LESSONS FROM A WIN­NING IN­NO­VA­TOR

Finweek English Edition - - FEEDBACK - Read­ers’ views are edited and pub­lished at the dis­cre­tion of FIN­WEEK AN­NELI GROE­NEWALD Views do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect those of the pub­lisher.

DEPUTY EDITOR

WRITES: Dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies are here to stay – that mes­sage isn’t new – and they are al­ready dis­rupt­ing ways South Africans do busi­ness – a les­son the trans­port in­dus­try learnt with the in­tro­duc­tion of Uber.

Ev­ery in­dus­try has its own ex­am­ples. From my own ex­pe­ri­ence, it of­ten feels like the lo­cal media in­dus­try is sim­ply try­ing to deal with all the dig­i­tal plat­forms be­ing thrown at it – a case of just adapt­ing copy writ­ten for print to fit dig­i­tal de­vices.

I be­lieve the same hap­pens in many other sec­tors. Web­sites are cre­ated, shop­ping bas­kets added to those web­sites, and de­vel­op­ers are paid my monthly salary per hour to de­velop an app overnight – all to deal with the ad­vance of dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies.

But while many of us, like the media in­dus­try, are all play­ing catch-up, oth­ers are com­ing up with new, in­no­va­tive ideas. And mon­etis­ing these ideas.

So how do you get ahead of the game? GreatSoft CEO, Bruce Mor­gan (see story on page 42), shares his phi­los­o­phy with Fin­week. And con­sid­er­ing that GreatSoft – which pro­vides in­te­grated cloud-based man­age­ment so­lu­tions to ac­count­ing firms – re­cently won the FNB Busi­ness In­no­va­tion Award, it might be worth heed­ing Mor­gan’s ad­vice. Ev­ery month each of his team’s de­vel­op­ers spends two days work­ing on some­thing that does not fall within their job de­scrip­tion. They do this to stim­u­late the f low of cre­ative juices, he says, and it has al­ready re­sulted in ad­van­tages for the com­pany’s client base.

While many bosses around the globe would be able to see the ben­e­fit in such a sys­tem, an equal num­ber would shrug it off as they can­not af­ford to have their highly-skilled em­ploy­ees wast­ing time dab­bling with less im­por­tant mat­ters.

Mor­gan would prob­a­bly say com­pa­nies can­not af­ford not to.

Those will­ing to in­vest in new ideas are likely to be the ones who’ll be on the money.

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