Leadership in South Africa and its Talent Competitive Challenges

Professor Paul Evans sharing his insights into the new world of dualities we now live in with the audience

INSEAD alumni, company leaders of French Corporates in South Africa and Volkswagen SA employees, had a stimulating, early morning start to their day last week attending INSEAD’s Professor Paul Evans’ seminar – Leadership in South Africa and its Talent Competitiveness Challenges. This event was hosted by the IAASA and Volkswagen at the VW offices in Sandton. Prof. Evans, recognised as one of the most influential global though leaders in his field, was masterful, and engaged attendees’ despite the early start.

Due to time constraints on the day, not all the content was covered however the link below contains the entire slide deck as well as Prof. Evans’ Letter to the President on Vocational Education Reforms. Prof. Evans thoroughly enjoyed the discussions on the day and has sent through this personal note:

“Thanks for coming to the INSEAD seminar at VW Sandton on Wednesday. I enjoyed the questions and comments, especially after we had broken the ice by coffee break time.

Along with a copy of the slides, as promised, is the Letter to the President on reform in Vocational Education, coming from a year of discussions and work by the HR Think Tank that was set up by Knowledge Resources and Stellenbosch’s Institute for Future Studies. There are contact details re this Think Tank if anyone is interested in more info or getting involved. PAUL EVANS”

Link to slides and letter: https://goo.gl/WouxVa

INSEAD South Africa’s Alumni Perspectives

In conjunction with the IW50 event held at the JSE, INSEAD South Africa NAA is proud to present its inaugural Alumni Perspectives book. It is a publication that spotlights,a few of INSEAD’s trailblazing alumni in the country and pays tribute to their accomplishments.

Within this series, you will hear from inspiring alumni whose journeys weave the very fabric of INSEAD’s identity. Industry leaders, entrepreneurs and contributors to their communities, they have found exemplary ways to harness ‘business as a force for good’ at both a global and local level.

Download the full copy here

and for even more Alumni Perspectives from the other parts of the world click here


The Chicken Farm Bias

The Chicken Farm bias

By Luc Albinski (MBA ’95)

Two thousand chickens are slaughtered worldwide every second. Most, about forty billion or so, live in factory farms and enjoy an unenviable life most certainly, but not an unpredictable one. An unhealthy, carbohydrate heavy diet is served with mind-numbing predictability for forty-one days. On the forty-second, the chickens are shackled upside down and their throats are slit. For a forced-fed chicken, an intelligent and social bird, the regularity of the first forty-one days creates a compelling sense that next day will be drearily similar to the claustrophobic, overcrowded conditions of days gone by. Each successive day confirms this truth until, of course, the forty-second day does not.

Investors are victims of the same Chicken Farm bias. They believe that the future will not be very different from the past and excessively discount the probability of very different events occurring.

About the Author

Luc is the co-founder and co-managing partner of Vantage’s mezzanine funds as well as being one of the two executive members of the mezzanine funds’ investment committees. Prior to joining Vantage he spent time at several well known management consultant firms, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Brait.

He has a Master of Business Administration from the INSEAD business school in Fontainebleau, France and an undergraduate economics degree at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris.


How to Become More Innovative

How to Become More Innovative

The 4 DOs and DON’Ts

by Jenny Tyobeka


We know that we all have the propensity to innovate, although some of us are either too demotivated to activate our innovative selves, constrained by organisational barriers, or too ingrained in our ways of acting and seeing the world.  Whatever the constraints we face, there is a growing imperative for organisations to find new solutions to old problems and to create new products for emerging consumer demand. As consumer markets become more global, unpredictable and technologically disruptive, the need to innovate has become ever more pressing for differentiation and continued competitiveness.

Differentiation in the presence of intensifying consumer demand uncertainty is a tall order.  It is therefore encouraging to know that innovativeness can be learnt, and that it is possible to identify processes and behaviour that promote or constrain it.

Here are my 4 key DOs and DON’Ts to becoming more innovative:



1. Implement an iterative process of discovery to test and validate your assumptions about the consumer problem you are trying to solve; how big it is; and the appropriateness of your solution and business model for taking it to the market

1. Use the traditional, linear, milestone- based stage gate process of decision-making for new product development, where progress depends on achieving the previous milestone.

2. Employ a divergent approach by identifying and testing as many promising ideas as possible

2. Converge on a single promising idea and defend it tooth and nail with consumers, instead of listening intently to their feedback

3. Get into the market as soon as possible with the aim of validating your ideas rapidly as you go along, and iterating based on consumer feedback to reduce uncertainty and costs.

3. Try to manage uncertainty of consumer demand by aiming for desk-bound perfect planning & execution.

4. Aim to learn fast from consumer insights, and fail fast and cheaply by constantly iterating as you progress.

4.  Engage in unnecessarily lengthy internal decision-making, locking in ideas not validated by consumers, that may result in costly failure.

To learn and practice an implementable process for innovating in your business, refer to Professor Nathan Furr’s on-line programme, Innovation in the Age of Disruption  

View details.

Apply here     

Drawing on his own prolific research, numerous publications and interactions with Silicon Valley icons, Professor Furr has ‘nailed’ the innovation process in this programme, making it easy to master and implement, to effect change, in our present highly uncertain, digitised markets.


40% discount for SA NAA members for these INSEAD online courses


Staying Ahead in your Company and the Market

Inevitably, your role is already changing, even if this is not yet apparent within your organisation.  Market changes at breakneck speed, driven by digitisation and globalised competition, will force your company to adapt its business model, processes and skills demand profile. Are you staying ahead of the pack by acquiring emerging new competencies for your industry? Can you edge out your competitors in the market for that highly coveted new position, or to ramp up demand for your new digital product?

INSEAD has introduced cutting edge on-line digital learning programmes, to ensure that our alumni have access to continuous personal development. At 40% discounted rates for our subscribed alumni, INSEAD has made adapting our knowledge and skills to remain responsive to rapidly evolving markets highly accessible. Learn from INSEAD’s global thought leaders, while interacting with alumni across the globe.

Please see further details, and the list of on-line learning courses below.

Driving Value through Business Acumen
This course gives you the key tools and perspectives from strategy and finance. It develops business acumen and strategic thinking, enabling you to identify concrete opportunities to elaborate your strategy and enhance financial performance. Alumni Association members are welcome to invite their team members to participate in this course with them. View detailsApply here.

Start: 16 March 2018
Length: Seven weeks
Price: 2,250 Euros + VAT (IAA/NAA members will enjoy a special offer of 40% off this price)

Emerging Leaders in a Digital Age
This course is designed to help emerging leaders adapt to the challenges faced by organisations in a fast-paced digital environment. It will equip you with the skills needed to lead yourself – and then translate that knowledge into leading others and forming effective team collaboration in the digital age. View DetailsApply here.

Start: 13 April 2018
Length: Five weeks
Price: 1,950 Euros + VAT (IAA/NAA members will enjoy a special offer of 40% off this price)

Strategy in the Age of Digital Disruption
This course provides the strategy tools, concepts and perspectives that will allow you to develop a strategic response to the new digital possibilities and to then align your organisation for effective strategy execution. View details. Apply here.

Start: 4 May 2018
Length: Five weeks
Price: 1,500 Euros + VAT (IAA/NAA members will enjoy a special offer of 40% off this price)

Innovation in the Age of Disruption
This course provides an understanding on how to leverage innovation to respond to change, particularly change driven by digital transformation. The programme focuses on the people, process, and philosophy of innovative companies to help you develop your ability to innovate by generating more ideas and putting them into action. View detailsApply here.

Start: 25 May 2018
Length: Five weeks
Price: 1,500 Euros + VAT (IAA/NAA members will enjoy a special offer of 40% off this price)

Leadership Communication with Impact
This course is designed to help leaders improve their impact, performance and effectiveness as communicators. It equips you with the tools, techniques and skills to build your communication capacity at all levels – whether it be interpersonal, organisational or external, and enable you to become a leader communicator who connects and resonates with any stakeholder. View details. Apply here.

Start: 8 June 2018
Length: Five weeks
Price: 1,500 Euros + VAT (IAA/NAA members will enjoy a special offer of 40% off this price)

INSEAD Giving Day 13 March 2018

INSEAD Giving Day is an alumni-driven initiative which aims to strengthen the relationship between the school and alumni and increase the number of alumni supporting the school. This year’s Giving Day highlights the importance of the Dean’s Innovation Fund. The Dean’s Innovation Fund allows the school to pursue new initiatives, above and beyond any current gifts and funds that are returned from the endowment.