry from the University of Fort Hare in Eastern Cape. His research topic was titled, ‘Heavy Metal Toxins Analysis in Waste Water Treatment Plant in King William’s Town, Eastern Cape. In 2003, he continued his learning journey and obtained a Masters in Chemistry from the University of Fort Hare in Eastern Cape. His research topic was tilted, ‘Remediation of Heavy Metals (Cadmium and Lead) and Phthalate Esters in Contaminated Soil Treated with Composts.’
In 2008 Dr Sibali went on to obtain a Doctorate in Technology (Environmental Management, majoring in Analytical/Environmental Chemistry). His research topic was tilted ‘Determination of Endocrine-Disrupting Compounds in Water and Sediments from Jukskei River Catchment Area.’He is currently studying his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Tshwane University of Technology.
In his spare time, he likes to watch sport either live on TV or at a stadium. On a social level he likes to get together with friends. Dr Sibali is curious about life and finds himself drawn to the Da Vinci principle of Curiosita as he likes to read any interesting material and likes to explore the world through travel.
Dr Sibali began his working journey as a chemistry tutor and experienced growth in his career as a lecturer researcher and research administrator in a traditional public university. It was his interest to be part of the Da Vinci Institute as he considers it a top private school for managerial leadership and is eager to learn more about Da Vinci’s approach in higher education within South Africa and abroad.
When asked which managerial leader inspires him, Dr Sibali states that Mrs Yolanda Cuba-Mtyi stands out to him. She is a non-executive Director at Absa Group Limited and serves as a Director at various companies. She is a qualified CA (SA) and has served as Chief Executive Officer of Mvelaphanda Group Limited, where she became one of the youngest chief executive officers ever of a JSE-listed company.
Dr Sibali has the following views on higher education in a developing country:
“It is also a known fact that in many developing countries, the demand for courses and subjects of study has changed and public universities are unable to respond to this phenomenon.
The inability of the public sector to satisfy the growing social demand for higher education has necessitated the entry of the private sector in order to expand access conditions.” 
Based on the above, Dr Sibali thinks private institutions have a big role to play in developing countries as they are more needed by the market of the higher education sector for skills development and cross-border education which is offered mainly through the private sector.
When asked what value he hopes to bring to Da Vinci, Dr Sibali states the below:
“There are four key values that I try, to the best of my ability, to live my life by. Hopefully I can bring these values with me as I venture into my new role at Da Vinci:
·      Integrity – match beliefs, actions, and talk. Be a man that keeps his      word. Be honest and upfront with people.
·         Forward looking – set challenging yet obtainable goals for myself.
·         Competency – constantly learn. Become knowledgeable and great at   whatever undertaking I am involved in.
·         Inspiring – help others. Know that in order to find yourself; you must lose    yourself in the service of others. Become a merchant of hope. Be    patient, kind, and courteous.
These four values encompass everything I want to be as an organization member and person.”

Leonardo Group 20: PhD students start their learning journey

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

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

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