Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor (right) poses with winners at the 2016 TT100 Business Innovation Awards. Picture: GORDON HARRIS PHOTOGRAPHIC
Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor (right) poses with winners at the 2016 TT100 Business Innovation Awards. Picture: GORDON HARRIS PHOTOGRAPHIC

Despite widespread pessimism over South Africa’s skills shortages and economic prospects, the country has a thriving culture of business innovation capable of flourishing in adversity. This was abundantly clear at The Da Vinci Institute / TT100 Business Innovation Awards Programme, where the quality of the award winners revealed the depth of innovation in South African companies of all sizes, from emerging and small enterprises to medium-sized and large companies.

From car-locking systems that won’t let the driver behind the wheel when over the blood alcohol limit to technology that ensures the integrity of cleaning procedures in the food and beverages industry, the achievements of the winners show how companies are putting their talents to work to overcome uniquely South African challenges.

The 2016 TT100 awards – the 25th edition since the programme was established in 1991 – were presented at the Johannesburg Country Club on Thursday October 27, under the auspices of TT100: The Da Vinci Institute School of Managerial Leadership. Da Vinci’s awards partners are the Department of Science and Technology, MTN and Eskom.

Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor gave the keynote address and presented the awards, which recognised top-performing companies in four main categories: management of technology, management of innovation, management of people, and management of systems and sustainability.

In each category, awards were presented to the top emerging, small, medium-sized and large companies.

In addition, four special awards from the minister and the director-general of science and technology were presented for overall excellence.   

Here are the 2016 winners and finalists in each category:

Management of technology category

Emerging enterprise

WINNER: SVA Innovate 

Finalists:
RocketMine Aerial Data Solutions
JoinCircles 
Niche Integrated Solutions 

Small enterprise

WINNER: Technetium 

Finalists:
X/procure Software SA 
Agilitude
COLONYHQ 
Hazleton Pumps International 

Medium enterprise

WINNER: Cornastone Telecommunications 

Finalists:
SSG Consulting
Accsys 

Large enterprise

WINNER: Allied Electronics Corporation Limited

Finalists:
De Beers Technologies South  Africa (DebTech)
PFK Electronics


Management of innovation category

Emerging enterprise

WINNER: SVA Innovate 

Finalists:
IoT.nxt
Tuluntulu

Small enterprise

WINNER: COLONYHQ 

Finalists:
Technetium
X/procure Software SA
Hazleton Pumps International
Khonology
LucidView
BOSS Office Projects
Systemic Logic Innovation Agency

Medium enterprise

WINNER: Cornastone Telecommunications 

Finalists:
Accsys
SSG Consulting

Large enterprise

WINNER: Allied Electronics Corporation 

Finalists:
De Beers Technologies South Africa (DebTech)
Altech Netstar


Management of people category

Emerging enterprise

WINNER: No winner

Finalists:
RocketMine Aerial Data Solutions
SVA Innovate

Small enterprise

WINNER: X/procure Software SA 

Finalists:
COLONYHQ
Metro Minds 

Medium enterprise

WINNER: Accsys 

Finalists:
Cornastone Telecommunications
Five Friday

Large enterprise

WINNER: PFK Electronics

Finalists:
Allied Electronics Corporation
African Oxygen
Altech Multimedia 


Management of systems category

Emerging enterprise

WINNER: Kirkonsult 

Finalists:
Memeza Shout 

Small enterprise

WINNER: Khonology

Finalists:
COLONYHQ
Systemic Logic Innovation Agency 

Medium enterprise

WINNER: Accsys 

Finalists:
SSG Consulting

Large enterprise

WINNER: Allied Electronics Corporation 

Finalists:
I CAT Environmental Solutions
Altech Netstar
Altech Multimedia 


Blank Canvas International Award for Sustainability

Emerging enterprise

WINNER: SVA Innovate 

Finalists:
RocketMine Aerial Data Solutions
Tuluntulu 

Small enterprise

WINNER: COLONYHQ
Systemic Logic Innovation Agency 

Finalists:
X/procure Software SA
Khonology

Medium enterprise

WINNER: Accsys
Cornastone Telecommunications 

Finalists:
SSG Consulting

Large enterprise

WINNER: Allied Electronics Corporation
PFK Electronics

Finalists:
De Beers Technologies South Africa (DebTech)


Director-General Award for Overall Excellence

Emerging enterprise

WINNER: SVA Innovate 

Finalists:
RocketMine Aerial Data Solutions
Tuluntulu 

Small enterprise

WINNER: COLONYHQ 

Finalists:
X/procure Software SA
Khonology


Minister Award for Overall Excellence

Medium enterprise

WINNER: Accsys 

Finalists:
Cornastone Telecommunications
SSG Consulting

Large enterprise

WINNER: Allied Electronics Corporation

Finalists:
De Beers Technologies South Africa (DebTech)
Altech Netstar 


How the winners are chosen

The TT100 award winners were chosen through a unique selection process, starting with pre-qualification. To qualify, companies must have been in business for at least one year. They must not merely resell an existing product or service but must have introduced an innovative element within the TIPS model.

Next, after completing a comprehensive online questionnaire, each participating company is invited to a two-hour consultative interview with the award adjudicators. For the first 45 minutes, each entrant gives a presentation on the company and its business. The last 45 minutes are spent on questions from the adjudicators, all of whom are champions of innovation and have experience in enterprise development or entrepreneurship.

For 2016, 22 adjudicators representing a cross-section of the economy, from banking and business incubation to auditing, energy and public policy-making, volunteered their time and expertise to the judging process.

Scoring is done electronically. The adjudicators individually assign scores to each company and enter these into a dedicated TT100 awards system. The system collates and consolidates the scores to produce a matrix of the winners and finalists.

Unique opportunity for feedback

A special benefit of the TT100 awards programme is the feedback participants receive from the adjudicators. This takes the form of the verbal feedback received during each two-hour adjudication session and an electronic dashboard that each entrant can download after the awards. The electronic dashboard contains detailed, confidential comments from the adjudicators on where the company concerned is doing well and where it could consider making improvements.

In addition, each participant receives a 30-minute post-awards feedback session with the chief adjudicator.

Winners and finalists receive the additional benefit of becoming part of the TT100 community and being invited to participate in TT100 events, including business forums held jointly with the government and partners involved in promoting business innovation, in particular the Department of Science and Technology.

The quality of the feedback participants receive is the reason why many companies enter the programme year after year – regardless of whether they win an award. In fact, some companies entered the awards for the first time in 1991 and are still taking part today.

Enter now for 2017 awards

Entries for the 2017 TT100 Business Innovation Awards are already being accepted. It is open to all companies, South African and international, as long as they have been in business for at least a year and consider themselves leaders in the way they manage technology, innovation, people or systems.

To enter, please register at www.tt100.co.za or send an email to Carol Varga at The Da Vinci Institute, carol@davinci.ac.za.

This article was paid for by The Da Vinci Institute/TT100 Business Innovation Awards Programme.

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