The full weight of GIBS’ renowned faculty and academic networks are brought to bear on delivering pertinent academic programmes and building a central core of knowledge and research to support business. These initiatives take a variety of forms, ranging from both academic to practical, and are led by experts in their fields who wish to make a contribution to research, global best practice and sharing this knowledge with South African businesses.
GIBS is fortunate to have attracted local and international support and funding for many of these initiatives, and to work in close collaboration with both partners and funders to develop successful programmes and projects.
- Business Ethics Think Tank; and
- Integrated Value Lab.
DIGITAL DISRUPTION – CHANGING THE RULES OF BUSINESS FOR A HYPER-CONNECTED WORLD
Business today faces a massive and perhaps unprecedented challenge in how it responds to and participates in digital disruption. Traditional ways of living and generating revenue are changing at a rapid pace: people buy goods and services online instead of across a supplier’s counter; access books and music via a range of electronic devices; and use social media to create communities with no fixed geographical base.
Established industries risk seeing hard-won brand loyalty, and long-established processes and structures overturned by changing customer behaviour and competition from previously unrelated – or even previously non-existent – industries. Digital disruption is shifting consumer preferences and the very rules that govern these industries. Even the terminology of business is changing, with talk of ‘ecosystems’ and ‘platforms’ replacing the familiar ‘value chain’. All this is concerning, but that concern cannot be a pretext for business paralysis.
This paper explores the meaning, dangers and exciting potential of digital disruption, unearthing a number of game-changing opportunities, particularly in Africa. It offers analysis of the response behaviours that have doomed some enterprises and products, and the proactive innovations that have accelerated the success of others. For new entrants and incumbents alike, digital disruption offers as many opportunities as threats, and it is our aim to guide readers through the pitfalls towards growth.
Dr Jeff Yu-Jen Chen:
Integrated Value Lab
The newly established GIBS Integrated Value Lab, chaired by Prof Wayne Visser, aims – in collaboration with business and academics in the Southern African context – to identify, understand and promote the connections between subject matter experts who have an interest in best practices of integrated value. It is a centre of excellence for leading edge experimental research and learning through collaborative discovery.
Download the Integrated Value Lab Brochure_Web_Jan16.pdf to find out more
Business Ethics Think Tank
There is widespread concern over the ethical failures and social problems that threaten South Africa’s future.
To confront these challenges, GIBS has established an Ethics and Governance Think Tank under the leadership of Rabbi Gideon Pogrund– a ground-breaking initiative and the first project of its kind in South Africa. Its purpose is to facilitate a national conversation about business ethics leading to practical measures and outcomes. We believe that this can make an important contribution to the understanding, awareness and practise of business ethics in South Africa, and ultimately to helping ensure a successful, sustainable future for the country. At the heart of our initiative is the idea that the company can no longer be an amoral entity whose sole purpose is to maximise shareholder wealth within the parameters of the law. Increasingly in the world and especially in the current South African context, business is expected to assume wider responsibilities. Only through effecting ethical and social change can it secure the long-term conditions for its success.
We often, and quite rightly, lament the existence of unethical leaders in South Africa. But what is perhaps less acknowledged and emphasised are the many leaders from business and other areas who have remarkable ethical, professional and intellectual credentials. Our aim is to bring such people together and generate creative insights and ideas which can be translated into a pragmatic plan of action. This project will be set in an academic venue and within an academic framework, yet with an agenda that is clear and practical, and geared towards solving problems and achieving outcomes. The emphasis will be on creativity and inventiveness, and the need to discover our own South African strengths and solutions.
In discussing ethics in South Africa today, the predictable issues that arise are fraud, corruption and cronyism - and obviously we will deal with them. But our focus will also be broader and more ambitious, and our approach more imaginative and innovative. We will frame the conversation, not only in terms of how to prevent fraud or eliminate corruption etc, but also proactively: how to improve, build and achieve. The think tank is designed to broaden and shift perspectives, and to influence long-term approaches and behaviours. Encouraging and empowering people to take more ethical responsibility within business will give concrete grounds for optimism.
Gideon Pogrund conceptualised and established and now directs the GIBS Ethics and Governance Think Tank.
Drawing on diverse studies, skills and experiences, he is a business ethics specialist. He has an MA in Social and Political Sciences from Trinity College, Cambridge University, he is a rabbi who has held senior leadership positions, and also worked as a commodity trader for Louis Dreyfus. He has participated in high-level academic, government and inter-faith forums, and features as an international speaker and scholar-in-residence. He has devoted many years to studying and teaching business ethics, and is currently writing a book on the subject. He is the co-founder of Ethics Evolution, a training and consultancy organisation which helps corporations achieve competitive advantage through improving the ethical thinking and behaviour of their employees.