Following weeks of adjudication, Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and The Da Vinci Institute announced winners of this year’s Innovation Index at the Accenture Innovation Conference held in Johannesburg today. The awards ceremony honoured businesses – regardless of their sizes – for spearheading innovation in their own industries.
“All respondents were evaluated according to areas of innovation maturity,” said Ntombi Mhangwani, the director of Integrated Marketing & Communications at Accenture.
This ranged from ability to innovate throughout the value chain, from concept through to commercialisation; commitment to the project across the organisation, including senior management; and ability to make use of ever evolving technology, in all its forms, as a way of improving customer value, operational procedures as well as creating new revenue streams.
The 2016 Accenture Innovation Index winners are:
Overall Innovation Master (turnover in excess of R35m): SSG Consulting
For their revolutionary cloud based Business and Project Management solution with exceptional capabilities to handle workflow, data, documents, dashboards, KPI’s, business and staff optimisation together with upskilling. SSG Consulting’s KEY360 solution is able to cater for over 100 processes via either mobile or multi-company access.
Overall Innovation Master (turnover less than R35m): Colony HQ
For their online aggregation and database platform that translates big data into little data, allowing clients to communicate with their customers making use of relevant messaging at the right time.
Top Innovative Concept (turnover in excess of R35 million): Purple Group – Easy Equities
For their Bundles that allows the investors to invest in a basket of shares. It provides access to a predetermined stock selection created by respected fund managers and CIO’s from some of South Africa’s top financial service providers.
Top Innovative Concept (emerging organisation): Standard Microgrid
For their mini-utility solution that utilises a combination of solar photovoltaic, 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.
The overall findings of the Accenture Innovation Index showed only marginal growth in innovation among South African companies, with 57 percent of respondents found to be laggards, 29 percent acting as leaders in innovation and 8 percent serving as innovation value champions seeing a return on innovation of over 40 percent.
“If South Africa hopes to continue in the 21st Century, the pace at which the nation is innovating needs to accelerate going forward,” said Mhangwani.
This year, three key themes – Engagement, Resources and Digital – have gained momentum and emerged as receiving stronger focus by innovation leaders and value champions in South Africa.
Engagement, defined as the workforce of a company who are invested in their daily work, grew by seven percent in 2016. About 70 percent of employees view innovation as a critical part of their job. The index also shows that 78 percent of companies encourage innovative thinking from employees.
Resources – defined as financial and human capital, as well as marking use of sources, relationships and the workforce to generate ideas and facilitate innovation – dimension significantly increased by 20 points to 55 percent in 2016. The index shows that 71 percent of leaders allow for innovative ideas to come from outside their organisations.
Digital – defined by the evolution of the business to use new combinations of technology, information and connectivity to create new sources of customer value, revenue as well as operational performance – remains a key driver of innovation with 85 percent of innovation leaders using analytics to drive innovation.
As part of the adjudication process, index partners – including The Da Vinci Institute, TransUnion and other innovation practitioners – met with and interviewed the top organisations to ultimately determine the finalists and winners. The top four winners were selected from a total of 20 finalists announced last month.
All winners will receive a customised innovation diagnostic that identifies innovation gaps and strengths, provides a benchmark by turnover and sector, and includes strategies that may help them to improve their businesses and gain competitive advantage.
The Accenture Innovation Index, launched two years ago, has as its goal to drive and grow innovation, in all its forms. It provides organisations with a customised innovative diagnostic report, allowing respondents to identify both its innovation strengths and gaps, together with potential strategies moving forward.
In addition to what it affords respondents, and largely because of it, The Accenture Innovation Index is also able to provide an invaluable objective benchmark of the state of innovation in South Africa.
“At Accenture, we remain committed to spearheading innovation,” continued Mhangwani.
“We believe that the annual Innovation Index enables this, allowing us to deliver a positive contribution not only to the various organisations involved but, similarly, to the broader subject of innovation in our country. Our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all participants over the last few months, and today’s winners.”
Registration for the Accenture Innovation Index 2017 is now open. For more information, please visit: www.theinnovationindex.com.
The 10 Best Cities For Freelancers In 2018
According to extensive research done by Hoofdkraan.nl Prague is the best place to live as a freelancer in 2018 and 7 out of 10 of the best cities for freelancers are located in Europe.
Most European freelancers already knew, but there is absolutely no need to go all the way to Thailand or Indonesia to flourish as a digital nomad. According to extensive research done by Hoofdkraan.nl Prague is the best place to live as a freelancer in 2018 and 7 out of 10 of the best cities for freelancers are located in Europe.
Prague at the top of the freelance list
Prague: Home to the best beer in the world and a destination with many hidden gems. You have to be around for a little while to discover them all, so why not stay? Work a little, wander a little, experience the friendliness, whatever gender you are or prefer, and pick one of the many flexible work spaces or cafes the city has to offer.
There’s more than a few reasons Prague is at the top of our list and our research was thorough. We included 117 cities and looked at 23 factors that are generally important for freelancers. Prague ranks highest when it comes to value for money, beer prizes, fast internet and nightlife. Life and work doesn’t get much better.
Hard to beat the Mediterranean
When we look at our top 10 – Spain and Portugal stand out. With Sevilla, Las Palmas, Porto and Lisbon amongst the best cities for freelancers there’s no other conclusion possible: We like some warm weather with our freelance freedom.
It also doesn’t hurt beer is cheap (except for the steep island prices in Las Palmas) and quality of life is valued high. Besides that, Portugal and Spain are safe countries with good resources and facilities. The only stress we can imagine comes from deadlines (yes we were still talking about the best places to work).
- Prague, Czech Republic – Cheap, best beer, friendly to visitors
- Sevilla, Spain – Great weather, fast internet, good quality of life
- Lisbon, Portugal – Great weather, safe, close to the beach
- Miami, USA – Great beach life, excellent weather and good WiFi
- Bratislava, Slovakia – Cheap, fast internet, low tax
- Berlin, Germany – Cheap and plenty of beer, big variety of work spots
- Vancouver, Canada – Close to nature, peaceful, freedom of speech
- Porto, Portugal – Great quality of life, nice weather, close to the beach
- Las Palmas, Spain – Island life, lots of nature, warm weather
- New Orleans, USA – Great nightlife, fast internet, good quality of life.
These 10 cities have in common that they are all in (relatively) safe countries, there is peace and freedom of speech. Next to that they have stable electricity and fast (above 10 MB) and reliable internet. The life quality is for all above 8, except for Bratislava that has been given a life quality of 7,6.
Asian cities fall outside top 10
Only three cities in our top 10 are outside Europe. With Vancouver, New Orleans and Miami located in North America, there’s a big continent missing from the top of our rankings: Asia. Well-respected digital nomad destinations like Bangkok (20), Chiang Mai (53) and Bali (Ubud, 68) rank lower in our research because of low scores on cleanliness, safety, freedom of speech and quality of coffee.
Cities to avoid as a freelancer
You might want to steer off the beaten path a little bit, but there are a few places you should most definitely avoid at all times. Lagos, Nigeria for example ranks lowest on our list. You were perhaps not thinking of Nigeria in the first place because of pirates, Boko Haram or the other violence you read about in the newspapers, but there are no facilities for freelancers altogether.
The majority of the bottom 10 cities, including Dhaka (Bangladesh), La Paz (Bolivia), Manila (Philippines), Saint Petersburg (Russia), Jakarta (Indonesia), Beijing (China), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Nairobi (Kenya) and Kathmandu (Nepal) are cheap to live, but unsafe and dirty, the internet is slow and the electricity unreliable. Freedom of speech and an open mind towards females or gays are problematic as well.
Have a look at the complete list: https://www.hoofdkraan.nl/blog/the-10-best-cities-for-freelancers-in-2018/136
Fun facts on Columbia and Thailand
Medellin, the second largest city in Colombia is still dangling down the bottom of our list this year (103), but could possibly be a lot higher next year. The city was recently named ‘World’s most innovative city’ and internet speed and work spaces are improving rapidly. They also do have good coffee in Thailand. With € 425 per pound The Black Ivory Coffee Company is just a little expensive. They give Arabia Beans to elephants and the elephant dung is then roasted and processed into coffee.
Entrepreneurship In The Green Economy – Calling All Innovators
The water crisis in South Africa has been creeping up on us for years…but it can provide opportunities for entrepreneurial zeal.
Cape Town’s dire water crisis, after a three-year long drought fortunately averted by the recent rains, serves as a warning for the rest of South Africa. Johannesburg could face a similar crisis in the future, should its rainfall decrease for a few successive years. Tree-huggers have been warning us of this for years and have proposed solutions, but they can’t do it alone; business sector resources are needed to help solve these issues.
What most of us do is watch apprehensively as the water levels in dams drop, take shorter showers, set up grey water systems, grow water-wise gardens, wash our cars with buckets of water and imagine how we might survive a day zero. There are tangible things we can do to head off disaster – like finding innovative business solutions to environmental challenges.
For the past decade Avocado Vision’s Enterprise Development has supported the setup and operation of micro enterprises across South Africa with its Supplier and Enterprise development programmes which focus on equipping small, low-turnover businesses with business insights and acumen which enables them to become more sustainable and creating consistent and recurring incomes.
With Avocado Vision’s new business segment, the Green Business Value Chain unit, we aim to unlock the potential of developing micro and small business, with a focus on finding solutions to enhance employment, small business development, and job security in the environmental sector, particularly where efforts to influence water security and reduce alien invasive species are key outcomes.
Alien invasive species, typically from other countries, with no local natural enemies, growing unchecked in their millions, consume between 3% and 6% of South Africa’s useable water. They’re a very real threat to river and dam water levels – what we need to do is build a commercial demand for alien invasive plant biomass which will reduce the spread of alien plants, inject more money into sustaining the invasive-clearing activities and get businesses of all sizes involved.
Big business becomes the catalyst by creating the demand – the middle-sized entrepreneurs arrange new solutions to meet the demand, and small businesses link into the supply chains with invasive-clearing activities and meet the demand for the biomass material.
Right now we’re drowning in single-use plastic products – plastic straws, cutlery, lids (for the millions of cups of takeaway coffee) and polystyrene packaging for food, being a few. Currently no-one in South Africa is manufacturing bio-degradable alternatives – here is a perfect opportunity for entrepreneurial innovation to switch to using invasive biomass as raw material. Entrepreneurs are often the ones who hit on social problems and invent business solutions to solve them; the plethora of wild biomass can support decades of production, and it provides a solution to water security in our country.
Calling all innovative entrepreneurs – if you feel inspired to create something brilliant, check in with the Green Business Value Chain team at Avocado Vision, we’ll connect you to the support you need to make magic happen.
Opportunity For All Digital Entrepreneurs To Take Start-up To The Next Level
Entrepreneurs developing digital solutions on the African continent are invited to apply to the next Venture Incubation Programme – a partnership between telecommunications giant, MTN and the Solution Space based at the UCT Graduate School of Business.
The Solution Space, at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) is looking for 10 digital ventures to participate in the upcoming Winter School Venture Incubation Programme (VIP), which begins in September.
“This is an opportunity for innovation-driven entrepreneurs who are working on digital solutions to take their business to the next level,” says Sarah-Anne Alman, Manager at the Solution Space.
“The early-stages of a start-up are so critical and often the least supported time in the life-cycle of a start-up. We aim for maximum impact at this stage and for start-ups to leave our incubator with a thorough understanding of the fundamentals required for a viable solution.”
Run over 3 months with sponsorship and mentorship support from MTN, the Venture Incubation Programme provides participants with R300 000 worth of support. This consists of mentorship, advisory services, access to investor and corporate networks and workshops on business fundamentals such as marketing strategy and business model development. The programme has helped over 30 start-ups over the past two years.
MTN has shown significant investment in the start-up ecosystem on the continent and this incubation programme is a key platform for the company to engage with the latest emerging startups working on digital solutions that address broad-based needs across Africa. Stephen van Coller, MTN Group VP: Digital services, Data analytics & Business Development says.
“At MTN we are committed to driving the development of a bold new digital world. MTN’s dedicated teams are highly active in this Venture Incubation Programme to provide a strong connection between the startups developing the latest digital solutions and the expertise and resources existing within MTN”.
According to Kamogelo Kekana, co-founder of Akiba Digital, a mobile application for financial services and a current participant of the VIP Summer School, the programme really helps set up entrepreneurs for success.
“One big benefit is how the programme integrates you into the Cape Town start-up ecosystem.”
For fellow participant Rufaro Masiiwa, who is with Mkwereti, a data analytics platform for the agricultural sector, a highlight has been being challenged to test risky assumptions about business models early on during the 5 day design sprint. “There is so much access to a wealth of support and business acumen, as well as legal, financial and marketing help on the programme,” she says.
The programme also offers entrepreneurs an invaluable opportunity to connect with other start-ups on the same journey says Dhanyal Davidson, from the Digest, a financial media start-up for millennials as well as Prospa, a savings solution for low-income earning South Africans. “It keeps your energy high and gives you a sounding board when faced with both mental blocks and tough decisions.”
These and other start-ups who are participating in the VIP Summer School will showcase their business models at a Demo Day on 26 June 2018. “The event is designed to give them an opportunity to present to investors and corporate partners. It is also a chance for potential participants to come and have a look at what the programme is all about,” says Shiela Yabo, Co-ordinator at the Solution Space.
Yabo adds that since the inception of the VIP programme two years ago, the standard of the programme continues to go up, with the level of entrepreneurs joining being also very impressive. To qualify, start-ups must be working towards building a sustainable Africa through digital solutions, be committed to their business full-time, and be a team of at least two members.
“We focus on the early stage of the development process. Our aim is to get a business model validated and to see what is needed to turn it into a startup that is sustainable and scalable,” says Yabo. The programme is aiming to reach innovators in Fintech, IoT, Edtech, Agtech, e-commerce, entertainment and gaming as well as Healthtech.
Yabo adds, “One of the strongest aspects of the programme is connecting people within the right industry to networks for mutually beneficial relationships and collaborations. In many instances, that in itself, has been a major stepping stone to success for these participants.”
For more information or to apply to the VIP Winter School Programme visit http://gsbsolutionspace.uct.ac.za. Applications close on 1 July 2018.
To RSVP for the Demo Day: http://bit.ly/VIPSS18DemoDay
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