SA women making it big in tech
Much has been written about the dearth of women in technology-related fields and industries. The roles of coders, engineers, product designers, software developers and yes, CEOs, are usually associated with tit les preceded by ‘ Mr’. Yet there are undoubtedly many women doing great things in tech in South Africa, carving out their own paths and creating cool stuff along the way.
Finweek caught up with a few of SA’s dynamic female techies and digital pioneers to find out more. ANNETTE MULLER: ENABLING THE ‘CORPORATES OF THE FUTURE’ Annette Muller i s the f ounder and CEO of DOTNXT, an African innovation management firm. Last year, she was recognised by as one of the ‘ 10 female tech founders to watch in Africa’.
As Muller puts it, she is intent on “building the corporate of the future”, and spends her time helping companies to weave i nnovation i nto their daily reality. She founded DOTNXT in 2011, and says the company has evolved from being a consulting firm to offering research and strategic advisory, technology execution management and SA’s first Sector Education and Training Authority ( SETA) accredited I nnovation Management corporate training course.
“We saw a gap [in companies] between strategy and execution, and began to offer more hands-on, strategic programme management,” she explains. “We try to avoid the old-school ‘ PowerPoint’ way of doing things, and focus on agile delivery, providing always-on, live mission management and innovative strategic tools. We are always breaking the traditional corporate rules!”
In Muller’s world, she says the only constant is that they’re continually “doing stuff that’s never been done before… so there is no right formula, just challenges, and we love solving complex challenges”.
To stay i nspired, and keep f uelling t he innovation that she believes is so essential to business success, Muller admits that it takes “a lot of imagination”.
“I watch a lot of science-fiction movies,” she says. “But the key ingredient is obviously people. You need to surround yourself with people who have a similar mindset, who are inquisitive, off the beaten path.”
She adds: “We are running the corporate of the future − constantly trying to create, educate and improve − so you need to ensure you have inspired, practical and smart innovators around you.”