Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and an expert panel led by Accenture Innovation Index partners – including The Da Vinci Institute, TransUnion and other innovation practitioners – have selected the finalists of this year’s Accenture Innovation Index.
The winners, to be selected from among 20 finalists across five categories, will be announced at the Accenture Innovation Conference on 12 October in Johannesburg.
Launched in 2014 as part of Accenture’s commitment to spearheading innovation, the Accenture Innovation Index measures, recognises and rewards innovation and systems of innovation. It provides businesses, regardless of their size or industry, with a personalised innovation diagnostic report that identifies innovation gaps and strengths. The Index process starts with businesses’ participation in an online survey and culminates in an innovation showcase and awards ceremony.
Participating businesses are scored across three measures of innovation maturity:
- Ability: The ability to innovate through the value chain, from ideation to commercialisation, is imperative.
- Commitment: For innovation to reach across the value chain, significant buy-in is required from all tiers of management, right up to senior leadership.
- Digital Capability: A company’s digital capability can be defined by the evolution of the business to use combinations of technology, information and connectivity to create new sources of customer value, company revenue and operational performance.
“Innovation is vital to compete in a disrupted world, and I’m pleased that we were able to provide respondents with the opportunity to not only benchmark their innovative capabilities, but also to refine their innovation strategies,” said Ntombi Mhangwani, a director of Integrated Marketing & Communications at Accenture.
“It has been an interesting 12-month journey to see participating businesses push boundaries and identify and fill gaps. Judges uncovered great stories of innovation and interesting trends, which we look forward to sharing with our clients and South Africans so that they can make informed decisions.”
Bennie Anderson, chief executive officer at The Da Vinci Institute, said, “There is no doubt that not only South Africa but the rest of the African continent is on the global level in terms of innovation. It was interesting to see, through the adjudication process, how companies – both small and well-established – use innovation to revolutionise the markets they serve. The process also highlighted the need for South Africa to create an environment in which individuals and organisations alike can engage and create innovative solutions that address business needs.”
With all entries grouped under one of five categories, this year’s Accenture Innovation Index finalists, along with their innovative projects, are:
Overall Innovation Masters (turnover in excess of R35 million)
- ABSA – whose integration of its App with the Apple Watch, enables customers to stay on top of their finances via their Apple Watch.
- FNB – whose internal IT coding marathon brings programmers together over a six-day sprint in order to build disruptive, financial technology apps that solve business problems while achieving competitive advantage through new or improved products and services.
- King Price Insurance – whose car insurance premiums decrease monthly in line with the depreciation of a car’s value.
- Purple Group’s The Bundles, a platform allows individuals to invest in a basket of shares. It provides access to a predetermined stock selection created by respected fund managers and CIOs from some of South Africa’s top financial services providers.
- SSG Consulting’s KEY360, a revolutionary cloud-based business and project management solution with exceptional capabilities to handle workflow, data, documents, dashboards, KPIs, business and staff optimisation together with upskilling.
Overall Innovation Masters (turnover less than R35 million)
- Bramhope – whose partnership programme builds and maintains long-term relationships between like-minded innovative companies in the health, safety and hygiene industries.
- Colony HQ’s online aggregation and database platform that translates Big data into little data, enabling clients to communicate with their customers using relevant messaging at the right time/s.
- Rethink Education’s Bite-sized mathematics and science education delivered via mobile phones for students in grades 8 to 12.
Top Innovative Concepts (turnover in excess of R35 million)
- Assupol’s instant Groceries, a mobile application that puts spending power in the hands of beneficiaries wherever they are, instantly via a mobile phone.
- Purple Group: Easy Equities, a platform that allows individuals to invest in a basket of shares. It provides access to a predetermined stock selection created by respected fund managers and CIOs from some of South Africa’s top financial services providers.
- USN – whose Blue Label Testing Lab (an interactive programme) allows consumers to customise the USN product to suit their specific needs.
- Spark ATM Systems, a fully developed supporting suite of monitoring and management software.
- Isometrix’s hyper-agile, multi-language, enterprise-ready solution for governance risk and compliance.
Top Innovative Concepts (emerging organisations)
- DQS, aboard game consisting of four superheroes and one villain, whose objective is to encourage children to learn and interact around best practices.
- Fuel Decontaminant, explosion-proof for petrol, diesel, jet fuel, bio fuel and paraffin.
- Kirkonsult – whose Carbotect organic detection tool verifies whether reductions in time, energy, water and chemical inputs could be sustained during standard industrial cleaning procedures.
- Quoros Biotech’s Microbial Cell Culture Bioreactors, a solution that develops ways of manufacturing natural products.
- Seeing Machines – uses advanced detection-and-prevention safety assistance technologies to track eye and facial movement in order to monitor fatigue, drowsiness and distraction events such as micro sleeps, texting and cell phone use as they occur. This provides for a real-time intervention strategy, improving operator, driver and environmental safety, preserving assets and reducing risk.
- Standard Microgrid, a mini-utility utilising a combination of solar PV, energy storage, cloud based grid management and granular demand side management devices to transform a rural off-grid village into a hyper efficient group of networked smart homes.
- Vuselela Energy’s Vuselela Energy’s Thermal Harvesting power plant, Eternity Power, a global, first-of-its-kind clean energy power plant based at the Anglo American Platinum Waterval Smelting Complex near Rustenburg, North West Province. The Thermal Harvesting plant captures waste heat from the converter cooling circuit at the smelter to generate up to 4.3MW of clean electricity, then used by the smelter for its internal power consumption.
“We have been overwhelmed by both the quality and number of entries, seeing a strong focus on the use of innovation for the improvement of others from social through to business and education,” Mhangwani said.
“South Africa is well-known for its highly innovative culture, with the likes of Siya Xusa, Elon Musk and Mark Shuttleworth, among others, leading the way. We have every confidence that this year’s finalists, and ultimate winners, will continue spearheading South African innovation, enabling our country to not only create jobs and grow the economy, but continue to play a leading role in our highly innovative and constantly evolving world.”
Surge In South Africans Swopping Their Cars For Bitcoin
The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has experienced a seemingly interminable rise. Early adopters have experience lottery-sized pay-outs on minor investments as the currency exploded in value in 2017.
The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has experienced a seemingly interminable rise. Early adopters have experience lottery-sized pay-outs on minor investments as the currency exploded in value in 2017.
As South Africans are itching to get their hands on the digital currency, there’s been an increase in swops and bitcoin-only sales on Gumtree.co.za, says Claire Cobbledick, Head of Core at Gumtree. “This is particularly true for high-value items like cars, bikes and boats. Many sellers are willing to take a gamble with their assets in hopes of a large pay-out.”
This is on trend with other marketplaces. In the United States a McLaren 720S was put up for sale in exchange for 25 bitcoin, a theoretical value of $425,000.
While Gumtree does not allow for the sale of bitcoin miners or services, Cobbledick says that customers can exchange goods for bitcoin on the site, but should be fully aware of the risks. “Bitcoin is a volatile currency, so while you could easily see a 50% increase in your investment, you could just as easily end up with nothing. It’s up to the seller to decide if they are willing and able to take a gamble.”
Some cars currently up for sale in exchange for bitcoin includes a Land Rover Defender, BMW X5 and a rare 1970 Mercury Cougar V8.
“There are also a few other sellers accepting bitcoin in exchange for Kruger Rands,” says Cobbledick. “Perhaps proving that gold as a store of value is falling out of vogue.”
But the most unusual swop would have to go to an entrepreneurial seller who is offering carnivorous plants in exchange for the cryptocurrency.
Zando Sold 80 Items A Minute During Black Friday – By Doing This
Black Friday has brought immense success for numerous local online retailers – reflecting the potential of e-commerce in South Africa. Why not learn from Zando’s success in 2017 to ensure your success during the 2018 Black Friday sales season?
For South African e-retailers, Black Friday is a big sales event. But you need to ensure you’re prepared for the web traffic and that your e-commerce store can handle the logistics of thousands of orders.
According to Zando, they experience 100% up-time during Black Friday and less than a week after the season sales event, 95% of customer orders have already been shipped.
To help fellow e-tailers perform better next year, Zando’s CEO, Sascha Breuss answers some key questions about the company’s preparations and learnings around Black Friday:
1. How did you encourage greater sales on Black Friday?
Over the last few years Black Friday has developed a following in South Africa, so we benefitted from the existing hype around it. We didn’t focus too much on upfront marketing, but put our energy into flawless execution and of course great deals for the customers.
2. How much planning went into ensuring your store platform ran at optimum?
The real ‘hot phase’ started with the first day of November when our IT department went into a ‘feature freeze’ and we focused 100% on site-stability and scalability.
We went through some intense testing of our site with loads up to 15 times the average daily amount of visitors. So, when the actual day came, we were confident in our systems.
3. How were you able to successfully co-ordinate logistics during Black Friday?
Early preparation and experience from past years have been the key to success. We increased our head count in both Warehouse and Customer Service well in advance so that we could rely on well-trained and experienced colleagues come Black Friday.
4. How did you ensure a seamless experience between your website and your app?
We know that our customers are browsing Zando on all platforms, desktop, mobile and app so we implemented some handy features to make the transition between each platform easier. For example, shared baskets and wish lists are now a feature. Some of the deals however have been app-only and sometimes we reward our app users with early access to shop the best deals. So it is definitely worth it to download our app.
5. How did you scale your entire operation for a single event?
This is easy to summarise in one word – TEAMWORK. The Zando staff did an amazing job and were the backbone of our success. Not only did they put the required extra hours in and worked hard until the job was done, but they also showed real team-spirit. When you called our Customer Service during Black Friday it’s very possible that you spoke to someone in our HR, Social Media or Legal team who helped out answering calls.
6. How did your marketing campaign affect traffic on your platforms?
The most surprising element was probably the high volume of traffic that we saw during the night. Visits started to increase every minute before midnight and during the first two hours of the day we saw peaks that were higher than on our strongest week day. This traffic never dropped with a lot of orders being placed between 2am and 3am on Black Friday.
7. How did your technology systems handle the influx of shopper traffic?
In the build up to Black Friday we added additional server capacity and changed the way we handled the flow of traffic. This made us very flexible to switch on additional capacity wherever required. So it was a combination of intensive preparation, close monitoring and ultimately very little sleep for a couple of days to ensure we monitored our system health 24 hours a day.
8. What was your sales strategy?
For us everything that had a discount of 40%-80%, and was still a relevant and recent look, qualified for Black Friday 2017. Once these criteria were fulfilled we made sure that we had sufficient stock available – in some cases the demand was so high that we brought on additional stock from our suppliers during the Black Friday weekend.
9. What were your biggest learnings?
We have been very successful in our approach to remain true to the idea of Black Friday – offering great deals on relevant product and not outdated clearance ranges. The customer is very educated and will identify a good deal, and we have seen consumers’ negative comments on stores who used Black Friday solely as a warehouse clearance opportunity.
10. What surprised you about Zando’s success during Black Friday?
Thanks to extensive preparation we have been able to achieve an uptime of 100% for the full month of November. We also kept the deliveries and returns 100% free regardless of discount or basket size. It seems like our customers appreciated this approach and we have actually seen very positive sales numbers after Black Friday while we expected a drop. I believe the full focus and investment on the Customer Experience has worked for us.
Team Resolutions: 11 Tips To Uncover Passion And Potential In New Hires
If there’s one resolution HR departments should make this new year, it should be to transform the onboarding experience for new hires.
If there’s one resolution HR departments should make this new year, it should be to transform the onboarding experience for new hires says Michelle Seko, Talent Acquisition Manger at Sage Africa & Middle East.
The importance of a good candidate experience cannot be underestimated. Research has shown that 88% of job applicants are more likely to buy from a company if they’ve had a positive experience when applying for work there. Research has also shown that candidates talk about their experiences with a company, regardless of whether they got the job. Some candidates would even refer a friend to the company and others will re-apply for a future role, if the experience was a good one.
Research also found that:
- 69% Of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding
- 33% Of new hires leave before their first anniversary, yet companies with an engaging onboarding programme retained 91% of their first-year workers
- Onboarding programmes can improve employee performance by 11.5%.
Businesses enter into a relationship with a new hire the moment they sign on the dotted line. And, as with any relationship, it will only flourish if built on trust, respect and a commitment to self-improvement.
When you set new hires up for personal success, the outcomes naturally feed into your business’ success, which means you both win.
Here are a few ideas to get the most out of your new hires:
Make them feel welcome
Introduce them to the people they’ll be working with as soon as possible so that they immediately feel part of a team. At Sage, we partner new hires with a buddy, or Sage Ambassador, who helps them settle in and meet new people, contributing to the positive on-boarding experience.
Focus on the benefits
Compelling benefits not only attract the best candidates but also boost loyalty and job satisfaction. People are motivated by different things: one person might value flexi-time while another could place more importance on growth opportunities or bonuses. Focus on the benefits that align with the individual’s values when onboarding.
Set goals early and outline a plan to achieve them
This keeps your team focused, especially if they will be rewarded for achieving their goals.
Monthly, at least. Adjust goals and plans where necessary, reward good performance, introduce new challenges and deal with issues promptly.
Show genuine interest
Regular catch-ups and remembering children’s names, for instance, makes people feel appreciated.
Let your new hires apply their knowledge to business challenges and offer training opportunities outside of their comfort zones. Reward ideas that help you do things better and faster.
People thrive when they can learn from others and when they can share their knowledge. Involve experienced team members in the new hire’s training. This is a great way to recognise and appreciate their loyalty and skills.
Do you have difficult clients? Will the new hire have to work overtime? What are the business’s goals? New hires should know what they’re getting into.
Provide solid training on everything from company culture and benefits, to opportunities for growth
The biggest cost associated with training people is the time it takes for them to become productive. But rushing through on-the-job training could lead to a host of other problems, including repeated mistakes and a lack of confidence.
Openly communicate any changes in the business
Manage your team’s expectations and be clear about yours. Allow new hires to question and understand how you do things and to point out errors – their past experience probably gave them new ideas and ways of working that could boost your team’s efficiency and productivity.
Your mood sets the tone for everyone else. You can have the best product in the world but unless your team is passionate and enthusiastic about that product, you won’t get the results you’re hoping for.
Keeping people motivated and productive is hard work
But if you provide them with the tools, knowledge and support to do their best work and to contribute their best ideas, motivation and productivity will come naturally.
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