Student Showcase: Mr Wenzel Kotze


It’s a journey . . . that I propose . . . I am not the guide . . . nor technical assistant . . . I will be your fellow passenger . . .

(A Journey – By Nikki Giovanni)


Wenzel originally comes from the construction industry, where he co-created for several years. Over time, according to Wenzel, “I was afforded an opportunity to start a new venture in Europe”, and for almost two decades, I then decided that my time rather be divided between Europe and my manufacturing operation in South Africa.” In the year 2016, he reinvented himself again and decided to concentrate all his energies on a management-development consultancy. It was through and during that process that his keenness for furthering his education became palpable – The Da Vinci Institute was his first option.

Then the journey began, and Wenzel kept his head high and marched on; until he had crossed the final line towards his attainment of his Master’s degree, which will be conferred at our next graduation ceremony. Maybe we ought to recognise that there seems to be underlying characteristics at play while an individual continues to forge their own path towards excellence, and these characteristics often aide for an individual to see their remarkability thoroughly harnessed. Wenzel’s specific characteristics – his willpower, curiosity, and zeal – are no exception to this notion. Wenzel adds that, “the willingness to accept change as a constant, and the understanding that we come as participants in co-creating our future, has the ability to channel our collective efforts in a direction that may only have two outcomes, either success or failure.”

When commenting on his journey and how it was possible, he explains that, “being surrounded by critical thinkers led for me to uncover what I thought I knew existed, but was unable to articulate in a plausible reality.” Through the process of uncovering his truth and his articulation of it, Wenzel penned a dissertation titled: “Business leadership: visual memory and the possible exposure of images from nature as a leadership tool affecting change.” His dissertation showcases new and insightful findings on the selected topic and adds a vitality to the way that images impact leadership and vice versa. In it, Wenzel aims “…at highlighting visual communication and visual memory as a primary learning style. The study targets corporate managerial leaders from across the globe, probing their experience in leadership and operational change, personal involvement and, finally, their opinions on the extent to which nature has the ability to provide leadership lessons through images, when global leadership requires an innovative way to develop and sustain future operations and strategy design.”

After a lengthy process of research, through a qualitative approach and his utilising of grounded theory as his main methods, Wenzel’s findings “… reveal that current leadership approaches are indeed insufficient in dealing with adverse global economic and leadership challenges. Effective communication and the use of visual aids were indicated as a main contributor to successful change management. Poor communication was indicated as a clear barrier to the process of change. When addressing leadership development and using visual stimulus, most participants confirmed that they could draw leadership principles from specific images from nature and that nature can, indeed, be classified as a neutral platform without any man-made influences like politics, race, religion, gender, sex, and language from which to draw direction. In this way, it was possible to conclude that humans can draw inspiration from nature, which has successfully navigated countless events of change over millennia.”

Wenzel is a renowned and talented wildlife photographer, having worked and published in this field and through his research, he was able to synergise thought and practicality, with nature as his canvas, in researching his dissertation. He now contains a treasure trove of profound knowledge, and aims to enhance the human species’ awareness, and perhaps understanding, about the universe as an ecosystem and its subsystems, through nature. Unpacking new depths of knowledge in this rare and exciting field.

Wenzel has evolved into a true eco-systemic thinker and he explores this by explaining that, “systems thinking as an integral part of every second and decision, finally connected my personal process of managerial competence and leadership.”

His Master’s has ignited in him the curiosity, determination, and dedication to embark on his Doctoral studies at The Institute and we look forward to co-creating this journey alongside him.

Now, after he has earned his well-deserved privilege as one of The Institute’s paragons of remarkability, Wenzel has this advice to share, with students starting the journey, “plan your studies like a new venture and take your time on deciding on your topic. You may even decide on something close to your heart and find a connection between what you study and what you do. In a nutshell, take four days to sharpen your axe and one day to cut the tree!”

On that remarkable note, we celebrate Mr Wenzel Kotze for having reached this milestone. The Da Vinci Institute looks forward to having him in his next phase of curiosity, as a future Doctoral candidate. A remarkable path forward, good Sir!