Da Vinci @ Work: Meet Zipphora Swanepoel

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

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

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