Category Archives: TT100

Innovation – The strategic imperative for relevance

By Henra Mayer

The importance of innovation for the longevity of organisations is a topic discussed by CEO’s and industry experts alike. It is a long-term commitment, a commitment that requires a considerable investment in the future. It is certainly a good conversation to have in prosperous times when targets are made and economic conditions seem more predictable, but what happens to the “we are great at innovation” conversation when things go pear-shaped? Do we throw innovation out of the window when we face the first round of turbulent headwinds?

 Innovation as a strategic competency is crucial for organisations as disruptive change becomes the new normal. Top organisations manage for innovation success as a rule, but it seems that they do even more so in tough economic times.

 
Towards the end of 2017, a general turbulent year for global economies and one that saw South Africa downgraded to junk status twice, Innocentrix ran a survey to better understand the innovation behaviour of organisations when the going gets tough. Our “Innovating in Turbulent Times” survey reflected the views of over a hundred CEO’s, C-Suite Executives and Senior Managers while we conducted eight face to face interviews with experts from the Telecommunications, ICT, Manufacturing, Mining and Academic industries.

Does innovation management feature in top organisations?   


We know that organisations talk – and write about innovation easily enough. Think innovation as a “company value” or stated in the “vision or mission” of the organisation, but does this translate into real-world innovation success? 

Over 70 percent of the organisations surveyed said that innovation management was an intentional activity while 83 percent said that getting better at innovation or “anticipating disruption” was part of a longer-term strategic goal. The intent was therefore clearly demonstrated by most but marrying this aspiration with execution proved difficult as 59 percent admitted that no formal budget was in place to support innovation intent.

The Focus for Growth


Responding to business challenges in shark invested waters certainly brings a new dimension to the debate but according to respondents, remaining relevant in turbulent times required a focus on the following three things first:

1. Creating new value from existing products and services

Leading organisations  know what they are good at, they focus on their strengths and find new value for customers and stakeholders. They inherently understand their internal environment, as well as their own capabilities and limitations and then focus their efforts where it matters most.   

“Many organisations of our size opt for variety in terms of contracting-in various services to make innovation happen – these services focus on certain expertise like for instance cost-cutting and restructuring, strategic consulting or change management. Winning companies do lose focus in uncertain times and this will have long lasting negative consequences. One should choose two to three core strategies and work on that consistently to really understand what our competitive advantage and core values  are, so that we can focus at outperforming others on those values.”

          Divisional Head of Strategy, Innovation and Change at a large Financial Institution


    2. Designing totally new offerings or business models 

Being aware of industry happenings, finding the next S-Curve and reinventing the old, is an important strategic question for leading organisations. This is a question that they constantly seek answers to in new ways.

“Leaders must look beyond the pain despite major challenges. Reducing costs and retrenchment are immediate knee-jerk reactions and is not sustainable, it is not a well-considered response. True leadership must relook and reorganize but the appetite should always be to create the new, the future of the company and that lies in the realization that an innovation capability must be built that reaches beyond the ordinary.”

         –  Mining Organizational Effectiveness Officer at Large Mining House employing over 72 000 people

    3. Managing for innovation and differentiation

Organisations that give innovation a home, give people a voice and continuously support process and execution related activities, reap the rewards in terms of a culture that drives differentiated value to the market.  

“It’s important to be agile and to be ahead of the wave. This means that we need to build a rapid execution capability and the ability and willingness to invest. Also a willingness to take risks and challenge the status quo. Winning firms innovate constantly and don’t allow themselves to become complacent, but they also understand the need for failure. They experiment and move to adjacencies. A start-up ecosystem and working with our partners ensure impactful collaboration that will deliver on the innovation promise”.

-Chief Digital Officer at a Large Telecommunications Company (Mobile Operator)”

 tt100 supports and rewards excellence


The TT1000 Business Innovation Awards supports innovation leadership. It annually recognises those who manage their organisations on a holistic level, considering technology, innovation, people and systems. It rewards companies who link their technology and innovation practices effectively to become more agile. 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.  TT100 participants receive intensive, customised feedback on how they manage technology, innovation, people and systems, enabling them to improve the way they operate their organisations. 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 adjudication session and an electronic dashboard that each entrant can download after the awards.[1]

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.  

Organisations also need to match innovation goals with the appropriate investment, building capability, and an innovation pipeline. In a recent piece of research highlighting the gap between innovation aspiration and intent, McKinsey’s talk about the frustration of sustaining innovation to create real value at scale and state that senior executives agree that people and corporate culture are the most important drivers of innovation. They state that the first step is to formally integrate innovation into the strategic-management agenda of senior leaders, to an extent that few companies have done so far. In this way, they say innovation will not only be encouraged but also managed, tracked, and measured as a core element in a company’s growth aspirations. Other steps are to make better use of existing (and often untapped) talent for innovation, without implementing disruptive change programs, by creating the conditions that allow dynamic innovation networks to emerge and flourish. Finally, they can take explicit steps to foster an innovation culture based on trust among employees. In such a culture, people understand that their ideas are valued, trust that it is safe to express those ideas and oversee risk collectively, together with their managers. Such an environment can be more effective than monetary incentives in sustaining innovation.[2]

High growth companies value people and culture, they think ahead and consider agile methodologies that integrate design thinking principles. They know their industries and customers and make innovation a sustainable strategic competency, and this, after all, remains a leadership responsibility.    
For more information on the TT100 Business Awards please click here or contact Da Vinci by emailing Sonya@davinci.ac.za. To talk innovation and the Winning in Turbulent Times Survey please contact Innocentrix by emailing henra@innocentrix.co.za or by visiting www.innocentrix.co.za.


[1] TT100 profile
[2] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/leadership-and-innovation

Dynamic mix of new and established innovators take 2017 TT100 awards

South Africa’s small community of technology and business innovators is growing. Some fresh new faces have appeared alongside experienced innovators at the 2017 Da Vinci TT100 Business Innovation Awards.

“What we find especially exciting is how emerging and small enterprises – the engines of growth – are not just coming up with great ideas but executing them with insight and precision,” says Professor Bennie Anderson, CEO of The Da Vinci Institute, School of Managerial Leadership.

Newcomers to the awards, which have been running for 26 years, include I AM Emerge, whose Vuleka app empowers township businesses to jointly make bulk purchases, and Passion4Performance, whose online assessment tool is revolutionising training and enabling learners to track their careers from school to retirement.

Among the new faces in the category for medium enterprises is Space Advisory, whose Gecko Imager is blazing new trails in satellite imagery and storage. The imager uses data streaming to and from satellites to capture images at the super-speedy rate of five frames per second.

 A newcomer in the large category is Indian company Nelito Systems, which provides credit facilities to unbanked people in rural areas.

“We welcome the entrants who have won awards for the first time and at the same time congratulate companies who have won TT100 awards in the past and were back again this year,” Professor Anderson says. “That they keep returning demonstrates the value they extract from the TT100 awards and their ability to constantly improve the way they manage technology, innovation, people and systems (TIPS™).”

Winners with staying power

These “repeat” winners include X/procure Software, whose online procurement portal processes over R10 billion worth of pharmaceutical orders a year, payroll software company Accsys, and Durban-based electronics company PFK Electronics.

In total, 28 winners were presented with trophies at a gala dinner held at the Johannesburg Country Club on Wednesday, 15 November 2017, which was attended by business innovators, industry captains, government officials, researchers, and academics.

For the 2017 TT100 awards, The Da Vinci Institute collaborated with several long-time partners, notably the Department of Science and Technology, Eskom, Blank Canvas International and Innocentrix.

Giving the keynote address at the 2017 Da Vinci TT100 Business Innovation Awards, Minister of Science and Technology Mrs Naledi Pandor said she was impressed with the quality of business innovation entries in this year’s competition, which was encouraging given the National Development Plan’s (NDP) objective of turning South Africa into a high-growth, employment generating, knowledge-based economy.

Minister Pandor said the long-standing alliance that the DST has maintained with the TT100 awards programme was central to the ongoing efforts to strengthen public-private partnerships in support of South African technology-based businesses.

“Such partnerships not only enable awareness creation of business technology development initiatives and opportunities, but also profile the innovation prowess of South African tech companies to local and international markets,” she said.

Identifying role models

Running since 1991, the aim of the TT100 awards programme is to promote the culture of innovation amongst large, medium, small and emerging businesses.

The programme seeks to identify role models within the management of innovation and technology domains who have demonstrated their excellence in co-creating new workplace realities.

“The awards do not judge the worthiness of new technologies, but rather focus on how organisations manage the process of creating new technologies and innovations, and to what extent they are doing it sustainably and systemically,” Prof Anderson said.

“We have become aware that unless organisations manage their technology, innovation, people, and systems, and connect the relationships between them, innovation does not come to fruition, its commercialisation is not sustainable, and its socio-economic impact negligible,” he added.

The 2017 awards attracted a total of 379 entries in seven categories:

·         Management of technology
·         Management of innovation
·         Management of people
·         Management of systems
·         Sustainability
·         Overall excellence
·         Innovation concepts

The Innovation Concepts category was introduced for the first time this year. “With the addition of this category to the TT100 awards programme, we are hoping to connect the innovators to venture capitalists and other potential funders to enable them to commercialise their concepts and take these promising ventures to the market,” Prof Anderson said.

How the winners were selected

A total of 91 category finalists were selected following a rigorous face-to-face adjudication process, which culminated in 28 category winners being selected as the top-performing innovators of 2017.

In the new Innovation Concepts category, I AM Emerge came out tops among emerging entrants with its Vuleka App, which facilitates the bulk purchase of goods for township businesses.

The small business award in this category went to Tabula Rasa Investments Private Limited with their Pundutso Musha (PDC).

The winner in the medium enterprise category was Space Advisory for their Gecko Imager, while India’s Nelito Systems Ltd came out tops in the large category for their rural credit facilities to the unbanked.

In the Management of Technology category, Brucol Global Development (Pty) Ltd was the winner among emerging enterprises, while Cura Risk Management Software (Pty) Ltd took top honours among small enterprises. The winner in the category for medium enterprises was Global Track, while Altech Netstar was the award for large companies.

In Management of People the winners were: emerging category – ThisIsMe; small category – X/Procure Software SA; medium category – Accsys (Pty) and large category – Nelito Systems Ltd.
Winners in the Management of Systems: emerging category – Passion4Performance (Pty) Ltd; small category – X/Procure Software SA (Pty) Ltd; medium category – Space Advisory and large category is PFK Electronics (Pty) Ltd.

Top honours in the Management of Innovation went to: emerging category – Brucol Global Development; small category – HearX Group; medium category – SSG Consulting and large category – PFK Electronics (Pty) Ltd.

The winners for Overall Excellence were: emerging category – Passion4Performance (Pty) Ltd; small category – HearX Group; medium category – SSG Consulting and large category – PFK Electronics (Pty) Ltd.

When it came to Excellence in Sustainability the winners were: emerging category – I Am Emerge and Passion4Performance (Pty) Ltd; small category – X/Procure Software SA (Pty) Ltd and Fetch Them; medium category – SSG Consulting and large category – Altech Netstar Electronics (Pty) Ltd.

A number of entrants won more than one category, such as Passion4Performance (Pty) Ltd, which came out tops among emerging companies in Overall Excellence, Excellence in Sustainability and Management of Systems.
The TT100 programme not only benefits the winners and finalists, but all participants. Everyone receives intensive, customised feedback on how they manage technology, innovation, people and systems, enabling them to improve the way they operate.

Winners and finalists becoming part of the TT100 community are invited to participate in TT100 events, including business forums held jointly with government and partners involved in promoting business innovation, particularly the DST.

Khonology: Making things happen on Mondays

Khonology

#TT100 Winner of the 2016 Eskom Award for Excellence in the Management of Systems

Category for small enterprises

Making things happen on Mondays

Many people like to ease slowly and gently into the working week on Monday mornings. Not Khonology. Every Monday is “admin day” – time to take a fine toothcomb to the company’s finances, operations and sales figures. This weekly exercise might take up the whole morning but every minute spent keeping Khonology running like clockwork is worth it, says Michael Roberts, CEO of Khonology, an African business services company skilled in sourcing and building African talent and technology.

“From day one, we’ve managed our processes, systems and procedures really well, including our cash flow, so that there are no unpleasant surprises down the line. We’re very disciplined and we’re always looking forward: we do weekly, monthly and 90-day forecasts, and also have a five-year view.”

Roberts knows only too well how important it is for a small company to plan properly, be proactive and pay meticulous attention to risk management and mitigation. He’s previously been part of businesses that didn’t worry so much about these things.

“If you don’t plan, you spend all your time firefighting,” says Roberts, who has “been there, done that” and has the t-shirt to prove it. “But failure isn’t bad. It’s one more step closer to being successful – as long as you learn your lessons and don’t repeat your mistakes.”

So Monday’s admin sessions at Khonology are non-negotiable, as is the daily check-in process for its management team, ensuring they approach each new day with a clear focus and plan of action.

Systems support success

Turning to the company’s management of systems, which so impressed the TT100 adjudicators, Khonology has three main systems and all of them are put through their paces once a week at those famous Monday morning meetings.

“For finances, we’ve built a dashboard and procedures for checking inflows and outflows and doing forecasting and modelling,” says Roberts. “The second system is for our operations – people, headcount, compliance, risk and issues – and is very outcomes based so that we know how and where to focus. Thirdly, we have a sales system for understanding the sales pipeline, from leads to opportunities to real pieces of work to our current run rate.”

Another indispensable tool is Khonology’s ACI framework, standing for “Achievements, Challenges, Insights”, enabling the team to understand where they’re doing well, what obstacles need to be ironed out and what lessons they should be learning so as not to repeat mistakes.

Talking of lessons, one of the most valuable lessons Khonology has learnt is: Don’t sit and wait for something to happen, or hope that a problem will go away. Take action – informed action. “We’re constantly looking around and making sure we’re aware of what’s happening around us, and we’re proactive, especially with client engagement. The minute there’s an issue, we’re on-site, turning it around.  We won’t sit and wait for issues to become risks.”

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 

SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS PERFORMANCE

The “Big Picture”
Sustainable Business Performance requires business to transition from creating shareholder value in the short term, to creating inclusive wealth (i.e. making a NET+ contribution) to all stakeholders in the medium to long term. 
Sustainable Business as defined by the NBS (Network for Business Sustainability):
-“Are resilient and create economic value, healthy ecosystems and strong communities.
-Survive over the long term because they are intimately connected to healthy economic, social and environmental systems”.
Balance – KEY to Sustainable Business Performance:
Sustainable Business Leaders have to carefully balance:
  • A Triple Bottom Line Business Strategy (Short, Medium and Long Term),
  • Anticipating Market Demand and constantly analyse the Voice (ever-changing needs) of the Customer,
  • Leveraging fit-for purpose Technology,
  • Offer a World Class Delivery Capability, through operational excellence and high performance teams.
The Da Vinci Institute TIPS™ Framework enables Sustainable Business Performance, and balances these Strategic Focus Areas by establishing:
  • Alignment through Workplace integration
  • Engagement ensuring Performance output
  • Agility facilitating Performance and Value Returns.


The Da Vinci Institute TIPS™ Framework: Management of Technology, Innovation, People and Systems.

The TIPS Sustainable Business Performance Framework enables Business Leaders to rapidly benchmark sustainable business performance maturity, make informed strategic and project decisions, as well as identify and innovatively acting on material business risks and opportunities, unlocking inclusive value for all stakeholders.
Operationalising a Sustainable Business Performance Strategy will require a High Performance Leadership Culture, Business Model Innovation, integrated Supply Chain Design (Demand & Investor LED), and Collaborative Technology Innovation.
S – ORGANISATION / SYSTEM
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Vision of a Sustainable World in 2050 outlines a valuable Transformation Pathway – strategically directing industry on this incredible Sustainable Business Performance journey.

WBCSD Vision 2050
Sustainable Business Performance is only possible, provided business is participating in a Sustainable Supply Chain creating inclusive value to all stakeholders.
The current reality is that current Global Supply Chains are only effectively servicing 29% of Global Consumer Demand – as depicted in the below graph:


System Pressures and Trends Cambridge David Rice

Critical Supply Chain Re-design facilitates Disruptive Growth opportunity for Sustainable Business to satisfy the needs of new customers (unmet needs) in white space markets.
Kasi-Nomics – Research by GG Alcock outlines incredible near market opportunities in South Africa and the African context.
Supply Chain Design is similarly disrupted by the notion of “Circular Value Chains”: integrated and designed for a Circular Economy (Cradle to Cradle Thinking).
P – “PEOPLE ENABLEMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS PERFORMANCE”
It’s all about Bold Leadership and a Vision:
“Vision is the articulation of a company’s unique role in and contribution to a sustainable future. It is best when it is a direct evolution of the existing core vision of the firm, with fundamental sustainability needs or challenges. It describes a competing and relevant destination for the organisation, and inspires employees, partners and other stakeholders to help achieve it!” The Regeneration Roadmap (2013)
Industry example:
  Unilever plans to double its turnover while halving its environmental impact – Paul Polman 2013.
** For successful implementation, it is critical to prepare a comprehensive stakeholder map and engagement strategy – as these will inform your Sustainable Business Transformation Strategy.
** Gear your Leadership Team with relevant Skills of the Future, by providing “Toolkits for Step Change”-TM (Innovation Management, Design LED Thinking, Systems Thinking) and Technology Enablement.
Collaboration:
“A leapfrogging organisation needs allies and builds trusted networks all around the world. They believe no man is an island and seeks intimate relationships. They do not see an “us” vs. “them”, they instead see networks and alliances where information is freely shared and which is based on trust. To cap it all, leapfrogging organisations look to partner with competitors and customers to move on to the next level.” Dr Oren Harari (2013)
I – “INNOVATION FOR SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS PERFORMANCE”
Innovation for Sustainable Business Performance is about the “Implementation of NEW Ideas with Sustainable Impact”.
  • Growth
  • Differentiation
  • Sustainable Development
This calls for Business Model Innovation!
New Businesses applying these unconventional Sustainable Business Performance principles are totally disrupting Industry – examples include:
  • Uber the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles
  • Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content
  • Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory
  • Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider owns no real estate.
T – “TECHNOLOGY ENABLEMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS PERFORMANCE”
Technology Enablement: allows organisations to – “Leapfrog” their competitors through Effective Adaption and Rapid Implementation.
The Value of Fit-for-Purpose Technology Enablement for Business will include:
  • Increased productivity while institutionalizing a Culture of High Performance Leadership,
  • Increase local and global collaboration,
  • Reducing complexity by simplifying complex tasks and decision making,
  • Empowered Workforce!
Market Leading organisations achieve Sustainable Business Performance through leveraging primarily two kinds of Technologies:
  1. ICT – Technology Enablement – High-Impact Examples include:
  • Internet of Things:
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items — embedded with electronicssoftwaresensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data (big data). The IoT allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, Wiki (2016).
Real Time Analytics and Exception Management – leveraging the IoT’s Technology will unlock significant Business Value across the Value Chain.
  • Convergence of Technology Enhances Business Performance and allows for regular efficiency breakthroughs – examples include:
  • Mobile (Commercial – Snap-scan, Retail Specials (Xx), Learning, Social Media), Etc.
  • Remote Sensing Technology and Satellite Technology
  • Drone Technology
  • Enterprise Collaboration Technologies
  • Traceability, Operations Visibility and Sustainability Platform – for the whole Supply Chain
  1. Clean Technology – Technology Enablement – High-Impact examples include:
Leadership has to drive the adaption and implementation of new “Clean Technologies” Technology Enablement throughout their organisations, especially new Projects.
This requires a New Design Brief from Shareholders to Business, Project Managers, Design Engineers and Supply Chain:
  • Energy Efficiency e.g. Optimised Equipment, Variable Speed Drives, Natural Light/ventilation,
  • Water Efficient and Recycling Technology e.g. Constructed Wetlands,
  • Zero Waste to Energy Technology, etc.
A Design Brief, which is Inspired by Natures design principles e.g. Biomimicry & Ecological Engineering.
  • Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well adapted to life on earth over the long haul. Ref: http://biomimicry.net
  • Ecological engineering is an emerging study of integrating ecology and engineering, concerned with the design, monitoring, and construction of ecosystems. Ref: http://www.ecological-engineering.com

“One of our main responsibilities is to leave successor generations a sustainable future”

-Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General.
Comprehensive information available on:
Sustainable Business – Da Vinci TT100
Collaboration – Sustainability Summit: http://www.blankcanvas.co.za/sustainability-summit/

By Raldu Nel, Faculty: Monitoring and Implementation Da Vinci & CEO Blank Canvas Int.

REFERENCES
Bertels, S.. 2016. embedding sustainability in organizational culture. [ONLINE] Available at: http://nbs.net/wp-content/uploads/Executive-Report-Sustainability-and-Corporate-Culture.pdf. [Accessed March 2017].
Biomimicry 3.8. 2017. Biomimicry 3.8 Homepage – Biomimicry 3.8. [ONLINE] Available at: https://biomimicry.net/. [Accessed March 2017].
Blank Canvas International. 2017. African Sustainability Summit – Blank Canvas International. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.blankcanvas.co.za/sustainability-summit/. [Accessed March 2017].
Coulter, C. & Lee, M.. 2013. Changing Track: Extending Corporate Leadership on Sustainable Development . [ONLINE] Available at: http://theregenerationroadmap.com/files/reports/Changing-Tack.pdf. [Accessed March 2017].
Ecological Engineering Group. 2017. Ecological Engineering Group. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ecological-engineering.com/. [Accessed March 2017].
The Da Vinci Institute. 2017. How we do it | The Da Vinci Institute. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.davinci.ac.za/how-we-do-it/. [Accessed March 2017].

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

TT100 makes adjudicator feel proudly South African

Car key locks that won’t let you drive if you’re over the limit; tracking systems that can tell when a wheelie bin in Johannesburg was last emptied; grinding balls for mining that are fantastic at taking infections out of wounds… these are some of the amazing South African inventions that have impressed Mike Davies, TT100 adjudicator, over the years.
“I’ve seen wonderful innovative ideas by companies big and small. The programme shows another side of our economy and the people who work in it, and I absolutely love being an adjudicator. I get energised by it and it makes me feel great to be a South African,” says Davies, Director of Optimum Learning Technologies (Pty) Ltd (an accredited education and training provider that is in itself a South African success story, having grown from only three people to 70 full-time staff in 10 years).
He has been a TT100 adjudicator for the past five years, and thrives on the positive energy the programme spreads. “It blows me away year after year. Through the programme, I’ve seen that if you can make it in South Africa, you can make it anywhere. South African companies have people who are motivated, exhibit high levels of innovation and a work ethic second to none.”
What makes this particular awards programme stand out is the recognition that award-winners receive, says Davies. “The certificates and awards are really something to be proud of. Sometimes entrepreneurs don’t need money to be recognised – that will come. What matters is recognition by your peers. The recognition and exposure that these awards give to entrepreneurs and innovators is exceptional.”
Ends

15 times and still counting: why Verirad keeps coming back

If Chris Adams of Verirad had a wall big enough, every square centimetre would be covered in the certificates the company has won during the 15 years it’s been entering the TT100 Awards Programme. Interestingly, the prospect of winning isn’t the only thing that keeps Verirad coming back again and again.

“In fact, the years we haven’t won or been a finalist have probably resulted in the most benefits,” says Chris, director of Verirad, specialists in health fund risk management and radiology and pathology spend management.

Those times have typically been when the adjudicators’ feedback has prompted them to make changes in the way Verirad does business.

“Two or three years ago, my partner and I, Paul Horn, were at a TT100 adjudication session and one of the adjudicators asked us why we needed a central office. We asked ourselves, ‘Why do we need a central office?’ and then we gave it up,” Chris recalls. “Now nearly everyone works virtually.”

It was an excellent decision. Productivity and morale are high and, as long as they get the job done, Verirad’s employees, most of them qualified radiographers and medical technologists, have the kind of work-life balance that most people only dream of.

As for Chris, working virtually “saves me a whole lot of stomach lining” from not having to commute through Johannesburg’s congested traffic.

He recalls another year when the adjudicators remarked on an apparent shortcoming at Verirad – how “pale’ and “male” it seemed to be.

“So the next year, Paul and I came back with seven or eight of our colleagues,” says Chris. “We ushered them into the adjudication room and then we left. We were a Management of People finalist that year.”

The insights of the adjudicators – who spend about two hours with every TT100 entrant – are one compelling reason why Verirad has entered every TT100 competition since 2002 (and plans to do so again in 2016). Another is the opportunity to be benchmarked against companies in other industries.

“It’s all very well to know how you compare in your own sphere,” says Chris. “It’s even better to understand how you are doing when compared to companies in financial services, energy, technology, etc. For example, if you are a South African company, do you just want to compare yourself to other South African companies, or do you want to benchmark yourself in a much bigger market?’

If all this wasn’t incentive enough to keep on entering the TT100 programme, yet another reason is that the annual entry process forces Verirad to do some introspection. “Once a year, we have to ask ourselves, ‘What have we done differently to impress the adjudication panel?’ That’s a great way to keep the pressure on ourselves to carry on being successful.”

Footnote: Since entering TT100 for the first time in 2002, first as an emerging business and then as a small company, Verirad has featured regularly as a category winner or finalist. Its TT100 awards include the 2015 HP Award for Excellence in the Management of Innovation, 2011 IDC Award for Management of Systems, 2009 PWC Award for Excellence in Management of people, 2012 JSE Award for Sustainable Excellence and a 2015 Minister’s Award for Sustainable Performance.



Ends