Profiting from Ideas and Innovation

April 17, 2014 by Lauren 

Many great inventions started off with a small idea. To be innovative one must think out of the box. But what if we do the opposite…?

We can remain in that same box of existing ideas and reach innovation through simplicity. We can’t do without brainstorming sessions during office meetings and as a collective we can amplify each idea, making it easier to reach innovation.

Gathering minds

The Happy Spotting Network is a great example of how people share their discoveries. Members of this network keep an eye out for new trends and innovation; findings are shared with a large global network. Every individual must realise that innovation profits the common good; therefore one mustn’t be triggered by rewards but by the idea that innovation will benefit us all in many different ways.

How do we profit?

Innovative technology allows us to generate sustainable energy. Medically, we’re getting closer to eradication of diseases. This results in an increase of our life expectancy. Economically, there will be a great shift from real workers to automatised employees to minimise inefficiency subsequently leading to a different demand in future jobs.
There’s no need to say that these developments are of great importance for us humans. One can assume that we’re speedily moving forward and we will profit by having a safer environment, an increase of leisure time and better health conditions.

How can we profit even more?

I believe that if we can get rid of the competitiveness amongst our innovators who are desperately needed, we can achieve much more in a shorter time frame. Access to information is a critical matter when it comes to sustainable development. Innovative ideas often come with intellectual property rights or patents.  These are supposed to protect innovators from infringement and stimulate innovation, but the contrary seems to be happening. Given the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention, I sometimes try to imagine what our societies would look like if knowledge would flow freely- the pace of inventions would be much faster.

You can share your insights by joining one of our communities and interact with like-minded individuals. If you’re interested in offline interaction, try visiting several innovative events.

  Author: Bart van Teutem, International Intern at Who’s Who SA

Q&A with Renee Lighton, Speaker at The Women’s Innovation Trade Fair

April 10, 2014 by Lauren 

reneeeRenee Lighton is a Teacher and a Life coach at Light On Education.

Renee didn’t come from an educated family but she was very much influenced by her Jewish friends in school. What has led her to where she is now, is the fact that she likes to touch people.  Renee is working on a programme for the Perivoli schools trust. She trains teachers in Namibia and she’s writing the programme that is used in Namibian schools, which also focuses on finding ways to create collaboration between teachers and parents in a sustainable manner. For instance, she uses every day waste materials such as educational toys because she believes that education doesn’t need to cost much. What excites Renee is the ability to excite other people’s purpose and passion. Especially when it comes to teachers, they often tend to forget their importance. Dr. John DeMartini has been one of the most inspiring people in her life. He is a Life Coach who has taught her valuable life lessons.  Other people that inspire her are those who decide to live a full life and make meaningful choices: “Make a living by what you do, make a life by what you give.”

What is innovation to you?

Having the ability to think out of the box in a moderate way, understanding and knowing what the greatest need is that people have and linking this in a playful way.

Why are you attending this event?

To connect, create and support women in the innovation and social arena. I have worked with Mhani Gingi before in an event that lead up to the WITF. I was invited by Lilian Masebenza to attend this event as one of the speakers.

How do you measure success?

“By the amount of joy I feel when I look into the mirror.”

Follow her on Twitter: @reneelighton

Find out more about her: www.reneelighton.co.za

By: Asmeret Woldekidan

Q&A with Anthea Lewis, Exhibitor The Women’s Innovation Trade Fair

April 2, 2014 by Lauren 

Anthea Lewis

Who’s Who of Southern Africa had the privilege to attend the Women’s Innovation Trade Fair on 28 March 2014. Here, we were able to pick the brains of a few of the leading voices in the Social Enterprise industry including the Chief Executive Officer of the SA Deskbuddy Foundation.

Please tell us a little about your career:

Oh, I’ve been around the block and held many positions. I’ve been a Planner, a Buyer, a Sales Rep, and a Warehouse Distribution Manager for Woolworths… I’ve even worked for Media 24.

I am currently involved with Deskbuddy, a Non-Profit Organisation that I co-founded along with my childhood friend, Sean Cerf. He once showed me a desk he built out of wood that could be used to benefit many school children that do not have school desks. I took his idea and developed the business model into a social venture that could benefit our struggling communities. We tried plastic for a while but we unhappy with the environmental effects thereof. Together we decided to try and use material that is more eco-friendly and now use compressed cardboard.

I put a lot into this venture, and I was lucky enough to have the support of my three daughters. They realised that no matter how hard things got for us financially, there were always people that were worse off… that needed more than we do. I registered the company personally, I made sure the website was up and running, that our email accounts were set up. I even did the writing for our brochures.

What is innovation to you?

Making things simpler and easier. Expanding upon a pre-existing idea doesn’t have to be difficult.

Why did you attend this event?

I met Lillian at a previous event and she offered an invitation to be part of the Women’s Innovation Trade Fair. I believe in uplifting women. I have previously sponsored ten girls to go to school and attend tertiary institutions. These girls came from disadvantaged backgrounds and hailed from Mannenberg, Bishop Lavis and Bonteheuwel. They matriculated with excellent results but became casuals at Woolworths or worked for labour brokers due to lack of funds to pursue tertiary education.

I managed to secure employment for them at Woolworths. Because of me, Woolworths agreed to take over their study fees. I am proud to say that six lives were changed – as well as the lives of the people they come into contact with.

What are you currently working on?

We are seeking further opportunities to network with likeminded individuals. It is our aim to motivate people, inspire others, help others and allow them to see their potential. We sponsor pupils with desks and in return, we ask them to do some form of community service.

We also provide free tutoring from past matriculants. It is important that we spread the idea of giving back.

What excites you?

Education and Job creation.

Who inspires you, and why?

People inspire me. People that are willing to work hard, that have passion. I put my faith behind people that want to succeed – that want to better themselves.

I met two female entrepreneurs some time ago and they were moments away from giving up their dream. They had a fashion line that was just not succeeding. I was able to hook them up with Woolworths and landed them a contract!

How do you measure success?

For Deskbuddy, success for us would mean that we have or that we are able to live out our vision and mission. We want to be sustainable, and take responsibility for our employees by treating them right, garnering mutual respect.

Personally, I want to be the best mother for my kids. A balanced life is a successful life. Getting that balance between work and family is what’s important to me.

The most successful person I know was my mother. And I like to think that I got my strength from her. She was always sharing and giving everyone in our disadvantaged community food even though she was our family’s sole bread winner. We didn’t have that much of our own either.

Follow Deskbuddy on Twitter:

@DeskbuddyZA