The first engagement to become a keynote speaker in 2017 came at the invitation of She Leads Africa (SLA) at their annual Cape Town edition of the SheHive meetup, and it was the opportunity to talk about being a woman in the space of technology and innovation and how to tap into being an intrapreneur in a multinational company. I accepted the invitation because of the crush that I have on SLA’S content and network, as well as because I was afraid as hell and wanted to take me on.

Innovation in Sustainability

Taking me on meant giving me another chance, a chance explained best by Marianne Williamson in her daily devotional entitled “365 Days of Miracles” when she says, “I have not always behaved in ways that have maximized my opportunities. But the fact that attracted them means that they were mine”. So I needed to give myself a chance in my fear, and find a way to communicate and learn through that.

I define innovation as a social process that enables new ideas and perspectives to serve customers and the larger ecosystem to win in dynamic markets and develop the growth of an entity or economy, and through its creativity, become sustainable. It is through this definition that contextualises the framework of the speaking engagements that I take on, this through also being a part of organisations like Thomson Reuters, One Young World, GirlHYPE and my personal brand that grants me an opportunity to be a part of dialogues and events that are of impact.

 Diversity and Inclusion Mansplained in Industry

The retention of talent and its creativity of an entity is reliant on the sustainability of innovation of the company - it’s a talent attracting talent. The opportunity to be on panel discussions like the inaugural Standard Bank (JHB) and Facebook Africa (CPT) Women in Technology Conferences and being nominated for the Inspiring Fifty Women in Technology of South Africa 2017 allowed me some perspective on specifically, South Africa’s agenda for the woman in technology, and there’s still a lot of work to be done. In as much as we can lean in, there’s still the open secret of the profit of having men as allies in the movement of leaning in and inclusion, because the reality is that our male (industry) colleagues have not only social capital, but the superpower of mainsplaining it into existence and action. And don’t get me wrong, by no means is this a call to action to let us women lie low a little, it’s instead what I’m hoping to be as Oprah Winfrey says, an “AHA” moment to leverage on this capital and take more risks.

The Women in Technology Opportunity

I am a young, black woman in technology working for a multinational, and this is my experience and lived perspective on what the concept of Diversity and Inclusion means for and impacts me. It’s beyond gender and race, but systems put in place that need another social process (and policies) to develop the growth of the ecosystem that misrepresents them, to win FOR us (minorities) so we can win WITH them (capitalism). How can we all win? Through the Thomson Reuters Sustainability website, I shared some ideas on how to not only encourage young executives to become more acquintainted with SDGs but be more involved with innovation in the company.

After all, as author and entrepreneur Devon Franklin echoes, one must “ … be willing to negotiate from a level of compensation from a commitment that you are able to keep. Never allow your life to be less than your worth – NEGOTIATE AND ARTICULATE.”

I am so excited for the future of the woman in STEM in Africa because we’re in the great hands of GirlHYPE , Africa Teen Geeks , Taungana Africa , Mawazo Institute and more that I can’t possibly list all – but trust me, there’s great women and men who are ensuring that the girl child, be it in the village or urban areas are educated. And like I always mention, that Women, Diversity and Inclusion is not just a moral but a business issue, and going forward into 2018, I’m honoured to be serving as a non-executive board director for Non-Profit company, GirlHYPE, to develop the next pipeline of African women in STEM!

 Front Image : Thriving Magazine

Published in Inno trep tech

 

On the 2nd of May, Thomson Reuters Labs – Cape Town, in partnership with The Durban Innovation Hub and The Makerspace, and supported by the World Economic Forum Global Shapers hosted an Africa 4.0 Innovation Breakfast Experience with a focus on The Power of Co-creation and Africa 4.0 as a pre-cursor to The World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa 2017.

Unpacking Africa 4.0

The breakfast brought together corporate innovation panellists from Grinrod, Thomson Reuters and Kusini Water to unpack Africa 4.0 and provide insights into Africa’s data scarcity gap, how corporate innovation has its role to growing the continent and exploring where Africa is going. Thought leader of industry and founder of WEF, Klaus Schwab describes the Fourth Industrial Revolution as a revolution that is empowering and human centred that is driven by the convergence of new technologies with the physical, digital and biological worlds. It is a revolution that will impact economies and industries, and will stretch itself to challenge ideas in how we communicate, consume and produce.

What does investing in the Fourth industrial revolution mean for Africa - dubbed Africa 4.0?

In understanding what Africa 4.0 is and its impact, Thomson Reuters’ SVP, Head of Innovation for Africa, Saidah Nash Carter kickstarted the discussion by unraveling what was at the centre of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “Humanity and the impact that technology has on people is the ultimately the heart of the latest revolution, and our role as Thomson Reuters can be to leverage its proven strength in data innovation to convene and empower the increasingly interconnected ecosystem.” Nash Carter expanded on the concept, talking to the opportunity that Africa 4.0 presents for inclusive growth for developing markets.

Tapping the opportunity of Shared Business Value creation through Africa 4.0

“It is possible to do good business, profit and social impact are not mutually exclusive.” Using the Port Maputo in Mozambique as a case study, panelist Cathie Lewis, Group Company Secretary of Grinrod, expressed the concern about shared business value creation when engaging in the commercial value of corporate innovation. Grinrod is a global holding company that operates in the freight logistics, shipping and financial services, and does so with the unique objective of servicing Africa trade flows.

Speaking to the company’s customer relationship with Maputo Port, Lewis expressed the opportunity to create a shared business value chain in Mozambique since the aid-reliant country’s financial aid cut by a couple of donors in 2016 meant unstable economic growth and activity. The opportunity in shared business value creation is in the World Bank’s Mozambique’s strategy in reinvesting the natural wealth and the country’s build environment asset of the Port and decentralize it for human and institutional capital and do good business.

The value created from solutions of such challenges lies at the intersection of Africa 4.0 and its technologies and recognizing that value add needs to come from the corner of multi-stakeholder engagement.  This ecosystem is one that recognises the stakeholders at Port Maputo, the Mozambican government to workers, and immediate communities. The objective of Africa 4.0 should aim to look at how we can harness these new technologies to share business value creation for all stakeholders involved

Investing in multi-stakeholder cooperation across all industry

Bringing the conversation to multi-stakeholder investments, Nash Carter recognised the value of entrepreneurs in empowering communities and economies, just as Murendeni Mafumo is with Kusini Water. Using nano-technology and solar power to produce water, Kusini Water thrives on sustainable business models of lease agreements, pay per litre of water used and sale of the systems. A passionate water scientist and entrepreneur, Mafumo echoed his conviction of decentralization of resources in industries, and using the opportunity of collaboration as a tool of accelerating innovation, and shared business value. 

Collaboration of startups, private and public sectors is at the heart of innovation, this value creation should not only be empowering, but be built on self-sustaining models like Mafuno's business.

Harnessing the power of Africa 4.0

With a defined term of Africa 4.0 for us to understand, how do we leverage the potential of this revolution of humanity to achieve SDGs, Vision 2030 and the agendas of all stakeholders involved? This can be enabled with disruptive leadership that is both responsive and responsible, and continued investments in push strategies of partnerships that share the same purpose in value creation and empowerment for everyone involved in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

 

 

Published in Inno trep tech

My name is Vuyolwethu Dubese and I am 22 year old Girl in Media and Technology exploring Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Intelligence and Business Development. With a focus on African technology and entrepreneurship, the intent is to be a part of the ecosystem and organisations driven to develop the African lives and the narratives that are shape shifters in how Africans and the world perceive the continent.

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