Author Archive | Jane Notten

#5 Winter 2016

Bertha Centre study shines light on impact investing

Bertha Centre study shines light on impact investing.

Xolisa Dlamini, Bertha Scholar, GSB PhD candidate and co-author of Investing for Impact Barometer.

The 2015 African Investing for Impact Barometer has revealed that 47% of US$721 billion of investment assets surveyed in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, the largest economies in South, East and West Africa respectively, were earmarked for positive impact; from Islamic finance to clean technology and building affordable housing.

But while many investment companies pay lip service to the practice, there are only a handful of industry leaders that are able to demonstrate that they do it consistently well, the researchers found.

The report, now in its third year, is issued annually by the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a specialised unit at the GSB, and seeks to shine much-needed light on the practice of Investing for Impact (IFI) in Africa and to put the continent on the map as a global contender in this investment space. This year, the research was supported by the Government of Flanders.

The GSB study segmented investments according to five internationally recognised investment strategies: ESG (environmental, social and governance) integration, investor engagement, screening (positive and negative); thematic investment and impact investing.

ESG integration, which involves the integration of environmental, social and governance factors in investment decisions across asset classes, was the leading IFI strategy employed in Africa, with US$490 billion under investment, representing 68% of IFI assets invested. In second spot was investor engagement, where an investor uses its shareholder or bondholder status to promote positive societal and environmental change within the invested company’s behaviour, at US$474 billion (66%). Screening, a category that includes religious and ethical investment practices such as Islamic finance, was in third place at US$148 billion (21%).

Impact investing and thematic investing, which involve investing directly in companies promoting sustainability and social development themes such as renewable energies, education or health, remained the two least used IFI strategies in Africa. They represent respectively 2% and 4% of the total IFI assets invested.

To further assist with the understanding of the market, the 2015 study introduced a new tool to identify which professional investors are IFI leaders by country and by type of strategy. The tool classified investors as ‘cool’, ‘warm’ or ‘hot’, depending on their level of impact and disclosure.

“The really ‘hot’ investors are those who are both active in the space and who report accurately on what they are doing,” explained Xolisa Dhlamini, Bertha scholar at the GSB and lead researcher on the study. “When we looked at this we could clearly see that ‘hot’ investors were unfortunately still in the minority, which suggests that the impact that these investments are making is still not as powerful as it could be.”

#5 Winter 2016

Turning caring into cash

Turning caring into cash

Lauren Drake and Nokwethu Khojane, the cofounders of social enterprise, Lakheni.

Two GSB graduates turned social entrepreneurs say if you want to make a difference through business you need to stop looking for broken things to fix and instead find what is working and build on its strengths to create social benefit.

Social enterprise Lakheni has been turning heads at home and internationally. Within six months of registration, the social enterprise – a bulk buying grocery shopping service for parents and crèches in underprivileged areas – was awarded third prize in the SAB Foundation Innovation Awards, came third in the Global Social Venture Competition and won R1 million in funding from Alphacode and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Very few start-ups in South Africa can claim this kind of early success. The country is well known for low entrepreneurial activity with the SABC reporting in May last year that 86% of small businesses fail in their first year. According to the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), entrepreneurial activity in SA is the lowest in sub- Saharan Africa.

So how is Lakheni bucking this trend? To begin with – it’s a great idea. Cash-strapped parents in underprivileged areas are offered grocery items at a discounted rate and these are delivered to their local crèches, which make a small commission off each hamper sold. Families also save on the travelling costs to hypermarkets each month.

Co-founders, Nokwethu Khojane and Lauren Drake, who met while doing their MBA at the GSB, said that they hit on the idea when they noticed that households and crèches shop for the same items every month.

“These are not hand-outs; this is not charity,” says Drake. “This is a for-profit organisation with very real benefits as well as a share option in the business for crèches. The name, Lakheni, is a Nguni term that can loosely be translated into ‘let’s build.’

It may run like a well-oiled machine now, but it took the two entrepreneurs a while to come up with the right concept. Their initial thinking was around improving early childhood development in underprivileged areas. But once they started visiting pre-schools and talking to principals, they realised that many of these schools were actually working quite well. They saw that they would be able to make a bigger impact by finding indirect ways to support financially struggling parents as well as the crèches themselves.

With the help of Warren Nilsson from the Social Innovation Lab at the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Khojane and Drake refined their business ideas. Nilsson, who has spent years researching why some social ventures work and others fail, helped guide them by getting them to dig deeper to find the real social purpose for their business idea.

For a social innovation enterprise to succeed, says Nilsson, it needs more than a good business plan. It also has to go beyond the philanthropic urge to help people. Instead of seeing themselves as a tool or an instrument of change, businesses need to see themselves as part of the world that needs to change.

A perfect example of this approach can be found in South American water filter company, Ecofiltro. Despite noble intentions to provide the rural poor in Guatemala with clean water at no cost, people were not using the filter as intended and still drank contaminated water, falling ill.

Founder and CEO, Philip Wilson then made a critical decision: not to look at the rural poor as objects of pity but rather as potential clients. He re-packaged the product, worked out a competitive price for each unit and came up with an instalment payment programme that would allow him a small profit margin.

This time round, the product worked. Ecofiltro is now a profitable organisation, reaching hundreds of thousands of customers. Wilson says social entrepreneurs need to ask more questions, go into the field and exhaust every single angle of what they want to do. “Ask what their needs are,” he says.

Khojane agrees. “What was critical for us was looking into a system, not to fix what we thought to be broken, but to find what was working and build on its strengths.” Drake adds that they didn’t come to the crèches with concrete ideas about what to do, instead they listened to what parents and principals really needed.

Starting out this way helps the business becomes viable in the long term, Nilsson says. “The biggest challenge the world is facing today is not how to create change, but how to sustain it,” he says.

For more information on Lakheni visit:

#5 Winter 2016

What’s in a brand?

What's in a brand

The GSB has updated its corporate identity in line with the changing needs of its market. Business Review chatted to Saskia Hickey, market intelligence and strategy manager at the GSB, about the thinking behind the new look and where the school is moving on the marketing front.

BR: Why the new look? What prompted you to call for a rebranding of the school?

Saskia: A couple of reasons. First the world of work is shifting and the GSB has shifted too – in a very real sense it is in fact driving the change. It is logical therefore that our visual representation in the world also needs to adapt. It is very rare that a brand can successfully withstand the passage of time with aesthetic standards constantly shifting. Changes in your target audience’s aesthetic preferences over time mean what looked modern yesterday may look old fashioned tomorrow.

Secondly, we talked to a range of stakeholders over the past two years, through a brand audit and corporate survey, and had a series of long conversations with our internal stakeholders and they gave us important feedback that we needed a stronger positioning in the market – one that emphasised our unique role as a provider of innovative business solutions to business in South Africa and on the continent. In the past seven years or so, the GSB has really moved into the space of innovation with initiatives such as the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Solution Space as well as the MPhil in Inclusive Innovation really embodying this new spirit in the school. It was time that our Corporate Identity evolved to support this more fully. We needed to communicate the structural and positioning change of the school to the public, staff and to consumers and without rebranding it can be difficult for people to perceive that anything has changed in the organisation and what it offers.

BR: So tell us a bit about the thinking behind the new look.

Saskia: We believe that the GSB has an inspiring story to tell. In a world of constrained resources and overwhelming challenges, we want to be the business education partner to those brave businesses who are giving the innovative idea the space to pioneer sustainable solutions. Graduating from the GSB is the tipping point for many who then go into the world to influence business for the better. We are saying that the GSB is a place where the thinking that changes the business that changes the world is born and we want the GSB to continue to be a place fertile for those ideas that go on to fundamentally change the game.

You will see in the new logo that we have emphasised the word ‘business’ more than in previous renditions. And while we have kept the link to the UCT crest – which is a crucial part of who we are i.e. a place of unrivalled academic excellence – we have modernised that. And also brought out the letters GSB – again to support what is already a fact in the market, that we are known to most of our stakeholders as ‘the GSB’. We have kept our tagline of ‘full colour thinking’ as it has come to be intimately bound up with what we do at the school, which is to challenge taken for granted assumptions and train our students to draw on a full spectrum of ideas, cultures and disciplines in the pursuit of better business options, and we have updated that visually to support the new branding.

BR: The new logo is the most visual aspect of the change – but what other elements of the new marketing campaign should people know about?

Saskia: Yes, the rebranding goes hand in hand with a general repositioning of the GSB in the marketplace. Very importantly – we needed a marketing strategy that was more digitally focused – as that is where 90% of our market spends its time and gets its information. So much of the new marketing focus is on enhancing our presence in the digital space. This is not as simple as having an active Twitter account (though that is important), it requires an integrated approach that spans content, social media, website and advertising. Very excitingly, we are currently working on a whole new website that will be much more flexible and better optimised for search. People will see that the site will also become a lot more active as we create more relevant content and resources to reflect the intellectual capital of the school and to allow it to become more accessible, more useful, to the world. So watch this space. There are exciting developments in the pipeline.

#4 Summer 2015

News Round-up

AABS Accreditation for African business schools – a new focus on impact


Grace Mugo, accreditation development project manager at AABS.
The Association for African Business Schools (AABS) has announced that it will be launching an all-African accreditation process that will take African business school education into the future, where impact matters.

“There is a real desire for African business schools to be more relevant to the African context, and to produce graduates whose work will be more impactful. It is a shift away from what has been done before,” said Professor Walter Baets, director of the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) and current AABS chairperson.Accreditation is big business in the business school world with top schools around the world investing much time and energy into acquiring it – particularly from the top three: AMBA (Association of MBAs); EQUIS (from the European Foundation of Management Education) and AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).

“It is considered a mark of distinction to have triple-crown accreditation from all three of these bodies. To date, just three African business schools have achieved this, of which the GSB is one – partly because it is an expensive and time-consuming process and not all schools have the resources to pursue this. But we are also questioning if what they are measuring – and rewarding – is absolutely relevant or useful in an African context,” Baets said. He added an Africa-focused accreditation model will enable African business schools to shape entrepreneurial thinking for the continent’s future.

“The situation in Africa is such that innovation will have to deal with very specific issues,” he said. “In general, we will have to be able to do more, for less, which is not the classical focus of innovation,” Baets said.

Grace Mugo, recently appointed as accreditation development project manager at AABS – based at the GSB, says the goal of the AABS accreditation system in setting benchmarks of quality business and management education is to aid African business schools in supporting inclusive social economic growth in Africa. The benchmarking focuses on the relevance and quality of the inputs and the consequent impact made by the output. “Significant emphasis is given to the relevance of a school’s offering and progress in meeting the needs of its stakeholders in the context of the local operating environment so as to make a meaningful difference,” Mugo said.

Going global

The GSB has teamed up with Warwick Business School, one of the UK’s top ranked business schools, to offer an exciting new international leadership development opportunity to global customers. From 2016, the two top business schools will offer an International Executive Development Programme to a limited number of delegates that will allow them to experience two leading business schools in distinctly different contexts for a well-rounded global learning experience. More information is available at

Online debut

getsmarter logo
The GSB has joined forces with Africa’s leading online education provider, GetSmarter, to develop three new online short courses that promise to empower business leaders and entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools needed to achieve sustainable business success in a challenging economy.
The following GSB courses are now accessible online and part-time, via GetSmarter’s cutting-edge Virtual Learning Environment:

  • Values-Based Leadership
  • Business Innovation
  • Entrepreneurship for Emerging Markets

According to GSB director, Professor Walter Baets, the move is critical for the survival of business schools today – especially those operating in emerging markets.

Specialise me

In response to market needs, the GSB has introduced two new streams of specialisation in Retail Management and Leadership in Healthcare on its Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice (PGDip) programme.

In addition to the new streams in retail and health care management, students on the programme can now choose between five specialisation streams including social innovation and entrepreneurship, wine business management and business acumen. Course convenor, Dr Elanca Shelley said there is a need for more specialised study options in South Africa because of the complexity of the challenges that different sectors face. “We know, for instance, that managers in health care in South Africa need to understand policy and regulation as well as how to operate with limited resources,” she said.

Not all doom and gloom in education

The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a specialised unit at the GSB, has launched the first South African Education Innovator’s Review, aimed at showcasing innovations in the education sector.

While the South African education system is underperforming in many areas, there are numerous schools and organisations that are getting it right. The review showcases innovators that have proved their impact in addressing the key challenge of improving access to quality education for those who need it most.“The poor outcomes of our education system have driven a huge and promising response from South Africans to develop innovative models to improve both the quality and outcomes of the system,” said Dr Francois Bonnici, director of the Bertha Centre. “We’ve uncovered what is being done by over 120 programmes to address the challenges in the education sector. This research was then taken deeper by identifying the components of these models that have impacted the system, in order to share the learnings of the innovations in our publication.”

GSB duo win inaugural AABS/Emerald Case Writing Competition


Linda Ronnie (left) with GSB alumna and co-author of the winning case study, Mariam Cassim.
Dr Linda Ronnie, and Mariam Cassim, an alumna of the 2014 MBA class, have been awarded first prize in the 2015 Association of African Business Schools (AABS) Emerald Case Writing Competition.

The AABS and Emerald Group Publishing case study competition was launched in March this year in order to encourage and promote the development of high-quality teaching material that is African-specific. To meet the submission criteria, cases needed to focus on real-life situations in Africa.According to Ronnie, emerging market case studies are essential learning tools for postgraduate students at the GSB, but that there is currently a dearth of suitable African-specific material from which to draw.

“We need more examples of how organisations function on our continent, what our unique management challenges are and how these might best be approached and solved,” she said. Their winning case study, M-Pesa: An evolution in organisational strategy, focused on Vodacom South Africa that recently implemented a change in business strategy from typical mobile telecommunications, to include financial services, which has seen great success in the last few years across the continent.

It has been a good year for both Ronnie and Cassim, with Ronnie being selected for a UCT Distinguished Teacher Award in December 2014 and Cassim receiving the 2014 Old Mutual Gold Medal for her outstanding academic achievements on the MBA.

Cassim was also named by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) as a finalist in the 35-under-35 most outstanding young chartered accountants in South Africa in 2014.

An MBA for a better world

The GSB has been awarded a place in the Top 40 2015 Corporate Knights Better World MBA Ranking – the only business school on the continent to achieve this status.

The Corporate Knights organisation based in Toronto, Canada, focuses on promoting an economic system with strong social development ties. The organisation’s Toby Heaps said that the GSB was among some of the world’s top business schools identified for its socially and environmentally aware MBA programme. GSB director, professor Water Baets said the business school is delighted by the announcement. “Achieving sustainable growth in a world of constrained resources and economic instability is one of Africa’s biggest challenges and the GSB wants to help ensure that the continent’s future business leaders find innovative solutions,” he said.
#4 Summer 2015




Most people would not voluntary seek out the most complex environments on the planet for their research and work, but Dr Brian Ganson, newly appointed adjunct professor at the GSB, is definitely not most people.

An expert on socio-political risk management, conflict prevention and collaboration, Ganson’s work has taken him all over the world. To West Africa, the DRC, Latin America and Kosovo, he admits his love for travel ties in with his passion for his work, which focuses on the relationship between business, conflict and development. “I like to think that having moved a lot helps me approach each new place with greater curiosity; what are the stories people tell about the place? Who’s doing what to build the future?”

Drawing on this diverse experience, Ganson recently designed and led a programme on conflict and business at the GSB in partnership with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ACCESS Facility, an international non-profit organisation focused on company-community conflict and its resolution. The programme, titled Company-Community Mediation for Complex Environments, was the first collaboration between the GSB and the Africa Centre for Dispute Settlement, which Ganson heads up. A civil rights attorney from Texas, Ganson has counselled UN agencies, companies and NGOs, published numerous books on conflict prevention and is editor-in-chief of ACCESS Facility.

Ganson’s work at the GSB will focus on the question, why do people stop seeing the value in working together. He believes that no matter how difficult or violent the environment, people are able to draw on reserves of strength to achieve positive change. His observations have made him an eternal optimist.“It is a lot more fun and productive to be an optimist and an activist, than merely a commentator. My work is about enabling transitions from destructive conflict to contexts where parties can work on peace.”



Sulona Reddy, programme manager for the Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellowship Programme on Social Innovation at the GSB’s Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, believes in being the change she wishes to see in the world.

Reddy has worked in both the public and private sector in South Africa, but it is her current position at the Bertha Centre that really inspires her. The fellowship programme is designed to strengthen the capacity of global leaders with an appetite for bringing about change. A diverse group of 21 leaders from Asia, Africa and Latin America meet for four modules a year at various global locations and Reddy needs to make everything happen successfully.

“What I enjoy about the Bertha Centre’s approach is that it puts people and collaboration first, and there is a deep commitment to working in a way that reflects our values,” says Reddy. Born and raised in Durban, she spent her last two years of high school in the US on a United World Colleges scholarship, then relocated to Cape Town for her undergraduate degree in economics and political studies at UCT and went on to do her MBA in 2005. She has worked in many areas, from being the special advisor to the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism to leading sustainable development within South African Breweries and serving as the first general manager of the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation.

But her heart has always been in socially responsible and sustainable work and she believes that it is in this area that innovation holds so much promise for effecting real change. “What excites me about social innovation is that it isn’t predominantly ‘owned’ by any single sector and it has been a vehicle for collaboration between government, private sector, NGOs, community-based organisations, philanthropic and academic institutions on a scale that is almost unprecedented in recent history,” she adds.



New GSB finance lecturer, Lungelo Gumede enjoys teaching students almost as much as he likes developing business ideas and promoting entrepreneurship.

“I have a deep interest in commercial solutions that can help to develop youth from disadvantaged backgrounds,” he says. Over the past few years, he has been growing start-up business Headboy Industries Inc, which he co-founded with partner Ludwick Marishane. The company manufactures and distributes the innovative DryBath product, a waterless cleaning agent for people with no or little access to water.

Starting the company has not been easy and Gumede is keen to share the lessons he has learned with others. “Success does not come quickly. My advice to young people is to make their business the centre of their lives, designing everything around it, taking care of how they handle expenses and how much time they spend with family and friends.

”Gumede will be involved in several GSB academic programmes in 2016 and has already started tutoring MBA students. He says interacting with students who are eager for business knowledge is hugely rewarding and stimulating for him.

Originally from Johannesburg, Gumede now calls Cape Town home. He studied business science at UCT and has a Master’s in Development Finance from the GSB. He went on to co-found and head up operations at Headboy Industries, which also runs Excel@Uni, a dedicated programme for bursary students at university, providing support for personal and professional development for these students. He is a believer in the power of coaching young people and supporting African business people in finding business solutions for the continent’s developmental problems.

“Everyone’s journey as a start-up is unique but generally, I think, there is a need for more business experience for young entrepreneurs.”

#4 Summer 2015

Empowering African academics

Dr Nceku Nyathi

Dr Nceku Nyathi

The GSB’s Dr Nceku Nyathi will co-chair the third biennial Conference of the Africa Academy of Management in Nairobi.

There is a pressing need for a new African curriculum when it comes to management theory and teaching leadership development at business schools in Africa and it is up to African business schools to shape that. So said Dr Nceku Nyathi, Senior Lecturer in the Allan Gray Centre for Values-Based Leadership at the GSB.

Speaking ahead of the Africa Academy of Management (AFAM) biennial conference in Nairobi next January, Dr Nyathi, who is on the executive committee of the AFAM and co-chair of the conference, said that business schools need to build managers who have the skills to lead organisations in Africa. “It is about developing the best managers in tune with the challenges experienced locally but at the same time, we need to expose them to the very best global thinking around management training.”

AFAM is a collaboration that brings together academics from business schools in Africa and management practitioners and scholars from the diaspora, as well as top scholars from business schools around the world. It seeks to support and empower African academics across the continent by fostering collaborations and boosting connections, but also by focusing on specific problem areas such as developing and mentoring doctoral students through annual PhD workshops.

One of the biggest problems facing academia in Africa is the lack of high quality researchers. “There is very poor PhD training in Africa. If you look at what is published globally and compare this to what African academics bring out, the output is much smaller,” said Nyathi.

The conference, themed Managing Africa’s Future: Prospects and Challenges, will see top scholars from around the world gather for a week of presentations, workshops and panel discussions based on management issues in Africa. It will also feature a dedicated programme for doctoral students. “We argue that we must be bold in inserting knowledge about management in Africa into the broader knowledge conversation. We must generate indigenous knowledge about management in and for Africa and at the same time be bold enough to challenge existing canons,” said AFAM president, Professor Stella Nkomo in her call to academics to submit papers for the conference.

“Through our research, we can push the boundaries of existing knowledge to make management knowledge more inclusive. The opportunity has never been greater,” she said.

GSB director, Professor Walter Baets agrees. He is of the opinion that African business schools could blaze a trail internationally for others in the field of management theory and leadership development. “Emerging market thinking goes beyond the geographical emerging markets. For me, it is all about thinking how you, as a leader, are able to take responsibility in an economy that is changing every day. That is something you would rather learn in an emerging market business school, than in a traditional Western business school,” he noted.

Nyathi said that African academics are ideally placed to help entrepreneurs identify business opportunities, training students to see opportunity instead of problems and coming up with innovative solutions that are profitable as well as socially responsible. He said too often NGOs or foundations become involved in tackling a housing or transport crisis in an area, when this in fact, could be a business opportunity for a local entrepreneur or start-up. He thinks this is where the AFAM can play an important role. “We can provide the skills training, the networking and connecting opportunities, helping to empower people by opening minds, stimulating and inspiring them. “So the questions we need to be asking are around race diversity, identity and ethnicity. FNB wants to open branches in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria. What do they need to be successful there? Why is Woolworths struggling in Nigeria?” The answers to these questions don’t lie in textbooks, but in the field where they need to be uncovered by academics, said Nyathi. “New bodies of knowledge need to be created around what it means to be a manager in Africa, the real experiences of African leaders and what it takes to head up large corporations in Africa.”

It goes to the core of what the AFAM is trying to do – to grow the quality of academic research and leadership thinking on the African continent. But not just by connecting academics and ideas, there is the hope that a real tangible difference will be made in empowering students to become business leaders who are as focused on profit and the bottom line as they are on social upliftment and development.

#4 Summer 2015

Missing in action

Missing in action

Lonmin Platinum Mine in the North West, were police opened fire on striking mineworkers.
Photo: Kevin Sutherland. © Sunday Times/ Times Media.
SA institutional investors have publically bought into the principles of responsible investing practice, but they are not always asking the right questions when it comes to corporate governance – and the Marikana tragedy is a case in point.

With all the commentary around Marikana and who is to blame, one constituency has been startlingly absent from the debate.

The role of institutional investors – those who chose to invest money into Lonmin in the runup to the tragedy in 2012 (and subsequently) – have not been interrogated at any point, and nor will they be.

In a very real way, institutional investors are the silent – and most powerful – players in the South African business landscape, but they are never in the firing line or even among those questioned when things go awry. From African Bank and First Tech to the Marikana tragedy, we are so used to them not having a voice, we forget they exist – and yet they are very much there.

South African investment companies are, by and large, signatories to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Initiative, an international network of investors that seeks to understand the implications of sustainability for investors and supports signatories to incorporate these issues into their investment decision-making and ownership practices. Yet, too often there is a sense that these same companies are turning a blind eye to corporate governance red flags that, at best, are contrary to the principles they are pledged to and, at worst, threaten the very sustainability of their investments.

Until the day of a bank’s default or an organisation’s collapse, institutional investors, along with top executives, often claim ignorance of the state of the company’s affairs.

In the case of Marikana, many would argue that a cool look at how much Lonmin workers were being paid and the type of conditions they were living and working in, alongside the usual examination of balance sheet items and earnings projections, might have yielded some insights into the coming troubles.

If that tragedy has shown us anything it is that risk profiles increase when social responsibility is neglected. And while it might be too much to expect institutional investors to take a stand against the extractive industries and their dubious HR practices, at the very least, the appalling conditions of the miners might have raised some investment red flags.

Even if the plight of the miners had not troubled investors unduly, from a corporate governance perspective, questions should have been asked about the credibility of the Lonmin board. In many respects, the board was not properly informed and poorly functioning, Cyril Ramaphosa’s extraordinary role as nonexecutive director with too much power is evidence of that. The board has been accused, amongst other things, of failing to uphold its duties under Chapter 8 of King III governing stakeholder relationships, by ignoring the shifts in union relations and not recognising minority unions as stakeholders – a key contributing factor to the awful deaths that followed.

Lonmin is not the only example in recent history where corporate governance red flags were not seen – or ignored – by investors. When the First Tech Group collapsed in 2011 (the first-ever investment-grade corporate bond default in South Africa – involving between R800 million and R3.5 billion of investor fund fraud), investors also missed blatant corporate governance shortcomings.

A study by students of the GSB showed that key problem areas at First Tech were an over-complex corporate and financial structure, a ghost board of directors in no position to ask the right questions, a lack of independent and reputable auditors, and a ticking-the-box attitude towards codes of corporate governance.

Maybe it is harder than we think to spot these issues – hindsight is after all always easier than foresight – but the point is, corporate governance guidelines provide institutional investors with a perfect blueprint to at least ask the right questions at the right moment. It is a tool that should enable investors to see beyond the numbers.

The King III Report on Corporate Governance offers guidelines on required structures and processes, which help guard against undue risk. Some might say they are basic common sense.

Investors should always be on the lookout for red flags, which may include anything from fraudulent accounting schemes to too much power being vested in individuals or top management taking on multiple corporate roles. At First Tech, for example, the fact that founders Wiggill and Bertulis shared the roles of chairman, CEO and CFO, should have set the red flags fluttering.

But it did not. The GSB study found an unusual complacency among many institutional investors, apparently charmed by the charismatic personalities of the two founders and their promises of high financial returns.

One of the big problems of the financial industry is that it is a sector naturally inclined to look for short-term profit. High-yield investments are popular and investment experts are always searching for lucrative deals. In the case of First Tech, investors were said to choose the First Tech bond because it was the best-fixed income return opportunity at the time.

Often investment decisions are made without taking longer-term views and this lack of systemic oversight was instrumental in the collapse of African Bank in 2014. Investors more attuned to sustainability and ethical principles would have picked up on the unsecured lending business as potentially fragile investment ground.

Investors have a duty of care to help prevent such corporate governance violations, especially when they threaten the lives and livelihoods of citizens – that is largely what the Principles of Responsible investing are all about. However, right now in South Africa, it appears that a culture of looking the other way prevails.

Lonmin, First Tech and African Bank were largely celebrated, prior to the dramatic events that cannoned them into the spotlight, as good corporate citizens. Lonmin was actively marketing itself as a “sustainable investment” up to May 2012, and the CEO of African Bank was frequently and sycophantically quoted in the media as being in business “for the poor”. Nobody questioned it until it was obvious that the bank’s agenda towards the poor was anything but sympathetic.

These companies are living proof that a tickingthe-box mentality is still largely pervasive in South Africa in relation to environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters and this should send the country’s business, finance and governmental elite back to the drawing board – if they want to build a truly sustainable and inclusive economy.

This might include strengthening regulatory incentives to make voluntary codes perhaps a little less voluntary. But it also requires that institutional investors play their part in holding the companies they invest in to account.

Individual investors and shareholders have a role to play here, too. As individuals we can put pressure on companies and institutional investors by asking the awkward questions. The fast-growing global divestment campaign is just one example showing that individuals don’t have to wait for the big institutions to do the right thing – we can force them to.

This is not an idle or idealistic call to action. As South Africans struggle to put Marikana behind them, we need to realise that it could happen again – in any sector of the economy. Terrible conditions continue on the mines, the gap between rich and poor grows, and many furniture companies and micro credit agencies are pushing South Africans into a dangerously indebted position. The situation is bound to create societal tension and where there is tension, there is the risk and the potential of systemic disaster.

#4 Summer 2015

Leading with soul


Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, who teaches a module on the GSB’s Creating and Leading the Values-Driven Organisation, addresses the crowd at the recent anti-corruption march in Cape Town. Photo by Retha Ferguson.
Profitability and service-oriented leadership, in the mould of Nelson Mandela or Gandhi, are not mutually exclusive. If we are to build a sustainable economy, introspective and ethical leadership is the way to go.

Viktor Frankl’s account of his painstaking work to rebuild his life after the trauma of being held captive in a concentration camp has gripped philosophers, academics and ordinary people in search of purpose for decades. It is what it says on the cover: Man’s Search for Meaning.

Frankl was grappling with what is increasingly preoccupying forward-thinking business leaders; those who are beginning to understand that as business becomes ever more competitive, it is not enough simply to be faster, better, cheaper, we also need to think bigger. That is, to really think bigger – not just literally, in terms of expansion, but holistically, in terms of purpose.

Of course, the spiritual leadership movement is not new. It emerged as early as the 1920s and has steadily gained traction. But over the decades, it has also evolved, changed and splintered.

Spiritual leadership searches for congruency between the world of work and the community from which workers live and move and have their being; it allows the whole person, respectfully, into the working environment. It locates profitability on a continuum with people and care of the planet from which business derives its profitability. The issues at stake may sound abstract, but really, the purpose of spiritual leadership is ultimately very concrete. The success of every aspect of business depends on a search for meaning. If a product or service does not offer meaning, or does not add to the purpose of the consumer’s life, it has a limited shelf life.

“Whenever people come into the course I lecture, the first thing the executives ask me is: ‘Am I going to lose profitability?’ says Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, who teaches a module on Spiritual Leadership on the Executive Education short course – Creating and Leading the Value-Driven Organisation, at the GSB. “They say, ‘we care about values, but we are here for the bottom line.’ Fortunately, these things are not mutually exclusive. We are all searching for meaning. We are all looking for dignity.”

Consider the words of technologist, Stafford Masie, when contemplating the success of Steve Jobs: “He always understood that it was not a technology story, it was a human story. He succeeded because he understood human nature,” Masie said during a recent address at the GSB. Jobs’ products worked because he understood human needs, and spoke to them. What he produced had meaning for people.

The second aspect at play is within the workplace itself. As the global business environment becomes more competitive, it is a simple fact that businesses cannot retain their edge if they are unable to retain the best talent in their industry. If companies are failing to offer their employees opportunities for personal growth; if leadership is disrespectful, employees have ample opportunity to seek greener pastures.

According to Archbishop Makgoba, spiritual leadership can play a significant role in fostering higher levels of staff retention. For the archbishop, a core element of spiritual leadership is to serve, not to put oneself first, following the leadership model of Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Pope Francis and the musical guru Hayden. The leader facilitates greatness, and is in this way the very heartbeat of the organisation.

Yet, interestingly, a South African workplace survey conducted by Deloitte in 2014 revealed that 60% of companies named leadership gaps as their biggest challenge and 89% described the issue as urgent and important. Somewhere, leadership is missing something. Could this kind of introspective, service-oriented leadership be it?

It may well be, as employees become more empowered to follow their passions and insist on opportunities for growth and respect. According to a 2013 Bersin/Deloitte report titled Source Predictions for 2014: Building a Strong Talent Pipeline for The Global Economic Recovery, “As the economy picks up, people will start changing jobs. Social recruiting tools (like LinkedIn, Twitter, Glassdoor and Facebook) make it easy to find new opportunities, so companies have to shift their focus towards retention.” And that will include making sure they find greater meaning in their work.

The retention of fully engaged, passionate, purposeful staff is no small advantage. Statistically, companies that increase their number of talented managers and double the rate of engaged employees achieve, on average, 147% higher earnings per share than their competition (Gallup); 33% of senior leaders believe employee loyalty has a direct relationship to profits and highly engaged employees are 2.5 times more likely to stay at work late if something needs to be done after the normal workday ends and more than three times as likely to do something good for the company that is not expected of them.

All of that said, however, the irony is that to embark on a path of spiritual leadership in order to increase profits is counter-productive, says Makgoba. As Frankl famously said: “Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it.”

The archbishop’s intention is not to do a hard sell on the profitability of spirituality, but merely to illustrate that profitability and spiritual leadership are not mutually exclusive. “I’m very conscious not to use spirituality as a commodity,” he says. “That will make it irrelevant soon. Spiritual leadership is much more than that. It is about all of us, executives and workers, searching for something greater than ourselves, a legacy that can make a connection within ourselves – a connection as human beings, in a working environment.”

This connection can, of course, be especially advantageous in an environment like South Africa, where the triple burden of poverty, inequality and unemployment continues to plague society and where labour unrest is no small challenge. In this environment, it is essential that we begin to connect on a human level – and that our negotiations begin to take on an altogether more connected, respectful character. This is what Makgoba calls “narrative” negotiation, arguably an allusion to the fact that it is allowed to develop organically, and that everybody’s story is heard. At any rate, it is going beyond technocratic negotiation into an altogether more level playing field – one that South Africa so desperately needs if the economy is to stabilise.

Given all this, the question then, is can leaders afford not to look inward?

#4 Summer 2015

Beyond help


Eskom’s State of the System address at Megawatt Park. 2015. CEO Tshediso Matona addresses the media.
The unprecedented crisis at Eskom could have been avoided if there was a culture of asking for help in South African business.

John F. Kennedy, one of America’s most charismatic and visionary presidents, once said that leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. Being in charge does not always translate to knowing everything about the company or the business world. Leaders should therefore always strive to learn new things and be prepared to ask for help.

The current crisis at Eskom and other troubled parastatals would arguably not have happened if a culture of asking for help existed in South Africa.

Leaders can achieve more by asking for help. As the African proverb goes, “okuhlula amadoda kuyabikwa”, which, loosely translated, means that what is a challenge to the individual is declared to the community. And often, reaching out could spell the difference between success and failure.

Asking for help is something that is gaining traction in top businesses around the world. In order to be more effective, leaders and managers in many organisations commonly make the most of coaching, executive education and enrolling in postgraduate programmes in economics and management. According to a 2013 survey by Stanford Business School, almost one third of global CEOs are in a coaching process, while 100% of those surveyed said that they would be receptive to outside advice and assistance.

But this does not seem to be a generally accepted culture among South African leaders.

The problem is that asking for help in South Africa is generally perceived as a sign of weakness or ignorance, implying that someone can’t get the job done on their own. A further hurdle to asking for help could be the fear of incurring a social debt. After receiving help some would ask “What do I owe this person now?”

The reasons could be numerous and some possibilities could be that given the toxic and complex nature of who gets to lead some organisations in South Africa – especially the troubled state-owned enterprises – that this has bred this inward looking culture rather than outward looking and leading and thinking what is best for the organisation and the community.

Therefore seeking help could be perceived as a sign of not being good enough or weak or not properly qualified … after all, we have seen recently people claiming to have held certain qualifications only for it to have been found that this was not the case.

Edgar Schein, a former professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, writing in the Ivey Business Journal, says that one of the reasons that people in business struggle to ask for help is that in most cultures, once a person has grown to adulthood and is healthy, the norm is that she or he can manage on their own. “To ask for help puts the person ‘one down’ and makes that person temporarily vulnerable,” Schein says.

But, Schein adds that the leader of the future will have to both seek and give help because all the functions that make up the typical modern organisation have become technically complex. “The impact of this growing complexity is that a leader, whether the CEO or a project manager or the chair of a task force, will know less than most of his or her subordinates about how a specific task is to be accomplished.”

Eskom is the latest casualty in a long list of state-owned enterprises in South Africa that have been hard hit by crippling management problems and could have done well to heed this advice. Not only is the company’s leadership facing an uncertain future, the power utility is in the midst of an unprecedented power crisis that is hurting South Africa’s economy and, in many respects, that of the continent at large.

Rating agency Moody’s warned that the investigation into Eskom and the suspension of four top executive earlier this year were “credit negative” for the utility, as they dented investor sentiment. And Standard & Poor (S&P) downgraded Eskom’s long-term credit rating to junk following the suspensions, saying it had less confidence in the power utility’s corporate governance arrangements and its stand-alone credit profile. Nothing has shifted since then to change these perceptions.

Other state-owned companies that have in recent times struggled to execute their mandate and generate revenue, largely due to management troubles include South African Airways, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which has debatably not known stability in many years, and Telkom.

Undoubtedly, the intricate social and political milieu under which the management and leaders of these state-owned entities operate often complicates their work. But not asking for help is further exacerbating the situation.

Leaders need to be comfortable and not feel threatened by bringing in valuable skills from outside of the organisation. There is also no harm in bringing in the private sector to partner with them on some key projects, ensuring that they are finished on time and on budget.

Education institutions have a major part to play here, especially the business schools that teach and coach the managers and leaders of these institutions. We need to equip them with skills and moral character based on solid values, to ensure that when they assume leadership positions they have been exposed to what might happen as a result of poor decision-making and the pursuit of poor strategies – including not being able to ask for help.

Schein argues that offering, asking for and/or receiving help are disruptions of the normal flow of the social order and must therefore be handled with care if the help is to be helpful – especially in situations that are hierarchical. Could it be especially difficult for government to ask for help?

“The pitfalls of helping are inherent in any relationship, especially in a relationship governed by a hierarchy. The higher-ranking person ordinarily finds it difficult to ask for help from a subordinate, not for personality reasons but because the social order defines it as abnormal, that is for the higher-up to need help from the subordinate. It might be considered a loss of face for the boss to go to the employee for help, so it is unlikely to be done even when necessary”.

But Schein offers advice to leaders: “As the world becomes more complex, networked, interdependent, multi-cultural and ideologically diverse, you will increasingly find yourself in situations where you will need help from subordinates, and in which subordinates will ask for help in areas where you are not an expert. To manage either situation effectively, you will have to develop a degree of humility and the process skills. Whatever else you think about or do, do not oversimplify the helping process. Rather, recognise how complex the helping relationship is, especially across hierarchical boundaries.”

#4 Summer 2015

Wanted: A public sector institution with private sector discipline

Public sector with private sector discipline

Photo: The press service of the President of Russia.


Much is riding on the ability of the BRICS New Development Bank to mobilise industrialisation and economic development on the African continent, and, following a direct challenge from President Jacob Zuma, MCom in Development Finance students at the GSB are working on a plan to maximise its chances of delivering.

THE BRICS bloc (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) of leading developing countries hosts more than 40% of the world’s population and generates 22% of global gross domestic product, a figure that has been on an upward trajectory for more than a decade.

Yet efforts to reorganise the governance structures of the major international development finance institutions – specifically the World Bank and International Monetary Fund – to give developing countries a corresponding increase in influence have been fruitless.

This was undoubtedly a significant factor motivating the launch of a new institution that would be financed by, and therefore focused on, developing nations. The New Development Bank (commonly known as the BRICS Bank) duly opened its doors in Shanghai in July, with the stated aim of financing the construction of essential infrastructure as a means of encouraging industrialisation and economic development.

With an authorised capital base of $100 billion, the Bank is small by comparison to its established peers. However, newly-appointed vice-president Leslie Maasdorp, a former South African public enterprises department deputy director-general whose most recent position was in the private sector as Southern Africa president of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, does not see that as a problem.

He says the objective has never been to “challenge or replace” the Bretton Woods institutions, but to “improve and complement” the existing international development finance system.

“In 2013, a McKinsey Global Institute report found that ‘globally, $57 trillion in new infrastructure investment would be required in the period up to 2030, simply to keep up with projected GDP growth. This estimate suggests a requirement of $3.2 trillion investment a year’,” Maasdorp wrote in Business Day recently.

“When assessed against current infrastructure spending by all the multilateral development banks combined, this leaves a huge financing gap. The New Development Bank and other new institutions such as the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank are contributing to closing this funding gap. As opposed to being competitors or rivals, the World Bank and others are viewed as partners in development.”

It is encouraging that the bank’s new leadership has taken this approach, because, as UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) Master’s in Development Finance (MCom) student Refilwe Moloto points out, the scale of infrastructural investment required just in Africa to address backlogs and keep pace with the economic development of the rest of the world is estimated by McKinsey at $118 billion a year.

The continent is not only going to need to tap every available source of finance if it is to come close to realising its potential in the coming decades, it would also benefit from far better cross-border coordination of development activities and some out-of-the-box thinking that is better tailored to African realities.

The GSB MCom in Development Finance programme is one of just a handful in Africa that seek to train a new generation of professionals to enhance the design and implementation of development initiatives on the continent. The programme has evolved in recent years from being attended primarily by public sector enterprise employees to attracting a wide range of senior investment and infrastructure professionals seeking to sharpen their expertise within the policymaking framework, specifically as it pertains to Africa. The class has grown to almost four times its size at inception.

Moloto and her classmates have been putting a great deal of thought into the question of Africa’s economic development, both as part of their course – which this year attracted students from Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho and South Africa, as well as the Middle East and North America – and in pursuit of a special project that arose following an impromptu visit from President Jacob Zuma earlier in the year.

Zuma, who was at the GSB for prescheduled political meetings of the ANC’s National Executive Committee in March, was invited on the spur of the moment to engage with the class and the conversation turned, naturally enough, to Africa’s development and specifically the role of the BRICS bank. After mentioning that he personally pushed to have a second satellite office of the New Development Bank (NDB) located in Johannesburg, Zuma expressed concern that the bank would merely adopt the antiquated lending models of the developed world and create yet another conservative lending institution.

His parting challenge to the MCom class to come up with ideas for how the bank might produce innovative financial solutions, collaborate with local stakeholders and address the credit challenges facing African small- and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) was not taken lightly: the group resolved to do the research and present the presidency with a comprehensive paper addressing these issues before the end of the year.

Moloto says considerable progress has been made to this end, with a working draft already in circulation among the participants. She is understandably reluctant to give too much away before the final version is presented to the president, but agreed to outline its overall thrust for this article. The document will not dwell on the major challenges facing the continent, she says, as these are already well known, but rather on how the BRICS Bank’s Africa Regional Office can differentiate itself from the existing development finance framework in actually seeing through solutions to the myriad problems facing the continent.

She warns that while the political and structural conditionalities attached to development finance provided by established institutions have been problematic in the past – as even European countries such as Greece have discovered in their attempts to escape recession while forced to implement growth-sapping austerity measures – the NDB should not be seen as a panacea.

“A hundred billion dollars is less than the Public Investment Corporation’s assets under management, and as an equal partner in the bank, Africa only qualifies for 20% of that. We must recognise that South Africa is viewed by many as the ‘baby brother’ in the NDB. While contributions to core bank capital are equal, the contingency reserve exists to allow cyclical topups and is 41% contributed to by China, 18% each by Brazil, Russia and India, and just 5% by South Africa. Each of these countries has its own developmental agenda.

“In addition, it’s important to approach this unemotionally: the conditionalities imposed by Western development finance institutions can, in fact, be supportive of development at a national level when implemented appropriately. Importantly, sovereign developmental lending – even south-south and from Eastern lenders –always carries with it some kind of conditionality, perhaps not at national level, but rather at project level.”

Moloto welcomes Maasdorp’s insistence that the bank will be driven by pragmatism rather than any ideological doctrine such as the socalled ‘Beijing consensus’, especially where he says the aim will be to complement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional development banks, since this is likely to be one of the MCom group’s central recommendations. Their research has revealed that almost $1 trillion in development finance is available on the continent already via a range of existing national and regional savings and development institutions, before even considering the private sector capital that can be mobilised; from within the Economic Community of West African States, East African Community, Southern African Development Community and beyond. The missing ingredient in ensuring these funds get bang for their buck is actually coordination and efficient implementation.

“This lends itself to the bank being a regional mobiliser of this capital, forgoing in-country projects to rather focus on regional links and intraregional investment where the bank’s member countries can provide focused sector expertise to address policy gaps,” she says.

“The success of the continent as a whole depends on the simultaneous success of its parts – to foster intra-regional markets, mutually beneficial industry and crossborder social stability – all in the quest for developmental growth.”

The role played by the Asian Development Bank is a good example to follow, Moloto adds, in that it has successfully leveraged the finance available from national development institutions in the region to produce outcomes that amount to more than the sum of what each could have achieved on its own.

Another problem facing development finance institutions in Africa is a lack of quality data, which goes hand-in-hand with a dearth of technical expertise. Moloto says the BRICS Bank’s Africa Regional Office has the potential to be a really great attractor of talent. “One of our recommendations is that it develop its own research capability so that it can price risk appropriately. The operating model we would define talks to ‘win-win’ partnerships with leading institutions and best-in-class talent from across the world, defining what we call a public sector institution with private sector discipline.

“With the right cooperation mechanism African governments could successfully link their national infrastructure developments to form regional networks, the likes of which the continent has never seen before.”

#4 Summer 2015

How to bridge the business-state divide


Anti-corruption march in Cape Town. Photo by Retha Furguson.


National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) members during a protest march in Durban, 1 July 2014. © Rogan Ward 2014
As South Africa struggles to address its triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality and halt the decline of the economy, a growing rift between government and business is not helping the situation.

The South African economy is under grave threat. In the past year, the value of the rand has declined precipitously. The economy has been plagued by high and persistent current account and budget deficits, coupled with long-run inflation and high government and household debt. In 2014, protracted strikes on South African mines, particularly in the platinum sector, damaged output resulting in hundreds of millions of rands in lost company sales and worker wages. The energy crisis has continued unabated, while deep concerns have been raised about the progressive hollowing out of public institutions.

Economic growth has declined since its peak prior to the 2008 global financial crisis. South Africa’s growth rate is well below what is required to alleviate the pressing triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality. The economy has been unable to absorb thousands of new entrants into the labour market, and young people have borne the brunt of high joblessness.

South Africa is underperforming compared to its peers on the African continent and other emerging markets. The causes of this underperformance are largely internal rather than external: they have to do with weak leadership, poor decision-making and policy paralysis.

Regrettably, progress in realising our country’s economic potential has been stunted by deepseated mutual suspicion and distrust between business and government in South Africa. This has been evidenced by a growing distance between business and government leaders, even as the need for the two sectors to work together to solve South Africa’s economic problems could not be more pressing.

This is not a new phenomenon. It follows a history of tension between government and business since South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, especially during former president Thabo Mbeki’s tenure. The ANC government has frequently berated the business community for criticising policies and publicly voicing concerns about political leadership and risk in South Africa. Mbeki, for example, openly accused Sasol of “bad mouthing” the government’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policies, after Sasol had highlighted BEE as a potential risk factor in a filing to the New York Stock Exchange. Mbeki also publicly chided Tony Trahar, former Anglo American chief executive, for remarks he made in the Financial Times about political risk in South Africa.

The tension between business and government has worsened since the onset of President Jacob Zuma’s administration in 2009. Under Zuma’s leadership, only a chosen few business leaders have enjoyed access to him, owing to their political affiliations rather than their standing in the South African business community. As such, there remains a great deal of tension and mutual distrust between business and government in South Africa.

Many business leaders deplore the quality of leadership in government and simply do not trust government officials to understand the needs of the South African economy and to act in its best interests. In 2012, for example, Reuel Khoza, chairman of Nedbank, incurred the wrath of the African National Congress (ANC) for voicing unhappiness at the government’s governance track record. Moreover, the discord between government and business was amplified by the ‘You Can Help Campaign’ launched by First National Bank in January 2013, which featured a series of online videos in which youths called for change in South Africa to combat the country’s myriad economic and socio-economic challenges. The campaign was viewed by the ANC as a thinly veiled political attack on the leadership and the capabilities of the ANC government. In a hard-hitting rebuke of the campaign, ANC spokesperson, Keith Khoza, described it as “disingenuous” and labelled it an “attack on the president, his ministers and the government as a whole”.

These views have been echoed in other situations in which the Zuma administration has castigated the business sector for a perceived lack of patriotism, and for not caring enough for the communities in which it operates.

The mutual distrust between business and government has fuelled the distinct lack of a constructive dialogue between these two key societal actors in South Africa. Instead of working together to address the all-important objectives of growing the South African economy and addressing the pressing social and economic problems facing the country, the business and government sectors have opted to go it alone, often operating at cross-purposes to each other.

The South African government has sometimes developed policies with long-term implications without necessarily conducting proper and sufficient consultation with the business sector, which is pivotal to the successful implementation of the government’s policy decisions. And, to compound the difficulties, all too often South African business has not provided a much needed counterbalance to the government’s policy discourse. In many instances, the business sector’s stance on policy issues has been defensive. Furthermore, the business sector has tended to display an arrogant and know-it-all attitude towards the government.

What needs to be done? Visionary and effective leadership from government, coupled with strong support from the business sector, labour unions and broader civil society, is required to reverse South Africa’s economic underperformance and to ensure that South Africa achieves its considerable economic potential. Moreover, bridging the trust gap between the government and business will ultimately hinge on successfully rebuilding the shattered trust between the two.

This will require the cultivation of new and meaningful relationships between business and government decision-makers. These relationships should be built on a mutual acceptance that both government and business have different but complementary strengths that need to be harnessed together in order to address the present-day challenges confronting South Africa. In practical terms, what is needed is a mechanism to bring together business (large multinational corporations, as well as medium-sized and small businesses) and key government departments to engage in constructive dialogue and idea-sharing with a view to working together to achieve the growth and development objectives of our country. This mechanism should facilitate strategic and systematic management of
the interactions between government and business. In particular, it should focus on the following objectives:

  • Build trust and develop new relationships between South African business and government.
  • Develop a tangible sense of common purpose between government and business that centres on the pursuit of national interest.
  • Facilitate agreement between government and business on a national vision of South Africa’s future.
  • Develop agreement between government and business on strategies to be pursued, and trade-offs and compromises required, in order to achieve the desired vision for South Africa.
  • Facilitate the development of a more coherent, nuanced and inclusive policy process on key developmental issues.
  • Identify areas of joint interest, particularly related to newly emerging issues such as energy security, food security and climate change, in which government and business can work together to mitigate socioeconomic risks for South Africa.
  • Foster the development of a social contract that will serve as the foundation for raising South Africa’s global competitiveness and tackling the country’s pressing social problems of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
  • Forge an agreement on the obligations of government and business in terms of providing public goods, especially in respect of building human capital and expanding South Africa’s skills base.
  • Establish an agreement between government and business on regional development objectives and strategies in Southern Africa and elsewhere on the African continent.

If managed wisely, structured and purposeful interactions between business and government in South Africa can provide a vital platform to generate the level of cooperation that is needed to address the daunting challenges currently besetting our country.

#4 Summer 2015

Look within if you want to change the system


Syrian refugees camp outside Budapest’s Keleti station. Photo by Francois Swanepoel.
The Syrian refugee crisis highlights a truth that real change does not happen in isolation, but requires an understanding of the systems within which change happens – and it starts with the individual.

The remarkable thing about the Syrian refugee crisis is not so much that people are fleeing their homes and migrating to a better life – this happens all the time, although admittedly usually at a more polite distance from Europe’s shores. No, the really remarkable thing has been the enormous response from citizens in Europe.

Even while their governments vacillate between open borders and more familiar reactionary tactics, vast numbers of individuals have stood up and declared that they want the system to change.

As MIT’s Otto Scharmer writes in a recent article in the Huffington Post, “we may be witnessing an emerging pattern of the years to come: bureaucracy is failing (EU), systems collapsing (millions of asylum seeking refugees in urgent need of helping hands) – AND: citizens rising to the occasion!”

The crisis is playing out on our TV screens a truth that we academics speak about in classrooms: social transformation fails too often because it is overpowered by old systems that are fundamentally flawed, that no longer have any relevance or, worse still, that actively sabotage change. And if we want to transcend these failing systems, then we need a new approach, an integrated approach, that delves below the symptoms of trouble and unpacks how systems actually work so that we can shift them – and individuals play a key role in bringing this about.

So how can the actions of a German citizen taking a Syrian refugee into her own home hope to change an entrenched system with more than a few vested interests in play? The simple truth is that we are the systems. Where the majority of systems are understood as tangible things; externalised in institutions, rules, funding mechanisms and so on, the internalised part of the system – our individual and collective beliefs – are, in a very real sense, the stuff that holds it all together.

In essence, this means that the bigger issues going on outside, also exist in an immediate way right here – inside this room and inside us. So, for instance, if an organisation wants to begin to change gender dynamics, it can begin by looking at its own assumptions – what are people thinking at this moment, what are they saying, how are they behaving? We are then better equipped to understand the kinds of rules, values and beliefs that are holding the larger system of gender relationships in place. This is not just systems thinking, but systems experiencing. In this way any social purpose organisation or initiative becomes its own living laboratory.

Analysing and experiencing systems ultimately helps us to think in a more nuanced and integrated way that challenges traditional assumptions and can result in greater creativity and innovation instead of resorting to well-worn models, belief-sets, processes or procedures.

Of course, merely experiencing a system is not sufficient to tilt its axis – but it is a vital starting point. The Syrian crisis, as with so many other conflict-related crises in the world today, is among the most complex kind of wicked problem that the 21st century is able to throw at us. Pull any thread – political, economic, cultural, from the arms trade to sovereign debt and religious oppression – and it rapidly becomes clear that everything is entwined. As such, it is impossible to identify single leverage points that will miraculously lead to change.

It is enough to make anyone give up and yet, a new generation of social innovators are stepping up to tackle these seemingly impossible challenges.

Ahmet Dawalak, who works for Mercy Corps, says that he believes it is possible to get to a world where there are no more emergency crises, but that would require a radically integrated response that works across systems. “At Mercy Corps we strongly believe that the best change must necessarily consider three systems: ecological, economic and social. We are called to work with multiple partners to provide lasting solutions to improve the living conditions of underserved people whose livelihoods are precarious and vulnerable to shocks and stress.”

He points out that the world is remarkably stuck in old ways of seeing things and that part of the work in unravelling existing systems is to shock the people who support the system out of these ruts. “For the Syrian crisis, as with the majority of humanitarian crises in the world caused by conflict, it is surprising for example that violence and conflict management efforts are not a priority. This prevention is an essential lever. Of the billions spent annually on foreign aid, very little is dedicated to conflict prevention, mitigation or peace, even if the conflict seriously disrupts systems.”

Dawalak is one of a handful of men and women from around the world who are currently engaged in a unique academic experiment funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. The Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellowship Program on Social Innovation is designed to strengthen the capacity of leaders from the social or ecological sectors who are working to transform systems – political, economic, legal, educational, environmental and cultural.

No longer content to tackle problems at the surface/symptom level, these system entrepreneurs are delving deeper and working across multiple levels at the same time, linking grassroots projects to regional networks to national and international governance bodies. And while they may focus on specific issues like refugee crises, climate change, economic justice or health care, they see these issues not in isolation, but as pathways for developing the overall resilience of their communities. Thus, the Shalupe Foundation, a non-profit organisation run by and for Congolese women seeking to find holistic solutions for ending gender inequality and violence, poverty and social injustice in post-conflict DRC, takes a systems approach that has two main thrusts.

“First, we provide our constituents with education, preparation an opportunity to thrive in this unjust system. And second, we build a tight-knit community of interdependent women who can support one another and maintain sustainable occupations,” says Mireille Tushiminina, co-founder and executive director of the foundation who is also a Rockefeller Fellow.

eMentoring Africa, a social purpose organisation in Kenya that mentors young people, similarly never just works with the young people whose lives it hopes to transform through mentorship programmes, but with the wider communities within which these youth live. For example, when working with a postelection violence-ridden slum community in Kenya (Korogocho), they engaged community elders, as well as church and youth leaders to work with youth and help them shift their minds and attitudes from hopelessness to believing and tapping into their internal strengths.

As with all systems work, a key part of the intervention was to get people to look within, reflect and share their stories as an important prerequisite for bringing about change. “Looking within oneself and recognising the power we hold to change a situation is to me the best approach to bringing healing and growth in individuals affected by a traumatic situation,” said Esther Muchiri from eMentoring Africa.

The work these pioneering system entrepreneurs engage in is inevitably stressful and draining. They themselves need to build personal resilience and manage the psychological and physical implications of feeling swamped by the complexity of the problems they face. Learning to recognise and name their struggles, and self-management are all fundamental skills for people working at this level.

Scharmer posits that there are three responses to the emerging global crisis of which the Syrian refugee crisis is a hard-to-ignore symptom: regression (i.e. reverting back to old ways); muddling through (more of the same); or an empathetic human response. Systems entrepreneurs are at the vanguard of those taking the third option showing us that if we want to survive we need to embrace the future with every ounce of humanity and hope that we can muster. We cannot do this if we do not have the courage to first look within.

#4 Summer 2015

Deceptively easy fix for many problems at SA hospitals

A new project in four of Gauteng’s hospitals shows it is possible to reduce waiting times, improve operations at pharmacies and cut down on wasteful processes resulting in huge improvements to service delivery.

At one of Gauteng’s largest state hospitals, there is a little room with thousands upon thousands of patient files, haphazardly thrown onto aluminium bookshelves without any kind of noticeable filing system or method to the madness. Some files lie on the ground in a disorganised heap.

At another Gauteng health facility – which deals with around 300 outpatients per day – a small team is assigned to the duty of retrieving files for waiting patients. It is a long journey to the filing office and back to the waiting room and when calculated, it was found that this team covered, in one day, a distance of about 56km – more than the average marathon!

Creaking filing systems were only one of the problems a team of lean management experts found when they examined four Gauteng state hospitals: Chris Hani Baragwanath, Leratong, Sebokeng and Kopanong, as part of a hospital turnaround programme initiated by the Gauteng Department of Health and supported by the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) within the Presidency in 2014.

Two of these hospitals, Chris Hani Baragwanath and Leratong, formed part of an investigation by Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela in 2013. She was concerned about what she found. She heard of a dire shortage of medical personnel, medication and critical equipment, like ventilators and incubators. In some wards, electric plugs and live wires hung from the walls. Patients complained of long waiting periods for files, medical attention and to receive medication.
The MEC for Health in Gauteng, Ms Qedani Mahlangu, appointed the Lean Institute Africa (LIA), a research unit associated with the GSB, to take on the classic public hospital challenge, waiting times for outpatients at these four hospitals, and then expand to other points of need.

The hospital turnaround programme is ground breaking, not in the sense that the approach is novel or innovative. On the contrary, the lean management system forged in the automotive industry in the 1990s is tried and tested. The novelty is in applying it in a concerted manner in the public sector and to four hospitals concurrently.

Lean management has its roots in the Japanese automotive industry (The Toyota Way) and focuses on eliminating unnecessary procedures and time-wasting efforts and ensuring fluent operations. There is a convincing body of research stretching over 30 years, establishing the benefits of lean management, how it builds capacity, improves efficiency and staff morale.

After drawing up a plan to address specific problem areas in the Gauteng hospitals, lean management teams worked with staff to improve flow and reduce waste. In just a few months, following intensive training and coaching with staff, a reduction of overall patient waiting times in selected areas of between 19 and 65% was achieved, resulting in massive improvements to the experience of patients at these hospitals.

Hospital employees were also extremely positive following the programme, putting in many requests for more training and further coaching. This is currently part of further discussions with the Department of Health in Gauteng.

Averaging the results at the four hospitals, waiting times were reduced by 56% in the amount of time it took to get patient files, a 45% reduction was achieved in waiting times at the targeted clinics and around 50% faster service was achieved in the pharmacies.

In some cases, it was a simple solution of changing hospital layout and reorganising key processes. In the case of the unfortunate team that had to walk more than a marathon a day, for example, changing the layout meant a reduction to a third of that – still too far, of course! This is strong evidence that even hospitals with limited resources can perform better and improve service delivery.

“Lean leadership allows for the fastest and most efficient response to a problem,” says Dr Anton Grütter, CEO of LIA and lecturer in the principles of lean management at the GSB. “It relies on the continuous improvement of processes, paired with respect for people, no matter what their position within the organisation. This leads to a non-hierarchical decision-making landscape, where employees are empowered to solve problems quickly.”

One of the key elements of a lean leadership approach is to ‘go see’ what the problems are –on the ground. And the results of seeing clearly can be revelatory, prompting one hospital CEO to remark just three months into the programme: “I am beginning to understand how my hospital works.”

Lean is about understanding the processes that are used to deliver (or not deliver) services and spotting instances of waste and removing these and improving the value proposition; it is about delivering value to customers, which in this case are the patients.

The LIA specialises in applying the principles of lean management to areas outside the automotive sector. After promising results elsewhere in the world, the institute began looking at how this could be done in South Africa in public sector environments – like hospitals, courts and the Department of Trade and Industry.

There are tens of thousands of service delivery points across the country. But the beauty of the lean management approach is that it is scalable, delivering short-term relief that can be made sustainable over the long term – as long as there is buy-in from senior managers.

One of the biggest challenges to the success of work done by the DPME in the public sector and with public sector officials is the gap between the commitment of MECs and facility heads. In some instances, officials fail to take ownership of the actual improvement process, don’t attend crucial facility-level meetings or in one instance in the broader project, government officials were unable to even agree on a date for a training workshop.

For lean management to work, there has to be a rhythm of management practice: daily, weekly and monthly follow-ups, and so on. It is an issue of practice and habit-formation. If the objective is real progress with problems in the public sector, then these principles have to become part of the daily routine – like brushing your teeth – not something done once or for a few weeks and never again.

South Africans have become too used to shoddy service delivery. It is a case of abnormal becoming the new normal. Employees don’t expect equipment to work or be replaced; they are used to doctors and municipal managers arriving late or not at all. It is an extraordinary situation. But there are many very conscientious and competent people in the public sector who are themselves frustrated and worn down by the state of affairs.

The hospital project teaches us that instead of immediately trying to find additional resources or budget, an approach as simple as supporting key employees and helping them to achieve more in their particular sectors can deliver much-needed improvement in service delivery in the public sector that is both impactful for patients and motivating for staff.

#4 Summer 2015

Develop the youth, develop Africa


Raymond Ackerman Academy graduates at the GSB from left: Zikhona Stuurman, Gcobisa Maqanda, Shandre van Rheede and Nareeman Africa.
Emerging leaders at the GSB speak out on the role of youth in developing the African continent.

As Africa’s population is becoming younger, it stands to reason that youth development will form the cornerstone of efforts to build a successful generation of future leaders.

“The voice of the youth brings a different perspective, as opposed to the older generations who are more experienced, but tend to have a linear way of thinking. Young people tend to think more creatively, broadly, and innovatively which is what is needed to move Africa forward,” says Shandre van Rheede, Programme Administrator in Executive Education at the GSB.

Van Rheede is one of four graduates from the Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development (RAA) who now work at the GSB and who represent a new generation of South Africans; young, ambitious, and courageous.

What they have in common, apart from having had the good fortune to cross paths with the RAA, a specialised unit within the GSB that develops business and life skills in young people via an intensive six-month entrepreneurship programme, is a heartfelt desire to make a difference in their communities, country and continent.

Growing up in difficult circumstances comes with its challenges says Gcobisa Maqanda, a 2013 RAA graduate. “South Africa has been through 21 years of democracy, but there is still so much to be done. I want to help educate young black people in my community so that they too have access to the opportunities that I have had.”

Maqanda, 29, worked in a call centre before attending the RAA programme and is currently the MTN Solution Space Coordinator at the GSB. She says the RAA gave her a conviction about her future. “I now know that there is so much out there and so much that I can contribute,” she says.

Van Rheede and Maqanda both feel that while much lip service is paid to youth development, more needs to be done to give youth greater access to opportunity.

“I believe young people should be given platforms where they are encouraged to have a voice,” says van Rheede, who recently had the opportunity to be heard on a global stage when she travelled to China on a fully sponsored scholarship with the Young Global Pioneers (YGP), a non-profit organisation that promotes global insights and engagement, intercultural competencies and networks between young people. She was one of two RAA graduates, the only South Africans, chosen for the trip.

“Young leaders have an important role to play in shaping the future of this continent and government and corporates, as well as civil society organisations need to open up more to this possibility,” she says.

“We need to shift towards a different mindset,” agrees Zikhona Stuurman, a 24-year old RAA 2011 graduate who is now working as an administrator at the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “There needs to be a change in policy and mindset in order to bridge the gap in unemployment. Young people are full of entrepreneurial ideas and skills, however they do not have access to the funding that is available to them and they are often pressured to put food on the table by their families.” She adds that the change in mindset also needs to happen in the home. “As soon as you leave high school, you have all these responsibilities that are dumped on you. It’s a big challenge.”

Nareeman Africa, 2009 RAA graduate, agrees. “It’s not easy shifting the mindset at home. Especially when you are a woman, you have all these responsibilities that you are expected to attend to.” Now working as an administrator at the RAA, Africa says she does not see herself working there forever, as she believes in giving other young people a chance.

“Going forward I would like to continue to work with young entrepreneurs, helping them to better themselves. I am not sure yet how I will be doing it. But my goal is to ensure that young people continue to have such opportunities as I have had in order to succeed.

“Great leaders encourage others to develop and they also look out for others. This is what the leaders of the RAA do”, she adds.

#4 Summer 2015

A voice for the youth


Graça Machel at the World Economic Forum Africa.
Cross-generational dialogue has a key role to play in the fight against youth unemployment on the continent.

One of the key messages that emerged from the World Economic Forum (WEF) meetings in Cape Town earlier this year was that the future of the African continent lies in its youth.

Statistically alone this makes sense. According to the latest African Economic Outlook published by the African Development Bank (ADB), Africa’s population is becoming more youthful, with youth as a share of the total population estimated to be more than 75%.

It stands to reason that today’s young people will be tomorrow’s leaders and it is critical that they step up to the responsibility. The problem is that they are not necessarily lining up to do so. Despite buoyant economic growth in much of the continent, youth unemployment remains high. The ADB estimates that of Africa’s unemployed, 60% are young people. And youth joblessness rates are twice that of adult unemployment in most African countries. In the case of South Africa, youth unemployment stands at 48%.

Politically, too, youth are apathetic. A recent report by the Human Sciences Research Council on voting patterns in South Africa shows that young voter registration remains stagnant and turnout at the polls is also low among the youth segment.

More often than not, young people are portrayed as critical and disruptive, but not part of the mechanisms of leadership or social innovation and entrepreneurship needed to drive transformation on the continent. That needs to change.

There are many initiatives devoted to youth empowerment, but one of the simpler things we can do to change this trajectory of our youth is to facilitate a cross-generational exchange – allowing the elders to learn from and, in turn, give a leg up to the youth.

It is for this reason that the GSB teamed up with the WEF to facilitate such an engagement. Held under the banner of Community Conversations, the engagement saw more than 400 young people – mostly learners and students from local schools and universities – interact with seasoned African leaders around the crucial issues of leadership and entrepreneurship.

Key points to emerge from the leadership panel discussion was that young people ought to stop complaining about corruption and unemployment, and take contr ol of their destinies.

“Those who elect the leaders we have are you. Don’t just elect anyone…elect someone on the basis of a programme,” said Graça Machel, the respected social and human rights activist. She said that the youth needed to come up with tools to hold their leaders accountable. They also needed to develop strategies to ensure that they were taken seriously and were able to influence policy. In common with fellow panellist, Ben Barka, who became a Mali cabinet minister at 36, she urged young people to make it their business to actively shape governance and decision-making.

The role of entrepreneurs and small businesses, in particular, in propelling Africa forward was foregrounded in the discussions. Again the youth were advised that the power to make a difference was in their hands – even if they were not fortunate enough to be educated in the formal sense.

Ashish Thakkar, the founder of the Mara Group, a refugee who had to flee Rwanda in 1994, was one of five inspirational entrepreneurs sharing their story. “I am the most uneducated person in this room. I left school at the age of 15 and got a small loan of $5 000,” said Thakkar. With his $5 000 and his own determination, Thakkar began building his business, which now spans three continents and 24 countries, and employs approximately 11 000 people.

Africa in the current era is a continent in transition on many fronts: demographically, technologically, politically and economically. The direction we move in from here will depend very much on how we apply our minds and how we use our human capital. Young African leaders have the potential to play a major catalytic role in changing the continent’s fortunes and converting its resources into concrete economic opportunities.

We need to celebrate our youth and encourage them to step forward and assume their rightful role in the future of this continent. As Thakkar remarked: “The time is now and the answer is you. It is our time… Africa is shining.”

#4 Summer 2015

No manual for leadership development

Leadership development expert Liz de Wet says that leaders need a deeply rooted sense of who they are and what they are trying to achieve, as well as a sense of purpose and meaning if they want to maximise their impact and effectiveness.

There are thousands of leadership development programmes across the globe, but only a handful that deliver real behaviour change in leaders.

According to McKinsey research, while US companies alone spend almost $14 billion annually on leadership development, just 7% of senior managers polled by a UK business school think that their companies develop global leaders effectively and around 30% of US companies admit that they have failed to exploit their international business opportunities fully because they lack enough leaders with the right capabilities.

To speak to those who have passed through the programmes under the guidance of leadership development expert Liz de Wet, is to know that hers are among the handful that deliver.

“I gained tremendous personal insight, and my leadership style grew and changed as a result of the learnings. I was amazed at the depth of learning I experienced, both about myself, and insights into my leadership and organisation generally,” says Teresa Booth-Oliveira, former General Manager Products for Chevron Corporation, a graduate of the Women in Leadership programme at the GSB, which de Wet has run for the past three years.

“The programme has given me an enormous wealth of insight into myself, both as a person and a professional. It has influenced the way I think, and is transforming the way I lead every day,” says Dawn Trail, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices, EMEA, who participated in another of de Wet’s programmes, the ASCEND Women’s Leadership Programme. A joint initiative of Johnson & Johnson global and the GSB, de Wet has facilitated ASCEND since its inception in 2007.

“I have a keen interest in developing innovative facilitation methods for transforming ideas and insights into sustained action,” says de Wet, who has spent more than 20 years honing the art of bringing out the best in leaders. “To my mind, the ideas we work with are easy to understand, but hard to do. It is common sense, but not common practice and I am intent upon how we can make it common practice.”

“This is the whole point,” she says. She is aiming to change behaviour, not just to increase theoretical knowledge. Her programmes are practice-based, in which cutting edge leadership thinking is translated into practical behaviours.

De Wet says, “Leadership is a relational art – you cannot learn this from a manual. So in my programmes, everything we do is grounded in interactions with each other in the room. That will take a lot of different forms, sometimes we work in the whole group, sometimes in pairs. We use a range of different learning modalities, all of which are grounded in real-time application and practice.

“What I am after is to help people genuinely embed new ways of doing things.”

It is not easy achieving this kind of result in a short period of time – the majority of leadership programmes run over just a few weeks or months, but the structure of the intervention is designed to help embed learning. All the programmes de Wet runs are organised over several modules to allow for personal application during the intermodular period. On the Women in Leadership programme, participants are also supported between modules by an executive coach to assist them with taking what they have learnt to their workplaces.

This structure may be one of the reasons the programmes are so successful. According to the McKinsey research, many leadership development interventions fail because they decouple reflection from real work. Adults typically retain just 10% of what they hear in classroom lectures, versus nearly two-thirds when they learn by doing. Another common mistake is to underestimate the power of mindsets. Thus, addressing behaviour change means that you also have to engage with “below the surface” thoughts, feelings, assumptions that drive this change, the authors argue.

De Wet is no stranger to engaging with such mindsets. Much of her work focuses on finding the strengths and weaknesses in an individual, identifying what their triggers are and how these can be interrupted, to enable a person to make conscious choices and have more impact as a leader. She says becoming more self-confident and assertive comes naturally as participants learn more about themselves, how they engage with others and how they can improve on their professional relationships.

“Leaders need a deeply rooted sense of who they are and what they are trying to achieve, as well as a sense of purpose and meaning,” she says and much of the time on her programmes is spent teasing that out of delegates.

“The principle here is that there is no one-sizefits-all. Each person brings themselves to this kind of programme. They are the instruments of their own leadership and we find out how to amplify that.

“Every programme is different and reflects what is happening in the world, the environment and new insights gathered by me and other thought leaders in the field,” she adds.

De Wet is influenced in her work by many prominent academics and thinkers including Margaret Wheatley, Angeles Arrien, Otto Scharmer (in terms of Theory U), Nancy Kline (for her work on the Thinking Environment), as well as Eddie Obeng, among ot hers.

She says one of her biggest frustrations with conventional learning environments is the belief that if people understand a concept then the objective has been reached.

She takes the example of communication. “Many leaders don’t know how to listen and as a result, do not allow their employees or staff members to think productively, especially in meetings. I am often bewildered by why any of us are speaking if nobody is listening. People tend to listen up to the point when they have formulated a response.”

But, part of the work involves a deep conviction that people can change. “The learning works. I don’t teach anything that I don’t use or know works,” she says.

The other founding principle of her work is that, as a facilitator, you need to be authentic. She does not expect her students to do anything that she has not done herself, having engaged in years of introspection, reading, studying, reflection and practice. “I practice what I preach,” she says. “I read a huge amount and I use the work on myself. The reason I can be so confident about shifting behaviour is because I start with my own.”

#4 Summer 2015

Back to BEE basics

Businessman, presidential advisor and chair of the GSB Advisory Board, Sandile Zungu is on a mission to find the lost heart of Black Economic Empowerment.

Amendments to Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) legislation, which came into effect this May, have continued to generate heated debate.

One man – Sandile Zungu – is as close to the issues as it is possible to be, having provided advice to presidents around these codes for more than a decade. His recommendations have had a lot to do with the leadership and legislation that drives economic transformation in the country. Now Zungu wants people to embrace the spirit of BEE – which is where he believes its success ultimately lies.

“In 1994 there was a sense that anything could happen; everything was possible for our country and its people. Personal fears and resentments were put aside for the common good. We need to get back to that way of thinking,” he says.

Zungu’s appeal comes after criticism of the two biggest changes to B-BBEE legislation: criminalising circumvention of the act, and a focus on direct black ownership and control of companies that is far less compromising than previous legislation.

Fronting – which is circumventing or attempting to circumvent the act and its codes – has now been recognised and criminalised. Zungu says the way many companies and individuals were treating this legislation made it necessary to bring in these harsher measures.

“Things got really bad. Flouting the B-BBEE Act has evolved from using a housekeeper as the director of a company to lawyers and corporate advisors creating elaborate schemes to get the benefits from the act without doing anything for transformation,” he says.

Economic commentators have suggested that by tightening legislation to make noncompliance with the act more difficult for those who have slipped through loopholes in the past, companies will simply find more convoluted ways to achieve B-BBEE requirements. The prediction is that only the odd person will really comply, which could be the start of a vicious cycle with government creating even tighter legislation in future.

“But the legislation was never meant to be the end. It was meant as only the means to an end,” counters Zungu. “The legislation, including the latest amendments, is not perfect; but it is well intentioned. At the moment, some use the codes to tick boxes when we need to move beyond tools – we need to touch the moral heart of the nation. We need to shake up and inspire a generation of shapers who have taken Mandela’s legacy and transformed it into the nuts and bolts that build up our society and hold us together.”

With an MBA from the GSB and a Global Leadership Certificate from Harvard, Zungu is the founder and executive chairman of Zungu Investments Company (Pty) Ltd (Zico), an investment group with a diversified portfolio of interests in manufacturing and services. He is the chairman of EOH Holdings and nonexecutive director of Grindrod Limited and Novus Holdings, all listed on the JSE Securities Exchange. He serves as a member of the BRICS Business Council, Vice President of the Black Business Council and has been re-appointed to the Presidential Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council. He is also a council member of UCT and was recently elected as the new chair of the GSB Board of Advisors, a role that allows him to “reflect soulfully on my accomplishments and mentor and coach others in the same way that I have been supported”.

Zungu is quick to point out that he would have achieved little without the continuous aid and support of those around him, and remains unapologetic about the other main change to B-BBEE legislation – a focus on direct black ownership and control of companies.

Amendments now mean that listed entities are still able to count indirect ownership in their tally of black ownership, but smaller companies will need direct black ownership. In the past, despite being entirely white-owned, a company could achieve good BEE levels by doing well in areas like employment equity or socio-economic development. Categories for compliance have now been reduced from seven to five, three of which are priority elements that must be complied with. One of these is a minimum 10% black shareholding with a weighting of 40%. Failure to comply with the ownership element will result in being discounted on a broad-based black economic empowerment level.

In order to fast-track the new focus of B-BBEE legislation around direct black ownership of companies, the government has created the Black Industrialists Programme (BIP) as part of its strategy to transform the economy. BIP, which has identified black industrialists as vital protagonists for black economic empowerment, job creation, enterprise and industrial development, has been adopted as a flagship programme by the Black Business Council.

“The intention is to establish people involved in the production side of the economy. Not just those who own shares on the JSE, but individuals who will contribute to the actual growth of the economy. Ultimately, the aim is to have thousands of our people heading up South African companies that can substitute imports with locally produced goods,” Zungu says.

At present, black-controlled companies make up just 3% of the stock exchange and Zungu says lack of progress in deracialising South Africa’s economy has necessitated the creation of programmes like BIP and the tightening of B-BBEE legislation, but cautions that legislation alone will never be enough to bring about true transformation.

“BEE should never be about dodging the system, but embracing the spirit of black economic empowerment and the benefits it brings to our nation as a whole. So we need to go back to basics. We need a return to the softer side of who we are and what we hope to accomplish; it is this that should underpin legislation. We must invest in poverty dialogue and rally the mass media around transformation. There is a lot that is happening that is good, but too many people no longer feel part of the dialogue. We cannot achieve black economic empowerment and transformation when people believe that they exist on the fringes. Unless companies embrace the true spirit of transformation, BEE has a very long and difficult road ahead,” he says.

#4 Summer 2015

Connecting the dots


Newly appointed CEO of Accelerate Cape Town, Ryan Ravens, has not looked back since completing his MBA at the GSB in 2004.

Ryan Ravens credits the GSB not only with getting his professional career on track, but also with helping him in his personal life, as he met his wife Shireen while doing his MBA in 2004.

“The MBA programme was the polishing of me as a professional,” says Ravens, on a more serious note. “If I look back on my career, it really helped me in dealing with diversity and in developing the ability to break down large, complex undertakings into manageable components. It was a big help especially during my time with FIFA.”

Ravens was project manager for the FIFA 2010 World Cup South Africa between 2007 and 2010 and before that owned a successful management consultancy. He was also group executive at Blue IQ Investment Holdings (now known as the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency) and CEO of consultancy company TetraPlex.

But it is his new appointment as CEO of Accelerate Cape Town, a business leadership organisation, that now motivates him. “I am extremely excited about this position,” says Ravens.

“I believe that the Western Cape in many respects could spearhead sustainable economic development and is able to push through projects that flounder elsewhere. There are numerous sectors and fields of industry ripe for development, and coupled with significant fibre optic broadband connectivity, Cape Town really is an ideal environment.”

He adds, “I believe Accelerate Cape Town needs to be the agent that pulls all of the different elements together to help drive and boost the economy, both locally and nationally.”

Gavin Tipper, chairperson of Accelerate Cape Town, in announcing Raven’s appointment said: “On behalf of the board, sponsors and members, I would like to extend a warm welcome to Mr Ravens. He is a natural collaborator, which together with his commercial experience and entrepreneurial spirit, ideally positions him to take our organisation forward at this pivotal time. We look forward to working with him as he helps catalyse the inclusive growth that is so critical to our region’s future.”

Ravens describes himself as having “an intense entrepreneurial spirit” and says he sees his role at Accelerate Cape Town as being about connecting the dots, driving collaborations between the private sector, government and various industry bodies. “It is about finding commonalities and enabling meaningful engagements to help realise the intrinsic value of collaborative approaches.”

He explains that true collaboration results in measureable objectives and tangible outcomes. “Collaboration shouldn’t be simply for the sake of collaboration, because then it only results in a feel-good factor. We need to pull partners toward agreed objectives in order to achieve meaningful results.”

There should be less reliance on provincial government to create jobs and more private sector initiatives to create employment, he believes. There are many sectors of the Western Cape economy where he thinks there is great potential for development – from tourism and the film industry to alternative energy, solar power, call centre industries and agricultural initiatives.

“Cape Town is a vibrant economic zone and the hub of service for many sectors of industry. I also see opportunities for increased trade with sub-Saharan Africa, which is booming and will require significant support in terms of goods and services supply.”

But all of this lies in the future. For now, he his packing up his life in Sandton in Johannesburg and preparing to move to his new home in Cape Town with his wife. Asked whether he is happy to come back to Cape Town, he responds lightning fast, “Without a doubt. I can’t wait to be back.”

#4 Summer 2015

A tireless advocate for brand Namibia


GSB graduate, Daisry Mathias says her work with Namibian President, Hage Geingob will further her dream to build that country’s economy through a love for its people.

In June this year, Namibian President Hage Geingob unveiled his team of six advisors, a tightly-knit group set to help him run the country.

GSB alumna, Daisry Mathias, who had recently stepped down as CEO of non-profit organisation, Team Namibia, was appointed as advisor on youth matters and enterprise development.

Mathias is working alongside former Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) boss Albertus Aochamub, appointed as government spokesperson. Also on the team are former Statistician-General, John Steytler as economic advisor, and Ettiene Maritz as executive secretary in the Office of the President, Inge Zaamwani-Kamwi as public sector advisor and Penny Akwenye as policy advisor on implementation and monitoring. Former Defence Minister, Philemon Malima is Director-General of the Namibia Central Intelligence Service (NCIS) and former Deputy Dean of the University of Namibia (Unam) Faculty of Law, Yvonne Dausab, is chairperson of the Law Reform and Development Commission.

Mathias is a familiar face in Namibia, both to GSB alumni and the general public. She rose to the helm of Team Namibia before turning 30, appointed as CEO in July 2014.

Team Namibia is a member-based non-profit movement aimed at mobilising Namibian consumers to buy local, as well as driving the promotion of the production of quality local products and services.

“The board of directors are sad to say goodbye to Daisry so soon in her capacity as CEO, but believe she leaves to make a greater contribution to our beautiful country and we wish her success,” the organisation said in a statement.

Mathias has been a passionate advocate of developing Namibia as a sought-after brand, both to international consumers and to Namibians themselves. “I believe that every effort from Namibia contributes positively to our developing economy,” she said during a TEDx talk earlier in 2015.

“I see Namibia ranking as one of the contenders on the continent… I believe that Namibia is special, desirable and competitive, and that [my] vision is attainable.”

Mathias added, however, that the work involved in building the economy through developing local entrepreneurship, and support for local brands, should not be underestimated.

“Nation-building is not child’s play. It requires decades of hard work and commitment. [But] the challenges we are facing today are not insurmountable,” she said.

“There is an opportunity for more entrepreneurs to emerge who are solution-focused, as we reposition our nation from a good nation to a great nation.”

Mathias’s chief concern remains poverty, and alleviating it was one of her chief motivators growing up. “For every 10 Namibians, four have and six have not. The six who have not don’t have the income to afford a decent shelter, daily meal, clothing and basic utilities,” she says. “Having grown up as a stepchild with three sets of families, I know what it feels like to have. We lived in a decent house. I received a quality education. But there has always been this sharp contrast between the life that I had and the life I could have lived. This awareness never left me. Things could have been very different for me. I hate inequality perfectly. I have relatives and acquaintances who have the same potential I do, but life did not give them the same opportunities. So much potential is wasted and our country is the one left poorer.”

Mathias, who acquired her PDBA from the GSB in 2011, is passionate about youth development and advises young people to make the most of every opportunity. “When the promotion opportunity comes, you will be ready and able to rise up and deliver. I assure you, no experience you have been through will be wasted.”

Now, she is ready to step up. “I am really blessed to be able to make a contribution through the work that I do… to business growth and poverty alleviation, all by doing what I love.

“My desire has always been to use my skills to help improve the quality of life for other people.”

#4 Summer 2015

The spirit of leadership

This Mandela Day, the Centre for Coaching at the GSB partnered with Lead SA to facilitate free, one-on-one coaching sessions for people who wanted to grow their leadership skills. Here’s what the key players had to say.



Janine Everson and Craig O’Flaherty, directors of the Centre for Coaching at the GSB.

Coaching can play a key role in developing emerging leaders. Leadership is a lonely role. When you are chosen to lead, everyone around you is telling you what they think you want to hear.

The one thing that leaders are not getting is true, honest feedback. We hoped this initiative would help future leaders ask pertinent questions, like, what am I really doing well? And, more importantly, what am I not doing and how can I do this better? Coaching focuses on what you have to start doing differently and how you deal with different issues. It is about deep listening, which is very powerful. People sit and listen to each other and start thinking differently about the issues they are facing. When you feel listened to and heard, you can really put something out there.

Mandela’s leadership legacy teaches us that there is power in recognising another person’s humanity. He connected with people. That’s the power of leadership and coaching too, you connect to one human being at a time, so that you are not just a symbol that deals with tasks or roles. Coaching shows leaders the power of connection and what that does to people.



Leslie Rance, Head of Corporate Regulatory Affairs at British American Tobacco.

I decided to participate in this initiative because Nelson Mandela was a phenomenal leader and he left us a tremendous legacy, and a big part of that legacy is a free and democratic society.I think, as he said in the speech that he gave in Hyde Park in 2008, “It’s all in your hands now” – he meant all of that. And I felt compelled to honour him on Mandela Day. To give a little of myself to try and help pick up from where he left off and lead South Africa.

I believe that coaching is a valuable tool. We are all capable in a number of respects, but there are some things we are not capable of. Mandela was phenomenal, but even he walked alongside a number of other people. In the same way, there is a lot that emerging leaders can do by themselves, but they too need some support. That’s the role that we were there to provide, it was to walk alongside young leaders. Together we can do phenomenal things. As I shared with a coachee in the session, Mandela led people that needed to trust and be trusted. Trust can be defined in three ideas: sincerity – do we all have the best interests of South Africa at heart? Capability and competency – do we have the ability and skills to make this a better country?



Jacqui Setoaba, Director at CMD Projects.

I heard about the Lead SA coaching initiative on the radio and thought attending the coaching sessions on Nelson Mandela Day would be a great opportunity for me to fine tune my leadership skills. Who would not want to learn about modelling the leadership principles of a charismatic leader like Nelson Mandela?

The coaching session didn’t give me a ‘failure proof’ recipe on leadership success, but it allowed me to reflect on my leadership abilities and character by considering how my life’s journey thus far influences the way I do and interpret things. I have a better understanding now of how I can go about building on my current skills and leading with greater confidence.

There is an opportunity for us as young people to move away from situations that make us dependent on others and start finding and developing ways that can sustainably improve our circumstances. I aspire very much to see the next generation of young people dealing with things themselves and leaving a legacy that will empower people to move from where they are and into a space beyond what we can even imagine.

#3 Winter 2015

Two African leaders unite to boost innovation on the continent

MTN Solution Space
Africa’s top business school and the continent’s leading telecommunications company have formed a multi-million rand partnership to catalyse innovation in emerging markets.

In February, the UCT GSB and the MTN Group announced a major new partnership to boost sustainable innovation in Africa. MTN will invest R15 million over the next three years in the MTN Solution Space, an innovation hub at the heart of the UCT GSB.

The partnership is built on a solid platform of shared values of integrity, leadership, learning and a commitment to innovation with real-world impact.

“Each partner has complementary expertise and skills, so together, their impact on African innovation will be greater, and the solutions emerging as a result of their collaboration will reach further,” said Professor Walter Baets, director of the UCT GSB. “We are delighted that MTN has decided to make a commitment of this kind. It is an investment in solutions for Africa, by Africa, in Africa,” Baets said.
The collaboration will combine the actionlearning and research strengths of the UCT GSB with MTN’s technological expertise and resources to create, among others, mobile apps and programmes for educational, medical and economic empowerment, as well as to promote entrepreneurship and small business growth.

Paul Norman, chief human resources and corporate affairs officer: MTN Group said: “As Africa’s leading telecommunications brand, MTN is committed to leading the delivery of a bold new digital world, a world where technological development and mobile integration allow for new possibilities, not just for our own customers, but for people and communities across Africa.”

Sarah-Anne Arnold, manager of the MTN Solution Space said the partnership represents a truly symbiotic and purposeful venture into the future.

“MTN already has an extensive footprint in Africa and the GSB has a strong representation of African students at the business school, combined with a reputation for research and academic excellence. So we are combining our strengths for a common purpose – finding solutions to the biggest challenges facing our continent,” she said.

“We foresee Africa’s brightest and most innovative minds collaborating to find new solutions that grow from test environments into new markets. We look forward to elevating the profile of cutting-edge African innovators and entrepreneurs,” Norman added.

The MTN Solution Space has already had successes in helping start-ups gain a foothold in the business world. It is home to social innovators like former UCT GSB MPhil student Francois Petousis, who founded Lumkani, a proactive, early-warning fire detection system designed for shack dwellers. The concept won the People’s Choice Award at the 2014 Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) and scooped second place in two separate categories at South Africa’s innovation summit.

Professor Baets said partnerships like these enable real innovation that can make a difference to communities, adding value on many different levels, while helping to establish new ventures that contribute to economic growth. He said as a founding sponsor of the MTN Solution Space, MTN understands that innovation is essential for achieving competitive advantage in today’s high-pressure business environment.

“The UCT GSB is dedicated to developing a new paradigm for learning and research with an emphasis on building African solutions and innovations. In collaboration with MTN, we will be able to create better outcomes. Our combined networks – civil society partners, industry experts, policy makers and practitioners – create a collaborative innovation landscape like no other,” Baets said.

#3 Winter 2015


Sissel Tellefsen


When Norwegian-born Sissel Tellefsen and her family decided to move abroad, they chose South Africa due to the great weather, good infrastructure and business opportunities. Twelve years later, and with a new role as alumni relations manager at the UCT GSB, she says they have not been disappointed.

“We go back to Norway every year to visit family and friends. Norway is stunning in the summer – which only lasts for three weeks – the rest of the year is pretty grey. South Africa is always exciting and the weather is always fantastic throughout the year,” says Tellefsen.

Although trained as a physical therapist with an undergraduate degree from Ohio University, when her family relocated to South Africa, Tellefsen started her own business in the hospitality and tourism industry. Her love for people motivated her to open up Rosendal Winery and Wellness Retreat in 2005 – a guest house, spa and wine tasting experience in Robertson, Western Cape.

Running a business made her realise that she would benefit from some extra business skills, and thus she embarked on an MBA at UCT GSB in 2013. One thing led to another, and when Linda Fasham retired as head of alumni last year – a position she had held for 27 years – the school asked Tellefsen if she would be interested in the role.

“I jumped at the chance,” she says. “My time at the UCT GSB as a student had undoubtedly convinced me that this is a top institution and I was eager to get involved in any way that I could.”

As the new Alumni Relations Manager, Tellefsen meets, communicates and helps alumni with any queries or requests they may have – from connecting old classmates to recruiting from current classes. Her goal is to build and manage the best alumni network in Africa, which she believes will make the UCT GSB an even better institution.

Tellefsen aims to bring a fresh approach to the job by exploring new ways of engaging and communicating with the alumni and maintaining an open, two-way line of communication at all times. She admits that this could be challenging, as she will be dealing with five decades of alumni!

“The alumni make it all worthwhile. They are so amazingly engaged and willing to help and give back to the school, and they are always so interesting and inspiring to work with.”

Professor Janine Mukuddem-Petersen


Newly appointed lecturer of economics at the UCT GSB, Associate Professor Janine Mukuddem-Petersen brings a fresh perspective on economics research and application-based teaching to the business school.

An experienced academic and researcher, Mukuddem-Petersen has won several research awards and published approximately 100 internationally peer-reviewed books, book chapters, journal articles, conference proceedings papers and policy research. In the last decade, she has served as a practitioner and co-worker on major consultancy projects for the financial services industry and is a regular referee and reviewer for several prominent internationally peerreviewed journals and reviewing agencies. In 2010, her research in economics was acknowledged with a National Research Foundation (NRF) rating.

Mukuddem-Petersen is also passionate about enabling others to succeed. In 2005, she and her husband, a business mathematics and informatics professor, co-founded the Economic Modelling and Econometric Research Group (EMERG) that contributes to debates in relevant research and provides guidance with academic advice and practical support to students completing research degrees. This programme later evolved into a registered company, Greme Global that collects and analyses sensitive data on banking regulation.

Mukuddem–Petersen’s own research interests are related to the nexus between capital, leverage, risk, credit crunches, banking crises and procyclicality in small, medium and large financial institutions. In particular, bank regulation and the capitalisation of globally systemically important banks. In 2014, her research article on subprime mortgage funding appeared in the leading international journal, Quantitative Finance. Also, her books on subprime mortgage models and Basel liquidity regulation were launched by New York-based publishers in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

With so much on her plate, it is hard to image that she has much time left over, but Mukuddem-Petersen is also a committed wife and mother. She has two daughters, Daena (13) and Jenna (8) in grades 9 and 3, who keep her busy.

Prior to her appointment at the UCT GSB, Mukuddem-Petersen was a postdoctoral fellow at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and a professor at North-West University. Through teaching, research and supervision, she says that she plans to continue to contribute to and develop trends in economic research, specifically in the area of global banking regulation.

“It is important for the future stability of the world financial system that we thoroughly understand the relationship between bank capital and liquidity and put in place measures to prevent a repeat of the 2008-9 financial crisis,” she says.

#3 Winter 2015

News Round-up

Upstarting a revolution

Upstarting a revolution
As the first week of lectures got under way at UCT, students were challenged to get their creative juices pumping for social innovation when UCT Vice-Chancellor, Dr Max Price launched a new social innovation challenge on campus.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Social Innovation Challenge, dubbed UCT Upstarts, is a joint initiative between the UCT GSB Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the GSB and Super Stage – a social innovation platform for students.

“The idea behind this was to promote a new student culture at UCT – one that supports an innovation mind-set that produces a generation of both graduates and entrepreneurs. In other words, a parallel university experience that encourages the collective talent and energy of the student public to become active agents of change, who solve real-world problems from campus and launch real start-ups beyond it,” said Dr Price.

Expert input

IMAGE: Photo by the Government Communication and Information System.
UCT GSB Professor Anton Eberhard has been appointed chair of the advisory panel that will provide Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, with expert and independent views on the effectiveness of proposed measures to secure the longterm sustainability and supply of South Africa’s energy demands.

The announcement was made in response to questions in the National Assembly that focused on the steps government is taking to address the electricity challenges facing the country, including prioritisation of maintenance of all power stations.

Eberhard is well-placed to chair the advisory panel with more than 25 years’ experience in the energy sector. He has, in recent months, worked with technical teams in the government’s War Room – established to manage the latest energy crisis and relieve the immediate shortfall between electricity supply and demand.

Best value for money in the world


The UCT Graduate School of Business has done it again. For the 11th consecutive year, the school has made it into the prestigious Financial Times (FT) ranking of global MBAs, achieving the 52nd spot in 2015.

This is the highest ranking that the school has achieved (up from 59 in 2014) and it is still the only MBA in Africa to be ranked.

The FT rankings are globally recognised as the pre-eminent benchmark for business schools, and the ranking has important implications for a school’s customers (students and companies) who want to know that the business school they select has international recognition.

This year, a record 159 business schools participated in the ranking process, up from 153 in 2014.

Notable accolades in this year’s ranking include the fact that the UCT GSB offers the best value for money MBA in the world and its graduates are also among the top 20 earners internationally.

UCT GSB director Professor Walter Baets said that this speaks to the school’s commitment to remaining relevant to its context as an emerging market business school.

Cape to Cairo: UCT GSB extends its footprint within Africa

Signatories from Africa's top business schools.

IMAGE: Signatories from six of Africa’s top business schools gathered in Cairo in March 2015 to sign a landmark new partnership agreement to promote African entrepreneurship.
The UCT Graduate School of Business has concluded several new deals with African business schools in recent months as part of a strategy to pursue closer ties with other top schools on the continent.

Towards the end of last year, the school signed memoranda of agreement (MOAs) with three other leading business schools in Africa: Lagos Business School in Nigeria, the HEM Business School in Morocco (Institut des Hautes Etudes de Management (Institute of Graduate Management Studies)) and the American University in Cairo, Egypt. And in March, it joined a high-level consortium of top African business schools in Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya to form the Academic Association of African Entrepreneurship (AAAE), which will focus on the promotion of mutual cooperation in the area of entrepreneurship in Africa.

According to Sarah-Anne Arnold, manager of the MTN Solution Space at the UCT GSB, who will represent the UCT GSB in the AAAE, promoting the exchange of ideas, experiences and skills is core to building up an entrepreneurship ecosystem on the continent.

“If we want to build our continent then we need to invest in building networks that are broader than any one single institution. The fuel to innovate is created when people with different experiences, realities, passions and ideas come together with the mandate and support structures to develop new possibilities,” she said.

“These agreements aim to promote academic cooperation through research, case study development, academic exchange of students and faculty, and technical collaboration,” said Professor John Luiz, director of International Relations at the UCT GSB.

The UCT GSB currently provides students with access to international exchange opportunities around the world, ranging from full semesters abroad to one-week immersion courses. The list of partner schools now tops 65 on all continents.

Top job for GSB teaching fellow

Ted Baker GSB

One of the UCT GSB’s esteemed senior teaching fellows, Professor Ted Baker, has been selected to fill the new George F. Farris Chair in Entrepreneurship at Rutgers Business School in the US.

Professor Baker’s work at the UCT GSB is mainly with the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship and he plans to continue this association.

“My on-going relationship with the UCT GSB and the Bertha Centre has led to some of the most rewarding work I have been able to do. Indeed, my decision to move to Rutgers was contingent on my new employer’s eagerness to support my work in Southern Africa” he said.

Reimagining solutions in public healthcare services

In a first for Africa, Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) has launched a public services Healthcare Innovation Hub to catalyse a new approach to improving public healthcare by harnessing the potential of frontline healthcare workers within the healthcare system.

The Innovation Hub is a joint initiative of GSH, the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the UCT Graduate School of Business and the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences, and will encourage and support hospital staff from across the public service sector to develop new models of care and technologies that could allow for healthcare to be more inclusive, effective and affordable to all South Africans.

“Everyone in South Africa can contribute to improving our healthcare system. Whether it is a healthcare worker, a student or any other hospital employee, everyone has a valuable contribution to make,” said Dr Lindi van Niekerk, from the Bertha Centre.

At the launch of the hub in March, eight staff-led innovation projects were awarded seed funding through the GSH Facilities Board to the value of R900 000. The Bertha Centre, UCT’s Faculty of Health Sciences and GSH management will support and guide these teams to test and implement their proposed innovations.

“Groote Schuur is known for being a pioneer in medical innovations that have had a significant impact locally and internationally. Now more than ever, Groote Schuur Hospital management believes that it is not just medical innovations that are required, but also innovations to strengthen the services to ultimately improve the patient experience and outcome,” said Dr Bhavna Patel, GSH CEO.

#3 Winter 2015

Gearing Africa up for the next wave of technology innovation

Gearing Africa up
MTN on the street
The convergence of cellular and computer technology is set to propel the world into a new era of technology innovation. Africans need to play an active role in this, in order to build a new economic framework with its roots in Africa that enables both business and people to prosper.

It is said that when cell phones first came to Nigeria, the traffic in Lagos improved overnight. The reason: people no longer had to drive across town to speak to their friends or conclude a business deal. In a country with no comprehensive fixed-line communications network, the advent of mobile was liberating. It quite literally, had the power to change the dynamic of an entire city.

The story illustrates what we often hear and say: technology has the potential to change things – dramatically and for the better. MIT senior lecturer and influential thinker, Otto Scharmer puts technology as one of eight ‘acupuncture points’ for institutional innovation, with the power to update the economic system so that it can operate more intelligently and for the benefit of more people.

But he is not talking about technology ‘as usual’. More than two decades of technology hype and one technology bubble have taught us that technology in and of itself has limitations. And despite its pervasiveness, many are still waiting for the life-changing impact of technology to reach them.

In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the fact that nearly two-thirds (65%) of households in 23 countries had at least one mobile phone in 2013, as estimated by Gallup, has not yet liberated these countries from poverty and inequality. According to recent data from the Afrobarometer, which is based on the views and experiences of ordinary citizens, roughly half of all Africans experience at least occasional shortages of basic needs such as clean water, food and medical care, and 44% experience regular shortages of cash.

The truth is, we have a tendency to overestimate technology in the short term and underestimate it in the long term – the dotcom bubble of 2000/2001 taught us that lesson rather viscerally. But despite that short-term correction, the long-term reality is inescapable: computers have permeated our lives and mobiles have saturated our day-to-day. Now the convergence of these two technologies is set to propel us into a new era of technology innovation where everything – the way we learn, the way we collect data, the way we interact, check on our politicians, even the way we sleep and eat – are up for renegotiation.

The next wave of technology development will no longer be about building a telecommunications network or computing industry – but building on these to create whole new industries and sectors. The innovators of the future will be shaping value-adding services, which use these resources to truly transform lives and experiences, and what Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) calls the “dawn of a new mobile ecosystem.”

This presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to craft a new and better future. In Africa, where a booming economy and expanding middle class are luring more investors – including many of the technology giants – to our shores, the opportunities are profound.

To capitalise on these, however, we need, as Scharmer says, “to reinvent how we develop technologies and empower all people to be makers and creators, rather than passive recipients.” Social inclusion and economic equity must be the watchwords for the next wave of technology innovation on this continent. Whether it is financial inclusion or access to education – impact on the end user; the people and communities who benefit from these services, must be top of mind.

Technology companies then – especially those who are looking to expand into emerging markets – need to find the business models that support the mass rollout of effective technology solutions to markets at the bottom of the pyramid. And it is not about just giving consumers what the companies think they might need. The failure of Intel’s YOLO trial, a cheap smartphone running Android, which proposed to bring cheap devices to the ‘masses’, is a case in point.

In developing the right products and services, local knowledge will be key; the leaders in the field recognise that not everyone in Africa needs or wants to play Angry Birds or Candy Crush.

This is why IBM invested heavily in a research centre in Nairobi in 2013. They know that research for Africa, solving Africa’s ‘grand challenges’ and delivering commercially viable products that also impact on people’s lives, has to be done ‘on the ground, in Africa’.

Microsoft – another key tech investor in Africa – speaks a similar language. Its 4Afrika initiative is seeking, says Fernando de Sousa who heads the initiative, to prove the value of technology as the enabler for development. “This is about being on the ground and creating consumers. There’s no debate about the fact that our objective is enabling economic development.”

Companies with their roots in Africa will have an advantage in the coming technology boom, and the rise of technology innovators in Africa – from, a young startup that is rolling out a trial of its mobile e-learning service to 75 schools in Nigeria, to Aweza, a South African translation app that uses crowdsourcing translations to weed out inaccuracies and aims to leverage the growing mobile arena and encourage cultures to interact across their defined lines – are a testament to this.

From these, we see that the kind of people driving this innovation are also different. It is no longer enough just to have technology skills, the new tech entrepreneurs will be those who are eager to explore the world, who are able to work in future uncertainty and complexity and are young and savvy enough to understand technology, but businessminded enough to know how to turn this into a value-adding service or product.

Investing in and developing this generation of entrepreneurs to create these industries in Africa will become a focus of the new era of technology for business and training institutions alike. They will be looking to identify the right people, and then capacitating and supporting them. Partnerships will be key here. The 2014 SEED SA Symposium, a multistakeholder forum to foster social and green entrepreneurship in Africa, warns that one of the key challenges for African entrepreneurs is securing partnerships with technical experts, and research institutions in particular, to ensure cross-fertilisation.

Complex challenges demand people and organisations who can see and work across silos and boundaries, and the simple truth is that collaboration opens up networks and shares skills, ideas and human capital for the benefit of more people. Working together, especially when the collaborators bring different skills to the table, can create stronger outcomes. When different areas of expertise collide, magic can happen.

Into this space, exciting hybrids are already emerging. Novel partnerships, such as those recently concluded between the UCT GSB and the MTN Group, as well as Silicone Cape and FNB, which are exploring new forms of business innovation and challenging traditional roles of business in society to unlock greater value for everyday Africans.

What these partnerships have in common is the conviction that in Africa, there is no shortage of ideas and talent – from high-tech research institutions to grassroots entrepreneurs who are finding novel applications for existing technology to tackle local challenges. Their power is that they can ensure that these bright minds are given the right support and investment to marry this capacity with appropriate execution strategies.

There are increasing examples around the world, from MIT’s Media Lab to Canada’s Mitacs, that demonstrate that deliberate collaboration for innovation can be hugely significant. Africa needs to build more such initiatives, so that technology hype can be turned into reality for significant numbers of African citizens.

John Kelly, IBM’s head of research, goes one step further. He believes that there is an opportunity here “for Africa to move, and move first, to this new era”. In the same way that mobile penetration leapfrogged over traditional telecommunications infrastructure, Africa can jump straight to the tech frontier, without worrying about adapting old systems to cope with the data it creates.

These are exciting times. No one knows where these developments might take us. When mobile first broke on the African continent 20 years ago – some predictions pegged market penetration at two million customers. Today, some 635 million Africans are dialled, according to some estimates, with predictions of one billion by 2019. What greater value will come when the disruptive force of technology is given structure and purpose, and is properly informed by context?

#3 Winter 2015

SA needs to get into problem-solving mode

SA needs to get into problem-solving mode
“We have to root out corruption. We can’t have a little bit. It never steals from wealthy people; it always steals from the poor. The fact that people get into public office to feather their own nest is wrong. No corruption should be tolerated in any society.”

In one of his first public appearances since retiring from public office, former finance minister Trevor Manuel told an audience at the UCT Graduate School of Business that South Africans should not assign blame for what is wrong in the country, but should instead try to focus on solving problems.

The biggest challenge for South Africans right now is to solve the problems that are afflicting the country; issues like poverty, inequality, unemployment and the lack of skills says Manuel.

In a rare appearance at the school’s Distinguished Speaker Programme, Manuel told friends and alumni of the school that there is no silver bullet for the country’s problems but that criticising from the sidelines was not the best way to tackle the issues.

Manuel, who was one of the country’s longest-running members of public office with a career that spanned over 20 years in senior positions in government, described the passion and zeal that public officials had during the early days of the new democracy, acknowledging that the same enthusiasm for the job appeared to have waned in the years that followed. He said the anti-apartheid struggle had reared many of the first ANC government officials, exposing them to poverty and suffering. “So the question we focused on every day was whether we could build a democracy that advanced the interests of the poorest of our people. The Constitution provided a framework for this.”

But many of these public servants have since left government and have not been replaced by people of the same calibre, he said. “Parliament perhaps doesn’t carry the same status any longer, so it does not attract people as much. These are issues that we need to talk about.”

Manuel said that business schools have a key role to play in creating a new generation of leaders in business and government with the same passion for fixing some of the country’s problems.

“My main concern for business schools like this is that we don’t do enough to hone policy development skills of people. Mainly, we aren’t generating nearly sufficient numbers of people who understand the policy process.” He also said that there was a strong correlation between administration and policy and that people needed to know how to implement policy – it wasn’t enough to have wonderful documents and plans like the Constitution or the RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme) or NDP (National Development Plan) if officials were unable to put those into practice.

Manuel has been alternatively lambasted and praised in the media over the years for the country’s economic gains and losses.

“Some tough decisions were left to me and we thought things would work out differently. We thought we could stimulate growth and everything pointed in that direction, but part of what we didn’t understand well enough then was how crises elsewhere in the world would affect us. We lived through the Russian crisis, the Asian crisis and the Brazilian crisis before our own crisis hit us.”

Manuel is currently with Rothschild’s as deputy chairman and senior advisor and still does a lot of community work, especially with the youth in areas like Mitchells Plain. He says that the timing was right to leave public office. “If people stay in whatever they do for too long, they become stale and defensive. In a position like that, the personality and portfolio become conflated. I don’t think the political environment is designed to deal with this. So perhaps I overstayed my welcome in the Ministry of Finance.”

He called for people to become more involved and active in their communities, to become more empowered in bringing about change. “The engine room for development starts with active citizens,” he said, adding that maintaining such initiatives was equally important.

“We are a nation, a generation of people who solved problems of a political order but it’s incomplete for as long as people feel they are not included in the outcome of the democracy.”

He continued, touching on the hot topic of corruption in public service, which many of the questions from the floor alluded to: “We have to root out corruption. We can’t have a little bit. It never steals from wealthy people; it always steals from the poor. The fact that people get into public office to feather their own nest is wrong. No corruption should be tolerated in any society.”

Manuel concluded that he hopes to continue to be of service to South Africans. “Hopefully I’m still in a position to advise and help with problemsolving and to help others find a career in public service, because it is important that we create opportunities for South Africans. We need the brightest and the best to ensure that we can get the streams of ideas that help us to make the right decisions.”

#3 Winter 2015

In relationships we trust

Zuma visit Lonmin Mine in Marikana
More than a year since the worst mining strike in SA’s history, has SA business learned the importance of social capital?

“It’s not what you know, but who you know!” Phrases like this suggest that the value of relationships has long been appreciated. Relationships are particularly vital in successful business ventures and operations.

But, more than a year on from the gruelling platinum strike – the longest and most costly in SA’s history, it is doubtful that SA business has learned this lesson well enough.

The platinum strike that shut down roughly 40% of the world’s platinum supply and cost the SA economy a bewildering R24 billion, is a textbook example of how eroding social capital can cause business breakdown.

In particular, there are at least two kinds of relationships that deteriorated systematically in the lead-up to this unrest and the earlier tragic killing of 44 people at Marikana in August 2012, which may have been identified and addressed earlier through a systematic approach to social capital.

First, management’s relationship with workers, particularly the rock-drillers, had become less and less direct because of a reliance on intermediaries in the form of union representatives or contractors. As a result, middle and senior managers became increasingly isolated from the grievances and growing institutional distrust among these workers.

This also contributed to managers’ general lack of knowledge of workers’ increasingly precarious financial situation, premised in large part on their exposure to emolument orders. A social capital analysis might have indicated earlier on that there were ‘holes’ in managers’ network relationships with workers and that these holes contributed to a lack of pertinent knowledge and necessary trust.

Second, managers arguably paid insufficient attention to the relationship between workers and the dominant union, the National Union of Mineworkers, as well as to conflicts between rival factions within communities and relationships, with third parties such as municipalities and traditional authorities.

A social capital analysis could have focused attention on these third party relationships and highlighted ways in which the company could seek to support more conducive network dynamics.

The value of such relationships has been foregrounded in the integrated reporting movement. South Africa is the first country in which listed companies are required to publish such an integrated report. The guidance provided by the International Integrated Reporting Council suggests that a company’s public report should include information about six forms of ‘capital’ as inputs and outputs of the value generation process. One of these is social capital, which focuses on ‘institutions and relationships’.

However, despite this focus, it is remarkable how little explicit, structured attention is often given to assessing and improving relationships in business. There is still much uncertainty about what social capital actually means and why and how it should be measured.

A new report commissioned by the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS) South Africa has gone some way towards addressing this uncertainty. Based on this review of 314 studies, the report defines social capital as the ability to secure or obtain resources, knowledge and information through relationships with and among individuals and groups. These relationships can be among internal stakeholders of an organisation (e.g., among employees) and between an organisation and its external stakeholders (e.g., consumers and regulators). Social capital has three dimensions: the shape and structure of networks of relationships; the quality of these relationships in terms of trust and reciprocity; and shared norms and values.

Firms derive value from both internal and external social capital. Relationships among internal stakeholders give rise to enhanced efficiency and reliability in managing operations, projects and innovation. This is because of improved sharing and dissemination of information and knowledge, and enhanced commitment and retention of employees.

Building external social capital contributes to competitive advantage and cost reductions, because it enhances access to firm-external information and knowledge, and it builds the firm’s reputation among key stakeholders, such as customers, regulators and prospective employees.

Firms also benefit from the positive impacts of social capital on social development and a conducive business environment, for instance in local communities surrounding a firm’s operations.

The intangible nature of a firm’s social capital makes it a powerful strategic asset, but it also makes it a difficult thing to measure. Yet such measurement can enhance proactive efforts to grow this asset, and it is also necessary to respond effectively to integrated reporting guidelines.

Each of the three dimensions of social capital is associated with particular measures. Hence, for instance, we may measure the size, diversity and density of individuals’ or organisations’ networks, and we can identify possible ‘holes’ in the shape of such networks.

Different forms of trust can be assessed, including interpersonal trust among people who know each other, such as employees working in particular teams or departments. This trust is particularly salient for the effectiveness of operations, as well as organisational change or innovation initiatives. Institutional trust, meanwhile, relates to individuals’ trust of authority structures, including employees’ perceptions of management.

Trust obviously also plays a role in firms’ interactions with external stakeholders, and companies are beginning to apply more systematic means for assessing and improving trust. For example, Transnet has recently conducted a successful pilot study investigating the quality of relationships between key managers and customers or regulators. Over and above providing a useful diagnostic, it has also provided a platform for fruitful conversations to improve these relationships.

Of course, managers’ efforts to measure and report on social capital will not necessarily avoid problems such as those plaguing the platinum mines, but they may provide managers and other stakeholders with vital warning signs, as well as incentives and tools to proactively shape mutually beneficial relationships.

The cost of not doing so is high. As Implats executive, Johan Theron remarked in the wake of the strike: “This strike has been enormously damaging. It has destroyed the relationships we have with employees, communities, the union and government. It will take years to restore. It has resulted in us taking an untold financial impact. The money and resources we had to finish our projects are gone, and it could substantially influence the shape of the future business.”

This article is based on a report commissioned by NBS-SA and prepared by Moses Acquaah, Kwasi Amoako-Gyampah and Nceku Q. Nyathi. For the full systematic review and an executive report, please visit

#3 Winter 2015

Business model innovation – not bailouts – will save Eskom and SAA

Business model innovation will save Eskom
Throwing more money at struggling state-owned enterprises Eskom and SAA will not be enough to solve the underlying problems in these organisations.

Renowned American psychologist Abraham Maslow said, “One can choose to go back toward safety, or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”

In the world of business, it can be very challenging to overcome fear. Too often, the response to uncertainty is a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to fix the problem, patch up the hole, fire the scapegoat; anything but sit with the problem and see what novel solutions emerge. In times of crisis, organisations do not want to take risks; they want to stay safe and comfortable.

Take national air carrier, South African Airlines (SAA). In its 80-year existence it has stared down the barrel of a massive funding shortfall more than once, but on each occasion, the response to this has come in the form of a financial bailout or loan. It is a familiar refrain that was repeated in Minster Nene’s budget speech in February, where he confirmed an additional R6.488 billion guarantee for the cashstrapped airline.

Eskom, similarly, is set to receive R23 billion in this financial year, to be paid out in three instalments beginning in June 2015. It will also benefit from an additional electricity levy.

While undoubtedly our ailing state-owned enterprises (SOEs) need these financial bailouts in the short term – they are not ever going to be part of the long-term solution.

Minister Nene said that the guarantees will not be ‘automatic’ and will depend on SOEs demonstrating sound business plans, strong internal governance and greater efficiencies. I would add that they should also depend on their ability to be open to changing the way they operate on a daily basis.

What the leaders in struggling organisations need to understand is that no expensive policy, consultant or big bailout can replace the incredible power of shifting an organisation’s thinking from problem-solving to solution-finding mode. And the best time to do this is when the organisation is in crisis. The raw material for innovation is the experience of disharmony or anomaly that a crisis creates. To make productive use of these experiences, however, leaders need a degree of mastery in design thinking, integrative thinking and systems thinking.

One of the most effective ways of helping a business in crisis is through a process of business model innovation; a tried-and-tested mechanism that integrates these techniques to obtain optimal results. Business model innovation looks at the various components that make up a business and reinvents these to deliver value in a new way. It is a practical and powerful mechanism for establishing a culture of change in a company. By combining theory and practical application, individuals in the organisation are guided towards coming up with new solutions for their unique business environment.

It sounds simple, but it is a process that takes courage and vision, which needs to come from the top. There are many examples of companies that have innovated their business model to make the company more profitable and geared toward growth and success. One of these is Naspers – currently one of the biggest media companies in the world – which started out as a book publisher in 1919. First it added pay-TV to its business model, with the profitable M-Net and later DSTV services. In 2001, Naspers innovated its business model again, this time with the internet and its acquisition of a 46.5% interest in Tencent Holdings Limited, the operator of an instant messaging platform in China. This investment, as well as other internet business acquisitions, have resulted in Naspers now deriving 54% of its profit from online, with a healthy share price to show for it.

How did a company that was once the mouthpiece of apartheid and a publisher of traditional newspapers transform itself into a cutting-edge, tech-savvy multinational? It would not have been possible without the visionary leadership of former CEO Koos Bekker, who enabled a process of innovation to thrive.

By contrast, the legacy of poor leadership in parastatals has had much publicity of late. In March, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) downgraded the struggling Eskom to junk following the suspension of the utility’s chief executive officer and three other senior executives. Without strong and inspiring leadership, no company can be expected to do well, much less implement innovative strategies.

But we can’t also always blame poor leadership. The truth is that companies don’t need a hero at the helm. They just need someone who is intellectually honest and willing to explore new avenues and steer the ship in a different direction, preferably away from the rocks.

Instead of expediently choosing among the least-worst choices, a focus on creating new options is required. And it starts with opening the mind to new ways of thinking, exploring alternative options previously discounted and employing established techniques of testing alternative options, which can deliver surprising results.

Of course, not just SAA and Eskom need to do this. Too many companies are not set up for innovation and growth and find themselves unable to get out of a rut. When the problems are manifold and complex this may make finding a solution tough, but it doesn’t mean the solutions aren’t out there. As Maslow pointed out, when it is most uncomfortable and appears very risky, this is the time to choose change and to move forward – with vision and courage.

#3 Winter 2015

Kickstarting an investing revolution

Kickstarting an investing revolution
Rhodes must fall
A compelling body of evidence confirms that sustainable and responsible investing (SRI) is the best approach to achieve long-term returns, yet progress in South Africa to introduce ethical investment products is slow. Now a rising tide of student protest could be set to change the status quo.

Whichever side of the fence you were on during the ultimately successful student campaign for the removal of Cecil John Rhodes’ statue from UCT’s upper campus, the issue raised important questions – such as the limits to freedom of expression, what are acceptable forms of protest in a democracy and how best to acknowledge our troubled history – in addition to those that made the newspaper headlines.

One of those questions is whether we are seeing a long overdue revival of student activism on South African university campuses, which seemed to enter an extended state of hibernation after the demise of the apartheid system.

If the presence of Rhodes’ statue bothered UCT students in the past, they did not do much about it until one man’s controversial ‘poo protest’ recently raised temperatures and forced people on and off campus to confront the issues involved and choose a side. The question that arises now is whether this is a one-off event, or whether other pressing political, economic and social concerns that confront the country have the capacity to arouse similar passion among students, especially those issues whose scope extends beyond university life.

Will rising government corruption, the collapse of basic services such as the provision of housing, electricity and water in parts of the country, or the dysfunctional state of many of the democratic institutions mandated by the constitution, provoke the kind of coordinated student response to violations of basic human rights that saw sustained protest action on campuses when supporters of apartheid were taking their last stand? And what about the ‘soft’ issues, such as the environment and social transformation? Could SA students, as their counterparts in Europe and the US have done, start to channel their activism towards the investment policies of the institution?

According to human rights and environmental journalist David le Page, who is leading the South African chapter of the international fossil fuel divestment movement, there are definite signs of light at the end of the tunnel, not only with respect to student support for the issue but also university management’s response.

This is in line with the trend worldwide – more than 30 universities have now committed to divest their endowments from fossil fuel companies, as have a number of countries’ sovereign wealth funds. Le Page says UCT has finally agreed to begin a process of reexamining its ethical position with regard to its investment portfolio, and the campaign has been asked to participate in a structure that will be set up with this end in mind.

“In the process of considering a fossil fuel divestment strategy, we would hope the university will also look at the direct impacts of mining in places such as Mpumalanga, where there has been widespread destruction of arable land and human rights abuses as a consequence of the complete free-for-all that is happening in that region,” he says. “Coal mining permits are being handed out that should never be granted, with enormous consequences for the communities there.” He would also like UCT to work towards ‘decarbonising’ its operations, specifically services such as the Jammie Shuttle student transport facility.

“Besides the principled arguments for the need to stop climate change and respect the human rights that are so often abused by the fossil fuel extractive industries, there are very compelling financial reasons now why companies and individuals should start withdrawing their funds from the industry,” Le Page says. “Coal consumption in China has already peaked, for instance, while in the UK carbon emissions have dropped 8% in the last year as wind and solar get stronger and stronger. There are a lot of signs that carbon-based fuels are being phased out.”

Stephanie Giamporcaro, the research director at the UCT GSB who has conducted extensive research into the evolution of sustainable and responsible investing (SRI) in South Africa and has therefore followed the roll-out of Le Page’s UCT campaign closely, says that UCT, along with other educational organisations around the world, needs to become a proactive sustainable and responsible investor regarding its pension funds and endowment money. She is encouraged by recent developments around the climate change disinvestment campaign, but would also like to see UCT become a signatory of the Principle for Responsible Investment (PRI) initiative that was signed last year by Harvard, for example. The PRI could lead the institution to adopt a more holistic overview of how to integrate environmental, social and governance opportunities and challenges in its investment policies and decisions.

While 2011 amendments to Regulation 28 of the Pension Funds Act have made the ‘responsible management of fund assets’ – including sustainability issues that may materially affect the long-term performance of the investment, whether environmental, social or governance by nature – a fiduciary duty of trustees, both they and fund managers have been slow to act on the changes.

And so has UCT: Dr Giamporcaro points out that despite working for one of the most dynamic and enlightened educational institutions on the continent, as an employee she is still not offered the option of aligning her retirement investment choices with her personal and professional values around social and environmental sustainability.

Most large fund managers have adopted the Code for Responsible Investing in South Africa (CRISA), which encourages institutional investors to integrate sustainability issues such as environment, society and governance (ESG) into their investment decision-making processes. The King III principle of integrated reporting has also impelled JSE-listed companies to report on ESG issues, which has in turn put pressure on fund managers to take compliance with the preamble to Regulation 28 more seriously.

Yet the widespread perception among fund managers and investment consultants has been that SRI is still not top-of-mind for the average pension fund member or trustee, and there is therefore not much point in developing and marketing such investment products.

Le Page confirms that one of the challenges faced by the local fossil fuel divestment movement is the dearth of fossil-free alternative investments or managed funds that apply ESG principles.

However, Dr Giamporcaro says research by Stellenbosch University finance professor, Suzette Viviers has demonstrated that, if asked directly, final beneficiaries of retirement funds in this country do care whether ESG factors are considered in the investment decisions that are taken on their behalf by investment professionals, and her own research involving the employees of a large multinational company, a leading SA fund manager and the staff at the UCT GSB itself, returned similar findings.

In addition, there is now a compelling body of evidence confirming that SRI does not compromise sustainable long-term results. In addition to the lessons learned as a result of the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis, when the drive to maximise returns in the short-term led to asset managers making investment decisions that were the antithesis of SRI, a number of academic studies have shown that ESG considerations reduce risk and enhance returns in the long run.

The most celebrated study is one published by Harvard Business School in 2011, which compared the performance metrics of 180 companies, half of which set high ESG goals and the other half low or no ESG goals. It found that the high ESG group’s returns on both equity and assets grew significantly more over a period of almost two decades than those of the low ESG group.

Dr Giamporcaro says, “One of the problems in South Africa is that few pension fund trustees are either knowledgeable or assertive enough to put pressure on asset managers and investment consultants to actively implement SRI principles, although this is relatively simple to achieve by incorporating ESG targets into asset managers’ mandate and reporting requirements.”

SRI in SA also suffered a setback with the suspension of the Government Employees Pension Fund’s head of investments, John Oliphant, who chaired the CRISA implementation committee. Oliphant and a number of other fund officials have been accused of inflating tenders, but are yet to be charged. Whatever the outcome, Dr Giamporcaro says the effect has been a public loss of momentum for the SRI movement in SA, despite the best intentions of Regulation 28.

A momentum she hopes will now – in part – be kickstarted by the new energy coming from the UCT campus.

#3 Winter 2015

Talking some sense into the mining sector

The mining sector
As the South African mining sector grapples with the challenge of communicating effectively with a large, distributed and politicised workforce, a radically innovative open communication and collaboration platform is helping to redefine engagement with internal stakeholders.

Monday morning, 7.30: The executive of a global mining company steps into his London office. With mineworker unrest in South Africa still fresh in the collective memory and frequent strike action commonplace in news headlines, the sector is grappling with the challenge of how to communicate effectively with a large, distributed and politicised workforce, creating a more motivated and engaged staff.

He’s quietly confident. That morning, the South African region of his company launched a survey campaign, asking workers if they had the right tools to complete their underground shiftwork safely. The previous Friday, it informed workers of a new homeowners’ scheme. Earlier that week, it sent out important health and safety information. All this in addition to the regular emergency notifications that are sent, including loadshedding, production and safety critical messages.

He logs onto the dashboard of his company’s enterprise social network, navigates to the South African region campaign pages and is pleased to see the steady flow of results coming in, as expected. With a response rate of 86%, tens of thousands of workers have stated their preference for Brand A safety gear. A slightly less impressive turnout (78%) updated their personal details – still beating all previous campaigns of that nature. As for the communiqué, it was read by 98% of the workers.

The impossible made possible

How is this possible? One would need very sophisticated technology to reach respondents that quickly and to measure and collate results with that degree of certainty. Email is out of the question, since PC and smartphone penetration is virtually nil. And a traditional poster campaign or mass gathering would have been expensive and slow to execute, to say nothing of the process involved in capturing responses.

The answer is innovative mobile technology relevant to Africa and other emerging markets and an enterprise social software solution called Wyzetalk. The Wyzetalk Enterprise platform interfaces with any technology device, including feature phones via SMS, to broadcast information, get feedback from the workforce and enable them to access business critical and social content via USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) interactive menus. All at no cost to the worker and accessed on an opt-in basis.

The software behind this mobile interface was created in 2011 by technologists at a Cape Town-based technology firm. A meeting of the minds at the UCT Graduate School of Business between Wyzetalk cofounders Gerhard Pretorius and Gys Kappers (facilitated by Stuart Phillips, who was a student with Kappers on the Executive MBA programme), led to the commercialisation of the software and paved the way for the emergence of a highly innovative, locally developed African success story that is gearing up to take on global emerging markets.

Three years on, Wyzetalk is cutting a swathe through all industries as an open communication, collaboration and innovation platform, changing the way companies communicate and engage. It is delivered in the form of a software-as-a-service offering (hosted in the cloud), on desktops and mobile phones and – luckily for the mining, manufacturing, retail and construction firms – the platform can also be accessed on feature phones. Research shows there are 22 million feature phones in South Africa, and, as yet, only 13 million smartphones.

Kappers says the communications breakdown between company executives and their workforce has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years.

UCT professor Ralph Hamann writing in Business Day cited a breakdown in communication as one of the primary reasons for the Marikana tragedy and subsequent platinum strike. It highlights a long-standing issue that has been ignored for too long.

“Wyzetalk allows mine management to remedy their problem by going directly to workers, with an immediacy and transparency that pleases management, as well as shop stewards, unions and workers alike,” he says.

“It takes communication and engagement to a whole new level. For this particular target group, Wyzetalk on mobile offers far greater engagement than email or PC-based collaboration tools. It is one thing to ask for information on email, but people never speak up in numbers when that happens, and it’s difficult to act on the data, as it first needs to be collated and analysed. Wyzetalk, by comparison, is immediate, measurable, and feeds data into the Wyzetalk platform while also integrating with enterprise systems including SAP, Oracle and Microsoft.”

The effect, he says, is that of a self-reinforcing feedback loop that enables continuous improvement in working conditions. “Wyzetalk helps executives gain insight into worker issues, which enables them to put interventions in place that improve matters. It makes for a steadily more positive relationship over time,” says Kappers. “It doesn’t disintermediate the unions in any way either, but allows companies to empower themselves by re-entering the dialogue.”

From another perspective, Wyzetalk offers a way for mining groups to enlist expertise outside the company while keeping consultant payments to a minimum.

According to a recent Deloitte Digital survey, Tracking the Trends 2015, the top 10 issues mining companies will face this year – a common enterprise social platform (such as Wyzetalk) that connects management, head office, suppliers and consultants could be used to bring global best-in-class advice together. This allows a faster response to issues and needs, but also enables the company to share advice across regions and operations, so each operation doesn’t need to contract consultants individually.

Breakthrough openness

Kappers says the big breakthrough idea of Wyzetalk is to use web, social and mobile technologies to break the shackles of normal collaborative tools.

“Looking at the two mining house scenarios, this convergence of technologies allows the enterprise to overcome application silos and network borders, distance and cultural gaps, as well as budget and knowledge shortfalls. It is a textbook illustration of the power of the new digital technologies working in concert,” he says.

“Instead of software, you get a browser-fronted service with less restricted functionality, because it doesn’t have the network or systemic barriers of normal applications. It all happens out there on a secure web-hosted platform,” Kappers says.

“This means enterprise social software platforms are available to any stakeholder who is given authorisation to access the platform,” he explains. “It allows the business to engage more deeply with staff, partners, suppliers, customers and social audiences, really opening the enterprise up to a much broader ecosystem, internally and externally.

“Reaching internal stakeholders can be just as big a challenge as external ones for traditional software,” Kappers continues. “You’re faced with the challenge of reaching on-site, but divisionally segregated staff, physically separate entities, such as other branches and off-site functions and roaming staff. Cloud plays a role here too, but in this case, mobility is the secret sauce.”

Kappers says that in three years, the company has seen significant uptake. And in 2014 it was listed by CNN as one of the top 10 African start-ups that rocked 2014, and by CB Insights as one of the top 13 tech companies to watch in Africa in 2015.

The SA market is showing big promise, but still lags uptake in the developed world, he adds. This is ironic, as the challenges in local market are, if anything, more pronounced because of social inequalities. But he believes that Wyzetalk has significant potential to redefine the way the top levels communicate with the other end of the organisational spectrum in the country.

“South African companies still tend to be quite hierarchical. This stops them from being as competitive and innovative as they can be. Open business platforms like Wyzetalk can take South African companies to the next level because they break down the barriers between management and staff, and between companies and their ecosystems, to draw on much broader inspiration.”

#3 Winter 2015

The Wyzetalk story

The Wyzetalk story
Before being commercialised in the open market, Wyzetalk began life as a collaboration platform developed from the ground up by cofounders Gerhard Pretorius and Gys Kappers.

Pretorius met Kappers, then an Executive MBA student at UCT GSB, during the institution’s
implementation of Wyzetalk to host its student community’s online interactions. The platform, combined with open innovation and systems thinking, inspired Kappers to write his thesis on it, and he joined the newly unbundled Wyzetalk as CEO in 2011, taking the product to market for the first time.

The rest (as they say) is history. Wyzetalk is now the resident collaboration, communication, ideation, survey and broadcasting tool at many leading South African companies, including EOH, Cash Crusaders, Altron, Telesure and Deli Spices. It has 30 000 paying users, with AngloGold Ashanti its largest customer.

The company was listed by CNN as one of the top 10 African start-ups that rocked 2014, and by CB Insights as one of the top 13 tech companies to watch in Africa in 2015.

#3 Winter 2015

The innovation gap

The innovation gap
The innovation gap chart1
The innovation gap chart2
The benefits of creating a culture of true innovation in any organisation are manifold, so how come so few get it right? But with a structured, purposeful approach it is easier to build an innovation culture than many might think.

The word innovation has come to mean many things to many people. It has become meaningless to some, a chant for significant operational improvement to others, a means to add a grandiose sense of drastic improvement focus to shareholder statements or a manner to motivate employees to think ‘outside the box’. In a certain sense becoming everything to everyone, the view of innovation as the focused ability to deploy strategic differentiation in the market has been diluted. And ultimately, the gap between the perceived view of innovation and the organisational capability to sustainably deliver practical and pragmatic innovations has widened.

If we relate organisations to national teams competing in the Olympic Games, then it would be as if many of the teams spend more time talking about how to improve and what is expected to be the best in each of their events, rather than getting out there to train, experiment, learn and, in the long term, build world-class muscle memory. This may be one of the reasons that, even with the wealth of knowledge available about purposeful innovation and how to cultivate a true culture of innovation, there are few examples of companies that have been able to establish and leverage those aspects successfully.

There are many reasons why pursuing true innovation may sound like a daunting task for organisations. These include a fear of letting employees act in a loosely regulated manner, approving work with an emerging focus without an exact view of what the outcome may be, finding time for innovation with looming deadlines and, in general, anticipating that the organisational change implications of truly pursuing a culture of innovation stretch far and wide.

So, why should anyone push through the pain to pursue of a culture of true innovation? There are many reasons, however the three most important are: to build a culture that attracts the best talent; to provide an environment that will stimulate employees and nurture a high-performance, forward-thinking culture; and lastly, to make sure that the organisation plans and prepares to win instead of doing some work and hoping it’s enough. The pursuit of true innovation is a long-term, continuous improvement initiative that becomes ingrained in the organisational DNA in the longer term. It’s not a light switch that can be turned on and off as required.

Bridging the gap

The gap between what organisations perceive as being required to establish a true culture of innovation and what actually needs to be in place may be vast, however, with a structured purposeful approach, it is much less daunting and more achievable than many organisations may expect. The essential elements required to build a foundation that may enable organisations to bridge the gap can be seen as a three-legged stool. The success of the stool lies in all three legs being present and in support of each other. The three elements are: an idea management system to translate ideas into value adding innovations, a relevant innovation leadership style and a proactive approach to cultivate the required organisational culture to drive sustainable innovation.

Identifying and capturing ideas

The first element may be seen as the backbone of the innovation system. An idea management system ensures that effort put into innovation is transformed into organisational and personal value. An idea management system has to deliver two primary elements. Firstly, the system needs to enable an organisation-wide effort to identify, capture, evaluate and execute innovation opportunities. Ideas can be captured individually or through innovation labs, ensuring cross-functional interaction and a culture of experimentation. Secondly, the innovation system has to provide ways for employees to develop their innovation capabilities through continuous learning. This can be done by communicating current information, running workshops on forward-thinking techniques and sending individuals on relevant training courses – including exposure to external innovation experiences and possible collaborations with other organisations. Establishing an idea management system with effective measurement and reward mechanisms will already start to cultivate the next two critical elements – innovation leadership and the relevant organisational culture.

From the top

From an innovation leadership perspective people need to be challenged – consistently – with the right questions that guide individuals to open their minds when investigating possible solutions. Instead of only using business goals, a clearly defined BHAG (big hairy audacious goal, as proposed by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in Built to Last: Successful habits of visionary companies) and supporting network of challenges posed as questions will motivate employees to be forward thinking and curious about the future. People need challenges; it helps them to feel a sense of accomplishment and often acts as the kernel for the growth of intrinsic motivation.

Not everyone will take to the innovation system with great enthusiasm, however, innovation champions will emerge – each with influence in their relevant environments. A key part of innovation leadership is to empower and reward these innovation champions – the strength of the innovation champion network can ultimately be one of the key success factors to drive sustainable innovation.

Culture is the game

In terms of the culture, the most important aspect is to remove the fear of failure and instil enthusiasm for forward-thinking solutions. There is a wealth of information about the importance of a relevant organisational culture with guidelines to establish the winning formula. However, by putting a few key elements in motion the required culture may come to life faster than expected. Spinosa et al state that the style of an organisation consists of three core aspects, namely defining which activities and outcomes are seen to matter in the organisation, how work is organised and what the organisation does to cultivate a specific DNA within employees. All three of these aspects can be purposefully designed, communicated and celebrated. There’s a good reason why former chairman and CEO of IBM, Louis Gerstner was quoted in Business Week saying that, “I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organisation is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.”

The bigger picture

Establishing the idea management system, relevant leadership style and culture may act as the key drivers to deliver sustainable innovations. Further to this, understanding the dependencies between these drivers will unlock a deeper insight that few companies have been able to leverage.

Figure 2 highlights the causal relationships between the three core aspects. Only positive variable relationships are depicted, i.e., as one variable increases, the other will too. As an example, when looking at the whole, it becomes apparent that a clearly defined organisational purpose grounds any form of true innovation. This may seem obvious; however, many organisations miss such insight because the big picture isn’t taken into account. Each of these variables have been broken down one level further, providing a blueprint of the various aspects that can be focused on and the probable outcomes that may be expected.

The path to cross the innovation gap will never be clear and having a clear-cut path shouldn’t be the goal either. Instead, with a clear purpose in mind and a good understanding of the components that make up the bigger picture, organisations should aim to build the innovation system one component at a time. In the end, an organisation’s ability to innovate will be strongly correlated to the maturity and purpose driven interplay between the relevant innovation leadership style, organisational culture and idea management system.

Establishing a culture of innovation will take employees on a disruptive journey that is filled with uncertainty and discomfort. However, the rewards of focusing on the right aspects to breach the innovation gap are huge, as can be seen in the likes of what companies such as Apple, Google, 3M, and Proctor & Gamble have been able to accomplish.

#3 Winter 2015

It’s what you do with it that counts

It's what you do with it
Most people think that innovation is the lifeblood of our future. And they would not be wrong. In a recession-threatened world, we grab at innovation and creativity as one would a lifebelt.

According to a 2013 survey of 1 500 chief executives conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, CEOs unanimously identify creativity as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future. It is our greatest chance of figuring out a way to achieve sustainable growth in a world of constrained resources and economic instability.

But in fact, this is only part of the truth.

Successful, long-lasting businesses also have to be able to hold a line – to organise and structure – in short, to establish the systems and processes to ensure that the good ideas take root and add the value they are meant to. Carrol Boyes, one of South Africa’s most successful creative entrepreneurs, for example, is first and foremost a sculptor and an artist, but she was also able to turn her innovative designs into a commercial success and grow this into a business that now exports South African design to over 30 countries around the world.

In fact, in creating the innovation powerhouses of the future, it is the tension between these two poles that matters. Pure innovation can go nowhere – there are plenty of great ideas that never get off the drawing board – but on the other hand, pure structure leads to bureaucratic hell.

Dr Hilary Austen, author of Artistry Unleashed, says organisations have been struggling with this tension since the beginning of time. “You see it as they reorganise to get more efficiency, and then again to get more innovation, and then again to regain efficiency, and so on. It is not something organisations are going to solve once and for all. Rather, it’s an ongoing tension they’ll need to recognise and manage,” she says.

So, if you want to be the next Steve Jobs, the most important thing that you have to learn is to manage this tension well – and the second is to let that ethos permeate throughout your organisation.

The code for innovation is embedded in an organisation’s people, processes and philosophies, say innovation thinkers Jeff Dyer (PhD, University of California, Los Angeles) and Hal Gregersen (PhD, University of California, Irvine).

So while innovation, they say, has to start at the top – Tesla Motors would not be the first successful car company start-up in America in 90 years without Elon Musk’s personal vision and passion – it is those leaders who manage to create organisational processes “that mirror their individual discovery behaviours” that will succeed in turning their companies into something truly and enduringly great.

Of course, not all CEOs are lucky enough to have Boyes’ creativity or the engineering genius of Musk, but we don’t all have to be creative geniuses to be successful innovation leaders. What’s important is that innovation leaders have the ability to think differently and act differently to generate creative ideas for new products, services, processes and businesses – and that they create the conditions in their organisations for everyone (not just the research and development department) to do the same.

Without question, sustainable growth is not going to come out of old ways of working, leading and managing. Existing standards will keep us in the past. Business clearly needs the creative thinkers and the crazy mavericks to come up with new ways of doing things.

Innovation leaders need to allow these thinkers free rein – and, somewhat paradoxically, give them structure. They need to fight the institutional urge for stability, and allow the disruptive forces of surprise, uncertainty, ambiguity and change – things that we typically avoid or fear – to simmer throughout their organisations, and to harness this effectively.

To do this takes a combination of deeply held values, vision and conviction, combined with the application of good, old-fashioned business savvy. Creativity is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for successful innovation. It’s what you do with it that counts.

#3 Winter 2015

Getting the public sector out of the admin trap

Getting the public sector out of the admin trap
The Business Leadership Platform is an innovative structure that has the potential to transform the current model of organising the public service and speed up socio-economic development in the Western Cape.

Last October, a new business initiative to improve socio-economic development and service delivery in the province was launched. Its advent is bound to make some people wonder if we really need another initiative like this. Will it not merely mean more meetings with cool agendas, great buzzwords and terrific goals, but no results?

Dubbed the Business Leadership Platform (BLP), the initiative seeks to give business in the Western Cape a much-needed voice in the provincial government and in that alone, it offers something new. Currently, there is no organisation or association in the country that explicitly enables business participation in the public sector. There is also a lot of ambivalence in government towards business, as was recently pointed out in an article by veteran journalist Allister Sparks.

Writing in Business Day, Sparks said there is much diversity in the South African business world – which encompasses big, medium and small organisations – but that it is often viewed by, especially leftist branches of government, as a single entity of ruthless capitalists interested only in making money. Many business owners are loathe to challenge or criticise government officials for fear of running the risk of losing tenders or getting stuck in loads of red tape when they want to conduct business.

Sparks blames the abundance of bureaucracy in the public sector for scaring off foreign investors while hampering local entrepreneurs. He called for businesspeople to speak up – individually or in groups – to address the factors that encumber economic growth in the country, specifically calling on businesspeople to be more proactive in stating what they require to enable them to contribute more meaningfully.

This is precisely what the Business Leadership Platform sets out to achieve. More than 140 different business-related associations and organisations have been identified across various categories and groups, which include tourism bodies, industry leaders, chambers of commerce and industry, as well as business partnerships and business schools – all of which have become part of the BLP.

The BLP is an initiative of the Economic Development Partnership (EDP), in partnership with Business Western Cape, the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town and unites key actors behind a common economic vision. It has as its core mission the clearing of administrative logjams.

Not unlike household blockages, administrative blockages are messy and difficult to clear up.

The main challenge is that there is currently a ‘common-sense regime’ in the public sector that is focused too much on matching invoices to payments, compliance, and monitoring and evaluating, rather than on the goals of increasing opportunities for businesses to grow and citizens to be employable and employed.

The fact that the public sector is so administratively driven is one of the biggest obstacles to service delivery. It is too much about stamps and signatures and too little about creative thinking and problem solving. It is not so much a question of getting the hands dirty as applying minds in a different way and letting the creative juices flow.

The BLP offers a new set of organising principles that have the potential to get the public sector out of the admin trap that it finds itself in. By taking a design thinking approach – a concept that gained traction in Cape Town during 2014, during the city’s tenure as World Design Capital – it hopes to unleash creative energy to envision new solutions.

Design thinking is more inclusive and empathetic in its approach and therefore is ideally suited to solving challenging situations where the stakeholders are divergent. It also has a proven track record when it comes to incorporating conflicting opinions and broadening traditional ways of thinking. It is especially helpful in breaking down communication barriers and helping creative solutions emerge in previously deadlocked situations.

It helps people to really question the fundamental assumptions ingrained in institutional processes that drive delivery to affect social and economic conditions. It also provides a robust framework with which to think about how to change conditions and start to address complex problems.

Perhaps the essential value of design thinking lies in its ability to change mindsets and behaviour – which is fundamental in changing systems.

The BLP will create an inclusive regional forum that will strengthen the voice of business and sustain a structured relationship between government and business. It will keep business leaders and associations connected and informed and will convene a regular business leadership-government engagement forum. It will focus on common strategic agendas and conduct surveys of business opinion to enhance public policy processes.

At its root, the BLP is an innovative structure that has the potential to transform the current model of organising that our public sector is using in its efforts to deliver socio-economic growth. One could argue that its chief achievement will be to get public servants to see ‘what could be true’ rather than being paralysed by what is currently held to be true.

#3 Winter 2015

The big-and tall store of the insurance industry

Ross Beerman AllLife
Ross Beerman, managing director of insurer, AllLife, reveals ‘the insanity’ behind his company’s disruptive innovation in the South African insurance industry.

AllLife co-founder and Group CEO, Ross Beerman, is usually met with disbelief when he reveals that his company is in the business of offering life insurance to HIV-positive people. But the company’s 50% growth year-on-year over the last five years proves the sound strategic thinking behind this industry innovation. It all began with a conversation over a cup of coffee.

Beerman and Avron Urison’s discussion was about the dismal HIV/ AIDS situation that existed in the country in 2002 and, specifically, the unfortunate fact that a staggering 17% of South Africa’s employed adult population, infected with HIV, were unable to access life cover. This meant they were less likely to be able to buy a house, start a business or get an education. For the non-wealthy, it could mean a steady slide into poverty.

Beerman says, “Working in private equity for a while meant it was my habit to keep an eye out for commercial opportunities. I believe entrepreneurs should look at the spaces in which people specifically think there are no opportunities. Urison and I realised there was a real need for an insurance product for a manageable, chronic disease like HIV/AIDS. We began to talk about how it might be possible to deliver to that need.”

Beerman, like Dr Urison, was an MBA graduate of UCT’s Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB), which he credits with having a massive impact on his ability to change career paths from engineering to investment banking. He had done a stint with a United States investment bank and worked in private equity on his return to South Africa. Urison had practiced as a medical doctor, been the CEO of MRI South Africa, and worked as a healthcare business consultant with a particular focus on HIV/AIDS clinical and management programmes. They were later joined in the venture by a third UCT GSB graduate out of McKinsey and Company, Paul Stanley.

The trio’s track record in the corporate world spoke for their reputation and allowed them the opportunity to interact with investors. Their greatest hurdle was convincing those investors that their business strategy – which flew in the face of insurance industry norms – was the result of sound business judgement and that they intended offering a full-profit insurance product to a particularly high-risk clientele.

“Everyone thought we were insane,” Beerman says. “We had to fight against industry norms that drove most of the behaviours in the industry at the time. The message to potential clients up until then had been that HIV-positive people were not expected to live long enough for insurers to make a profit. We began to tell clients that they could manage their health correctly, live a very long life and have the opportunity to undertake long-term projects.”

Since AllLife opened its doors in 2004, their clients have committed to regular medical visits and to following treatment protocols. The company has agreements with the majority of medical providers and has created new computer systems to track clients’ medical improvements (a key cost driver). Reminders of blood tests and visits to the doctor are sent out, and staff members, who can always be contacted, speak to each client an average of once a month. This has meant that new systems had to be created to deliver this feature at low cost to a mass market.

Clients now average a 15% improvement in their CD4 count – an immune system marker – six months after being insured, whether or not they are taking antiretrovirals. The company even receives applications from people living with HIV/AIDS in the USA, Europe and Asia who can’t access life insurance. Beerman says, “We’re operating in an emerging market using first-world infrastructure to deliver our business model. We’ve even had to change the standard insurance industry distribution model – AllLife sells directly to HIV-positive clients because intermediaries just weren’t comfortable discussing the issues with them.”

AllLife now offers a similar product for people living with diabetes, since this chronic disease requires a similar management process to that of HIV/AIDS.

Beerman uses this analogy to describe his business: “If you’re an Average Joe, you can buy a suit anywhere, but if your size is non-standard you have to go through a bespoke, time-consuming, tailored process. In insurance this means medical tests, screening, committing the time and effort to showing a track record of managing your disease in order to get insurance. We’re the ‘big-and-tall’ store where diabetic and HIV-positive people can get a mass retail experience otherwise denied to them. This means clients can get cover when they want and need it, which makes us dramatically different in the insurance space.”

South Africa is an emerging market – in the process of finding its feet in a fast-changing global economic environment – with more than its fair share of challenges. But it is exactly this environment that presents opportunities to those who are willing to innovate, Beerman says. “Absenteeism in South Africa has risen tenfold in two decades, due largely to the impact of HIV/ AIDS on individuals’ health. The rate of absenteeism organisations face – higher than their competitors elsewhere in the world – has a significant impact on productivity. A negative, yes, but also an opportunity for AllLife to take an innovative product to market that minimises the impact of HIV/ AIDS on an individual’s ability to earn by helping them to manage their disease and stay as healthy as possible.

“We have a massive market to grow into,” Beerman says. “We can reach far more people, but the rate at which we grow will depend partly on the amount of capital we are able to raise.” And this remains AllLife’s greatest challenge going into the future. As a direct marketer, the company uses television, the internet and mobile technology to advertise its services. Of course, this generates leads and leads become paying clients, but first it must fund its high marketing costs; in order to do this, it will need access to capital.

Beerman believes that South Africa offers both obstacles and possible boons to its entrepreneurs. “It’s a tough market in which to be an entrepreneur. Capital is difficult to access and industries can be highly regulated. But if you get your innovation past these challenges, you’ll likely find yourself in a space all of your own with competitors trailing far behind.”

#3 Winter 2015

Saying goodbye to ‘the soul of the GSB’

Linda Fasham
In her 27 years at the UCT GSB, Linda Fasham was more than just the alumni relations manager. She was a mother, confidante, valued support network, trusted friend and living legend to thousands of students who went on to become successful businesspeople and powerful alumni of the school.

There are not many people who can say they have been a part of the UCT Graduate School of Business for almost three decades – having known the school both when it was small and situated in Rondebosch with only MBA students on campus – to the hive of activity it is today, boasting multiple accreditations including a listing on the Financial Times Top 100 business schools in the world.

“I have seen the school go through incredible changes,” says alumni relations legend, Linda Fasham, who retired at the end of last year. “Back then, the students used to come to class in suits and ties, in line with the thinking that you had to dress business-like if you wanted to think business-like. In the early years, there were no black people and very few women. All that has changed and it is wonderful to see that diversity on the campus now.

“Life was easier then, goodness, that makes me sound so old,” she laughs, looking back at the early years. “There was no email, when we sent out a notice it went out in bulk mail. I used to carry these bulk mails in envelopes to the post office!”

In December 2014, Fasham retired as the GSB’s alumni relations manager, a position she held both part-time and full-time for 27 years. News of her retirement shook many alumni, who remember her kind and compassionate support during their years as a student and have come to associate her with the school’s alumni association. They say they cannot imagine the school without her.

“I knew Linda for 15 years when I worked at the GSB and she was outstanding, ethical, humorous and really represented the true soul of the GSB,” said Jon Foster-Pedley, former UCT GSB faculty member and now Dean and Director of Henley Business School, Africa, in a message of tribute.

Emeritus Professor Frank Horwitz, former director of the UCT GSB and Cranfield School of Management, UK, compiled this tribute to her: “In developing its alumni relations, thousands of alumni will remember Linda’s warmth, friendliness and her helpfulness and passionate commitment to ensuring that the close connection between them and the school continues over many decades.

“I recall the 40th year reunion of the MBA class of ’66 and their very special bond and bonhomie that endured over the decades. Linda had so much to do with ensuring that these special relationships and networks were continued. She will be missed and remembered not only by present staff and faculty of the GSB, but by thousands of people who studied and worked at this wonderful institution over the years.”

Linda Fasham came to the business school in 1981. With a background in computer programming and marketing, her first role was in the executive education department. After a year-and-a-half, she left to have her daughter Nicole. She laughingly recalls how former director, Professor Paul Sulcas, then called her to ask her help in setting up the alumni association. She said she told him she would do it only if she could have school holidays off, be involved in her daughter’s life and do lift clubs and school outings. He did not hesitate before replying,“Fine.”

The alumni association initially was a separate entity from the school and had chapters in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban with a national committee that met regularly. Over the years, a powerful and dynamic network of more than 23 000 alumni has been built up in over 68 countries and it has been integrated as a department within the Business Development Unit on campus.

At one of the four farewell functions held for her in Somerset West towards the end of 2014, close friend and alumni chairperson, Ian Reid said, “Linda enabled the alumni to become a significant force in the GSB. She has set up a platform on which we depend as a school and an alumni body. It is so effective that we are now the top business school in Africa and one of the top 50 in the world.”

Few people know that Fasham has a serious heart condition that has affected many aspects of her life, which meant that she had to sometimes change her working conditions to look after her health. But in 2001 she came back to the job full-time. “I have always loved the job. I love the people, I love listening to them, talking to them and helping, watching them growing during their studies. It was an easy decision to carry on growing with the alumni association.”

Apart from the personal pleasure she took in looking after the students, there was a professional reason as well. “It is critical for students to have a happy experience at the UCT GSB as when they leave, they become alumni and ambassadors for the school,” she says.

“It has been a very interesting journey, a challenging one, at times very stressful, but really the enjoyment has been what has kept me going,” she says. Highlights have been the class reunions and travel overseas, meeting up with alumni and colleagues. “I get such a thrill out of watching them network, it is amazing just to see them engage with each other and network at a function. To see how they have this common thread, that is the GSB. And they will talk about how the GSB changed their life.”

Fasham has worked with four directors and was part of the recent restructuring of the school, and while she says change is good, she feels history is important too. “You can’t put 27 years of experience into a box and just hand it over to someone else.” Perhaps this is why the GSB has asked her to continue working with the business school part-time, helping to set up the Alumni Challenge Fund, which is part of the GSB endowment, proceeds from which are to be put towards scholarships and world-class faculty procurement. She will also be involved in collating a commemorative book to celebrate the UCT GSB’s half century in 2016.

One of the things she will be looking forward to after her retirement, is no longer having to sit in traffic for hours each day and spending more time with her family … and working part-time for the GSB, of course.

#3 Winter 2015

Building the future of Africa through trade

Moshe Motlohi

By building solid relationships with stakeholders, repositioning resources and improving connectivity, newly appointed Durban port manager Moshe Motlohi hopes to position South Africa as a leading trade partner for the rest of Africa.

Africa is the fastest growing region in the world, yet there is very little trade within her borders. Just 12% of African trade is within the continent, according to research by Ecobank. By contrast, trade among countries in the European Union is 60%, and 40% in North America.

Newly appointed Durban port manager and EMBA graduate, Moshe Motlohi, wants to change this.

“If we can extend partnerships with other African ports that will improve cargo movement between South Africa and the rest of the continent and Africans will benefit more,” he says

Motlohi is responsible for overseeing the Durban Port, one of Africa’s largest, that last year handled about 87.8 million tonnes of cargo, and he sees even greater potential for its future.

“As the port grows and new opportunities emerge we must open up opportunities to those who were previously excluded from meaningful port or and maritime economic activities,” he says.

Strong inter-African trade contributes to a range of benefits such as income and employment, and greater market integration. Products and services that can be made on the continent could be locally sourced, produced and used. However, poor infrastructure ranging from roads and rail network to erratic power supply impede Africa’s ability to harness these advantages.

By raising awareness about the value of ports, repositioning resources and improving connectivity, Motlohi wants to position South Africa as an example for how the continent can turn this around. And the first step towards that goal will begin at home.

“One must begin by building a mutually beneficial relationship between the port and the city,” says Motlohi. “We have to think about the communities that are hosting the port. Whether that means improving the environmental reputation of the port, or working with state agencies to strengthen security and look at health issues, there are a number of stakeholders whose positions must be considered.

Acknowledging the needs of stakeholders is something that Motlohi has excelled at since the early days of his career. As distribution manager for South African Breweries in Umtata in the Eastern Cape, he faced challenges such as poor resources and road infrastructure that were compounded by the attitude of the community.

“Bad road conditions made it difficult to deliver the product to customers on time and in good condition, and that caused the customers to be dissatisfied. Because of this, customers would place orders at random and this further complicated the situation,” he explains.

To instil more discipline in operations, Motlohi realised he needed the support of those he worked with. So, he created a service level agreement between himself and his customers. “The basis of the agreements was that each customer would be given a customised service package. In return they had to place orders within agreed lead times and the depot had to deliver within agreed time frames,” he says. After six months, Motlohi’s approach proved a success and earned him the first-ever Silver Award in the field of operations. “I had managed to change the mindset of a community considered outliers, and brought in solutions where they could operate in the same space as the mainstream,” he says.

This approach was further validated when Motlohi joined the UCT GSB Executive MBA programme in 2008. “The GSB put everything into context, and endorsed how I worked in these situations,” he says.

For example, he describes the idea of ‘using your heart to think’. A concept that integrates practical and empathetic thinking in problem solving, it is notion of awareness that encourages leaders to look at the bigger picture.

“Systems thinking really has helped me realise that I need to view things holistically. Trying to break systems apart leads to an inadequate diagnosis of issues. I have also learnt that it is useful to be open to multiple perspectives and be aware of not to jumping to conclusions,” says Motlohi.

In the fast-paced business world, such an approach is uncommon. “We don’t give ourselves time to step back, pause and understand how things work as a whole before dealing with the sub-parts,” says Motlohi. “And that results in the wrong solutions that don’t actually affect the variable you want to change.”

As he settles into port management and the challenges and rewards ahead of him, he is very clear about the variable he wants to change.

“This is an opportunity for me to have an impact on South Africa and its neighbouring countries,” he says. “This is where the world, quite literally, converges.”

#3 Winter 2015

Applying the lessons of customer centricity

Dr Terry Berkow

MBA alumnus, Dr Terry Berkow, who was part of the
first MBA class at the UCT GSB, returned to the school recently to carry out its first ever brand audit.

A brand audit carried out by the UCT Graduate School of Business marketing department has shown that the GSB is seen to be the number one business school in South Africa by current and past students, as well as by those considering an MBA.

The survey polled almost 300 past, present and prospective students along with a limited number of corporates to find out how the GSB brand is perceived by its target market, as well as how well the school stacks up against its closest competitors.

“The UCT GSB is one of the oldest and most respected business schools in the country, and it was good to see the results of this survey affirming that, in the eyes of its target market, this perception holds,” says Dr Terry Berkow of branding and marketing consultancy, Berkow Associates, who led the audit.

“When we interviewed past and present students who had studied or are studying at the UCT GSB, we of course expected to be ranked as their number one school. But what we found was that they felt that genuinely, there was no post-purchase dissonance,” says Berkow.

“More surprising, however, was what prospective students thought of the UCT GSB. Even though they had never been to the school, they still ranked the GSB as the number one business school in the country. In other words, the school has a far-reaching image of being excellent, and that was gratifying to learn.”

Berkow, a veteran marketer who has headed up the marketing divisions at FMCG companies Tongaat Foods Limited and Beacon Sweets & Chocolates, as well as starting and growing his own chocolate business, SwissMiss, has more than a casual interest in the UCT GSB. He was one of the first students to sign up for an MBA at the school almost 50 years ago, when it opened its doors in 1966.

“At that time, there wasn’t a full-time MBA in Cape Town, so I had first applied to American schools,” says Berkow. However, when he saw an advertisement in the newspaper announcing the establishment of Cape Town’s first full-time business school at UCT, to be directed by the esteemed Professor Bob Boland from the Cranfield School of Management in the UK, he turned his focus homeward.

After meeting with Boland and gaining an acceptance, based on his credentials, on the spot, Berkow embarked on a career in marketing that has landed him at the helm of the GSB’s brand audit. He says that his history with the school, and the fact that he has taught marketing at numerous business schools at home and abroad in the past few decades, puts him in a unique position to lead the audit – despite the fact that his experience is predominantly in the FMCG sector.

“Having been both a student and a lecturer in business schools gives me a better understanding of the target market and what the hot buttons are in that market, which is always an advantage in market research,” he comments.

The brand audit is an initiative of the UCT GSB’s marketing intelligence and strategy manager, Saskia Hickey, and sets out to examine the perceptions of the school on different scales and against different values, such as reputation, academic image, quality of lecturers and career opportunities.

While the first stage of the audit, a survey of past, present and prospective MBA students is complete, a second stage is currently under way to interrogate how corporates and other organisations view the school, specifically with regards to executive education or short courses.

The consolidated results will be used as a baseline for a strategic marketing plan that will strengthen the GSB’s offerings and identify new markets.

Major accreditation bodies such as the European Foundation for Management Development, the Association of MBAs and the AACSB also all look for a strong, evidence-based marketing strategy as a key indicator that the school is internationally competitive.

“As we learned from the audit, many students value the fact that the UCT GSB has a solid international reputation – as measured by these accreditations and other rankings. So it is important that we maintain these and communicate the results to our market,” says Berkow.

“Customer centricity was one of the most important lessons I took from my studies at the GSB in 1966 and this message is still as fresh today as it was then. In fact, customer centricity is even more important today, and companies that recognise this will succeed.

“At the same time, you can’t just supply what people are asking for, but also create new needs and a niche that sets you apart.”

#3 Winter 2015

Top tips from MBA Olympians

GSB Team in New York
IMAGE: The 2015 GSB team in New York. The team was coached by GSB lecturer, Johannes Schüler (centre) and consisted (from left to right) of Christopher Human, Caryn Jeenes, Robyn Moore and Ralph Thomas.
The GSB team claimed six victories and clinched the Division A title at the John Molson International Competition in January.

The John Molson International Case Competition, founded in 1981, is the oldest and largest event of its kind. Known as the MBA Olympics, the competition is open to top business schools worldwide, of which 36 are selected to participate in Montreal each year. The 2015 competition welcomed MBA students from a total of six continents and 14 countries. Among them was South Africa, once again represented by the UCT Graduate School of Business – making its third appearance at this prestigious competition.

The purpose of the week-long competition is to bridge the gap between corporate and business school environments and to connect students from different MBA programmes around the world. According to GSB coach and senior lecturer at the school, Johannes Schüler, the event provides an excellent platform for students to hone the skills they learn in their respective MBA programmes and showcase their ability and agility – as well as their school’s areas of expertise.

GSB teams have always left a positive impression and in their three years have brought healthy disruption to the competition, says Schüler. Here are the 2015 team’s top tips for what it takes to stand out at the MBA Olympics.

1. Approach every case from the owner’s point of view

Schüler’s catch phrase for 2015 was OC or ‘owner’s conundrum’. The idea was for the team to stamp out ‘consulting think’ and ‘consulting speak’ and approach cases from the owner’s point of view (founder, shareholder or otherwise). Team member Robyn Moore agrees that committing to this approach, while not always the easiest option, forces the group to dig deep, critically evaluate why decisions are being made and compose the best alternatives and solutions.

2. Focus on your points of difference

The GSB teams have always brought their own trademark South African senses of humour to Montreal and this has worked in the GSB’s favour. For team member Chris Human, the GSB’s emphasis on emerging market leadership and innovative thinking was also a clear advantage: “developing markets are increasingly on the radar in global business context and the ICC is no exception, our roots and understanding of environments such as South Africa’s allowed us to come forward with pragmatic and innovative solutions that often didn’t occur to other teams”. The judges see a lot of cases during that week in Montreal; if you don’t stand out, you won’t win hearts and minds.

3. Understand and play to each other’s strengths and weaknesses

The internal selection process at the GSB to choose a team to go to Montreal is continually being refined, with great emphasis placed on the synergies of the individual team members, good attitudes and a positive, natural fit. In order to do well, it’s essential that the team members understand each other’s weaknesses and intuitively leverage their strengths, all the while remaining calm under pressure to articulate the solution with confidence and clarity. There’s no room for individual egos. In the words of team member Ralph Thomas, the secret to the 2015’s team performance was a solid, balanced team with good team cohesion: “Throughout the entire process, we maintained good team spirit and enthusiasm – that was a big part of our success”.

4. Realise that you are part of a bigger picture

The John Molson International Case Competition is a unique experience, enriching the lives of not only the students, coaches and judges, but all those who will be impacted by the value they add in the future. Through the theme of this year’s competition, sustainability, the GSB team was able to contribute meaningful solutions, which may well influence the way participating firms conduct their business in future.

“This is not just a competition, it’s an incredible learning experience where you’ll be pushed beyond your limits, forge friendships with truly great people and develop leadership capacities that will allow you to make a real difference in your career,” concludes Moore.

#Special Edition 2014

Top 10 Highlights 2009-2014

1. Celebrating a record 10 years in the FT Rankings

Rising to 59th place, the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business was, for the 10th year in a row, the only African business school to be featured in the preeminent Financial Times (FT) fulltime MBA ranking in January 2014.

The GSB remains the only business school in Africa ranked in the FT Fulltime MBA Top 100 for its full-time programme.

The FT ranking is regarded as the authoritative ranking of MBA programmes, partly because of the manner in which the rankings are compiled. The FT incorporates 20 different sets of criteria, including survey responses from alumni who graduated three years prior to the ranking and a range of information from the business schools. Salary and employment statistics are also weighted heavily – an important factor for prospective MBA students, who report that they use the rankings to select the school that best suits them.

The GSB is also regularly ranked in the FT Executive Education customised rankings. In 2014 it was ranked 64th in these rankings .

2. Rated best in Africa by its global peers

The UCT GSB has been rated the top business school in Africa and one of the top 28 in the world for seven years in a row by the Eduniversal World Convention of the Best Business Schools.

Eduniversal is a rating and ranking system that is distinguished from others by its peer-assessment component where deans and directors from the top 1 000 schools assess other shortlisted schools. The GSB has seen a rise in international students, who come to the school because it is internationally benchmarked and also has a reputation for exploring business model innovation in a developing economy context.

3. Clinching the triple-crown

In July 2013, the GSB became one of just 66 business schools in the world and three in Africa to be ‘triple-crown’ accredited when it secured recognition from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

To be triple-crowned, schools must be accredited by the three largest and most influential business school accreditation associations: AACSB, AMBA (the Association of MBAs) and the European Foundation for Management Development, which awards the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) accreditation.

Director of the GSB, Professor Walter Baets said that the prestige that comes with being triple-crowned is not to be taken lightly. “These accreditations are extremely valuable for a business school. Although many dismiss them as mere marketing collateral – they are an important investment in the quality of a business school,” he said.

“This has implications, not just for the GSB, but for business education in South Africa and the African continent generally. We are showing the world that African business schools should be taken seriously.”

4. Driving values-based leadership in Africa

In April 2011, the UCT GSB established a first-of-its-kind Centre for Values-Based Leadership that is committed to exploring new ways of doing business based on purpose, sustainability and responsible practices. The centre was established in association with the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation through a R50-million endowment from Allan Gray and his wife Gill. Gray is the founder of Allan Gray Limited and the co-founder of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation.

The centre grew out of a common vision shared between the UCT GSB and Allan Gray; that values are implicit in leadership, that leaders should be motivated by a sense of purpose, and that their actions should speak louder than their words. According to Gray, values-based leadership involves a fundamental questioning of the principles by which the world has been doing business and the centre will explore what is required for the generation of new business and economic practices that are geared towards adding more value to society.

The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation was established in 2005 as an education and development catalyst to assist a generation of highgrowth entrepreneurial change agents to bring about job creation in Southern Africa. The partnership is by no means standard, because the relationship will be more closely knit than traditional partnerships of a similar sort between sponsors and business schools. Members of the foundation are at the forefront of the research agenda and help select the faculty members.

The relationship between the two also extends to a programme of internships and mentorship programmes available to GSB students through the foundation. At the same time, the foundation benefits from the fresh research and input to improve their endeavours.

In 2014, after a long search, Professor Walter Baets, director of the UCT GSB, was awarded the Allan Gray Chair for Values-Based Leadership.

“I am extremely pleased with the committee’s decision to appoint Walter Baets. In Walter we have someone who is passionate about the subject of values-based leadership – and can put the centre on the right path. Along with this is his ability to inspire others – and considering that a main aim of the centre is to ensure that the lessons are taken further into society, this is invaluable for the role,” said Gray.

Professor Baets’ responsibilities will include giving academic leadership and establishing a research agenda for the centre. The chair will be complemented by two senior lecturers, Dr Nceku Nyathi and Dr Timothy London, and two PhD bursaries.

5. Bertha Centre tackles inequalities

As inequalities in Africa increase, despiteeconomic growth and a reduction in absolute poverty, people are beginning to realise that the classic ways of thinking in business schools about how to solve the challenges of unequal societies are not working. It is this that the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the UCT GSB wrestles with.

The centre was signed into being in June 2011 with funding from the Bertha Foundation. Additional fundraising has ensured that the centre has grown into a leading force for social innovation in Africa, with the launch of several lines of enquiry ranging from innovation in health and education to the investing for impact revolution. The latter was featured in a 2014 World Economic Forum Investors Industries report. Other highlights from its first few years of existence include the introduction of the Social Innovation Lab as a stream on the MBA, the launch of the Bertha scholarships that allow socially-minded innovators to study at the GSB and the launch of a Master’s in Inclusive Innovation.

6. Best in Africa

The UCT GSB pipped the University of the Witwatersrand’s Wits Business School in Johannesburg to the post to claim top position in the QS Global Business Schools survey in 2013.

The QS survey interviews employers who actively recruit MBA graduates. The survey is the largest of its kind and includes responses from 4 318 employers.

International recruiters “know first hand what they want in their employees and which schools most successfully engender these qualities. More importantly, they are the ones who decide who to hire based on this,” QS says on its website.

The survey includes 200 business schools around the world. UCT and Wits both fall into the second highest ‘emerging global’ category. “These are schools that can boast an established reputation for excellence beyond their region,” the report says.

7. Re-imagining business education

IMAGE: Director of the Solution Space Sarah-Anne Arnold (right), with MPhil students in the space.
The UCT GSB has created an innovative space at the heart of its campus, to break the mould of a traditional business education in order for more holistic and creative responses to African challenges to emerge.

The Solution Space is dedicated to inventing and testing new business models, products and services, and incubating businesses aligned to African markets. It will act as a collaborative living lab for students, social innovators, entrepreneurs, foundations, government and industry players who are interested in finding new and creative ways to address complex problems on the continent. It houses the school’s innovation offerings including the MPhil in Inclusive Innovation and the Social Innovation Lab. GSB director, Professor Walter Baets says that the space is a manifestation of the business school of the future. “Business schools need to shift to meet the needs of an unpredictable and unequal world. This means we need to move away from just training MBAs towards getting involved in creating new business solutions for the world. We need to be more hands-on by turning out real solutions to real problems.”

8. Into Africa: GSB director appointed director of AABS

In January 2014, Professor Walter Baets, director of the GSB, was elected as the chairperson of the Association of African Business Schools (AABS). AABS is a network of African business schools, formally established in October 2005 and registered as a non-profit organisation in September 2007. Through capacity-building, collaboration and quality improvement programmes for deans or directors and faculty from African business schools, it aims to increase their effectiveness and improve management education in Africa, thus enhancing the relevance and contribution of business schools to African development.

Professor Baets, who says he is enjoying his tenure, will hold the position until 31 December 2015. “It’s good for the GSB to be able to play a more active role in this fine association. Traditionally, the GSB has had more collaborations with US and UK business schools, so the AABS allows us to build relationships with other African schools something that I believe, in the spirit of creating African management for Africa, is very important,” he said.

9. Doing the right thing

UCT’s Graduate School of Business was among 64 global schools featured in a new guide by the United Nations on the principles of sustainable management education (PRME) published in 2012.

The Inspirational Guide for the Implementation of PRME: Placing sustainability at the heart of management education, an initiative of the UN Global Compact, was launched in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June, on the occasion of the third Global Forum for Responsible Management Education. The Global Compact looks at issues of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption in business.

The guide provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about the implementation of the PRME.

It also seeks to inspire further integration of PRME by highlighting real world examples of the principles in practice at signatory schools and universities.

Speaking about the guide, director of the GSB, Professor Walter Baets said that it is a testament to the innovation of the two South African schools – the GSB and Stellenbosch University Business School – that they are included in the guide.

10. Taking take on the world

With the GSB’s increased presence on the world stage, the school has opened an International Office, which plans to develop an integrated international strategy for the school.

The International Office is designed to be a one-stop-shop for all international affairs and is staffed by Professor John Luiz (director) and Chereen Kolpakova (manager) – pictured left. A third member of the team is Inga van de Ross. The office is handling all international affairs, including the provision of support to other GSB departments on all international administration and locating an international strategy within the GSB’s overall strategic framework. It oversees administration of all the exchange programmes, assists incoming and outgoing international students, drives international research and assists executive education programmes that have an international focus. It also acts as the contact point for the GSB’s international business school partners.

#Special Edition 2014
#Special Edition 2014
#Special Edition 2014
#Special Edition 2014

Rebel with a cause : Q&A

On the eve of his second five-year term at the school, Professor Walter Baets, Director of the UCT GSB, ref lects on milestones achieved and what lies ahead.

You are a Belgian academic with a background in mathematics and modelling. What is your interest in business education and in Africa? What brings you so far out of your way?

Quite simply, I believe in the power of business and business thinking to bring about transformation and to empower people, so the opportunity to head up Africa’s leading business school was too good to pass up. On top of that, South Africa is an irresistible destination; a country that has survived great difficulties and gone on to become a leading force on the continent. I thought, and still do think, that this continent is the new great innovation frontier. South Africa is at the forefront of that and I want to be part of it.

The other reason for my interest is that this is the emerging market decade, so where better to be than in an emerging market? At the GSB, we define emerging as regions (or organisations) that experience conditions of high uncertainty, high complexity, and often, excessive inequality. This means that the paradigm we are developing is relevant not only for so-called emerging countries or regions, but equally for companies operating in or encountering these conditions. Currently, such companies can be found anywhere in the world. The school is dedicated to equipping leaders and managers operating in such contexts with the relevant skills and know-how to be effective. So we are literally working at the cutting edge here and what we are doing has global relevance – that is exciting. Why would I want to be anywhere else?

During your time at the helm, the UCT GSB has become, indisputably, the top school in Africa. It regularly achieves top global rankings and has been voted the top business school on the continent by the QS Business School Survey and Eduniversal. It has also, of course, achieved triple ranking status – one of only three schools in Africa with this accolade. Has it been an explicit part of your strategy to go after rankings and accreditations?

While rankings and accreditation are certainly not the be-all-andend-all of benchmarking a business schools’ performance, to do so well in them is undoubtedly good for the school. The Financial Times ranking of MBAs, for example, is widely regarded as the authoritative measurement of business school quality and being triple-crowned is an achievement worthy of celebration as very few business schools have achieved it.

There is no doubt that our students – especially the international students use the rankings and accreditations as a way to help them make decisions about which school to attend. And we know that our excellent showing in international rankings helps to convince some African students, who would otherwise have gone to the US or the UK to study, to come south to Cape Town instead – we are very proud of that fact.

But they are more than just marketing collateral – they are also an important investment in the quality of a business school. They can play a role in quality control by isolating areas for a business school that could be improved upon. The official purpose of accreditations is to be a tool to improve the quality of education and the research we deliver.

Achieving accreditation is a process of rigorous internal review, evaluation and adjustment, and can take several years to complete. During these years, the school develops and implements a plan to meet the accreditation standards, which requires a high-quality teaching environment, a commitment to continuous improvement and curricula response to the needs of businesses. All accredited schools must also go through a peer review process every five years in order to maintain their accreditation.

But while they are an important benchmark, they should not detract from its focus on developing African-appropriate business schools. We don’t want to recreate Harvard in Africa. We need something that goes beyond that to address the specific challenges that Africa has. If we use the accreditations as a quality improvement exercise, but keep our focus on our own context, I believe we are on the right path.

So, what are the specific challenges facing Africa that business schools must adapt to?

We have learned from the accreditation process and feedback from the accreditation bodies that there are still a lot of misunderstandings about Africa and the role of African business schools – it is clear the world does not see Africa’s promise and African business schools need to play a role in turning this around.

We need to be honest about our challenges: Africa has an acute skills shortage – on top of that, it has a chronic problem with wealth inequality. But at the same time, the continent is hungry for investment and primed for development. African economies have grown annually by 5% over the last few years and the World Bank predicts that average growth will reach 7% by 2016.

One of our central preoccupations is how to get more people the skills they need to take advantage of this momentum. And also, how do we ensure that business becomes more inclusive for more Africans to benefit from economic growth and development?

Business as usual is not going to be an option for Africa. In common with other emerging markets, it needs something different if it is to meet its development challenges. A broader focus on values and ethics, on sustainability and inclusivity means that companies and businesspeople need to look at the value their companies are bringing to communities and people. They need to ask themselves the question: if we ceased to exist tomorrow, what would the world lack?

So, we seek to foster an attitude in our students oriented towards taking action and responsibility, and developing projects with a clear focus on business model innovation. Lecturers need to showcase to students how business, if entrepreneurial and innovative, can contribute towards a thriving economy. This has necessitated a shift in the way we are teaching and also in what we are teaching.

Speaking of teaching, during your time at the GSB, we have seen the launch of several new programmes including the Master’s in Development Finance and most recently, the Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice. Does this mean that business schools are moving away from the MBA?

Business is changing, yes. And if it is changing, business schools should change as well. There is no doubt that the MBA remains relevant in the workplace. Employers generally look favourably upon the MBA qualification because they expect that those who have studied one will have the knowledge and skills to benefit an organisation. But now, beyond the question of whether one should get an MBA is the matter of what type of MBA is available.

One of the trends we have noticed – and this has been validated by research – is that MBAs need to deliver a different skillset to today’s graduates. While earning power remains an important concern, one in five MBA graduates in an Association of MBAs survey stated that sustainable or responsible management insights are the most important thing they want from their MBA – for instance.

Beyond that, there is also a growing need – especially in Africa for more widely accessible business skills training that addresses immediate needs and offers condensed knowledge packages in interactive formats, making them optimal for learning. This is the thinking behind the Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice, launched in 2014, which is aimed at junior and middle managers and seeks to give students basic management knowledge, along with the expertise that comes with the deeper business and psychological insights associated with an MBA.

We cannot keep at one kind of learning when it is clear that more people want and need another kind of education and learning approach. More people want this as it is a way in which skills can be applied very quickly and it is an extremely powerful and effective tool.

In addition to transforming to meet the needs of the market, you also, of course, have to transform internally. Transformation is arguably one of the most vital aspects that South Africa still needs to get right. How has the GSB been getting transformation right?

I have consistently championed transformation at the GSB. The school views transformation as a multifaceted and integrated process, which involves continuous institutional renewal. UCT as a whole has made massive leaps in transformation, including the development of an HIV awareness centre, a sexual harassment office and a disability unit.

Key steps at the GSB in this regard have been the establishment of our own human resources department shortly after I arrived and the introduction of an extensive coaching programme, whereby all staff are entitled to free coaching for their personal development. Another key step has been the reinvigoration of the GSB’s Transformation Forum, which has set new transformation goals. The forum has embarked on an exercise to educate the school about what transformation entails and how wide a sphere it addresses. It is represented on the University’s Transformation and Employment Equity forums, together with representatives from the other faculties and departments.

You have been in Cape Town and at the GSB for five years. What have been the highlights of your tenure so far?

The satisfaction of seeing things moving forward. Two key projects have been the establishment of the Allan Gray Centre for Values-Based Leadership and the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Both of these were founded with funding from lead donors who share our vision for the school and the future of the continent, and they are going from strength to strength. It has been exhilarating to help establish these nodes of academic energy and influence and a privilege to work with the very competent people who are running them. Then, of course, the achievement of our triple-crown accreditation in 2013 was a huge milestone and one that everyone at the school worked extremely hard for. As I mentioned earlier, it is no picnic going after these accreditations and they can only be achieved by virtue of a team effort.

All of this comes together nicely under our market positioning of Full Colour Thinking, which we adopted shortly after I got here. I really like this statement, not only because of its nod towards transformation (from black and white to full colour), but because it captures the essence of what I want to achieve at the GSB: through our research and teaching, we want to challenge taken-for-granted assumptions and practices, and encourage students to do the same. Recognising that there are multiple realities and truths, the GSB teaches students to engage with different ways of understanding what is real and true, leading to the discovery of new tools for living in the midst of complexity. As ancient spiritual wisdom converges with the latest scientific understanding of the world and our place in it, we are finding new answers to the ageold questions of ‘who am I?’ and ‘what am I capable of becoming?’ This creates more entrepreneurial, innovative, creative, resilient and relevant students and organisations. And this is what we are all about.

What have been the challenges?

In common with other African business schools, we struggle with issues of funding, resource constraints and competition from international schools. But over and above these, recruiting top academics has been one of my key challenges. We need the best talent we can get, and we have to do what we can to attract good people. But they also have to be people who have an understanding of the African context, a sympathy for the specific cultures in Africa and a real interest in doing relevant research. I am not sure that we need yet another European or US academic, perfectly fitting the academic culture of the northern hemisphere, but of little added value in Africa. ‘Transfers’ of that kind have not always proven to be successful. Soccer teams (the better ones) tend to focus a lot on youth training, growing their own timber; we should certainly not neglect that. I have been fortunate in managing to attract some quality academics who have joined us in the past five years, bringing a fantastic spectrum of skills and expertise. We now have the largest full-time faculty of any business school in Africa and this puts us in a formidable position.

And what lies ahead?

We have to keep up the momentum and capitalise on the great strides we have already taken. Our focus on values-based leadership and social innovation and entrepreneurship will remain at the core of what we do as we seek to live up to our mission to be a leading emerging market business school that is relevant, excellent and grounded in values. We will also seek to increase our influence on the rest of Africa, building African business schools through our association with the Association of African Business Schools (AABS) and will continue with our strategy to recruit more international students, especially from the rest of Africa. If we claim to be an African business school then we think it is crucial that our classrooms reflect the diversity of Africa.

Our focus on research will remain. Research has been on a steady upward trajectory at the GSB and this must continue. The GSB is forging a new path for business schools, one that is informed by the ebb and flow of the dynamics that define emerging markets. I believe that we have something unique to offer the world. Unlike schools with a more traditional approach to teaching, our students are exposed to the latest in business model innovation through integrative thinking; systems thinking and design thinking; institutional innovation; cross-boundary collaboration; cocreating through the value chain; developmental ventures; and consumer insights through big data analysis.

We will continue to build the MBA and our Executive MBA offering along with the new postgraduate diploma within this framework, and to promote business model and pedagogical innovation through the work of the Solution Space. Rigorous research and academic vigour, and an extremely strong faculty enable students to become confident in their own abilities to approach emerging market issues critically, creatively and proactively, while gaining international exposure.

Also on the horizon is the building of a brand new conference centre on the campus, which will allow us to extend our offering and reach more people, as well as to bring in more partners and collaborators.

Really, I believe that things are only going to get better and better here at Africa’s top business school. Watch this space!

#Special Edition 2014

The times they are a-changing

In the past five years, the GSB has made significant changes to the shape of its academic offerings to be more in line with the needs of the day, culminating in the launch of a new Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice in 2014.

Business schools, like all organisations, have to remain relevant and responsive and the GSB has done much to evolve its offering in recent years to ensure that it is able to maintain its position as the top business school in Africa.

“A business school cannot afford to be divorced from the context in which it operates. As an emerging market institution in a global world, we have to be responsive to the needs of the market – as well as the broader society,” says GSB director, Professor Walter Baets.

Key changes on the academic front since Professor Baets assumed office include an increase in full-time faculty, increased investment in the PhD programme and the launch of several new programmes including a Master’s Programme in Development Finance, an MPhil with a specialisation in inclusive innovation and an innovative Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice. Changes were also made to the MBA programme with the addition of the Social Innovation Lab that now runs as an option on the MBA.

The Solution Space, which opened at the heart of the campus in early 2014, is in many ways a physical manifestation of this transition. Partly modelled on the antidisciplinary approach championed by the MIT Media Lab, the space is an innovation and entrepreneurship hub where learning and action converge to support the development and the incubation of new business models. The space provides a natural home for the school’s new entrepreneurship and innovation programmes and connects these to a wider innovation ecosystem.

Master’s in Development Finance

The UCT GSB, in partnership with the Africagrowth Institute (AGI), is now offering an MPhil (Development Finance) that aims to ensure that Africa produces enough development finance experts to meet the development needs of the continent. The first cohort of 40 students enrolled on the programme in 2011.

“The professional discipline of development finance is still in its infancy. This is worrying, considering that development finance provides vital support structures in financial management applications within governments, private sector institutions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and wider emerging markets,” says progamme director, Professor Nicholas Biekpe. Development finance as a professional discipline is widely practiced in major development finance institutions, including development banks, the World Bank, the IMF, the UN organs, regional and other country-specific development finance institutions, public and private sector institutions, other financial and non-financial organisations, international foundations and NGOs. All central governments around the world frequently use development finance as a professional discipline for the design and implementation of development policies.

MPhil with a specialisation in inclusive innovation

Launched in 2013, the MPhil is an interdisciplinary, research-based degree designed to enable people with big ideas to work collaboratively on the development of sustainable solutions to Africa’s most intractable problems. “Innovation is now firmly recognised as the key driver for growth in both developed and developing economies; but the reality is that the take-up of innovation in Africa, as a key solution to socio-economic issues, is low,” says Dr François Bonnici, director of the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the GSB. “The MPhil is positioned to change this.”

Dr Bonnici says that the MPhil creates the conditions for creative people from across the spectrum of disciplines to work together on complex challenges in what is a vital first step in allowing innovation to thrive in Africa.

Unconstrained by set cultures or organisations, participants work together in a ‘living lab’ environment, where expertise, life experience, passion and innovation all converge to support new possibilities and ideas. In this rich, integrative space, commercial, technological and social innovations all combine to further Africa’s future.

Students are exploring inclusive business model innovation across several themes, including healthcare, education, finance, housing, the environment and sustainability. The solutions generated are, however, not limited to new enterprise creation, and could be taken up by government or civil society. “We are not placing limits on anything,” says Professor Kosheek Sewchurran, director of the Executive MBA at the GSB. “Our goal is radical innovation and sustainable solutions for Africa. We aren’t concerned with the shape or form these take – only that they work.”

The Social Innovation Lab

The Social Innovation (SI) Lab is a pioneering addition to the MBA programme at the UCT GSB that seeks to support and equip purpose-driven people looking to drive social impact in emerging markets.

Introduced in 2011, the lab is an initiative of the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and runs in the second half of the MBA in terms three and four, following the core course. It draws on people and organisations throughout South Africa and internationally and immerses students, both theoretically and practically, in the field of social innovation. The six-month course is a dynamic academic, practical and personal experience. By the end, students will have formed their own approach to social innovation, and will have begun to develop the concepts, mindsets, skills and relationships that will enable them to continue to be effective social innovators.

In recognition of its innovative nature in integrating sustainability into management education, the SI Lab was featured in the Inspirational Guide for the Implementation of Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME), published by the UN in 2012.

Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice

The newest academic offering at the GSB, the Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice, was launched halfway through 2014 to address the lack of qualified and skilled middle managers on the continent.

South African business schools offer excellent top-end and lower-end business qualifications –but there is a gap in the middle of the business education ladder. It is this gap that the new course seeks to plug.

“What we don’t see in South Africa is the kind of qualification that speaks to middle managers and young senior managers, which goes beyond functional insights to include deeper business and psychological understanding that traditionally come with longer and more expensive courses, such as an MBA. At this level, people need not only knowledge of finance and accounting, but also how to go beyond this and use it in a broader framework,” says director of the UCT GSB, Professor Walter Baets.

The PGDip is a pre-master’s programme that builds vital business skills for success in uncertain economic times. It consists of a choice between three specialisation streams: Innovative Leadership, Wine Business or Business Administration.

Saskia Hickey, UCT GSB market intelligence and strategy manager says: “the programme gives participants tools that allow meaningful reflection, challenging individuals on a personal as well as professional level.”

Hickey adds that an important difference between the new PGDip course and traditional management programmes is that in the PGDip there is real integration between subjects, which allows crucial insights into how sections like marketing, accounting and finance all come together in a company or organisation.

#Special Edition 2014



Believing that an investment in faculty is an investment in quality, the UCT GSB now has the largest complement of full-time faculty of any business school on the continent.

New faculty to have joined the UCT GSB in the past five years include:


Geoff Bick joined the GSB in 2012 as Professor of Marketing. He previously held the Coca-Cola Africa Chair of Marketing at Wits Business School (WBS), where he was also the director of academic programmes. He has many years of work experience, first as an engineer, then as a marketing consultant and practitioner for various organisations, prior to joining WBS. Professor Bick lectures various marketing modules on academic programmes to MBA and other students, as well as on executive programmes, including the Chartered Marketer workshop. He has won a number of teaching awards and supervised many students with their research reports.


Nicholas Biekpe is currently Professor of Development Finance and Econometrics and programme director of the MCom in Development Finance at the GSB. Widely regarded as a leading expert in emerging economies, Professor Biekpe is also president of the Africagrowth Institute, managing director of African Investment Climate Research, and visiting senior research fellow at the Queen’s University Belfast (UK). Professor Biekpe helped develop the MCom in Development Finance at the UCT GSB in 2010 and now runs this programme, which is the only one of its kind in the country.

François Bonnici joined the UCT GSB in November 2011 as the director of the newly established Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. From a strongly socially-minded family, he started his journey as a doctor in the South African healthcare system, seeking creative solutions for systemic problems and business approaches to improving management decisions. Dr Bonnici is a senior advisor and former head of Africa and the Middle East at the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and Global Leadership, and a fellow of the World Economic Forum.

Verena Bitzer is a postdoctoral research fellow at the UCT GSB and feels strongly that for innovation to be successful, it needs to be realised that it is a collective activity, generally involving many different people and organisations. She has a PhD from Utrecht University in the Netherlands on cross-sector partnerships and global value chains and has done international research on co-innovation for quality in African food chains. It is this work that brought her to the UCT GSB, where she is researching innovation that has a social or environmental purpose.

Richard Chivaka joined the UCT GSB as an associate professor in April 2010 with a research focus on supply chain management and strategic cost management. Zimbabwean-born Associate Professor Chivaka obtained a BCom (Hons) in Accounting from the National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe and an MSc in Accounting and Finance from the University of Manchester, England. In 2003, he received his PhD in Accounting from UCT where his thesis focused on value creation through strategic cost management in the supply chain.  In 2009, he formed and became director of the Advancement of Business Competitiveness (ABC) Research Unit at UCT. In addition, he has consulted to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation Infrastructure Supplier Benchmarking Programme for South Africa. At the GSB, Associate Professor Chivaka lectures on strategic cost management and supply chain management on Executive Education courses and the Executive MBA.

Preeya Daya, formerly HR Projects Manager at South African Breweries, joined the UCT GSB in April 2010 as a senior lecturer, just months away from graduating with a PhD that focused on diversity and inclusion. Daya lectures in HR and organisational behaviour, bringing her private sector expertise with SAB – consistently ranked as one of SA’s best companies to work for – to the classroom. She served as the chair of the GSB’s transformation portfolio as part of her responsibilities at the school.

Sean Gossel, who joined the GSB in 2011 as a senior lecturer in finance, is no stranger to the school, having completed his MBA at the GSB in 2004/2005.  Gossel’s diverse career began as an American and South African commercial pilot and instructor. Thereafter, he studied financial accounting through UNISA before completing his MBA. While at the GSB, he completed his PhD on a Macroeconometric Analysis of South Africa’s Capital Flow Components. Gossel is involved in both the MBA and the Master’s in Development Finance programmes. More specifically, his contribution includes lecturing MBA finance and MPhil financial risk management, as well as supervising quantitative research reports on both programmes.

Stephanie Giamporcaro is a senior lecturer at the GSB and was appointed research director at the school in 2014. She is also a research associate at the Environmental Economics Policy Research Unit (EPRU), housed at the UCT School of Economics.  In 2006, she obtained her PhD in social sciences, studying the implementation of sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) approaches in France.  Her interests have since expanded to researching SRI in Africa. Formerly, she was the head of Sustainable and Responsible Investment Research for Novethic, a professional research centre on sustainability in Paris and a subsidiary of Caisse des Dépôts, one of the biggest French public investment groups.

Ralph Hamann joined the GSB on a contractual basis in September 2009 and was made an associate professor in January 2010. In 2014, he was awarded a full professorship at the school after successfully building the school’s research agenda over four years as research director. Professor Hamann has an impressive academic track record and was awarded the Hiddingh-Currie award for his co-edited book, The Business of Sustainable Development in Africa: Human rights, partnership and alternative business models, as well as first prize in a case study competition held by the Unit for Corporate Governance in Africa at the University of Stellenbosch Business School. He co-convenes the research methods programme and runs an elective on sustainable enterprise for the MBA and teaches on a number of other programmes, including the Executive MBA. He completed his doctorate at the University of East Anglia in the UK in 2004. His research thesis focused on Corporate Social Responsibility in the South African mining sector.

Mundia Kabinga is an Old Mutual Emerging Markets lecturer at the GSB, having previously worked at the GSB’s Management Programme in Infrastructure Reform and Regulation (MIR), and the School of Business at the Copperbelt University, Zambia. His main research interests are on capabilities and knowledge-based theory of the firm, and trying to use this to explain greenfield and cross-industry innovations at the base of the pyramid. He also works on the political economy of public services, looking at how policy and sector reform processes impact on capability structure and performance of public utilities in the electricity and water sectors.

Farai Kapfudzaruwa moved to Cape Town from Zimbabwe in 2006 to do his MPhil in Environmental Management, doing research in the Environmental and Geographical Sciences Department and the Environmental Evaluation Unit at UCT. At the UCT GSB, his focus is on sustainable enterprise and emergent change and he looks at corporate social responsibility and environmental management.  He is working on inclusive business and social development issues in the mining sector. His research looks at influencing policy and he studies companies that have integrated their corporate social responsibility into their operations.

Tim London is one of the newest additions to the GSB faculty, having joined the Allan Gray Centre for Values- Based Leadership as a senior lecturer in June 2014. Previously the director of programmes at the Institute of Continuing Education at the University of Cambridge in the UK, Dr London started out on the front lines as a school teacher, before moving into other aspects of education, including developing and leading a school, as well as work with a non-profit foundation and the American Federation of Teachers. His current work focuses on the importance of developing core values and how leaders, in all sectors, can use values to strengthen, develop and focus their organisations. He has several degrees and qualifications including a Doctorate in Leadership, Policy and Organisations (Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, US) and is currently studying an MBA through the University of Liverpool, UK.

John Luiz joined the faculty as a full professor in September 2011 and heads up the school’s International Affairs Office. He was previously international programmes director at the Wits Business School and brings with him an impressive academic track record. He started his 20-year academic career in the economics department of Wits University, before moving to the Wits Business School in 2003. Previously he was also executive dean in the Faculty of Management at the University of Johannesburg. Professor Luiz is widely published in journals, books and cases, and has been an NRF-rated researcher since 2003. He was a visiting scholar at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1999, 2006 and 2011, and a research affiliate at Columbia University in 2006. He also sits on the editorial board of the South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences and the South African Journal of Business Management.

Warren Nillson joined the UCT GSB in August 2011 as a senior lecturer. Born and raised in the United States, Dr Nillson completed his PhD in organisational studies at McGill University in Montreal. He has worked in the community economic development sector for over a decade and his research involves exploring the ways in which organisations become agents of meaningful social change. Looking to explore his work in different contexts, he has travelled to India, where he became involved in social purpose organisations and projects. He and his wife also spent time in Zimbabwe, investigating an eco-village that was started locally and built on sustainable principles.

Eliada Nwosu joined the UCT GSB as a senior lecturer in October 2010. Dr Nwosu received her doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh at the end of 2009, where she specialised in international developments in economics and global political economics. Prior to this she completed her bachelor’s degree at prominent Ivy League university, Yale, before going on to study her Master’s in International Development at the University of Pittsburgh. The GSB post is her first academic appointment, but not her first introduction to South Africa – she completed an internship at the Africa Institute of South Africa in Pretoria in 2003, while completing her masters. At the UCT GSB, Dr Nwosu will be contributing research and teaching to the arenas of social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship in emerging African markets.

Kutlwano Ramaboa is a senior lecturer in research methodology and quantitative methods at the UCT GSB. Dr Ramaboa completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at UCT and worked for a marketing research company before returning to UCT, where she completed her PhD studies. On her return to UCT, she worked for the Alternative Admissions Research Project (AARP), a unit responsible for developing university entrance aptitude tests. She later moved to the Department of Statistical Sciences, where she taught a variety of statistics courses, and was involved with the supervision of postgraduate students.

Steven Nabieu Rogers joined the Old Mutual Fellowship team at the GSB in 2013 as the good governance and infrastructural development researcher, focusing on how property market issues affect development in Africa. He was previously research associate at the School of Urban and Public Affairs, University of Texas, Arlington, USA, where he conducted applied research studies for city planners and city managers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.  Before joining the GSB, Rogers also prepared and delivered customised strategic planning and management assistance to city planners and managers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Johannes Schüler joined the GSB as senior lecturer, facilitating the Innovation & Entrepreneurship core course as well as the Planning New Ventures elective on the MBA programme. Passionate about entrepreneurship and the African continent, in addition to his lecturing role at the GSB he has also led several teams of MBA students to successfully compete at the annual John Molsen International Case Competition.

Kosheek Sewchurran joined the GSB as associate professor in innovation management and information systems in July 2012. Associate Professor Sewchurran seeks to encourage a desirable tension between professions, regimes of best practices and research to usher in new models of business practice. In 2014, he accepted the position of programme director of the Executive MBA, where he continues to work towards developing systems for inclusive business models to benefit society.

Elanca Shelley joined the school as a permanent, part-time senior lecturer in November 2010, after five years’ contract lecturing at the school.  She brings to her position many years of wideranging experience and perspectives. Her career has spanned a vast range of activities, from a lieutenant-commander in the Defence Force to a teacher. Shelley has an Executive MBA from the UCT GSB and is primarily involved in teaching.

Beverley Shrand was appointed senior lecturer at the UCT GSB in November 2010. She has a business science degree from UCT, where she also went on to lecture part-time in marketing before joining the GSB in a temporary capacity.  She spent many years teaching, but also climbed the corporate ladder with positions including magazine circulation manager and Africa divisional manager, where she controlled the magazine’s interests in Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. Shrand has an MBA from the UCT GSB.  In 2009, she conducted qualitative research for the school, and then started marking, first as an external examiner and then as an internal examiner. She is currently responsible for the academic coordination of several programmes.

Nosakhere Griffen-EL has brought to the UCT GSB a passion for social innovation and entrepreneurial inspiration. He works primarily with the school’s social innovation and entrepreneurship students through the Solution Space. Dr Griffen-EL pursued graduate studies in educational leadership at the University of Pittsburgh in the United States and is a firm advocate for educational reform at all levels of schooling. He believes that education is one of the most important fundamental human rights.

Ncecu Nyathi joined the business school as a senior lecturer in the Allan Gray Centre for Values-Based Leadership in 2013. With a background in management, organisational theory and intercultural leadership, the Zimbabweanborn, UK-educated Dr Nyathi believes the GSB is already well on its way to facilitating a new values-based leadership in South Africa. Prior to his appointment at the UCT GSB, he was a lecturer at the Open University Business School in England, where he taught leadership and management in intercultural contexts at MBA level. He also taught numerous MBA and BAlevel management courses at the University of Leicester. Dr Nyathi is a founding member of the Africa Academy of Management.
#Special Edition 2014

Engaged enquiry in a complex world: Research at the GSB

The past five years has seen a flowering of research at the UCT GSB, with an increase in PhD students as well as a rise in publication count. But beyond the numbers, faculty and students report a vibrant and collegial environment where they are encouraged to think ambitiously and creatively and to engage with the challenges of the day. In 2014, the UCT Graduate School of Business celebrated a record intake of PhD students, a clear indication that the school’s renewed emphasis on research is paying off. In the past few years, research has gone from strength to strength at the school with 27 students registered for the PhD programme in 2014, including nine international students, and the highest research output to date being registered in 2013.

“An active research community is the foundation for our claim to be a leading business school with high aspirations,” says Professor Ralph Hamann, who was the director of research at the school until 2014. He believes research allows faculty and students to be part of rigorous global discussions around critical questions facing business in South Africa and further afield and helps to build knowledge that has both a practical and theoretical impact.

“Without such engaged scholarship, our work is based on second-hand and outdated debates and truth claims,” he says.

Professor Hamann says the Financial Times also considers research an important category. The publication uses it as a key metric to create its annual ranking of the top 100 MBA programmes.

The investment in student research also contributes to the UCT GSB’s growing publication output. GSB faculty and students published a total of 40 peer-reviewed scholarly publications in 2013, including 26 journal papers, nine books or book chapters and four accredited conference papers.

Professor Hamann says that research is central to the UCT GSB’s mission and values. It has an important influence on teaching, learning and community service, and on positioning the school as a leader in emerging economies.

In line with its academic vision, the UCT GSB research is structured along three clear lines: social innovation and sustainability; values-based leadership; and emerging markets finance, investment and trade.

Geographically, the UCT GSB is in one of the most interesting learning laboratories in the world, in a society and economy in which people are making the transition from agrarian and feudal lifestyles to modern consumer lifestyles and careers within the span of a lifetime. This sociopolitical and economic transition presents GSB researchers with a special opportunity to conduct emerging market research that is of interest to the leading international scholarly journals in all management disciplines and contributes to the well-being of diverse stakeholders.

New strategies have been put in place in the past five years to improve research output even further. Along with the financial stimulation provided by the newly established Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Allan Gray Centre for Values-Based Leadership and the new Old Mutual Research Fellowships, the focus now is on supporting and incentivising good research.

The GSB seeks to increase the quality, quantity and relevance of research that is transforming and transformative, selectively comprehensive, locally responsive and engaged and globally competitive.

Research milestones

Some recent milestones for research at the GSB include the awarding of NRF research ratings to two new faculty members and the establishment of a research working group.

NRF ratings

Roughly 20% of GSB faculty are NRF-rated researchers. These figures improve further if visiting faculty members are included. UCT GSB visiting faculty, including Emeritus Associate Professor Chris Breen and Professor Enrico Uliana, also have NRF ratings. Rated faculty are: Professor Walter Baets, Professor John Luiz, Professor Ralph Hamann, Professor Thomas Koeble, Professor Nicholas Biekpe and senior lecturer, Dr Chipo Mlambo, as well as Professor Geoff Bick and Associate Professor Kosheek Sewchurran. The NRF acknowledges researchers who have an outstanding record of new research. The successful rating allows the researchers access to international funding, as well as incentive funding from the NRF, and is used as a national indicator of excellence.

Research Working Group

In 2011, the Research Working Group was established with the following aims:

  • To consider and provide guidelines on the GSB research strategy;
  • To support the continuous revision and updating of these research policies and guidelines;
  • To guide the development and implementation of research degrees or research work contributing to a degree;
  • To act as the GSB Ethics in Research Committee; and
  • To support the maintenance and enhancement of the quality of GSB research and its outputs. This includes assessing nominations for research awards or other applications for GSB support for research, and mediating in possible disputes surrounding the credibility or legitimacy of GSB research outputs.

The group consists of Professor Ralph Hamann, Professor Thomas Koelble, Professor Kurt April, Professor Anton Eberhard, Dr Sean Gossel, Dr Mlenga Jere, Professor John Luiz, Dr Shadrick Mazaza and Dr Chipo Mlambo.

Incentive system

A new incentive system has been established to promote research among faculty through efforts to ensure that research activities and outputs feature prominently in performance criteria, and this includes non-faculty staff members, students and other affiliated researchers. In 2010, the first publications award scheme was implemented. Researchers stand to win significant monetary awards for their research output.

Writing circle

Another initiative launched by the research director in 2010 was the writing circle that provides peer review and coaching to researchers. In 2011, the writing circle joined a dedicated three-day workshop cohosted by UCT’s Research Office.

Research events

Regular research events are held at the school in a drive to enrich the quality of research thinking at the school. Leading international and local academics are hosted at lunch-time presentations or longer conferences such as the Business of Social and Environmental Innovation (BSEI) Conference. Launched in 2011, the BSEI conference is now in its fourth year and is rapidly gaining credibility as one of the continent’s leading conferences dedicated to creating a better understanding of the role of business and organisational thinking in resolving societal issues, especially from an African perspective.

PhD programme and PRC series

In recent years research has become an ‘explicit priority’ at the GSB and the PhD programme is an essential component of the business school’s research strategy. PhD students participate in a structured research programme while they are at the school, which provides them with the theoretical and methodological foundations for their research projects. During their studies they are supported by a rigorous PhD and Research Colloquium (PRC) series consisting of about five events a year.

“Previously, many of our PhD students were engaging in their studies on a relatively casual, part-time basis, without much support from the school. We realised that this was not a feasible approach if we wanted to create a serious scholarly culture at the UCT GSB,” Professor Hamann says. “This is why the PRC series is such an important development and I am particularly grateful to my faculty colleagues and, of course, the students themselves for making these workshops as stimulating and productive as they are.”

PhD students should graduate from the UCT GSB not only with an internationally recognised PhD qualification, demonstrating thought leadership in their area of specialisation, but also a broader understanding of and passion for research. PhD candidates are expected to make an original contribution to theory, while also addressing practical organisational or social challenges. While the primary guidance to PhD candidates is provided by the PhD supervisor, fellow PhD students and other faculty provide a rich network of support and interaction.

Old Mutual Research Fellowship

Unquestionably, this research association with Old Mutual is an enormous boost to the UCT GSB’s research culture and faculty development. In terms of the new agreement, young PhD researchers will be given good funding to work on emerging market research around the UCT GSB’s key research themes. Each is being mentored by an experienced researcher at the GSB, and is working in cooperation with the Old Mutual Centre for Emerging Markets. Old Mutual has made R8.3 million available over a three-year period for this research collaboration.

#Special Edition 2014

Africa: The new innovation frontier

The UCT GSB is fast building its reputation as the business school for social innovation and entrepreneurship in an emerging market context, based on its firm belief that business schools need to encourage innovative thinking and generate new ideas to meet the unique challenges of the continent.

South Africa – and indeed the entire African continent – struggles with the paradox that while it is probably among the richest in the world (from a minerals point of view), the population is on average very poor and unemployment is high.

Africa is billed as the next growth region, however for economic growth to be sustainable there is an imperative to unleash Africa’s ingenuity and innovation capabilities to create and grow wealth from the ‘inside out’. Responding to social and economic innovation imperatives is complex but exciting, says Professor Walter Baets, director of the UCT GSB.

“While many people view Africa as the dark continent, I see it as the newest great innovation frontier,” he writes in a recent column in Fast Company magazine – newly launched in South Africa.

For this reason, much of Professor Baets’ work at the UCT GSB since his appointment in 2009 has been geared towards giving flesh to this belief.

Starting with the establishment of the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship in June 2011, and continuing with the successful launch of the Solution Space at the school in 2014; the last five years have been punctuated by several innovation highlights.

Highlighting African innovation on the global stage

One of the key strategies of the Bertha Centre has been to work with and support emerging entrepreneurs from Africa – specifically student entrepreneurs – through a Student Social Venture Programme, with the aim of increasing African representation at global social venture competitions.

Director of the Bertha Centre, Dr François Bonnici, says that in the past, African teams have not featured much in global competitions because they did not get the support or sponsorship they needed and weren’t encouraged to enter such events.

“Our firm belief in setting up the UCT Student Social Venture Programme at the GSB was that student social ventures of global standards were being developed in South Africa, and not just at UCT, that deserve our support. We are extremely proud of our students!”

This belief has been borne out. Since the programme was established, it has produced two teams who went on to compete successfully – and win – at global competitions. In 2013, the Reel Gardening team won both the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC), the world’s pre-eminent social business plan competition, and the Hult Prize London regional competitions, beating 50 other universities, and was one of six teams globally to compete in the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative. And in 2014, The UCT GSB team, Lumkani (formerly Khusela), won the GSVC People’s Choice award for its low-cost fire detection device and integrated alert service designed for shack-dwellers. In South Africa, there are an average of 10 shack fires a day, with someone dying in a shack fire every other day, according to Abahlali base Mjondolo, a South African shack-dwellers’ movement.

Both businesses continue to go from strength to strength, thanks in part to the funding and mentorship that these awards have afforded them.

Innovation partnerships

Through the Bertha Centre, the GSB has established several significant partnerships that further its innovation capacity and open it up to new fields including health, education and social franchising.

In 2012, the centre won a bid to host the Centre for Education Innovations – South Africa (CEISA), one of several global hubs working with the Washington-based Results for Development Institute (R4D) and funded by the Department for International Development (DFID).

CEI aims to increase access to quality education for learners from disadvantaged communities by identifying, analysing and connecting non-state education innovations. The idea is to identify successful innovations and assist with scaling these up to benefit more people.

In the health realm, the GSB has formed an alliance with the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences to launch the Inclusive Innovation Initiative (iHI): a new platform for Africans to tackle health on the continent that will focus on generating creative and innovative solutions that cut across disciplines and sectors.

The iHI will serve as a collaborative, crosssectoral and transdisciplinary platform and promote a needs-based, empathy-driven approach to healthcare innovation. Support for the initiative has been received from the National departments of Health and Science and Technology, the South African Medical Research Council and the Technology Innovation Agency.

In 2014, the initiative hosted a hugely successful health hackathon and an exceptionally well attended Inclusive Innovation Healthcare Summit.

Also in 2014, the Bertha Centre announced the launch of the world’s first Social Franchising Accelerator, which was established in partnership with the International Centre for Social Franchising (ICSF) and Franchising Plus. With funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, the initiative is a unique academic-NGO-private sector partnership and will help meet the needs of poor and vulnerable people across the country by supporting and scaling up successful social impact organisations.

“Using the tools of commercial franchising, which have proven to be highly effective in growing businesses, creating local ownership and economic wealth, the idea behind the Social Franchising Accelerator is to take successful social impact organisations and create the systems and support necessary to replicate these effectively,” says Dr Bonnici.

Inclusive innovation studies

In the academic space, there have been several shifts at the UCT GSB. These include the introduction of the Social Innovation Lab as a stream on the MBA and an MPhil with a specialisation in Inclusive Innovation. Both of these initiatives find a natural home in the Solution Space, established in 2014 as a dedicated innovation space at the heart of the campus.

“Through the Solution Space, we signal our intention to encourage a new generation of business graduates to think differently about how they engage with the world and how they make money and add value,” says Professor Baets.

Like other innovation hubs on the continent – such as Kenyan-based technology centre i-hub (one of Fast Company’s most innovative companies in 2014) – the Solution Space also houses start-ups and seeks to connect entrepreneurs to each other and to opportunities in the form of advice and funding, in addition to its teaching and learning activities.

“The Solution Space is an opportunity to experiment in a real space with real people,” says Professor Baets. “And because complex challenges demand collaboration and partnership, the space will be a nexus between industry, government, academia and civil society.”

Each year, the Bertha Centre offers several scholarships to students to study on both of these programmes. And increasingly, the programmes are acting as a drawcard for students – who see the school as the preeminent hub for education and research in social innovation and entrepreneurship.

In 2013, an informal poll of students on the MBA revealed that 60% of them chose to study at the GSB because of this emphasis.

“The opportunities are there for the taking for those who are able and willing to think in full colour and open their minds to them,” says Professor Baets. “And we aim to help people to see and achieve this.”

#Special Edition 2014

Full colour Thinking

The positioning adopted by the GSB shortly after Professor Walter Baets took over the school in 2009, the full colour thinking mantra has found its way into the heart of the school.

“At the UCT Graduate School of Business we recognise that as many of the old social and business structures and ways of thinking are breaking down, we stand at a unique point in human history with exciting possibilities for individuals and organisations.”

So says Professor Walter Baets, director of the school, who adds that the UCT GSB, which is consistently rated as the best business school in Africa, is a school on the move with a vibrant and pioneering spirit.

“We believe that in emerging markets, ‘business as usual’ is no longer the way to achieve sustainable success – managers need an expanded skillset that creates new models of business. We see our role as enablers of these new ways of thinking and behaving. We challenge taken-for-granted assumptions and practices, and cultivate in managers an ability to draw from a full spectrum of disciplines and cultures,” explains Professor Baets.

For him, this is the kernel of the school’s ‘full colour thinking’ philosophy, a positioning devised by advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi shortly after Professor Baets took the helm in 2009.

“What is missing in business schools is that we often have one view, one focus. But if you really want to understand difficult markets you need to have multiple views and perspectives. I thought it was a nice play on words where you have the whole black and white history of apartheid – the notion of full colour thinking, of going beyond what you know, going beyond the classical ways of understanding business was apposite.”

The philosophy has permeated much of the GSB’s culture over the past few years – both in the way it approaches its research and teaching and, more tangibly, in the GSB environment – a key part of what makes a successful business school. The GSB’s exceptional campus is a huge resource for both students and staff.

In recent years, the physical environment at the GSB has undergone a full colour facelift. Parts of the common areas have been painted and the GSB’s values, vision and mission have been articulated as artworks installed across the campus.

This reinforces the school’s commitment to living these statements of intent, appeals to people’s curiosity and stimulates their ability to think in full colour. One of the perks is that staff are now able to request that their offices be painted one of the colours from the full colour thinking palette. The uptake of this has been significant.

In recent years, a new tradition, whereby MBA classes collectively create a dramatic full colour mural, has also emerged, further adding to the celebration, creativity and playfulness inherent in these three small words.

#2 Summer 2014

News Round-up

New Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice to plug skills gap


IMAGE: To celebrate the launch of the Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice a special mural was created in a single day on the UCT GSB campus. Although later painted over, the sequence was filmed for a promotional video which can be viewed on the UCT GSB YouTube page.
The University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) is launching a new postgraduate diploma to overcome the lack of qualified and skilled middle managers that is aggravating Africa’s already turbulent economy.

South African business schools offer excellent top-end and lower-end business qualifications – but there is a gap in the middle of the business education ladder. It is this gap that the UCT GSB aims to fill with its important new course – the Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice (PGDip).

“What we don’t see in South Africa is the kind of qualification that speaks to middle managers and young senior managers and which goes beyond functional insights. At this level, people need not only knowledge of finance and accounting, but also how to go beyond this and use it in a broader framework,” says director of the UCT GSB, Professor Walter Baets.

The PGDip, which will run for the first time in 2015, is a pre-master’s programme that builds vital business skills for success in uncertain economic times. It offers a choice between three specialisation streams: Innovative Leadership, Wine Business or Business Administration.

Baets believes companies need employees who are skilled at postgraduate level, who have some kind of basic management knowledge but need the expertise that comes with the deeper business and psychological insights that traditionally come with longer and more expensive courses such as an MBA. “This is where there is a lot lacking in competence in South Africa. It’s not at the top, but in the management positions where people lack basic knowledge and integrative insights,” he says.

Saskia Hickey, UCT GSB market intelligence and strategy manager says “the programme gives participants tools that allow meaningful reflection, challenging individuals on a personal as well as professional level.” Hickey adds that an important difference between the new PGDip course and traditional management programmes is that in the PGDip there is real integration between subjects, which allows crucial insights into how sections like marketing, accounting and finance all come together in a company or organisation.

The programme takes a systems thinking and action learning approach, a proven educational method developed and perfected over several years at the UCT GSB in its other business education courses. Students implement knowledge in their workplaces in between modules via action learning projects. This means companies and organisations see immediate benefits from employees participating in the course – while individuals are able to witness how theories work in practice – a valuable educational tool.

Professor Baets believes that in the future, business schools will develop more postgraduate diplomas as these address immediate needs and offer condensed knowledge packages in interactive formats, making them optimal for learning.

“We all like to think we are good in management practice without having had any training and of course, there are a few exceptions but there can only be so many Richard Bransons and Bill Gateses. For most people, it can help enormously to get this kind of structured approach and in one year, they can obtain enough information to contribute vastly to their organisation or company.”

Professor Baets says business schools have to respond to the needs of society. “We cannot keep at one kind of learning when it is clear that more people want and need another kind of education and learning approach. “More people want this as it is a way in which skills can be applied very quickly and it is an extremely powerful and effective tool,” he says.

Business roundtables focus on the big issues of the day

IMAGE: At one of the recent UCT GSB business roundtables to discuss the BRICS bank were Mills Soko, associate professor at the UCT GSB and Michele Ruiters, Africa integration specialist at the Development Bank of Southern Africa.
The UCT GSB has initiated a series of high-level business roundtables aimed at facilitating and stimulating debate on issues of key economic and social importance for South Africa and the broader African continent.

Series organiser, GSB Associate Professor Mills Soko says that the events are designed to get business leaders, policymakers, academics and civil society representatives literally around a table to flesh out some of the pressing issues of the day. Topics covered since the series was initiated in May include a debate on the future of mining in South Africa following the protracted platinum strike, an assessment of EU/South African economic relations, a preview of the US/Africa Leaders Summit, and a discussion on South Africa’s role in the newly-established BRICS bank.

“As interest grows in South Africa as a global economic player, it is becoming more critical that we are well informed and asking the right questions about these issues,” says Soko.

“Universities and business schools must play a key role in facilitating and stewarding these conversations. We want to deploy the school’s convening power to promote structured dialogue around current socioeconomic and business challenges. As Africa’s top business school, we believe we are well placed to lead this process.”

The UK connection

The UCT GSB has launched a UK alumni club, to give graduates based in the UK more opportunities to connect with each other and to stay in touch with the newest thinking in the business world.

Dubbed The Graduates, the club plans to convene four unique events each year. It held its inaugural dinner on Monday 13th October with guest speaker James Espey OBE. The annual subscription fee for membership of The Graduates will be given 100% to the newly launched Alumni Endowment Fund, which will be used to fund bursaries for talented students from less privileged backgrounds to study at the UCT GSB.

Newly appointed Fundraiser at the GSB Peter Wingrove says, “The UCT GSB is the top business school in Africa, but to remain the best, it needs to be able to fund world-class international faculty as well as deserving students, regardless of their financial circumstances.”

Wingrove says he plans to have a UCT GSB endowment in place by 2016 when the school celebrates if 50th anniversary.

GSB energy expert appointed to top national body

Energy and infrastructure expert Professor Anton Eberhard has been appointed to the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI) – an advisory body to the Department of Science and Technology on the role and contribution of science, mathematics, innovation and technology, including indigenous technologies, in promoting and achieving national objectives.

Professor Eberhard, who directs the Management Programme in Infrastructure Reform and Regulation at the UCT GSB and is a member of the National Planning Commission, is an advocate for the reform of state-owned utilities to improve the supply and access to electricity in emerging countries on the African continent.

“Innovation is the key to finding new ways to address the many challenges South Africa faces in the fields of science and technology. We need to find our own solutions to our infrastructure and technological challenges. And we are up to the task,” he said.


The UCT GSB is a key partner in the local version of FAST COMPANY magazine – the US’s most popular and progressive business media brand – which launched in South Africa in October.

The school’s director, Professor Walter Baets, sits on the editorial board of the publication and has also been invited to contribute a monthly column. “We are really excited to be associated with this prestigious publication,” said UCT GSB marketing director Saskia Hickey. “FAST COMPANY celebrates a new breed of innovative and creative thought leaders who are actively inventing the future of business and this fits perfectly with the GSB brand.”

FAST COMPANY will be published in South Africa by Insights Publishing in Cape Town and edited by Robbie Stammers, former editor-in-chief of Leadership Magazine.

GSB hosts African business educators

IMAGE: Dr Nosakhere Griffin-EL.
Business educators from across Africa were urged to think more innovatively in order to offer relevant and meaningful training to the continent’s future business leaders at two events hosted by the Association of African Business Schools (AABS) at the UCT GSB in July.

While the latest economic data shows continuing strong economic growth for countries on the African continent – and specifically in West and East Africa – there is a danger that the opportunities created by this new wealth will not translate into benefits for Africans and will only increase the gap between rich and poor. According to Dr Nosakhere Griffin-EL, lecturer in inclusive innovation at the UCT GSB, finding ways to make businesses better, not only financially but also socially and culturally relevant, should be one of the core functions of business schools in Africa.

The two events; the AABS Case Teaching and Writing Course and the Teaching Master Class – Design Thinking and Innovation, sought to explore ways for educators in business disciplines to become better teachers and to help them think more innovatively. One of the highlights was the participation of Harvard business administration professor Srikant Datar, one of the world’s top design and innovation thinking experts.

UCT GSB director, Professor Walter Baets, is the incumbent chairperson of the AABS, an organisation of more than 30 African business schools.

GSB team heads for MBA Olympics

IMAGE: From left: Chris Human, Robyn Moor, Ralph Thomas, Caryn Jeenes, Johannes Schüler.
A team of students from the UCT Graduate School of Business will compete for the third year running at the prestigious John Molson International Case Competition, in Montreal, Canada, this January.

The oldest and largest case competition in the world, 150 students from 36 business schools in 14 countries compete each year.

“This is a great honour, as the event is traditionally oversubscribed, with a long waiting list of international business schools hoping for a spot,” says GSB lecturer and team coach Johannes Schüler.

The team consisting of Chris Human and Robyn Moor from the modular MBA, and Ralph Thomas, and Caryn Jeenes from the full-time MBA class of 2014 was selected after a rigorous process of elimination. An initial selection of sixteen hopefuls were put through a gruelling training process “starting with a deep-end weekend of five cases and some pretty blunt feedback sessions”, before pitting their wits against each other in a series of simulations. The two teams left standing went head to head and presented their solutions to a DeBeers business case at the annual Consulting Conference hosted at the GSB on 9th September.

The winning team will be heading to Montreal on Boxing Day to fit in some more team preparation before the event starts on 4th January.

“Despite the high stakes, the atmosphere was pretty friendly and supportive,” says Chris Human. “Personally, I would say that I’ve learnt more during the case study prep sessions than in any other single part of my MBA experience so far, and that is saying a lot. It’s is an awesome experience and a privilege and, of course, there is more coaching to come.”

#2 Summer 2014


Dr Stephanie Giamporcaro


Academics should strive to do research that deals with real challenges and opportunities in society, says Dr Stephanie Giamporcaro, senior lecturer and the new research director at the UCT GSB.

“Meaningful research is very important at the GSB. The school, which is one of just 60 around the world to have triple crown accreditation, participates and collaborates at an international level,” says Dr Giamporcaro. This necessitates a strong research mission that is in line with the business school’s vision, which is to become a leading business school in emerging economies through a values-based and sustainable business approach.

Dr Giamporcaro came to the business school in October 2011 as a senior lecturer in finance and has been very involved in research initiatives, like the PhD programme and research design and methodology workshop.

Promoting PhD students and developing them into world-class researchers with a passion for research is one of her key objectives as research director. “PhD students should graduate from the UCT GSB, not only with an internationally recognised PhD qualification, demonstrating thought leadership in their area of specialisation, but also a broader understanding of and love for research,” she says, adding that they must be able to make an original contribution to theory, while also addressing practical, social or organisational challenges.

Dr Giamporcaro’s own field of interest is responsible investment, which relates to all three clusters of research at the school – social innovation and sustainability; values-based leadership; and emerging market finance, investment and trade. One element of her research looks at the extent to which individuals in South Africa control or play a part in the way their pensions and savings contributions are used and invested by the companies they work for. She is also the lead researcher on the Africa Investment for Impact Barometer, an annual publication that offers a snapshot of the investment for impact market in Africa.

She says other faculty at the UCT GSB are working on similarly interesting research projects. “We try to use our expertise as researchers to mainstream certain ideas and develop them into usable frameworks for business and people in organisations. We want to be engaged with business in bringing about change for more responsible and ethical business choices,” she says.

Dr Tim London


Do not undervalue the resilience that three to five simple, sturdy, honest core values, expressed succinctly, can give a business, particularly in times of crisis, says Dr Tim London, formerly of the UK’s University of Cambridge, who joined the team at the Allan Gray Centre for Values Based Leadership at the UCT GSB in August.

“The global economy has placed a premium on values-based leadership, and the South African economy is an ideal place to put it into practice, particularly as it has been examining the notion of values and asking the questions: if we are different to 30 years ago, how has the country changed since the onset of democracy?”

Dr London says that it is an interesting time to be in South Africa and at the UCT GSB, particularly as the Allan Gray Centre for Values-Based Leadership, which was established in 2011, is itself relatively new. “South Africa is very interestingly placed at present as it comes out of apartheid and assumes its role in BRICS (an acronym given to the association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and evolves into an emerged market,” he says.

Dr London, latterly the director of programmes at the Institute of Continuing Education at the University of Cambridge, England, was raised in Minnesota in the US, and has worked all around the world, including Northern Ireland, the US, Georgia and Saipan, the largest of the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific, as well as in Egypt. During this time, he has acquired a number of degrees, including a BA Psychology (Colgate University, New York), a Master of Arts (University of Illinois-Springfield, US), a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching (PGCHET) and a Master of Laws (both from Queens University, Belfast), and a Doctorate of Education (Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, Nashville). He is currently studying an MBA through the University of Liverpool, UK.

It is a career path that has given him a global view and a passion for a working philosophy of core values, which he believes can play a key role in guiding an organisation – or a country – through difficult times.

The trick, he says, is to develop your personal core values, as well as business values and to be totally honest. “If your core value is to do whatever makes the most money, then be honest about it. But it gives your business core concepts, or building blocks by which to rebuild or refocus your business when bad things happen.”

“I’m excited to be at the UCT GSB,” says Dr London. “It is a community with a lot of passion and interest in including and serving the broader business community, and looking at what we can do to get that right and to deliver courses that are interesting, relevant and groundbreaking.”