Deloitte has announced the establishment of a strategic alliance between its own innovation centre, The Deloitte Greenhouse Africa, and TEDx Cape Town.
TEDx is an independent chapter of TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) – a global set of conferences run by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, under the slogan Ideas Worth Spreading.
Deloitte Greenhouse Africa Leader Rentia Venter says the alliance is a landmark occasion for corporate innovation and strategic planning in Africa, because the two organisations – Deloitte Greenhouse Africa and TEDx Cape Town – “boast a synchronicity of ethos and philosophy which is incredibly well aligned and both are mandated to make an impact that matters.”
Explaining the rationale for the partnership, Venter says that, seduced by analytics and big data many executives have become disorientated amid the quantity of data and lost sight of the compelling power of qualitative judgement or insight. “The average lifespan of listed global companies used to be 30 years – today it is six years. Change is coming, and this partnership helps such companies on this journey of enlightenment and to get future-proofed in easy bite-sized steps. In this manner we aim to start a movement that will enable anyone interested in the future – whether they are part of a business or not – to start seeing the potential for change,” says Venter. Almost every single industry has technologies emerging which hold the promise to revolutionise how that industry functions – and markets will be owned by those businesses which first adopt the technology.
As has been seen in the worldwide reaction to Uber, companies need not only be alert to disrupters but the vested interests and tensions which their own innovations may stir. “The best way to manage change is to create it. TEDx Cape Town comes with new ideas, while we have a focus on taking cutting edge innovation and assisting clients to rapidly implement it. For every imaginable challenge, we have a subject matter expert and an industry expert – as well as a collective of global contributors who have probably thought deeply about this challenge before.”
“Our ethos is to assist clients to take a futuristic look at their business model. We host carefully cultivated platforms which take company executives out of their business-as-usual mode, and which nurture fresh thinking, but unlike the typical formal strategic think tank which often produces little practical result, this process takes those ideas to action,” she says. “This model is the result of in-depth global research by the Deloitte network, in which every single aspect of the process is moulded and which takes delegates to a point where they achieve breakthrough.”
To assist Deloitte clients to bridge the gap that these disrupters are creating, sometimes almost overnight, the Deloitte Greenhouse team create immersive client experiences combining technology, creative & collaborative spaces and world class facilitation. The current partnership is part of a process of rapidly expanding this capability. “We have one facility in Johannesburg, a second is opening in Cape Town later this year and we have plans for two more in the rest of Africa. With this burgeoning structure in place, it made the partnership a perfect fit for the simultaneously expanding the reach of the TEDx Cape Town organisation,” says Venter.
TEDx Cape Town in turn is delighted to be able to spark conversations and connections through local TED-like experiences in the Deloitte Greenhouse, thereby helping societies, organisations and individuals meet an uncertain future. The fact that The Deloitte Greenhouse brand is now synonymous with TEDx Cape Town means that the existing Greenhouse spaces will in future host TEDx Cape Town events and simulcasts, and Deloitte will share the latest talks, news and events, with their clients thereby creating more opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations and to make an impact that matters.” says Venter.
As to why all this high-tech innovation is of particular importance for low-tech Africa, Venter explains that Africa has the unusual advantage of not having legacy systems needing replacement. “The opportunity to make a big impact investment is consequently relatively lower and easier,” she says.