What we do

Business Leadership – The Philosophy

Over the years, the approach to the development of managers has been the subject of much debate.  More recently, there is increasing evidence of a growing disillusionment among employers that business school graduates are simply not equipped to enter or return to the work environment and make a meaningful contribution. In view of this apparent lack of ‘fit for purpose’ programme design, The Institute has developed an innovative approach to managerial leadership development. The approach is based on the following principles;

  • Students are assessed through workplace-based assignments, research projects and examinations where appropriate
  • Use of Case Studies – While examples from other operations (both successes and failures) are often cited and deemed important to learning, The Institute (like many international academic institutions) utilises the case study approach as the fundamental learning process whilst also considering the actual workplace as the most effective venue for case studies
  • Application of Action Learning – Learning through experiences in other environments is perceived to be an important element in the development of new skills. This concept encourages candidates to take experiences from environments very different from their own and to ’laterally link’ the learning to their own environment. Candidates are required to complete a post-module assignment based on the solution of a work-based challenge
  • Focus on the Management of Technology, Innovation, People and Systems (TIPS™) – Organisations that strive to be globally competitive needs to be managed by people who have a profound understanding of the complexities of managing an environment in which technology, innovation and people have a pervasive impact on competitive advantage. The Institute specialises in the development of managers who are equipped with decision-making skills among which financial considerations are only one component
  • In-company Solutions – Using The Institute’s integrated approach, each intervention is linked to work-related assignments in which candidates are expected to use their newly acquired skills to solve problems in the workplace
  • Collaboration with the client – Active partnership between The Institute and South African private and public sector operations has afforded The Institute the opportunity of working in a diverse range of organisations. The success of its programmes emanates from effective partnerships where there is joint responsibility for:
  • The delivery of the programmes
  • The quality control of the programmes
  • The design and alignment of assignments
  • The full integration of learning within the client operations.

The Da Vinci Institute is characterised as a Mode 2 institution. Mode 2 can be described as knowledge production in the context of applications, transdisciplinarity, heterogeneity and organisational diversity, enhanced social accountability, and a more broadly based system of quality control.

New knowledge

New knowledge is generated within the context of an inconsistency or imbalance or gap realised by the researcher in a certain application; the new knowledge and improved application produced are useful to the self, enterprise, community and society.


Transdisciplinary recognises the complex research realities which call for more than one discipline in terms of interpretation and application; problem formulation occurs between disciplines; it creates an environment in which knowledge flows easily across the various disciplinary boundaries; there is mobility in human resources; research is conducted with openness and flexibility.


Heterogeneity takes place over a wide range of areas of research resulting in changes in the pattern of research as temporary multi-faceted problems require brief heterogeneous (mixed) teams whose members come and go, as the situation organically unfolds during the research, situation or action, resolving the current challenge; different skills and disciplines are involved; there is growth in partnerships and networks of diverse people come together with their dissimilar skills, knowledge and qualifications, viewing the research methods from different angles to find a solution to the issue at hand.

Reflexivity and accountability

Creates an awareness of the impact and implications of research issue within the self, the organisation and the broader community; the research desire or issue and goal involves social accountability.

Quality control

Guided by a good deal of practice; usefulness, evidence-based application and contribution to the self, industry, community and society.