CASE STUDY

!Khi Solar One

Once completed, this concentrated solar tower power station will be one of the largest in the world. One of the benefits of this project relative to most other renewable energy projects is its ability to store energy and to deliver electricity to the grid during peak times.

Investing in human capital

Innovation

For any company to excel in the 21st century, innovation is a critical ingredient. The rate of change is increasing at a faster pace due to globalisation and technological progressions and innovation is constantly being used as a tool to thrive in this competitive environment.

At the IDC innovation has taken centre stage in the way we do things and staff are expected to play an active role in driving innovation in their respective areas.

Our definition of innovation is “A continuous drive to apply new ideas to add real value to the IDC and its stakeholders”. We are thus constantly identifying and developing new or significantly improved products, processes, systems and services to assist us to deliver better on our mandate. The focus in the medium term is on reducing the turnaround time for applications, improving efficiencies through cost cutting and better use of technology, increasing our pipeline of transactions through sourcing higher-quality business plans as well as improving our customer-centricity so that we can offer better services to our business partners. To this end the “on-line applications platform” 1 and the “15 day turnaround” 2 for standard applications were maintained and embedded in the year under review. The on-line applications portal now registers approximately 165 applications, including enquiries, per month.

The focus areas for this financial year have been:
(i) maintaining and embedding previous implementations;
(ii) embedding an innovation culture; and
(iii) implementation of ideas that have a major impact.

The maintenance and embedding of previous implementations focused on the 15 day turnaround process and the on-line applications continued.

Embedding an innovation culture is critical in order to make innovation a core skill and competence and thus making innovations ubiquitous and sustainable. A key challenge that was identified in our last internal innovation survey in 2012 was the need to improve leadership support for innovation as this pillar was increasing at a slower rate than all the other innovation pillars, namely, culture, leadership, strategic alignment, implementation and measurement.

1 The on-line applications platform is the IT system on the IDC website wherein all applications and enquiries can be done on-line.
2 The 15 day turnaround is implemented to improve approval time lines for non-complex transactions to be 15 days after all information has been received by the IDC.
3 The Financial World Innovation Awards are global awards for innovations in the financial services industry.
4 The tertiary institutions that will be participating are Wits Business School, University of Free State Business School,Regent, Henley, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Rhodes University, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, University of Stellenbosch and Milpark.

These innovation pillars are the critical success factors that need to be in place in order to have a sustainable innovation system. Measures that have been put in place so as to improve innovation leadership support included three workshops with managers, heads and divisional executives to discuss and share with them what interventions they need to put in place in their respective areas to support and promote innovation. In the new financial year we intend to continue with these workshops by having quarterly discussions and sharing with IDC leadership innovation best practices that we can learn from.

Another challenge we experienced when the innovation programme was launched in 2010 was that we received approximately 400 ideas in the first two years, but most of these did not have a strong strategic fit. We conducted training on innovation tools to improve development of sound ideas and we have narrowed the focus areas to a few critical areas, namely, improving efficiencies, customer-centricity and identifying more projects aligned to our strategy.

One of our highlights was being a finalist on the Financial World Innovation Awards3 in the category “most effective cultural transformation or staff participation initiative”.

The major innovations implemented have been predominantly with external stakeholders and largely driven through open innovation. Open innovation is the collaboration with external stakeholders to get better ideas and solutions for your challenges. We successfully completed our pilot business plan competition with the University of the Free State Business School. The winning business plan was submitted for funding and received funding of R6.2 million proving that the competition is a better way of identifying and assisting entrepreneurs to access funding. Due to the success of the pilot and the potential of this idea, the national business plan competition was launched in January 2013 with nine South African business schools4.

3 The Financial World Innovation Awards are global awards for innovations in the financial services industry.
4 The tertiary institutions that will be participating are Wits Business School, University of Free State Business School,Regent, Henley, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Rhodes University, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, University of Stellenbosch and Milpark.

In September 2012 we launched the IDC, BMF and sefa business plan competition that covered the Soweto and surrounding areas, to identify businesses with potential in those areas. These businesses should, through further support, incubation and assistance, be businesses that IDC, sefa or any other relevant funding institution can fund. The business plan competition helps entrepreneurs understand what measures they need to put in place to make their businesses financially viable and sustainable, whilst also helping to put together comprehensive, sound business plans that funders can consider.

Acknowledging and encouraging our prosperous business partners to continually grow, develop and innovate was the driving mission of our inaugural Business Partner Awards which was held on 15 September 2012.Exceptional business partners scooped awards for innovation, sustainability and job creation.

In the 2014 financial year, we look forward to the results of our innovation survey that was undertaken in August 2013.

Our focus will continue to be on implementations around improving efficiencies, customer-centricity and reducing impairments. In open innovation we will be launching challenges on underutilised infrastructure to source better ways to create sustainable businesses utilising this infrastructure, predominantly in rural and peri-urban areas.

Coega Dairy Holdings

The IDC has identified increased competition in the dairy value chain and import substitution in the cheese industry as key sector development goals. We also singled out the need for increased farmer (and specifically B-BBEE) participation in dairy value-adding initiatives.

Windtown Lagoon Resort 

The newly built Windtown Lagoon Resort and Spa reflects the IDC’s focus to funding community-based projects that have potential to create employment opportunities in far-flung regions.


APPROVALS
R13.1 billion
DISBURSEMENTS
R16.0 billion
JOBS FACILITATED
18 922
JOBS SAVED
3 950
© The IDC 2013. All rights not expressly allowed are reserved. P.O. Box 784055, Sandton, 2146, South Africa