German innovation consultancy expands to South Africa

Seedlab supports local companies navigating digital disruption

seedlab_logo@3x9 May 2017, Berlin, Germany and Cape Town, South Africa — German innovation consultancy, Seedlab GmbH, has expanded internationally with the launch of Seedlab South Africa in early 2017. The company helps corporates manage digitalisation successfully and brings seven years of experience and tested innovation methodology to South Africa.

Seedlab works with companies to identify new business models; introduces them to startups and entrepreneurial ways of working, such as the Lean Startup approach and rapid prototyping. It embeds innovation into their DNA and ultimately helps them take new, disruptive business models to market.

Seedlab South Africa was founded by digital strategist, Elli Gorgievska, and technology journalist, Vanessa Clark. German founder, Regine Haschka-Helmer plays an active role with local clients. The new company is currently working with estate agency RE/MAX Living to optimise the property sales cycle.

“I’m excited about applying our proven innovation techniques and methodologies in the South African market,” said Haschka-Helmer. “But it’s definitely not about parachuting in our ways of working. What we learn in a South African context will be applied during our work with clients in Europe too.”

The adoption of digitalisation by companies in African countries could contribute R4 trillion ($300 billion) to the continent’s economy by 2026, according to a recent report by Siemens, African Digitalization Maturity Report 2017. The report goes on to say that South Africa is leading digitalisation on the continent, with the continent generally tracking well when it comes to digital transformation.

Seedlab’s innovation approach — proven with companies such as Swiss Federal Railways and Volkswagen Financial Services — is to work with businesses to unlock latent creativity and problem-solving capabilities. In parallel the process resets the company’s way of working to be better suited to a disruptive, rapidly-changing, digital world. The Seedlab network of experts and startups ensures that the right brains are around the table to support the company as it interrogates its customer journey, assets and processes to figure out where the business opportunities lie. This helps address some of the major blockages businesses experience when trying to kickstart innovation programmes.

“We don’t think innovation should be outsourced,” said Gorgievska. “Not if you want it to be sustainable. But we do recognise the need that companies have in closing the gap between what they know they should be doing to innovate, and the practical steps they need to take to achieve this.

“For as long as it is needed, Seedlab creates the space and ensures the right people are involved to get clarity on what digitalisation means for the client, embeds innovation into their culture, and unlocks talent to help them achieve their business goals.”

As part of the job of supporting South African companies with digitalisation and innovation, Seedlab South Africa will introduce corporates to local and international startups, with a view to collaborating, forming partnerships and even acquisitions. In addition, the company and its German parent will form the nodes of a bridge between the startup ecosystems in Cape Town and Berlin.

“South African companies have a lot to learn from nimble, hungry startups,” said Clark. “Likewise startups can learn from companies that have weathered the ups and downs of the market. Unfortunately, they currently seem to be speaking different languages to each other, with a lot being lost in translation. Seedlab’s matchmaking of startups and established businesses is a double-edged sword, allowing startups to leapfrog to the next level of their growth plan, and companies to tap into startup mindsets and gain new capabilities and technology without building them from scratch.”

Seedlab South Africa works with companies looking to innovate, and creative agencies who want to widen their portfolio and offer innovation services to their clients.

About Seedlab South Africa

Seedlab South Africa,, is an innovation studio that supports businesses with the existential shift needed to embrace radical innovation. By helping companies disrupt their world before they are disrupted, Seedlab South Africa unlocks revenue streams in the new economy.

The company’s core belief is that sustainable innovation comes from within, so the focus is to unlock and entrench business’s own innovation and creativity to ensure growth and profits.

Ideate. Create. Build.

For more information, contact:

Vanessa Clark
+27 82 335 1117

PRESS RELEASE: 8th IT Leaders Africa Summit in Cape Town next week

Now in its 8th year, the IT Leaders Africa Summit, Africa’s largest CIO gathering, will take place on the 15th and 16th March at the Century City Conference Centre in South Africa’s tech hub Cape Town.

The 2017 edition of the IT Leaders Africa Summit will host a number of industry experts as well as top IT solution providers who will be presenting on the current trends affecting African IT Executives.

Recent years have seen IT leaders moving away from the tech-heavy role and taking up a place in developing business strategies alongside other executives, essentially approaching enterprise IT from a business point of view and establishing themselves as the most effective person to lead IT transformation.

The strategic decision to bring the event to Cape Town has yielded positive results and a high level of interest across industries in Africa.  Attendance is already up by 42% and the new venue is a perfect fit for a top level IT event.  There is a lot of interest this year and Kinetic is committed to strengthening the industry across the African continent through our involvement as a key information provider and business facilitator.  We are encouraged by the number of companies who have already expressed interest in anticipation of the next edition in 2018”, says Terence Southam, co-founder & Managing Director of Kinetic.

This year, the summit will host Lead Sponsor, Mimecast’s ‘The Anatomy of the Cyber-attack’.  This session takes place on Day One and will look into topics such as Social Engineering, the Legal Implications of a data breach & POPI.

The summit features over 40 speakers, 20+ keynotes, panel discussions, and numerous educational workshop sessions that are hosted by leading IT solution providers from around the world.

‘This is my second year of attending the IT Leaders Africa Summit. As a delegate last year I found the topics to be relevant and panel discussions to be very informative. The conference also provides an opportunity to build a strong professional network’, says Rolan Christian Executive Manager: ICT Operations, Medscheme/HeliosITS.

This year’s agenda will delve into topics including strategy in a constantly changing landscape, the human element surrounding the role of the CIO and customer and employee engagement, as well as value-driven IT and how to extract all forms of value from various endeavours.

The advisory panel has assisted in shaping the agenda and ensuring that the most pressing topics are addressed at the summit.  This year we have utilised the expertise of four advisory board members:

Peter du Plooy, CIO, Engen who will speak about Predictive Analytics & AI and the disruption to the workforce.

Vijay Naidoo, Head of IT, Parmalat who will take a look at customer-centricity within the role of the CIO.

Prasanna Kumar Burri, Group Head of IT, Dangote as well as Prof. Pete Janse Van Vuuren, CEO – The Thinking Cap & Director – Africa CIO Forum, CIO Council of South Africa have also served as advisors.

Other leading speakers include:

Richard Van Rensburg, Deputy CEO, Pick n Pay will be participating in a panel discussion surrounding predictions for the future of IT and technology as a whole.

Sophia Vargas, Analyst Serving Infrastructure & Operations Professionals, Forrester will examine Infrastructure Strategy as the key to a successful digital transformation.

Visionary CIO finalist 2016, Ridwaan Bardien, CIO, SANBS, will present how SANBS is laying a foundation for digital initiatives.

Lead sponsor:

Mimecast’s security, archiving and continuity cloud services protect business email and deliver comprehensive email risk management in one fully-integrated subscription service. Mimecast reduces the risk, complexity and cost traditionally associated with protecting email.

Platinum sponsor:

SITA was established in 1999 to consolidate and coordinate the State’s information technology resources in order to achieve cost savings through scale, increased delivery capabilities and enhanced interoperability.

Gold sponsors include:

Ipanema, InfoVista’s automated and fully integrated Business Application Performance Assurance solution, gives CIOs all the features they need to future-proof their network for application-aware SD-WANand Hybrid WAN.

Balabit – founded in Budapest, Hungary – is a leading provider of contextual security technologies with the mission of preventing data breaches without constraining business.

SailPoint Technologies
From managing employees that come and go, to auditing and reporting, to assessing security risks—SailPoint delivers best-in-class solutions for Compliance, Provisioning, Access Management, and Identity Analytics.

JMR Software
JMR Software is an international, large enterprise and services IT specialist, with extensive technological expertise and in-depth knowledge of software solutions.

ITR Tech
They offer full Infrastructure Monitoring and Management, Lifecycle Management and Configuration Management capabilities which allows the client to make use of ITR Technology as a “one stop shop” to obtain a proactive approach and increase Quality of Service and uptime to their IT environments and company / customer services.

Named ‘Technology Pioneer’ by the World Economic Forum, Darktrace is one of the world’s leading cyber threat defense companies.

Attend the 8th Annual IT Leaders Summit on 15 & 16 March 2017 to ensure that you are up to date with current IT leadership trends.

For more information about IT Leaders please contact: +27 (0) 21 180 4700
2nd Floor, Dean Street Arcade Dean Street, Newlands, Cape Town

Follow @ITLeadersAfrica on Twitter and join the conversation using the #ITLAfrica

The Whale Trail: views for days

img_9440The Whale Trail and I had some unfinished business. Three years ago I set off to do the trail in the middle of the massive storm that hit the Western Cape in November 2013. Of course we were sent straight home, but first enjoyed a lovely braai, and drank up all our wine and ate all our snacks at the Potberg hut before returning to Cape Town the next day. It was a fun overnight in nature with great people, but not really the 5-day trail extravaganza we’d been anticipating!

So this year I leapt at the chance to tackle the trail again, and it was well worth the wait.

Read the rest of my article on the Cape Nature blog.

Workshop: PR for startups

startup-pr-workshop-squarePR for startups. You’re changing the world. Now tell the world.

You’re ready to start telling the world about your startup. And you need PR to shout things from the rooftops.

Or do you?

Find out if you are public relations ready, learn about the state of the media, think about how you tell your story for different audiences and figure out how to maximise PR for your startup.

You’ll leave having refined your elevator pitch for media, plus have a few great ideas for announcements and thought leadership.

Vanessa Clark and Victoria Soroczynski have supported local and international startups with media activities here and abroad. This workshop, offered in partnership with MTN Solution Space, is based on what they have learnt works for startups, and what doesn’t.

Date: Thursday, 17 November 2016

Time: 4.30 to 6.30 pm (Workshop starts at 5.00 pm sharp)

Venue: The Learning Lab, MTN Solution Space, UCT Graduate School of Business (map:

Book your space here:


Help is literally at hand for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in South Africa

In amongst all the frothing at the mouth about the latest Apple iPhone-this and Samsung Galaxy-that, I do love a good “feature phones change lives” story. So I eagerly joined today’s Cape Town launch of Help@hand, a mobile information service that provides people who are refugees, asylum seekers or migrants with a way to stay informed about their legal rights in South Africa. The USSD-based feature phone service is also a platform to report xenophobic attacks, corruption or unlawful arrests.

Read on for more on