On Friday 19 August 2016, we excitedly gathered at the 22Seven vintage theatre in Hout Street to learn the outcomes of 10 days of collaboration through #cocreate2Accelerate. This initiative gathered five South African companies and five Dutch entrepreneurs to work together towards solving challenges within 10 days. The project was premised on moving companies to the next level of acceleration in terms of growth and opportunities.
Polymorph Systems (PTY) Ltd addressed the challenge of reviewing their existing overseas marketing strategy to gain access to a broader network by collaborating with business strategist Jabbo Smulders. CEO, Richard Barry stated that success in marketing becomes a challenge difficult when the work is not visible. This led to the creation of the Makers in Residence Program, designed to bring people together to connect and share knowledge with the aim of solving real world problems.
An exciting result of #cocreate2A was the formation of a partnership between Polymorph and T-Mobile NL. Together they will collaborate on an IoT project to address theft of livestock -specifically alpacas- which has become a growing problem in the Netherlands. The partnership with Senior Innovation Manager Ewout Karel will see the creation of technology used to track livestock.
Game development studio Retroepic Software, was founded in 2007 by brothers, Keith and Niki Boshoff. The company has been in existence for 10 years and is based on a flat structure. Through #cocreate2A, their aim was to identify new ways in which they could grow the company without tainting their collaborative culture. Niki Boshoff stated that collaboration is central to their team culture and the essence of their ability to deliver world class products.
Through Esther Jacob’s intuition and ability to quickly generate creative solutions to unconventional issues, Retroepic implemented small changes that delivered immediate results. In the process they also gained more insight into themselves through Esther’s a fresh perspective.
Through this partnership, they were able to:
- Evolve the system that has driven growth for the last decade without compromising the culture
- Assign Niki as a decision maker without muffling the voices of the collective
- Shorten 1 hour meetings to 30 minutes
- Create a Dutch landing page on their website to expand into the Dutch network
Sea Monster specialises in the creation of 2D-animation, as well as the development of engaging games for work or play. Their challenge with Anke Kuiper was to create a pitch deck to showcase Zuri’s Lab: Pyromaniacs, a game aimed to encourage interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) among teenage girls.
CEO of Sea Monster Glenn Gillis stated that the problem with science is that it is not attractive to kids. With the help of gaming entrepreneur Anke Kuipers, Sea Monster created an ecosystem bigger than the game itself. Their new marketing strategy is premised on the needs and wants of the client, as well as the role of retailers to not only reach the client, but retaining them. Through this ecosystem, the game will branch out to serve not only the needs of the player, but will become part of a community that addresses the issue of STEM through retail brands and educational institutions.
Mobile First agricultural technology company GreenFingers Mobile (GFM) worked with entrepreneur Jan-Henk Bouman to introduce their product to the market and expand their network through the creation of a pitch deck. The challenge stemmed from the fact that the product had not yet been made public. Jan-Henk states, “Sometimes you have to climb a mountain to see a different view.” He emphasized the importance of collaboration in the telling of the story. As an outsider, he was able to provide a different view of the product and how to introduce it to the public.
In his presentation, Felix Philipp specified that up until this point, they had been developing in the dark and that this was the first public presentation of GFM. He also brought light to fundamental questions when working on the concept of a new product, for example the identity of the product, the audience that should be targeted and how to commit to the outcome of the questions. GFM leverages mobile technology to improve ties between small holders farms as 70% of the African population rely on agriculture but cultivates less than 2 hectares of land. Through this collaboration, GFM has created a comprehensive pitch deck to introduce the product within an official capacity. GFM has also been put in contact with the Netherlands through Jan-Henk Bourman to broaden their network.
&Innovation looks at the future of work as a blank canvas
Partner at &Innovation Nevo Hadas detailed how the collaboration on their challenge started in one place and ended somewhere completely different. He made it clear that the world of work is shifting with an increase in trends predicting that by 2020, 60% of the workforce will be freelancers. This led to the question: “Can we hack culture?”
By working with Exploration Officer Kevin Weijers, they created a canvas style model to outline various measures to incorporate change in a workplace. It was founded that the key to change, was not technology but team dynamics. Nevo emphasised that culture is not a metaphor, but a series of actions.
It is clear that the shift to a more flexible work environment through digital tools can only be achieved through collaboration and communication. Employees form the basis of the shift and should be part of the process from conception to implementation. A practical example of how the canvas model is implemented is through the “stop, keep and start doing” technique. This technique evaluates actions and habits within a workplace, and how to best manage it. This technique provides a framework in which employees can function without physically being present in the office. In addition to the framework, is also the implementation of rituals in the form of daily check-ins and activities to harness team spirit. The playbook is currently in progress and will be released in the last week of August 2016.
We would like to thank all our participants for their hard work and dedication in #cocreate2Accelerate! We look forward to following your successes.