Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Any business looking at digitisation faces rapid change and risk, as well as opportunity. Excelling – or even surviving, for some – requires an approach that might differ vastly from “tried-and-tested” methodologies.

It is not easy to shift thinking or break away from set paradigms. “It's often difficult to explain  . . . how innovative thinking can be implemented in established organisations or legacy frameworks,” says Gil Sperling, CTO at Popimedia.

Because of this Sperling –  after travelling to Amsterdam to visit some of the world’s most innovative businesses – decided to introduce a series of workshops to the SA market. 

“These immersive and experiential workshops show first-hand how progressive organisations are leveraging technology and digitisation and taking diverging approaches to innovate in their respective fields and do things differently,” he says.

The concept was designed to shift thinking around design, marketing and business in the digital age, and workshops are presented by local pioneers in their fields. Titled SHiFT, the platform helps to bring new concepts to life in people’s minds, says Sperling.

The big take-out

Unconventional thinking can drive innovation and offer a competitive advantage.

The latest stop on the SHiFT journey was at the bustling Maboneng district in central Johannesburg, where Propertuity, led by CEO Jonathan Liebmann, is re-energising a city with optimism through the company’s urban redevelopment and renewal projects. 

Blake Raubenheimer, digital marketing executive for Massmart retailers Game and Dionwired, agrees that opportunities to engage with visionaries such as Liebmann put into context how unconventional thinking can drive innovation and offer a competitive advantage.

According to Raubenheimer, it boils down to how businesses democratise these innovations in their operations. “While these are often considered progressive, idealistic trends, they’re already driving change and need to be adapted to for organisations to survive and thrive,” he says.

 To date, attendees have had “deep-dive” engagements with SA visionaries and organisations, including Rich Mulholland, Accenture’s Liquid Studio and Alt Reality.

“By exposing our minds and those of our clients to these great thinkers, we hope to shift the future trajectory of their approach to business and marketing,” says Sperling.