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Leaders Need To Embrace, Not Fear, The Digitalized Future Of Work

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The machines are coming for our jobs. This is a dystopian vision of the future of work popularized by the media and perpetuated in boardrooms across the globe.

South Africa is not immune from this misperception and here it has created a climate of fear and paralysis.  Leaders, both civic and corporate, hesitate to encourage and incentivise the very digitalization needed to sustain and grow our economies out of a misguided fear of job losses and the ensuing civil backlash.

Ironically, the exact efforts to protect jobs from technology may end up being the biggest cause of job losses in the future. Because, without a shift to a Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) mindset, businesses will progressively become less competitive against their global peers, eroding their economic relevance and the jobs they sustain.

Decision makers, therefore, need the courage to embrace the paradox that while jobs might be subsumed by technology, only technology will be able to create new ones.

Yes, automation and cognitive technologies will eliminate jobs; mostly in search of improved efficiencies and productivity, and to some extent to reduce reliance on expensive, rare and specialised skills. It is futile and economically reckless to think otherwise.

The good news is that these same technologies will create demand for new skills and new jobs. The World Economic Forum (WEF) conducted an extensive study, leveraging insights from business leaders cumulatively responsible for 15 million people across a variety of sectors, skills and seniority levels globally. The study concluded that for every job that is lost to 4IR popularized technologies, 1.7 jobs will be created.

The consequent economic knock-on effects of these new jobs, although not quantified, would undoubtedly be significant and further contribute to net employment.

Unfortunately, the net new jobs will mostly remain in the domain of the educated and available to those with the means to access and afford the cost of sourcing new 4IR-related skills.

Green shoots

There are, however, green shoots of positive developments, led by a new breed of digitally literate entrepreneurs. They have not “invented” the technology, but instead leverage technology platforms to create self-employment and economic sustainability. These digitally literate entrepreneurs, many of them running micro-businesses, are creating employment and economic activity in lower income level segments in the following key areas:

1. Distributed value chains

Distributed value chains involve a category of people who are generally unemployed or under-employed and are able to fulfil a last-mile service gap by trading in their skills or available time. These platforms link people with capacity and/or skills constraints to people with the time and skills needed. This is done in a way that is dignified, safe, peer-reviewed for quality of service, and enables higher wages compared to traditional constructs. These platforms have been effective at creating jobs in developed, low-unemployment economies. Their contribution to employment is proven, significant and immediately tangible.

2. Collaborative consumption

It is often impossible for small organisations or individuals to justify the ownership of an asset because of affordability, or the ability to use the full capacity of the asset. The converse applies in which access to the asset through a sharing mechanism enables the same benefit as asset ownership. For example, digital platforms, such as Nigerian start-up Hello Tractor, that provide access to key equipment on a pay-per-use basis allow companies and individuals to reap economic benefits from utilising technology without the associated costs of owning the equipment.

This in turn enhances efficiencies and competitiveness of small organizations and levels the playing field for them in relation to large ones. Collaborative consumption has many forms and different levels of sophistication. At the extremes of technology, companies like 3D Hubs enable the collaborative consumption of 3D printers, allowing the 3D printer to become a shareable asset within its community.

3. Digital economic catalysts

Digital platforms increase levels of transparency, which combined with the network effect of connecting communities and frictionless transaction flow, is reviving sectors that have lost their appeal due to a lack of transparency, reduced levels of trust and relevance to specific demographic groups, and tedious or complex manual processes. These sectors are being revived by digital platforms that economically empower micro-entrepreneurs – or allow them to further empower other micro-entrepreneurs. StokFella and Livestock Invest are good examples of platforms that have shaken up entrenched concepts.

Digital technologies present both risks and potential. The way forward is not fixed nor will it be easy, but with the right leaders, and a mindset of urgency, curiosity and a preparedness to challenge existing paradigms, we have a good chance of achieving an abundant future.

We also need citizens and entrepreneurs that see opportunity in this new era open to doing things that have never been done before – in ways not previously considered, leveraging technology never before available.

Valter Adão is the Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, Deloitte Africa

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BOSS X Meissen Capsule Collection Inspired by The Big Five

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Johannesburg, 6 December 2019. BOSS celebrated its holiday capsule with an exclusive event on the 4th of December in Johannesburg.

Two internationally recognized German brands BOSS and Meissen came together for the first time. Inspired by Meissen’s celebrated Big Five figurines, a groundbreaking new collaboration united the two brands’ shared passions for quality, design and creativity.

The Big Five collection, designed by sculptor Maximilian Hagstotz, features the African lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo, each decorated with a monochrome pattern placed to emphasize the animal’s characteristic traits.

These majestic creatures, depicted in an angular style inspired by traditional African wooden sculptures, are the starting point for a unique capsule collection of BOSS Menswear and Womenswear.  The fashion capsule collection includes both casual and formal pieces for men and women, all in a monochrome palette of black and white.

To honor this special capsule and collaboration, BOSS and a local franchise partner SURTEE Group hosted an exclusive dinner just in time for the holiday season, with a special guest in attendance – the founder of Elephants for Africa organization Dr Kate Evans.

Guests, dressed in black and white, were greeted by a life-sized white Meissen elephant statue with elegant black and white canapés and black martinis awaiting them. The sophisticated evening had everything from the food, to the décor, drinks and dress code following the monochromatic theme. The charismatic Mark Bayley and former Miss South Africa Jo-Ann Strauss kept VIP guests entertained as co-hosts.

The evening culminated with a private performance by South Africa’s much loved Mi Casa. 

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Business Veteran Scoops Top Vision 2030 Award

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Business veteran and Group CEO of ITHUBA Holdings, Charmaine Mabuza has scooped the Top Woman in Education Award at the Vision 2030 Awards recently held in Emperors Palace, Gauteng.

This award recognizes Mabuza for her contribution in the South African education sector through the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Scholarship Foundation.

The Foundation, established in 1999 by Mpumalanga business veterans, Advocate Eric and Charmaine Mabuza initially supported young and talented matriculants in the Mpumalanga region to further their tertiary studies. Since then, the Foundation’s reach has expanded throughout South Africa, producing Doctors, Accountants, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors and many more.

Commenting on the award, Mabuza said: “This award represents many years of hard work and determination towards the advancement of equal access to quality education for all South Africans. The mission of the scholarship foundation is to eradicate poverty through education, particularly in previously marginalized communities. As corporate leaders, we know that there is still a lot to be done, but we are ready and willing to do our part. We look forward to another decade of serving the nation”.

One of the beneficiaries of the Scholarship Foundation, Dr. Kate Lusiki who now works at the Rob Ferreira Hospital expressed her gratitude: “Since I started working, I have been able to renovate my mother’s house. I am currently staying with my older sister whom I am putting through college so that she too can also have a solid educational structure. I am able to do these things for my family because the Advocate and Mrs Mabuza afforded me an opportunity to education. This Foundation to me, has been like a better life handed to me on a silver platter, and for that I am eternally grateful.”

The 2020 Scholarship programme will launch with the new intake of students on 12 January with a week-long programme at the ITHUBA offices in Sandton.

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The Re-Awakening Of Some Of The Rarest Whiskies In The World: Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost And Rare Glenury Royal

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The season just got a bit more sensational for whisky connoisseurs, as Johnnie Walker releases the third installment in its ‘ghost’ series, with the remarkably rare and limited edition, Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Glenury Royal.

This exceptional blend with bewildering layers of depth highlights, notes of candied fruits, spices and unrivaled smokiness. At the heart is the Glenury Royal whisky – the perfect gift to that whisky collector or whisky afficionado.

Ghost and Rare remains in dwindling supply since the shutdown of its birthplace, the iconic Highland distillery, Glenury Royal in 1985. Each bottle is handcrafted in small batches by the combined expertise of a small team of passionate blenders led by master blender Jim Beveridge,the sixth in an unbroken line of master blenders stretching back almost 200 years.

Ghost and Rare is complexly layered with the sweetness of honey and elegant smoke for a long and lingering incomparable finish. With only 1,600 uniquely numbered bottles in Nigeria and only 60,000 bottles made globally, this is a whisky that few others will ever get to taste.  

As one of the most sought-after whiskies in the world, Ghost and Rare is a perfect Christmas gift to appreciate a loved one or a discerning drinker who continues to walk with you.

Enjoy Johnnie Walker responsibly. Not for persons below 18 years

Content provided by Johnnie Walker

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