Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), Graduate Centre for Management, Certificate Award ceremony, 19 June 2013

I was invited to be a guest speaker at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), Graduate Centre for Management, Certificate Award ceremony tonight (19 June 2013). Below is the text of the talk that I delivered.....

Thank you for inviting me to this event. I am honoured to be here with you at your awards ceremony.

I run a company called African Ideas.  We are a strategic consultancy helping governments to accelerate the benefits of ICT-enabled change through transformation of the public sector and the wider economy.
Our name embodies the principles that we believe in and strive towards - African Innovation, African Development, African Empowerment, African Action and African Solutions.

We believe in the ripple effect – dropping a stone or even a drop of water in a pond, causes ripples to emanate from the source, getting bigger and bigger the further away from the source they get. This is a powerful example of small changes causing large and far-reaching effects. At African Ideas, we specialise in working with our clients to identify these ‘big lever’ projects – the projects which, when embarked upon, will set the necessary ripples in motion to drive change and transformation throughout an eco-system. In this way we aim to have a profound effect on the society in which we operate.

A few days ago, there was a very interesting article in the MIT Technology Review that I am still trying to get my head around. The article was titled “How Technology Is Destroying Jobs” and was clearly of interest to me, as I have always had the view that technology can have a massive impact on social and economic impact in our country. I was starting to wonder if some of the luddites that we seem to have in charge of our country might have it right after all, and if I might have it wrong.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Video Smoke detection systems for early detection of shack fires

Shack fires are a huge problem in South Africa and it has a devastating impact on the lives of poorer communities. As African Ideas (, we have raised the idea of utilising video smoke detection systems for early detection of shack fires - linked to the Western Cape broadband initiative.

Video smoke detection systems are starting to be used for fire detection in oil refineries, historic buildings, rail depots, warehouses, shopping malls, etc.  They have not been used for shack (informal housing) fires anywhere else in the world that I am aware off – but this is just the kind of innovative use of technology to solve societal problems that we should be exploring (African solutions for African problems).

Monday, 3 June 2013

My first trip on Cape Town’s new MyCiti bus service

The MyCiti bus service rolled out to my area a few months ago and I have been waiting for the right opportunity to test the service. I was quite excited about the service as it brings reliable public transport to my area which previously did not have any public transport options.
New MyCiti bus in Walmer Estate
When I first heard about it, the service was supposed to have commenced in December 2012. Given that I was going to be moving to a project office in the CBD in January 2013, I had the idea that it would really be convenient to use the bus to work in the CBD.   I knew that it might not really work for me, given that I often have meetings all over the city and the province for which I would need my car. However I was committed to trying it out and seeing if I could make it work. Alas, it was not to be.