#1 Winter 2014

News Round-up

African innovation set to happen here


Solution focused: The newly established Solution Space on the GSB campus will foster research and collaboration to tackle African challenges.

The UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) has created an innovative space at the heart of its campus, to break the mould of a traditional business education and allow 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. Solution Space Manager Sarah-Anne Arnold 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.”

The multi-million rand initiative, which forms part of the Workshop 17 project (a joint initiative of the V&A Waterfront and UCT GSB) has received funding from the UCT Vice-Chancellor’s Strategic Fund and The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The SAB Foundation has also partnered with UCT GSB with a funding commitment of R1-million as seed capital for promising social entrepreneurs. The space will be attractive both to start-up companies in search of hot-desk space at a nominal fee and also to entrepreneurs in need of advice and funding.

GSB celebrates record 10 years in global ranking

The UCT Graduate School of Business has risen to 59th place in the prestigious annual Financial Times (FT) MBA ranking, the premier ranking for business schools worldwide.

The GSB remains the only business school in Africa ranked in the FT MBA Top 100 for its full-time programme, and this is the 10th consecutive year that it has been listed.

Director of the GSB, Walter Baets, said that the ranking denotes the GSB’s commitment to providing a world-class business education. “We are very proud that our hard work and vision have been acknowledged in this way – the GSB is continually striving to ensure that we remain rooted in relevance while acting as pioneers of innovative business education, and the FT rankings stand as a testament to this.”

The FT rankings are regarded as the authoritative rankings of business schools, partly because of the manner in which they are compiled. For the MBA ranking, 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.

The GSB has seen a significant 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.

Four of the best

Four of South Africa’s top business schools have been listed in the prestigious 2014 Financial Times global ranking for Executive Education Customised Programmes, a significant achievement given the highly selective nature of the rankings.

The UCT Graduate School of Business, the Gordon Institute of Business Science, Stellenbosch Business School and Wits Business School have each secured a spot in this annual ranking, which tracks the top business schools in this category and presents a global benchmark for providers of executive education. The customised ranking is calculated using data from two sets of online surveys – one for schools another for clients. Business schools are asked for details of a number of top clients, who are then invited to complete an online survey about the school that nominated them.

Tackling service delivery crisis

Professor Norman Faull has been appointed as an advisor to the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) within the Presidency to help roll out an Operations Management Support Programme to boost service delivery in SA.

Faull, founder of the Lean Institute Africa at the UCT GSB, says that an effective solution to South Africa’s service delivery challenges lies in proper and effective operations management, specifically the implementation of lean management principles in government service organisations.“We can bring about huge transformation in the way an organisation functions by implementing sound operations management practices and lean principles,” he said.

Conference to foster strong and competitive organisations in Africa

The Lean Institute Africa (LIA) will host its biennial Lean Summit Africa this September focusing on ways to improve service delivery, cost-effectiveness and staff morale in the public and private sectors and highlighting techniques to eliminate waste in products and services in African organisations.

Under the theme Relentless Leadership, the summit has secured a line-up of top international speakers, including: Michael Ballé, associate researcher at Telecom ParisTech; Ian Glenday, senior fellow of the Lean Enterprise Academy in the UK; Denise Bennet, lean programme manager at the City of Melbourne; and Johan van Zyl, president and CEO of Toyota South Africa.

The Lean Institute Africa is part of the Lean Global Network and the only organisation of its kind in Africa. It is a non-profit organisation that seeks to promulgate lean management practices across the continent.

This is the 7th Lean Summit Africa and it will take place from 17–19 September at the Vineyard Hotel Conference Centre in Cape Town. For more information on the summit contact Annie Matubatuba on 021 406 1226 or email annie@upavon.co.za.

Call for papers on organisational innovation

Ahead of its flagship annual Business of Social and Environmental Innovation (BSEI) conference, the UCT Graduate School of Business is calling for submissions from academics, researchers and practitioners who would like to participate in the event.

This is the 4th annual BSEI conference and it is set to take place from 23–24 October 2014. The theme for this year is: design thinking to balance stability in organisational innovation.

Conference chairs, Professor Kosheek Sewchurran and Dr Verena Bitzer, say they are looking for papers that contribute to the overarching objective of the BSEI conference series, which is to create a better understanding of the role of business and organisational thinking in resolving societal issues, especially from an African perspective.

“We are looking for stories, narratives, case studies and conceptual contributions that recount organisational efforts to drive social innovation and distil practices, concepts and principles,” says Professor Sewchurran. “The conference is not only about sharing theoretical knowledge, but about discussing practical solutions and challenges as well.”

Academics and researchers interested in submitting a paper, or who would like more information can email bsei@gsb.uct.ac.za by 31 July 2014. Online registrations open on 15 July

GSB joins prestigious BRICS programme

The UCT Graduate School of Business has joined a unique collaboration between top business schools in BRIC countries to help business and investors find out how to make the most of emerging markets in Africa.

The school has joined the BRICs on BRICs programme, following an expression of interest by participants about the business environment on the African continent. BRICs on BRICs is a partnership between four of the best business schools in Brazil, Russia, India and China: the Fundação Dom Cabral (FDC) from Brazil, the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO from Russia, the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) from India and the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) from China.

According to John Luiz, the academic director of the South African programme, the importance of including Africa becomes clear considering that countries like Ethiopia, Mozambique, Niger, Sierra Leone and Rwanda have of the fastest growing economies in the world. The World Bank also raised the medium-term economic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa to 5.5%, up from 5.2%, which was predicted six months ago.

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