Kick-Starting Innovation at the SAB World of Beer
Last year, the South African Breweries asked disruptive innovators all over South Africa whether they have what it takes to innovate the SAB World of Beer, which is situated in the heart of Johannesburg, Newtown. The Brewery was searching for innovative concepts from different sectors for entrepreneurial development.
The competition ensured that entrepreneurs from different industries were given an equal opportunity to respond; and respond they did. 2 812 innovations, 741 of which are already operational businesses, were sent through. The number of hopefuls was then narrowed down to only 100, based on the degree of innovation of their idea, its job creation potential, and its business growth potential.
The 100 were invited to a 3-day ideation boot camp that took place on the 7th to the 9th of February 2018. The aim of the boot camp was to provide the participants with the opportunity to fully comprehend what was expected of them before they resubmitted their final concepts on the 21st of February 2018.
The boot camp created an opportunity for the participants to refine their ideas further – or even change them altogether, familiarise themselves with concept development tools, understand the criteria that will be used to evaluate their concepts and to inspire collaborations between the candidates.
Langalethu Zulu, a participant who makes event furniture from recyclable material said that “there were so many alarm bells going off about my original concept since the first day. The boot camp helped me restructure my idea, I went back to the very beginning and answered very important questions I initially missed.” She added that she will apply everything she learned during the three days to improve her initial idea.
The 100 participants were further supported by mentors from WIBC Innovation and Resolution Circle throughout the various workshops and interaction sessions. WIBC Innovation created a business development ecosystem that uniquely applies open innovation to improve the success and quality of entrepreneurship outcomes. Resolution Circle is known for its incubation and product development support and its strong commercialisation of technology capabilities.
The aim of the boot camp was to provide the participants with the opportunity to fully comprehend what was expected of them before they resubmit their final concepts on the 21st of February 2018. Dr Michael Magondo, of WIBC Innovation, mentioned that understanding what a problem is, is important. He said that “if there is no obstacle preventing you from doing something, then there is no problem.” He urged the participants to look at problems that are worth fixing, and to create sustainable value from their inventions.
Participants were also familiarised with the environment in which their innovative ideas might be implemented in by going on tours of the Newtown Precinct, Resolution Circle’s small-scale manufacturing facility in Doornfontein, and experienced the World of Beer on-site tourist attractions. They also had the chance to interact with each other through the three days with group tasks and conducted research on how to improve the World of Beer facilities.
The learning and interaction sessions culminated in 10 group pitch presentations to a panel of SAB, World of Beer, WIBC and Resolution Circle adjudicators. The feedback received from the adjudicators not only applies to their group assignments but also their individual proposals, which they will later submit for further consideration.
This ideation boot camp is step two of four of the South African Breweries KickStart Ignite Youth Innovation Development Programme’s journey. After the boot camp, the candidates have a week to assimilate what they learned, take a hard look at their innovative ideas, throw them out the window if they must, or simply improve them.
After finalising their new and improved ideas, they must record a 60-second pitch video. Corrie Smith, who is in charge of the technology commercialisation programme at Resolution Circle, advised participants to focus on their solution and to not keep going back to their motivation in their video entries. The revised submissions and elevator pitch videos will determine whether they make it through to step three.
The participants have tight timelines in which they must refine their individual submissions before submitting them for adjudication on the 28th of February 2018, where the 100 hopefuls will be narrowed down to 25 finalists.
The final aim of the SAB KickStart programme is to develop emerging, youth entrepreneurs and small business owners between the ages of 18-35 with industry aligned capabilities, technical tools, financial support, and targeted market access opportunities to become credible suppliers to the SAB and other organisations. This whilst leveraging on innovation to revolutionalise local supply chains of large corporates.